7/27/85 - The Spectrum - Philadelphia, PA

MATCH #1
The British Bulldogs (w/ "Captain" Lou Albano) vs. The Fabulous Ones

The Spectrum was a near sell out, and right off the bat we had a spirited tag team contest. Though this wasn't an official #1 contenders match, one has to think that whoever won this match would be considered the de facto next challengers. The Fabulous Ones got into the British Bulldogs' heads right away, taking an eternity to get down to the ring during their entrance. Dynamite Kid & Davey Boy Smith finally couldn't take it anymore and rushed out to brawl with them. The Bulldogs bounced "Sweet" Stan Lane & Steve Keirn all around the ringside area, before finally getting the match into the ring. Captain Lou was almost as fired up as the Bulldogs were, wanting them to extract some painful revenge. Unfortunately, this want to get even would also be their downfall. Davey Boy had just planted Lane with the Running Powerslam and looked like he may have the win when Keirn ran in and broke it up. Dynamite Kid came in to take care of Keirn, but referee Joey Marella cut Dynamite off and tried to get him out of the ring. While Marella was distracted, Keirn nailed Davey Boy with a low blow and made a hasty retreat. Lane cradled Davey Boy, Marella turned and saw the cover and this one was over.

The Fabulous Ones (Steve Keirn and Stan Lane) defeated The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid) when S. Lane pinned D.B. Smith after a low blow from Keirn in 0:08:20.
Rating: * 3/4

The Fabulous Ones ran away like thieves in the night, knowing that they had stolen this win. Albano argued with Marella after the match, but the decision was final.

MATCH #2
Andre the Giant vs. "Hot Stuff" Eddie Gilbert (w/ Bobby "The Brain" Heenan)

Well, Eddie Gilbert tried. Hot Stuff was given the unenviable task of defending Bobby Heenan's honor against Andre the Giant after the 8th Wonder of the World turned down the Brain's offer of managerial services. Gilbert was his normal egotistical self - well, until Andre got in the ring. The Giant towered over Gilbert and Hot Stuff looked like he had seen a ghost. Heenan demanded Gilbert tried to take Andre down, but Gilbert's punches had no effect. They were just serving to make Andre mad, and he spent the next couple minutes throttling Gilbert before showing him mercy by hitting the Elbowdrop and putting this match away.

Andre the Giant pinned Eddie Gilbert with the Elbowdrop in 0:03:15.
Rating: **

Bobby Heenan looked less than pleased, but I don't know what else he expected Eddie Gilbert to do. Heenan left in a huff, yelling back to Andre that this was only the beginning.

MATCH #3
Ted DiBiase vs. Stan "The Lariat" Hansen

If Stan Hansen was expecting an easy time tonight, he sorely underestimated Ted DiBiase. Hansen came into this match thinking he could dominate DiBiase, but DiBiase wasn't about to let this one go without getting some licks in. I don't know if anyone fully believed DiBiase was going to win this match - Hansen is a former World champion after all - but DiBiase didn't care. He wanted to put a hurting on Hansen, and he did just that. Hansen dished out some clubbing blows as he always does, but DiBiase surprised everyone (especially the Lariat) by throwing some bombs of his own. Hansen was on wobbly legs as DiBiase kept coming at him. DiBiase got the crowd to his feet when he locked Hansen in the Cobra Clutch, but Hansen still had too much left in the tank as he forced DiBiase back into the corner. DiBiase stumbled out and got nailed with the Lariat, putting this one to an end.

Stan Hansen pinned Ted DiBiase with the Lariat in 0:09:21.
Rating: *** 1/4

DiBiase may not have gotten the win, but he showed his toughness and has nothing to be ashamed of. DiBiase looks to have a bright future as a singles competitor if he so desires.

MATCH #4
No-Disqualification Match
Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. Tully Blanchard (w/ Bobby "The Brain" Heenan)

Tully Blanchard showed on Superstars this morning just how dangerous a match this could be for Ricky Steamboat. The Dragon hasn't been shy about how much he wants to get his hands on Stan Hansen, but Blanchard let everyone know that he doesn't appreciate being overlooked. With the no-DQ rules for this match as well, Steamboat was in a very unenviable position. Blanchard instructed Baby Doll not to come down to the ring because he knew how violent this was going to get. Blanchard went at it alone in the first few minutes of the match, despite his threat to the contrary this morning. However, when Steamboat started to get the better of him and slammed his head into the ring steps, ARN ANDERSON ran out and cracked Steamboat from behind.

This was a bad situation for Steamboat, because even with as talented as he is, against Blanchard & Anderson both, he wasn't going to last long. After a couple of minutes of being double teamed, they looked to hit the Dragon with the Spike Piledriver they used this morning on Superstars. Before they got the chance to execute the move that surely would have put Steamboat out, ANDRE THE GIANT came down to the ring. Anderson put Steamboat down, got on the apron, and jumped at Andre, but Andre caught him and drove him into the ring post. Andre chased not only the Enforcer, but Bobby Heenan all the way to the back, making this 1-on-1 again!

