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WWF Madison Square Garden February 23, 1987

February 23, 1987

Your hosts are Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon

Paul Roma vs. "Italian Stallion" Salvatore Bellomo

Bellomo comes to the ring in a yellow boxing robe and even throws some punches into the air as a fan pelts him with garbage. The stallion on the the back of his robe and attire look more like a donkey if you ask me, which is fitting for Bellomo. His attire is also as pathetic as his wrestling skills. Well Bellomo as a comedy heel is more suitable than a babyface. Lots of stalling and posing from Bellomo to start as Gorilla and Heenan talk about WrestleMania III. They have a fast-paced Irish whip sequence that ends with Roma getting a nearfall off of a reverse rollup. Bellomo then takes down Roma and works the arm for a long time as he screams and laughs. They fight over a key lock that Roma wins as he takes Bellomo down. Roma works  side headlock on the mat as this match is putting everyone to sleep. Bellomo then breaks up an arm wringer with an eye rake before taking Roma down with an European uppercut. Dropkick gets two then Bellomo applies a chinlock. Roma fights out and takes Bellomo down with a hiptoss then goes back to work on the arm. Bellomo fights back and takes Roma down with a snapmare then targets the back. Bellomo slows things down even further with another chinlock as a few fans are crapping on the match as the announcers talk about everything else going on in the company. Roma then hits a backdrop and dropkicks Bellomo, who takes a breather outside. He heads back in as Roma slams him then runs up to the second rope to deliver a fist drop. Roma whiffs on a crossbody attempt but shortly after that Roma gets the win with a powerslam (12:29) *.

Thoughts: Seeing Bellomo as a comedy heel of sorts was certainly something else. This only lasted for a few weeks until he left the company though. Roma was getting a minor singles push at the time and the announcers tried to sell this as an upset win. The match itself was way too slow and the last few minutes where clunky.

The Islanders vs. Demolition

No Johnny V. tonight for Demolition. Tama and Smash start off as Tama is overpowered but Haku comes in and they take him down with a double dropkick as Demolition regroups outside. Back in the ring, Ax and Haku are in and they go back and forth until Haku grabs an arm wringer. The Islanders work over Ax for a it. Ax then beats on Tama and tags out as Smash tosses Tama on the floor. Ax then knocks Tama over the guardrail as Haku brings him back over and helps him get into the ring where Demolition double-teams him. Tama gets tossed back to the floor after a pin attempt as Haku goes to check on him again as this match has slowed down an awful lot. Haku then slugs it out with Smash on the floor as Ax gets two with an elbow smash. Smash tags and drops Tama throat-first onto the top rope. Tama fights out of a bearhug but Smash is able to ground him with a leg lock then tags Ax, who gets kicked when he ducks his head on a backdrop. Tama makes the tag as Haku runs wild. Tama tags back into the match and gets two with a crossbody then the match breaks down and as the ref orders Haku back onto the apron, Demolition hits Tama with the Decapitation for the win (9:13) **1/4.

Thoughts: Decent enough match although it was really slow at the beginning. Demolition was slowly starting to get over as a menacing heel act with the crowd, who were in awe of their entrance gear and presence in the ring. The Islanders were over with the crowd a bit but near the bottom rung of the tag team ladder at the time.

Sika vs. Koko B. Ware

The Wizard is not here tonight. Sika starts by tossing Koko into the corner then he knocks him down. Koko tries to fight back but gets shoved back down then Sika rakes his back. Koko then goes outside and crawls underneath the ring and comes out from the other side to confuse Sika. Koko then dropkicks Sika in the back and rolls him up off of the rebound for the win (4:51) DUD. After the match, Sika attacks Koko and tosses him to the floor.

Thoughts: Sika was quite lazy here and this match was a total bore. The ending also did nothing to elevate either of these guys. Koko was treated like a joke in this match.

