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[1983-05-23-WWF-MSG, NY] Bob Backlund vs Sgt. Slaughter

Superstar Sleeze

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WWF Heavyweight Champion Bob Backlund vs Sgt. Slaughter - MSG 5/23/83

The year 1983 is a year of transition for the WWF as it is the first full year under Vince Jr. It is not considered one of the great years in WWF history as Vince is trying to get his building blocks in place for his national expansion thus he keeps the belt on Bob Backlund for the year and uses a retreads as his challengers (Muraco & Slaughter) with Masked Superstar being the one new challenger. Slaughter, being such a great bumper, is one of Backlund's best opponent. While this is not as good as their '81 Philly series, this is still a great Backlund title defense. Apparently, Slaughter attacked and bruised Backlund on TV with his Swagger Stick. Backlund starts the match red hot. You wouldn't know for Gorilla's commentary because he keeps telling us how he cant believe Bob is keeping his cool! Jesus, Gorilla you are terrible. Backlund is kicking ass and you say he is keeping his cool. He is throwing Slaughter around at will. Slaughter is bumping like a madman and is really selling discombobulation. Backlund is pointing at his bruises and punching the shit out of Sarge. This is great! Backlund starts hurling his body at Slaughter with these massive forearms. Slaughter is able to hit a desperation Slaughter Canon. The heat segment that follows is really good. I will have to check and see if 1983 Backlund has longer heat segments to see if that correlates with Vince Jr. Slaughter works over the mid-section and ribs along with good heel work. The best combination is the double stomp, which is always over with me. Backlund sells well. I really love the suplex struggle they have. It is a real test of wills and they really milk it. It is feels like such a huge victory when Backlund wins it and hits his suplex. This enables him to hit a piledriver, but Sarge does an interesting thing he places forearms behind Backlund's knees it looks like blocks some of the blow, but really if Backlund wanted to that seemed like a good way to have your forearms broken. I love that Slaughter hooks the ropes on a neckbreaker attempt and Backlund goes flying taking the full brunt on his own head. 

Slaughter busts out a dropkick, which surprises me and Gorilla. My favorite spot of this match is when Backlund deadweights Slaughter on a suplex attempt and Slaughter still is able to pick him up and hang him to dry on the top rope. It was an excellent struggle spot. Having softened the mid-section, Sarge goes for the kill with a shoulder tackle into the corner only to eat the ringpost (excellent transition).  Slaughter looks poised to take advantage and win the match. I think if he went for the Cobra Clutch here it really would have taken the match to the next level. Instead he goes flying into the post. Backlund starts working on the arm and the crowd pops! Backlund lights up like a Christmas Tree. At this point in his career, Backlund had begun using the Crossface Chickenwing! He applies it. I love how he is ripping Sarge away from the ropes. Eventually, Grand Wizard gives him the Swagger Stick and he cracks Backlund with it for the DQ, but Backlund wrests control of it. MSG goes really crazy for the first time in the match. Backlund gets his licks in as Slaughter runs to the back. You could definitely tell Backlund's popularity has waned but his in-ring acumen had not. This is a great Backlund defense! ****

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