Despite the odds again being even, Steamboat had taken a lot of damage during that double team time. But now the crowd was back into it, and the Dragon was getting his wind back. If you're not a believer that the fans can have a direct effect on your performance, look no further than Ricky Steamboat tonight. He was coming back and Blanchard couldn't find any move to slow down that momentum. Blanchard even tried to make a break for it, but Steamboat cracked him in the back with a chair that Blanchard had introduced earlier in the match. The Dragon threw the chair to the outside, and that would ultimately be his downfall. Steamboat had the crowd on their feet as he ascended the ropes for the Flying Crossbody Press when unbeknownst to him, STAN HANSEN was down at ringside! Hansen picked up the chair Steamboat had discarded, got in the ring, and absolutely BLASTED Steamboat in the head with the cold steel! Hansen threw the chair down and howled at the unconscious Steamboat as Blanchard slowly got back up. Blanchard, in all of his arrogance, insisted on hitting the final move himself, picking up the lifeless Steamboat, hitting the Slingshot Suplex, and ending this contest.

No-DQ-Match:
Tully Blanchard pinned Ricky Steamboat with the Slingshot Suplex in 0:18:56.
Rating: ****
[Arn Anderson interfered against Ricky Steamboat.]
[Stan Hansen interfered against Ricky Steamboat.]

Steamboat had to be helped to the back by the training staff as he was still quite shaken up after that chairshot. Once Steamboat regained his bearings, he went looking for Hansen in the back.

MATCH #5
Intercontinental Title Match
Tony Atlas (c) (w/ "Classy" Freddie Blassie) vs. Junkyard Dog

I know we've mentioned in the recent outings of Junkyard Dog that he was being far more serious than he was in the past, but he took it to a completely different level in this Intercontinental Title match against champion Tony Atlas. This feud has been going on for the better part of 1985, and this was its peak. Atlas had tried to avoid having to wrestle 1-on-1 against the man he cowardly attacked, his friend no less, to steal his IC Title shot, and it all came down to this. The fans were eating it up as JYD pummeled the former Mr. USA from pillar to post. It's not often you see someone as powerful as Atlas backing up afraid, but that's what happened here in the early going. The only thing that saved Atlas was JYD being overzealous. JYD wouldn't stay away from Atlas, and it allowed him to get distracted by Blassie. Classy Freddie jumped up on the apron to get JYD's attention. JYD took a wild swing but missed, which allowed Atlas to get a hold of the front of his sides and send the Dog crashing face first into the middle turnbuckle. JYD got his brains scrambled, and it wasn't long after that Atlas hit a big diving shoulderblock from the second turnbuckle to retain his championship.

Tony Atlas pinned Junkyard Dog after a diving shoulderblock in 0:07:10.
Rating: * 1/4
(Tony Atlas retained the GCW Intercontinental Title.)

Atlas escapes with the title, and his hide, in tact. JYD may not have won the title, but remember he will have one more chance for retribution next week on Superstars as he teams with "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan to take on Atlas and "The Japanese Assassin" Shiro Koshinaka.

MATCH #6
Bruiser Brody vs. Bad News Brown

Talk about your fights! Bruiser Brody & Bad News Brown have no real rivalry with each other, but you wouldn't have been able to tell that by this match. Brody & Bad News just like to fight; they don't care who it is. I think the only moves done in this match were punches up until the finish. Not standard punches - outright haymakers. There was no clear indication of who was winning this fight. Both men kept nailing the other with absolute BOMBS, and neither man would fall to the canvas. It became a matter of who would get knocked out first was going to lose, and Brown saw his opportunity to make that happen when an accidental elbow of his caught referee Danny Davis in the head. While Davis was trying to regain his bearings, he didn't see Bad News reach down into his tights and pull out some brass knuckles. Brody didn't see it either until it was against his jaw. Brody fell like a ton of bricks as Bad News discarded the evidence. Davis shook the cobwebs out and saw Brown make a very cocky cover to get the 1-2-3.

Bad News Brown pinned Bruiser Brody after hitting him with brass knuckles in 0:05:35.
Rating: * 1/2

It was a strange sight seeing Brody out cold flat on his back as Brown left to the locker room, yelling at fans all the while. Brody wasn't out long as he got back up and hussed his way in search of Bad News.

