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MSG [IV] (1968 - present)

The current version of the Garden opened on 02/11/1968 at the old location of Pennsylvania Station. Located at 7th Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets, the fourth version of the building provided the countless memories for the wrestling fans in New York with legends such as Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales, Superstar Billy Graham, Mil Mascaras, Andre the Giant, Bob Backlund, Hulk Hogan, and many others as well as the stars of the current WWE era.

The first ever $100,000 wrestling gate in New York took place at the Garden on 07/24/1971 with Morales & Gorilla Monsoon defeating Luke Graham & Tarzan Tyler in a tag team match and Sammartino beating Blackjack Mulligan.

It is also the home of some of WrestleMania events including the first one on 03/31/1985. Besides the WWF stars, the card featured non-wrestling stars such as Muhammad Ali, Cyndi Lauper, and Mr. T.

Cablevision, the Garden owner, has a plan to move the Garden to 9th Avenue and 33rd Street and may even rename it.


MSG [III] (1925 - 1968)

The third version of the Garden was built at 8th Avenue and 50th Street, significantly away from Madison Square. Tex Rickard had a control of the boxing cards at the Garden with his partner Jess McMahon, who would later be involved in professional wrestling. However, it was Jack Curley who promoted wrestling cards at the Garden between 1920s and mid-1930s due to the dislike of pro-wrestling by Rickard while McMahon promoted wrestling in other venues.

With the recognition from New York State Athletic Commission, Curley hosted the world heavyweight championship matches featuing some of the top stars in the history of the sport such as Ed "Strangler" Lewis, Jim Browning, and Jim Londos.

However, there was no wrestling card after a 03/30/1938 card promoted by Stanislaus Zbyszko until almost 11 years later. In 02/1949, Bill Johnston and Joseph "Toots" Mondt hosted a card at the Garden after more than a decade of absense, featuring Primo Carnera, Gorgeous George, and one of the most popular stars of the era, Antonino Rocca.

Walter Johnston and Mondt formed Manhattan Wrestling Enterprises in 1955. They would later be joined by a Washinton DC promoter Vincent James McMahon, the second son of Jess McMahon. McMahon and Mondt established Capitol Wrestling Corporation in 1961.

Besides Rocca, another significant main eventer at the Garden was Buddy Rogers, who defended NWA United States Heavyweight Title until 1961 when he won NWA World Heavyweight Title in Chicago. McMahon & Mondt basically monopolized Rogers as the world champion, which caused a conflict within the NWA. This lead Capitol Wrestling to withdraw from NWA, form World Wide Wrestling Federation, and continue to recognize Rogers as its own world champion in 1963.

It was at this version of the Garden where Bruno Sammartino defeated Rogers for WWWF World Title on 05/17/1963 in front of 19,639 fans. Sammartino's (first) reign as the king of wrestling in the northeastern states would continue through the 1968 transition to the new Garden.


MSG [II] (1890 - 1925)

This beautiful incarnation of the Garden was also located at Madison Avenue and 26th Street. It was the second tallest building in the city at the time.

In 12/1917, promoter Jack Curley hosted a heavyweight tournament here. In the final, which took place on 12/22/1917, Wladek Zbyszko defeated Ed "Strangler" Lewis and later started claiming the world title.

In the early 1920s, Lewis, Stanislaus Zbyszko (Wladek's brother), and Joe Stecher defended the world heavyweight title at this version of the Garden.


MSG [original] (1879-1890)

Formerly a passenger depot of New York & Harlem Railroad, the building became "Barnum's Monster Classical and Geological Hippodrome" in 1871 and Gilmore's Garden, an open air arena, five years later. The building was renamed "Madison Square Garden" and was reopened on 05/31/1879. It was actually located at Madison Square (Madison Avenue and 26th Street).

It was the original Garden where William Muldoon beat Thiebaud Bauer to become the first World/American Greco-Roman Heavyweight champion on 01/19/1880 in front of the 3,000 fans.

Other grapplers who wrestled at Gilmore's or the original MSG include John McMahan (Collar-and-Elbow Heavyweight champion), William Miller, Joe Acton (Catch-as-Catch-Can Heavyweight champion), Edwin Bibby, etc.


Pro-Wrestling Cards at the Madison Square Garden


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