Vintage Vault Pre-Viewing: WWF at Madison Square Garden 5/19/86

The British Bulldogs (w/ Capt. Lou Albano) vs. the Dream Team (w/ “Luscious” Johnny Valiant) for the WWF Tag Team Championships

So as we were now well over a month removed from WrestleMania 2, it was clear that there were certain feuds that happened at that show that would more than likely continue on and this was one of them. With the Bulldogs finally grabbing the brass ring and winning the tag titles from the Dream Team, the Dream Team would be due their rematches and that would be one of the highlights of this current house show run. After seeing the two teams face off in singles matches the previous month at MSG, you knew that this time around we would see the title match and that the crowd would be buzzing for this match. It would be interesting to see if the Bulldogs would be given a long run with the titles or if the Dream Team would win them right back and the Bulldogs would go back to chasing them, but you knew after the last few matches they had this one would be just as good.

As mentioned at our last MSG house show, the two teams faced off in separate singles matches with the Dynamite Kid defeating Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine defeating Davey Boy Smith, but during this time Dynamite was recovering from a knee injury and would be subbed out occasionally on the house shows. The Bulldogs would also have a few matches with the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff while facing the Dream Team though as mentioned Dynamite would be subbed out, and on the 5/3 Saturday Night’s Main Event the Bulldogs retained the titles against Sheik and Volkoff in a 2-out-of-3 falls match with Smith working the majority of the match. The Dream Team would typically defeat the makeshift teams of Smith and the substitute though those matches were usually non-title since Dynamite didn’t compete, and they would also have several 6-man tag matches with the two sides trading victories and the Bulldogs would defeat the Dream Team throughout May when Dynamite was healthy. It was interesting to see how this feud played out over the last month and now it looked like things would finally finish up here between the two teams.

Before the match, Gorilla Monsoon conducts an interview with the Dream Team who vow that they will regain the titles tonight from the Bulldogs in a pretty good promo. On a night that featured the hot Tito Santana/Randy Savage feud continue while also adding Bruno Sammartino and Adrian Adonis to the mix as well as the burgeoning Ricky Steamboat/Jake Roberts feud happening here, it was a good show of faith to see this match be given the main event spot of this show. The Bulldogs get a big pop from the crowd while the Dream Team were still red hot as heels. Smith starts off the match with Beefcake and Beefcake stalls in the corner before conversing with Valentine in his corner, and the two men lock up with neither gaining an edge and they lock up again with Smith working on the arm. Beefcake attempts to escape with an armdrag only for Smith to hang onto the arm and he continues to work on it, but Beefcake grabs the rope to force a break and he rolls outside to regroup before returning to the ring. They lock up again with Smith hooking a headlock until Beefcake whips him off only for Smith to leap over Beefcake and he hits a slam, and Beefcake begs off in the corner before regrouping with Valentine and they lock up with Smith going back to the arm before tagging Dynamite. He continues to work on the arm and takes Beefcake to the mat while continuing to grind down on the arm, and Smith tags in and goes up top before nailing a blow to Beefcake’s arm and he continues to work the arm. Beefcake backs Smith into his corner and tags Valentine who goes up top and drives the elbow into Smith as Beefcake holds him, and Valentine drops an elbow on Smith for a two count and pounds on him before hoisting him up and hitting a shoulderbreaker for a two count. He tries to force Smith’s shoulders to the mat twice as Smith powers up to his feet and Valentine backs him into the corner, and Valentine pounds on him in the corner only for Smith to reverse a whip into the other corner and he hits a clothesline on Valentine. Dynamite tags in and hits a stiff headbutt on Valentine before ramming him into the buckle and shoving him to the mat for a two count, and he pounds on Valentine and hits another headbutt only for Valentine to block a suplex attempt and he pounds on Dynamite. Beefcake tags in and they stomp on Dynamite as Valentine stays in the ring and pounds on Dynamite, and he rams Dynamite into Beefcake’s boot before tagging him in and they ram Dynamite into the corner. Valentine tags back in and they ram Dynamite into the corner again before Beefcake tags back in and they ram Dynamite into the corner a third time, and Beefcake chokes Dynamite with his boot on the mat and draws Smith into the ring which allows Valentine to snap Dynamite’s knee across the rope. Beefcake presses Dynamite up in a great show of power and hits a backbreaker on Dynamite for a two count before tagging Valentine, and he kicks at Dynamite and knocks him down before ramming him into the buckle and pounding on him. Dynamite tries to battle back on Valentine and hits a headbutt that knocks him down though Valentine kicks at Dynamite to prevent him from tagging, and Valentine attempts the Figure-4 only for Dynamite to kick him into the ropes though Valentine recovers first and knocks Smith down to prevent the tag again. He rams Dynamite into Beefcake’s boot and hits a snapmare before tagging Beefcake in who gets a two count and then he hits a big suplex on Dynamite only to hurt himself, and Smith gets the hot tag and hits a headbutt on Beefcake before hitting a dropkick on Valentine. He rams the Dream Team’s heads together before hoisting Beefcake onto his shoulder and hitting the running powerslam though Valentine breaks the pin up, and Valentine draws Dynamite into the ring and Dynamite hits a headbutt as Smith hooks a small package on Beefcake only for Valentine to break it up by dropping a knee on him. Beefcake crawls into a pin for a two count and pounds on Smith before tagging Valentine who continues to pound on Smith, and Valentine hoists Smith up in a suplex and slams him to the mat only to miss the elbow twice. Dynamite tags in and hits a headbutt on Valentine before pounding on him and he rams Valentine into the buckle before shoving him to the mat, and he hits a falling headbutt on Valentine for a two count and then he hits a hooking clothesline on Valentine for a two count. Valentine sends Dynamite into a pair of boots from Beefcake and he hits a snapmare before hooking the Figure-4 on Dynamite, but Smith comes in and breaks the hold up only for Valentine to hit a slam on Dynamite and he misses the elbow only to hit the second elbow which gets the three and we seemingly have new champions. However the ref saw that Valiant was holding Dynamite’s legs down from the outside and he doesn’t allow the pin as the Dream Team celebrate, and Dynamite takes advantage by rolling Valentine up which gets the three and the Bulldogs retain the titles.

The match itself was pretty good as both teams pretty much had the template down for their matches and you knew they would also be solid, though this was clear step down from their great match at WrestleMania 2. The Bulldogs were pretty much hitting their stride as a team by this point even with Dynamite’s ongoing injuries while the Dream Team were also hitting their peak as a team though once again it appears that Valentine works the majority of the match. While you could tell that Beefcake has grown a lot in the year since he started teaming with Beefcake, it was still pretty clear that they still felt he wasn’t quite ready yet to lead these tag matches and Valentine is still the leader of the team. These two teams have been pretty much married to each other since the year started and were at the point where they can work a different type of match every time they fight, and this one was no different though I wish they would let them go all out with longer time as the last few matches have seemed to top out at 12-13 minutes and I would love to see them go for 15-20 minutes if they go on with the feud. The ending was pretty interesting as well as they do a tease of giving the Dream Team the belts back and ending the Bulldogs’ reign so quickly, but it backfires on them and the Bulldogs take advantage to steal the win. The crowd was hot for the match and at first are pissed off when it seems the Dream Team won, and then they are a bit confused after the final pin though they do pop when it is announced the Bulldogs retained the titles. The Bulldogs defeat the Dream Team in a really good match to retain the titles and it would be interesting to see how much longer the feud goes from here.

Final Grade: ***