BOB BACKLUND WANTS A MATCH

Upon returning from intermission, the first man out was World champion Bob Backlund to a chorus of boos. Backlund grabbed a microphone and echoed his sentiments from today's Superstars about how he is the face of this company and how he feels disrespected to not have a match here in Philadelphia. Backlund said that as the best wrestler in the world (with the title to prove it), he should be headlining every card he is on all around the world. That's why Backlund was going to give the fans in the Spectrum a treat (though adding that they really didn't deserve it, which didn't endear him to an already hostile crowd) by defending the World Heavyweight Title against the first man who came through the curtains and challenged him. The crowd was buzzing because this was huge, an impromptu World Title match could mean seeing a World Title change. After a few moments and more Backlund goading, someone did step out from the back - BARRY WINDHAM! Backlund was not impressed as Windham got in the ring. Backlund was at first complimentary and acknowledged that Windham was a great athlete and a fantastic prospect, but what made him think that he was worthy of a shot for the most prestigious title in the world? Windham had a very simple answer: "Because just like all of these fans here in Philadelphia, I'm tired of listening to you run your mouth!" And with that, Windham slapped Backlund across the face! That woke Backlund up in a hurry, who charged at Windham only to be taken down with a series of armdrags. Referee Dick Kroll ran down to the ring and rang the bell, and we had a World Title match on our hands!

MATCH #7
World Title Match
Bob Backlund (c) vs. Barry Windham

If you want to know what a coming out party looks like, this is it. Windham has shown some spark and some backbone recently, especially going up against Stan Hansen, but when you look back in history, this will be looked at as the match that put Windham on the map. Windham didn't shy away from the moment and had a real belief from the get go that he could win the World Title, and he took Backlund to the limit and then some. Right from the beginning, Backlund to play defense, and that is a trend that continued all the way through the match. If it wasn't for Backlund being one of the best defensive wrestlers of all-time, he would have lost this match in short order. Backlund kept himself alive, but you could see his frustration building as he couldn't find a way to ground Windham for any considerable amount of time. Every pin attempt Windham made was a little closer to the 3, and the fans were really starting to believe that the youngster could pull off one of the biggest upsets in wrestling history. Windham had everything going for him, but it looked like the moment might have gotten to him a little bit as he saw how fired up the fans were. He took a little time to play to them before charging Backlund in the corner, and that slight delay was all Backlund needed. He moved out of the way and sent Windham flying through the middle turnbuckles, smashing his the challenger's shoulder into the steel ring post in the process. Backlund got a bit of a crazed look in his eye as he went to work on that injured arm. Windham went through a considerable amount of borderline torture, but he wouldn't say die. He even got back into it when he ducked a Backlund back elbow, came flying off the ropes and nearly took the champ's head off with a clothesline! Windham was fired up as he climbed to the top rope, waiting for Backlund to get up. Windham flew off for a flying clothesline this time, but Backlund got himself out of the way and Windham crashed into the mat hard. Windham caused a lot more damage to his arm, and Backlund knew it, putting on the Crossface Chickenwing. Windham fought with every once of strength he had left, but once Backlund brought him to the canvas and put on the bodyscissors, he was stuck. Windham knew it and had to submit or else suffer a serious injury.

Bob Backlund made Barry Windham submit to the Crossface Chickenwing in 0:14:27.
Rating: **** 1/4
(Bob Backlund retained the GCW World Title.)

Backlund wasn't expecting this kind of war, but he sure got it. Backlund laid on the mat for several seconds before slowing getting himself to his feet and being handed the World Title. While Backlund collected himself, Windham gradually made his way to his feet. Backlund looked at Windham with disgust and got in his face. Windham put up his good right fist like he was still ready to fight. Backlund saw this, shook his head, and walked out of the ring passed Windham, patting him on the back as he did so. Windham earned Backlund's respect, and the standing ovation Windham received from the fans in Philly proved he earned their respect as well.

MATCH #8
World Tag Team Title Match
The Rock 'N Roll Express (c) vs. The Electric Dream Machine (w/ Precious)

The story of this match was what condition Robert Gibson was going to be in after his taxing matchup with "Sweet" Stan Lane this morning on Superstars. Ricky Morton carried a lot of the workload for the champs as they tried to fight off the attack of the Electric Dream Machine, who not only broke out the sparkly jackets tonight, but also had some mighty sparkly pants as well. Even Precious got in the act with a sparkly dress. Gibson wrestled his fair share of the match as well since it wasn't a good idea for Morton to do all the work. Jimmy "Jam" Garvin & "Mr. Electricity" Steve Regal victimized Gibson when he was in the ring, but the Rock 'N Roll Express didn't think today was going to be the day their title reign came to a close. Gibson showed great resiliency when Regal had a hold of him from the ring apron. Garvin came charging in to hit Gibson, but Gibson moved and Garvin nailed Regal instead! Garvin was loopy as he knocked skulls with his partner, allowing Gibson to bring him down with a crucifix and get the win.

