Vintage Vault Pre-Viewing: WWF at Madison Square Garden 5/20/85

Hulk Hogan vs. the Magnificent Muraco (w/ Mr. Fuji) for the WWF Championship

As I mentioned in the previous MSG house show previewing, this was a time where Hulk Hogan would defend his title against various opponents despite being in a hot feud at the time. What also made it special was that the feuds Hogan was in would be solely based in certain house shows though it could be seen at other house shows as well. As we saw the previous month, Hogan would have a match with the Magnificent Muraco which saw Muraco get the surprise win by countout, and I’m sure that shocked a lot of people as this was a time when Hogan rarely lost. But it made Muraco look like a serious threat and you knew that the two would have a rematch, and you knew the heat at MSG would be even hotter as they wanted to see Hogan get his revenge and put Muraco away.

Following their match at MSG back in April, Hogan and Muraco stayed apart for most of the month as Hogan would continue his feud with Roddy Piper and Bob Orton, including facing Orton at the first ever Saturday Night’s Main Event earlier in the month. Hogan would also face various opponents as well while Muraco would mainly work against lower-card guys as well as competing in other main events that Hogan wasn’t involved in. The two men would face off at a house show in Columbus, Ohio on May 12th with Hogan defeating Muraco clean to retain the title. They would then face each other in a tag match at a house show in Boston on May 18th as Hogan teamed with Jimmy Snuka to defeat Muraco and Bob Orton by disqualification. I thought this was a good way to keep this feud simmering by having them compete very sparsely, and kept it hot for when they returned to MSG.

Much like the previous month, these two compete in the middle of the card as opposed to the main event, and in fact they are a little bit lower this month than last month, which was very interesting though you knew this was considered one of the big matches. The crowd was buzzing strongly for this rematch and they shower Muraco with tremendous heat when he comes out, and likewise they almost blow the roof off of MSG when Hogan comes out with his all-white outfit much like he did last month. Muraco wastes no time and attacks Hogan to start as he gets in the ring and he rams Hogan into the buckle, and he tears at Hogan’s shirt and stomps on him before pounding on him. He continues to pound on Hogan and chokes him with his shirt in the corner, and he continues to pound on Hogan who starts to fire up and they trade blows with Hogan taking control and he hits a headbutt that sends Muraco through the ropes to the outside. Hogan goes outside as well and nails Muraco with a running elbow before pounding on him and he hits an atomic drop, and Hogan takes his shirt off and chokes Muraco with it before throwing him back into the ring. Muraco begs off in the corner and Hogan gets a kick in before whipping him into the other corner and he splashes him, and he again chokes Muraco with the shirt before hitting a headbutt as Muraco flops to the mat. Hogan hits a slam and drops an elbow on Muraco before pounding on him on the mat, and Muraco rolls outside to regroup only for Hogan to follow him and pound on him until Muraco grabs a chair and nails Hogan with it. Muraco rolls back into the ring and stomps on Hogan only for Hogan to pull him to the outside and nail him before grabbing the chair and slamming it into Muraco’s back, and Hogan hits a pair of headbutts on Muraco which busts him open and breaks the count before pounding on Muraco as both men roll back into the ring. Hogan hits a back suplex on Muraco and then he tosses him over the top to the floor before going outside himself, and he hoists Muraco up and rams him head first into the post. Hogan rolls back in the ring and pulls Muraco onto the apron before biting him on the open wound, and then he hits a suplex back into the ring before hitting a slam and the legdrop only for Fuji to put Muraco’s foot on the rope during the three. Hogan argues with the ref as Fuji hands Muraco a packet of salt and Muraco throws the salt right in Hogan’s eyes, but the ref sees it and disqualifies Muraco which gives Hogan the win and he retains the title. After the match, Muraco and Fuji quickly head to the back as Hogan challenges them to come back out and then he poses for the fans.

The match itself was a fun brawl as both men beat the crap out of each other and put on a solid, if really quick title match. I like how both men approached this match differently from the previous one as Muraco jumped Hogan quick to gain heat and Hogan battled back, and Hogan eschewed the wrestling and stuck to brawling with Muraco. I like how feuds like this build where the heat between the two men grows from the previous match and they just want to tear each other apart, and it made sense here as Hogan wanted revenge for Muraco stealing the countout win the previous month. I did think it was a bit weird that the match only lasted just over 6 minutes as it could’ve gone at least another 5 or 6, but for hot the match was it made sense to go somewhat quickly. The ending was also interesting as they pulled a Dusty finish and then Muraco got intentionally DQ’ed by using the salt to stay somewhat strong, so you knew that there was going to be a third match between the two to finally decide a winner. The crowd was red hot for the whole match and are completely behind Hogan, but they are pissed off with the ending though they quickly get over it when Hogan is announced the winner. Hogan gets his win back over Muraco albeit by DQ and he again retains the title, but it was clear that there was one more match to be had between the two for our next show in June at the World’s Most Famous Arena.

Final Grade: ***