"The Natural" Butch Reed w/ Slick vs. Tito Santana

Reed starts the match of by stalling for a couple of minutes, which is the theme of the night so far. Tito hammers away for a bit until Reed ducks outside for a breather. He heads back in but gets sent back out after a pair of dropkicks. Reed then is able to choke out Tito with the middle rope from the apron then heads back into the ring. Tito boots down Reed after he ducked his head then grabs a front facelock as Slick joins on commentary complaining about the referee allowing Tito to cheat. Reed then breaks free and takes control of the match as he targets the throat of Tito. Slick is ecstatic as Reed has Tito in a chinlock for a while. Reed then gets two with a mat slam before he puts on another chinlock. Tito sends Reed into the corner then fires up as he beats on Reed. He uses mounted punches and gets two off of that but gets sent into the corner then clotheslined down. Reed takes Tito down with a kneelift then stomps away. Reed goes for an atomic drop but Tito blocks that and takes Reed down and goes for the figure four leg lock but Reed is able to reach the ropes. Reed then takes Tito down and distracts the referee as Slick heads inside with his cane but Koko B. Ware runs out and stops that as the ref signals for the bell. Koko and Tito then clear the ring as the match is ruled a double disqualification (12:10) *1/2. After the match, Slick struggles to hold Reed back.

Thoughts: Bland match.

WWF Tag Team Championship Match
Killer Bees vs. Hart Foundation w/ Jimmy Hart & Danny Davis

Neidhart and Brunzell start off the match as Jimmy has joined the announcers to talk about Davis being a former Gold Gloves champion and a high school wrestler before leaving. Brett tags and he and Brunzell go back and forth for a bit. The Bees are now working over Brett' arm then Blair slingshots Brett into Neidhart as the Hart Foundation regroup outside. Back inside, the Bees work over the arm of Brett but that doesnt last long as he knocks Blair into his corner then tags Neidhart. The Hart Foundation double-team Blair then toss him out to the floor. Back in the ring Blair manages a quick rollup but Brett immediately puts him in a front facelock. The Hart Foundation use some solid double-team moves then Blair sends Brett into the corner as both men are down. Blair is up first and manages a small package but Brett escapes then grounds Blair before tagging out. Neidhart put Blair in a bearhug then stops Blair from making the tag when he escapes. Brunzell tags but the ref did not see that then Brett tags in and puts on a chinlock but Blair breaks that up with an electric chair drop then tags Brunzell, who goes nuts on Brett in the corner. Brunzell then connects with a dropkick but Neidhart breaks up the pin as the bell is rung prematurely then Davis attacks Brunzell as he had Brett up for a slam and that gets turned into a small package as the Hart Foundation retains the gold (13:52) **3/4.

Thoughts: Solid match. The heat segment on Blair was the best part. They are establishing Davis as part of the act in order to hype the WrestleMania III match and to give the Hart Foundation an additional outside threat. The Bees were fine here and these two teams worked well together.

Gorilla is with Outback Jack, who will be making his MSG debut. Jack says that the competition is tough in the WWF but thinks he is prepared.

And Gorilla is now with Jake Roberts, who is defying doctor's orders to face King Kong Bundy tonight. The story is that Roberts was concussed from the guitar shot he took from Honky at the last "Superstars of Wrestling" taping.

Jimmy Hart and the Honky Tonk Man are with Gorilla, who is disgusted over what he did to Jake Roberts. Honky says he feels good and is going to tap dance on the head of Pedro Morales. He also warns Roberts that if he hits him in the head again that he will not get up.

Randy Savage is with Bobby Heenan as Gorilla asks him about the elimination match main event. Savage promises that his team will win 3-0.