The Rock 'N Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) defeated The Electric Dream Machine (Jimmy Garvin and Steve Regal) when R. Gibson pinned J. Garvin after a crucifix in 0:08:52.
Rating: * 3/4
(The Rock 'N Roll Express retained the GCW World Tag Team Titles.)

The time for celebration was little for the Rock 'N Roll Express as they were immediately jumped by THE FABULOUS ONES! Well, at least we know they can get down to the ring quickly when they want to. Unfortunately for Morton & Gibson, it was to hurt them. Both Morton & Gibson got laid out with Double Flapjacks before officials finally got down to break it up.

MATCH #9
Rick Martel vs. King Kong Bundy (w/ Bobby "The Brain" Heenan)

Rick Martel is gutsy, but as Bobby Heenan put it in a pre-match promo, he "isn't very smart." Now that can be debated, but it's hard pressed to find a situation where wrestling King Kong Bundy with severely injured ribs is a good idea. Martel's ribs were heavily taped, but they might as well have painted a bullseye on Martel's back because Bundy honed in on Martel's injury with malicious intent. Martel got floored before the bell even rang, and he just couldn't recover from the onslaught. Martel had one brief opening when he moved out of the way of a Bundy avalanche, but bad judgment got the better of Martel as he tried to scoop the 450-pounder up for a bodyslam. Martel's ribs gave out and Bundy came crashing down hard on Martel. At Heenan's urging, Bundy hit the Big Splash and mercifully ended this.

King Kong Bundy pinned Rick Martel with the Big Splash in 0:04:23.
Rating: * 3/4

Thankfully, outside of some lip service, Bundy & Heenan left without incident. Martel, however, had to be helped to the back by the referee. Martel needs to get himself healthy if he wants to have any shot at beating this beast.

MATCH #10
"The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes vs. Sgt. Slaughter

All that was left was our main event, and the heat in the arena was nuclear. Sgt. Slaughter has come back to GCW and made a splash unlike we have ever seen before, immediately targeting Dusty Rhodes and declaring that "the American Dream is dead." Rhodes was here to try to prove that he was alive and kicking, and get himself a big helping of revenge to boot. Extra security was brought in for this event, and it's a good thing too because fans were trying to get over the railing, ready to tear Slaughter apart. In fact, one even got over the railing and almost in the ring before he was subdued by security and escorted out of the building. Slaughter reveled in it though, wearing the fans hate like a badge of honor. Rhodes came out to a thunderous pop, as he's not the most popular superstar in GCW history for nothing. The fans were ready to see the American Dream rip Slaughter limb from limb, and Rhodes was ready to deliver that for them.

This match was surprisingly started out with a slow pace. With as much emotion as there was in the arena, both of these savvy ring generals were aware of the possibility of getting too amped up and making a foolish mistake. There was a long feeling out process with some standard wrestling holds exchanged - arm wringers, hammerlocks, headlock takeovers - both trying to see what the other was all about. But once Slaughter began the cheap tactics like hair pulls and chokes, the complexion changed in a heartbeat. No more wrestling holds now - just two men who hate each other trying to rip the other to shreds. It was hard to say who was getting the better of the match (if you asked the fans, it was obviously Rhodes) as the momentum swung back and forth like the pendulum of a grandfather clock. It wasn't until Slaughter turned his offense onto the recently concussed head of the Dream that the tide really turned. Rhodes fought his heart out, but it was becoming clear that maybe he wasn't as recovered from that concussion as he had let on. The beginning of the end would really come when Slaughter removed one of the turnbuckle pads from the corner while Dick Kroll was checking to see if Rhodes still wanted to continue. Of course Rhodes said yes, but just moments later, the match would be over. Rhodes charged Slaughter in that corner, trying to catch him by surprise, but Slaughter got out of the way and send the Dream head first into the exposed steel. Rhodes was out on his feet even before Slaughter locked on the Cobra Clutch. After he got it on though, that was the end of the road.

Sgt. Slaughter made Dusty Rhodes submit to the Cobra Clutch in 0:16:40.
Rating: *** 1/4

The crowd immediately rained down on the ring with trash, showing their displeasure for what had transpired. Slaughter even narrowly avoided a beer bottle that came within inches of his head. Slaughter soaked it all in, and even escalated it when he grabbed a Dusty Rhodes t-shirt he had stowed under the ring before the show. Slaughter looked at it, again yelled out, "THE AMERICAN DREAM IS DEAD!" and then spit on the shirt before throwing it on the fallen body of Dusty Rhodes. Slaughter was soon after ushered out of the arena by a swarm of policemen as there was a legitimate fear that a riot could break out if Slaughter continued to egg them on.

Card rating: ** 1/2

Match observations:

8/23/85 - JOE LOUIS ARENA - Detroit, MI

Matches TBA

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