So WWE recently added a load more WWE Old School events their network, so I decided just to go ahead and review a random one. This one is ’77 WWWF MSG event that features Harley Race against Rick Martel and Mil Mascaras vs. Billy Graham.
Match 1 – S.D Jones vs. Baron Mikel Scicluna
So this went to a 15 minute time limit draw and was kind of boring to be honest, fundamentally fine just not all that interesting. In the first half S.D seems to focus a lot on Baron’s arm using holds, while Baron’s offense stays strike heavy with lots of punches and stomps and couple dirty tactics sprinkled in. Eventually S.D starts involving some strikes of his own and wrenching in chinlocks. At the end Baron is stomping S.D against the bottom rope and the bell goes for the time limit draw.
No Winner – 15 Minute Time Limit Draw *3/4
Match 2 – NWA World Heavyweight Title match – Harley Race vs. Rick Martel
So this was a match recorded in Australia that they decided to broadcast for this show, I think it’s been clipped slightly but either way it was still very good. They kept a good pace and delivered a lot of solid back and forth action. Race retains his title with a massive vertical suplex. Very enjoyable match that is a big contrast to the previous one.
Winner: Harley Race(via vertical suplex) ***1/2
Match 3 – Butcher Vachon vs. Johnny Rivera
Johnny is a replacement for Victor Rivera due to travel issues. This was a decent little match up. Vachon had the size advantage which allowed him to get most of the offense in, but Rivera managed to hold his own well, which results in Vachon resorting to mainly using chokes towards the end. At the end Rivera explodes with a flurry of strikes and lands a dropkick, he goes for a second but Vachon dodges it and double stomps Rivera’s chest to get the win. These two had quite a nice dynamic fair play and it was good heel work by Vachon.
Winner: Butcher Vachon(via double stomp) **3/4
Match 4 – Battle of the Managers – Arnold Skaaland vs. Captain Lou Albano
Very simple match up. Skaaland lamps Albano before the bell rings and Albano exits to the outside and almost goes back out of the arena, but he comes back in and uses a foreign object hidden in his tights to attack Skaaland and continues to use it, taking control of the match. the ref tries to check Albano’s tights a couple of times but each time Albano sneakily hides the object in his hand. Eventually Skaaland blocks the attack and takes the object from Albano and repeatedly smashes it in Albano’s face busting him wide open, this causes Albano to leave the ring and escape to the back allowing Skaaland to win via countout. Very basic stuff but it worked and the crowd was into it.
Winner: Skaaland(via countout) **1/2
Match 5 – Mr Fuji vs. Bob Backlund
So at this point Backlund was still undefeated in the WWWF and of course this match doesn’t change that. It’s pretty good overall though, each guy gets a fair amount of control, with Backlund utilising his strength and agility while Fuji uses precise strikes and cheap tactics. At the end Fuji makes the mistake of trying to climb the top rope as Backlund throws him off and hits him with a big atomic drop to get the pinfall.
Winner: Backlund(via atomic drop) ***
Match 6 – WWWF Heavyweight title match – ‘Superstar’ Billy Graham (c) w/Grand Wizard vs. Mil Mascaras w/Bob Backlund
This was a good match. From the outset Mil seems to have the upper hand in the match until Graham ends up on the outside and grabs some tape that he uses to choke Mil with, when Mil escapes he gets Grand Wizard ejected from ringside as he’s been using cards as visual cues for Graham. Graham then rakes Mil’s eyes and beats him down a little before locking in the bearhug, Mil manages to reverse it into a bearhug of his own but Graham manages to escape and attempts to take off Mil’s mask. This enrages Mil who ends up throwing Graham head first into the ringpost which busts him wide open and causes the ref to stop the match making Mil the winner of the match but not the title. Both played their roles well and it made for solid match-up.
Winner: Mil Mascaras(via ref stoppage) ***1/4
Match 7 – Dusty Rhodes vs. Stan Stasiak
This was ok if a little dull, Stasiak seems to control most of it using closed fists and lengthy holds, he then keeps trying for the heart punch but Dusty keeps avoiding and at the end he dodges for one final time and hits the Bionic elbow drop to get the win. Dusty does get a little showboaty here and there but overall this match was just bland.
Winner: Dusty Rhodes(via Bionic Elbow) **
Match 8 – Chief Jay Strongbow vs. Toru Tanaka
Another basic match that was pretty bland. Tanaka seems off put by Strongbow’s energy to begin but he manages to catch him in a hold and controls things for a bit, til strongbow starts coming back and they exchange a few more lengthy holds before Strongbow locks in the sleeperhold. But while locked in the sleeper, Tanaka throws salt into refs face causing him to get disqualified. Like the previous match I didn’t get much from it.
Winner: Strongbow(via DQ) **
Main Event – two out of three falls: Jack Evans/Larry Sharpe vs. Larry Zbysko/Tony Garea
Decent main event, it actually gets stopped because of the 11 o’clock curfew that the MSG has, Zybysko and Tony manage to score one fall though so they are declared the winners. there’s a nice technical exchange in the beginning, but Jack and Sharpe spent the majority of it in control, first with Garea and then with Zybysko after he got the hot tag and first fall, things then get a bit more chaotic at the end before the bell goes for the curfew. Perfectly fine match.
Winners: Zybsko/Garea **3/4
So that was certainly a mixed bag, I actually didn’t watch this all in one go and it did it in parts, which took longer than expected. I usually gotta be in a certain mood for some of this old stuff but some of this was just genuinely boring. The highlights were definitely Race/Martel, Mascaras/Graham and Backlund/Fuji. Rest of it I didn’t care much for at all. Not sure if I’ll review much of these in the future, may do a few though if the mood takes me.