Barry O. vs. Outback Jack

Jack overpowers Barry to start. He hits a few slams and a hiptoss that sends Barry outside for a breather. The crowd is completely silent by the way. Back inside, Jack backs Barry into the corner but gets his eye poked as Barry takes control. He catches Jack with a kneelift then rams him into the corner. Jack reverses a whip and catches Barry with a backdrop. Jack gets two off of a splash but Barry yanks him into the corner. Jack ducks a swing and hits an atomic drop before hitting Barry with a boomerang for the win (3:33) 1/2*.

Thoughts: Jack was not over at all and based on this reaction and his TV debut, it was clear that this character was never going to get over to the extent they originally thought.

King Kong Bundy w/ Bobby Heenan vs. Jake "The Snake" Roberts

Jimmy Hart is on commentary for Heenan in this match. He is also petrified when the camera shows Damien trying to get out of his bag. Match starts with both guys fighting over a lockup as Jake wins that battle and knocks down Bundy. A loud "Bundy sucks" chant breaks out as he stalls on the apron. They try a test of strength that Bundy wins then but Jake grabs a hold of the ropes after an Irish whip as the crowd applauds. This is a pro-Jake crowd tonight. Jake ducks a clothesline but gets caught with a slam. Bundy gets two with an elbow drop then stops as he adjusts the straps of his singlet, which appear too big for him. Bundy puts Jake in a chinlock as both Heenan and Hart remain scared of the snake at ringside. Jake escapes and tries for a DDT but Bundy blocks that then misses an elbow drop. Jake falls outside as Bundy goes out and roughs him up before tossing him back in as the bell rings with Bundy getting counted out (9:17) 1/2*. After the match, Bundy misses an Avalanche then Jake grabs Damien and chases Bundy, Hart, and Heenan to the back.

Thoughts: Bad match. Bundy had to stop to adjust his straps throughout the match and moved very, very slowly as a result. The crowd liked Jake but this was a poor match with a bad finish.

Honky Tonk Man w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Pedro Morales

Slick has joined on commentary to say that something needs to be done about wrestlers putting their hands on managers then promises that Butch Reed will destroy Koko at WrestleMania III. Honky starts the match by stalling as he keeps on ducking under the ropes then takes a breather outside. Gorilla threatens to grab Slick by the neck if he interferes as Pedro slams Honky twice. Honky heads back outside then goes back in as the crowd is all over him. Honky tries to fight out of an arm wringer but gets caught with an atomic drop instead as Honky yet again goes back outside, which is getting in some heel heat at least. Honky heads back in but Pedro punches him through the ropes as this match is getting quite repetitive. Back inside, Pedro grabs a side headlock but Honky is able to dump him outside and onto the Japanese announce table, which had been mentioned a few times throughout the show. Honky rams Pedro shoulder-first into the post from the apron then targets the back. Honky fires away then stomps on Pedro in the corner until he goes outside. Pedro walks over towards Jimmy Hart, who backs away, then yanks Honky outside where he rams him into the post and the guardrail. They head back in the ring where Honky takes control. Suplex gets two. He slams him down but misses an elbow drop from the second rope as both men are down. Pedro hammers in Honky, who is now begging for mercy in the corner. Pedro gets two with a small package then hits Honky with a backdrop before putting him in a Boston Crab but Hart jumps up on the apron and Pedro goes after him then after that Honky trips up Pedro and rolls him up, with his feet on the ropes for leverage, and gets the win (11:58) **.

Thoughts: Honky did about 90% of the work here and made it entertaining and a lot better than I expected. He really did a fantastic job as a heel, which suited the character a lot better than being a babyface. Morales was about as lazy and useless as you would expect. Pedro is not trying if he is booked to lose.

