Vintage Vault Pre-Viewing: WWF at Madison Square Garden 4/22/86

The Dynamite Kid vs. Brutus Beefcake (w/ “Luscious” Johnny Valiant)

So we are now a few weeks removed from Wrestlemania 2 and for the most part, it was a pretty disappointing show with the exception of a few matches standing out. One of them was of course the WWF Tag Team Championship match between the British Bulldogs and the Dream Team which saw the Bulldogs finally defeat the Dream Team to become champions. It was a good capper to the first part of this feud that has been raging since the start of the year as the Bulldogs get over the hump and are now the studs of the tag division. However, you knew the feud wasn’t going to end just yet as the Dream Team were now due rematches across the house circuit and possibly a TV match. It’s not unusual as we saw the same thing happen last year when the US Express lost the titles to the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff, and they continued to feud until the Express won the belts back. While it seemed pretty obvious that the Dream Team were probably not going to regain the titles, you knew that it would lead to a series of fun rematches. In addition, they also did something pretty cool which was split the teams up and had them compete in singles matches to build to the tag match. Again we saw the same thing last year with the US Express and Sheik and Volkoff and it was interesting to see it repeated almost to a t with these two teams.

Since the Bulldogs won the titles at Wrestlemania, the two teams only met each other in back-to-back 6-man tag matches on 4/19 and 4/20 with the Dream Team and Johnny V winning both of them. It was then determined that the two teams would be broken off and would face off in singles matches with Dynamite facing Beefcake and Smith facing Valentine. I thought that was an interesting choice as I would’ve enjoyed a Dynamite/Valentine match and it will be interesting to see if Beefcake can keep up with Dynamite or if he would end up getting swallowed up without Valentine to assist him.

Dynamite gets a big pop from the crowd as he comes out without Capt. Lou Albano for some reason while Beefcake was pretty hot as a heel. The two men lock up to start with Dynamite giving a clean break in the corner and they lock up again with Dynamite hooking a headlock before knocking him down, and he goes back to the headlock as Beefcake whips him off only for Dynamite to knock him down again. Beefcake rolls outside to regroup with Valiant before returning to the ring though he stalls in the corner, and they engage in a test of strength with neither gaining the edge until Beefcake works on the arm. Dynamite rolls through and nips up before doing a cartwheel and he takes Beefcake to the mat, and he works on Beefcake’s arm until Beefcake reaches the ropes to force a break. Beefcake regroups in the corner with Valiant and then they lock up with Dynamite going back to the headlock and Beefcake escapes with a back suplex, and then Beefcake hits a falling headbutt to the ribs of Dynamite before posing for the crowd in the corner. He kicks at Dynamite before going up to the middle rope and hitting a stomp on Dynamite, and he pounds on Dynamite and rams him into the buckle before raking the eyes and hitting a delayed suplex on Dynamite for a two count. He chokes Dynamite on the mat only for Dynamite to almost surprise him with a sunset flip for a two count, and Beefcake stomps on Dynamite and rakes his boot across his face before nailing a pair of shots to the throat. He continues to pound on Dynamite in the corner as Dynamite tries to battle back and he hits a stiff headbutt on Beefcake, and he gets a kick in before hitting a snap suplex and a falling headbutt on Beefcake. He rams Beefcake into the buckles and chops at him before hitting a pair of headbutts, but then Beefcake drops down to avoid a charge from Dynamite who sails through the ropes to the outside. Dynamite gets on the apron only for Beefcake to knock him back to the floor and Dynamite gets back on the apron as Beefcake pounds on him, and he attempts a suplex back into the ring only for Dynamite to escape and he rolls Beefcake up which gets the three and Dynamite wins the match. After the match, Beefcake stomps on Dynamite and hoists him up before putting him in the tree of woe in the corner, and he stomps on Dynamite and chokes him with his boot until Davey Boy Smith runs out to make the save as Beefcake clears out of the ring and Smith checks on his partner.

The match itself was decent as both men worked hard and put on a solid match though it didn’t seem like it went 12 minutes and was a lot shorter. This was an interesting matchup as I liked how they split the tag teams up into singles matches so you would get excited about the upcoming tag title rematch. This was a nice showcase for Dynamite as he gets a rare singles match during this run and you could see how much Beefcake has improved in just a year which proved how vital putting him with Valentine was as it in essence saved his career. I thought that Beefcake looked pretty good in keeping up with Dynamite which was a big plus in his favor and he got some good shine even in losing the match. I thought the unique 3-man team of Gorilla, Alfred, and Ernie Ladd were pretty solid during this match with Ladd giving his insight in during this match. As I mentioned, I would’ve preferred to see Dynamite face Greg Valentine as I think that would’ve been a really fun, stiff match while Beefcake and Davey Boy Smith would’ve also had a decent match, but they worked well here with Dynamite getting the clean win while Valentine got the win over Smith in their match. The crowd was hot for the match and popped for Dynamite when he won. Dynamite gets the win over Beefcake in this match to build momentum towards their tag title match, and obviously this issue is not over yet.

Final Grade: **1/2