Strange partners: Hansen, Moondog Rex, and Captain Lou take on Garea, Martel, and Monsoon

I stumbled across an interesting six-man tag team match on YouTube, the result of injury and legalities.

The two-out-of-three falls bout took place in May 1981 in Madison Square Garden. On one side, you had Tony Garea and Rick Martel teaming with Gorilla Monsoon, a WWF official behind the scenes at this point who came out retirement for this match. Monsoon replaced Andre the Giant, who suffered a legitimate ankle injury that in the storyline was attributed to an attack by Killer Khan.

That team was opposed by Stan “The Lariat” Hansen, Moondog Rex, and Captain Lou Albano, the latter of whom substituted for Moondog King. It was likely just weeks or even days before this match that King, who held the WWF Tag Team Titles at the time with Rex, was stopped at the Canadian border and denied entry into the United States. King was soon replaced permanently by Moondog Spot.

Albano, weighing an announced 280 or so pounds, was hilarious doing muscle poses to the crowd before the match. “Albano is certainly not in the peak of physical condition,” play-by-play announcer Vince McMahon said in his characteristic deadpan style.

Most of the bout built up to Albano’s spots with the babyfaces, and as usual with him, the good guys didn’t get any kind of full revenge of him for his years of rule-breaking.

The heels were disqualified in the first fall for triple teaming Martel, and then Monsoon splashed and pinned Rex to win the deciding second fall. It’s clear watching the match that Hansen was booked to look strong, pushing down referee Gilberto Roman and even taking on his opponents all by himself after the match ended. It’s crazy to think in 1980 what a great career that guy had ahead of him in the U.S. and especially Japan.

McMahon confirmed a fact during this match that I long wondered about. He mentioned early on that Andre was laid up at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston recuperating from his ankle injury. I remember as a kid – growing up on Saturday morning WWF wrestling on Channel 56 in Boston in the 1980s – hearing that Andre was in a Boston hospital, but never knew for sure whether that was real life.

One comment

  1. Chuck Mullen

    Awesome old school stuff.

    That ring looked absolutely HUMONGOUS! Of course that was due to using Standard Definition cameras to record the event. One thing that shot out to me, was the fact that they was actually “wrestling” well, dare I say, play acting wrestling? Vs the stuff that is presented NOW as actually wrestling.

    The fact that everything has become so spot monkeyish and again no one really looks good from this… whereas here you actually felt invested into the match. A match with Tony Garea none the less. GOD I remember going to the old Civic Arena in Pittsburgh (Mellon Arena now) and but GROANING (yeah even then) when Resthold Garea was on the card.

    Anyway, it seemed from the booking that Stan The Lariat Hansen would of been programmed with Andre from this match. Funny stuff is that a year later in Japan (see the short clip here —> ) that Hansen, the notoriously hard hitting, BAD MAN from BORGER, TEXAS, was at the time one of the few guys to slam Andre.

    Sure you would think now, that means nothing, and no doubt, I guess it would with the LOVELY style of parity booking, but imagine this, if “The Boss” wouldn’t allow you, HE WOULD NOT ALLOW YOU. I have seen a lot of Andre matches, he is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITES, vs plenty of talented guys that got really nothing on him. But Hansen he must of liked or, conversely Andre was paid enough to get Hansen over. It is said, that it was that slam that made Hansen literally into a household name in Japan.

    Unbelievable. If you ask me. There is also another video on YouTube since I am making reference to it, and that is, this one, a complication of all of the guys (and video available) that have slammed Andre… quite the list if you ask me. And that video link is right here —>

    Thanks again for the great throw back article.


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