Elimination Match
"Adorable" Adrian Adonis w/ Jimmy Hart & King Harley Race w/ Bobby Heenan & Randy "Macho Man" Savage w/ Miss Elizabeth vs. Junkyard Dog & Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat & Roddy Piper

This is being billed as the final MSG appearance for Piper and the crowd goes nuts for him. Piper stares down Adonis but it is Savage who starts off the match for his team. Piper knocks down Race then runs around and tags Steamboat as Savage ducks outside. Savage comes back in to attack Steamboat but gets caught with an armdrag. JYD and Race tag in as Race bumps like a maniac for JYD's offense. The crowd is jacked right now as Race flips over the top rope after a clothesline from JYD, who looks horrendous here, but Race is doing everything in his power to make him seem good. Slick insults JYD on commentary by saying he is unable to read. Race takes control briefly then tags Savage but JYD beats on him. Steamboat tags but Savage tags in Adonis then after that Piper tags as their is a six-man brawl inside of the ring. The ref finally maintains control then Adonis & Race hit Piper with a double suplex. Adonis catches Piper in a sleeper but gets rammed backwards into the turnbuckle and locks on a sleeper of his own. Savage and JYD are now the legal men as JYD slams him down. Savage takes control and tags Adonis, whose punches have no effect on JYD. Adonis then tackles JYD as they brawl outside then everyone else brawls as well. Piper chases Adonis up the aisle with a chair as JYD and Race duke it out. Back inside, Piper hits Race with a back suplex but the ref does not count as the bell rings as both Adonis and JYD have been counted out and have been eliminated (7:50). Piper gets worked over in the corner by Race and Savage as Slick continues to make fun of JYD on commentary. Piper tries to make a tag but Race stops that with an elbow drop. Savage then chokes out Piper against the ropes then misses a jumping attack but is able to tag Race. Piper counters a suplex with one of his own and makes the tag to Steamboat. He hits Race with a bunch of chops then he and Piper hit a double clothesline. Steamboat gets two off of a flying chop then gets Race in a small package but Savage reverses it behind the referee's back and Race gets the pin (11:42). Steamboat pumps up Piper before leaving as he is at a 2-1 disadvantage. Piper beats on Race as Savage tries to interfere. He knocks Race outside then takes a chair away from Savage. Piper falls victim to the numbers game as Savage takes and chokes him out. Double axe handle from the top rope gets two. Piper fights off both guys now but Race hits him from behind. Powerslam from Race gets two. Piper reverses a gutwrench suplex with one of his own and get two as Savage breaks that up. Race signals for Savage to climb up top as he holds Piper in place but Piper escapes as Savage accidentally hits Race with a double axe handle then Piper covers and gets the pin (15:43). Piper bulldogs Savage then bites his fingers. Piper chases Savage around but fails to get him over on a sunset flip attempt. Savage clotheslines Piper for two then elbows him in the throat. Piper then fights back and unloads on Savage then both men collide as Savage flies through the ropes. Piper is playing possum in the ring as Savage climbs up top and misses the flying elbow smash then Piper puts Savage in a small package for the win (20:22) ****.

Thoughts: Fantastic match. Piper in particular was awesome here as Race and Savage also had on their working boots. JYD was pathetic but they were smart enough to get him out early. Tremendous fun as these elimination matches would main event house shows for the next few weeks. Also, I must say that Slick and Gorilla on commentary was entertaining. They should have let Slick done more on commentary.

Gorilla is backstage with Piper, congratulating him on his win. Piper says he always gave 110% then talks about the hair vs. hair stipulation match against Adonis at WrestleMania III. The end was Piper being his typical crazy self.

Final Thoughts: The main event was awesome but nothing else was all that great. Some of these matches just flat-out sucked as well. All in all, check out the main event, which was also part of the "WWE Top 50 Superstars of All Time" DVD but other than that, I cannot really recommend anything else that you should go out of your way to see. A majority of these matches were featured on the 3/9/87 edition of Prime Time Wrestling if you were wondering.

Here is my schedule for the next several days:

Thursday: 2008 WWE Blue Timeline as told by Brian Myers (Curt Hawkins)
Friday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 2/28/87
Saturday: RoH Death Before Dishonor 7/19/03
Sunday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 3/1/87
Tuesday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 3/7/87