April 1, 1982 - Madison Square Garden - New York, NY

The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes and Terry Gordy) defeated Tito Santana and Tony Atlas when T. Gordy pinned T. Santana with the Power Bomb in 0:10:45.
Rating: *** 3/4

Madison Square Garden shows are always special, and tonight's would be no different. Our opening match was of the tag team variety with Tony Atlas & Tito Santana teaming up to take on the Fabulous Freebirds. Atlas and Santana are not a regular team, but they decided to try teaming up tonight to see how it would fly. Not surprisingly, Atlas & Santana did well based on their individual skills. That being said, the young and brash Freebirds are at the tip-top of their game, and they showed that with a big win in the Garden. Gordy showed tremendous strength when Santana attempted to hit him with the Flying Forearm. Gordy caught him and carried him toward the ropes where Michael Hayes grabbed Santana's head, bringing the Mexican sensation's throat down over the top rope. Bamm Bamm's Power Bomb followed, and that was all she wrote.

Stan Hansen defeated Larry Zbyszko by disqualification in 0:08:36.
Rating: ***
(Stan Hansen retained the GCW Intercontinental Title.)

Larry Zbyszko got his crack at the Intercontinental Title after he saved Ricky Steamboat from a beating at the hands of the Texas Outlaws in Jersey. Zbyszko has never held singles gold, and this was a great opportunity to do it against the greatest IC champion in GCW history, Stan Hansen. There are not a lot of men who can match Hansen's form of brutality. Zbyszko might not have the size and power of the Lariat, but he definitely has that twisted mind that is necessary to slow Hansen down. In fact, it would be that sadistic nature that would ultimately cost Zbyszko the title. He had gotten some separation when he rocked Hansen with a kick to the face and a clothesline, but instead of going for the finish, he grabbed the Intercontinental Title from the outside, brought it in the ring, and blasted Hansen in the face with it to get himself DQ'ed! He decided that causing Hansen some major pain was much more important than winning the title. It got him a beating though, as BOBBY DUNCUM & DICK MURDOCH entered the ring and pounded on the Cruncher. Luckily for Zbyszko, RICKY STEAMBOAT was watching and came running out with a chair, chasing 3 of the 4 members of the Texas Outlaws out of the ring. Zbyszko shook Steamboat's hand and thanked him, and it looks like what had been respect has developed into a legitimate friendship.

Bill Eadie pinned Johnny Rodz after a swinging neckbreaker in 0:03:07.
Rating: **

This was just a squash, plain and simple. Bill "the Ax" Eadie is looking to get his footing since he sent Paul Jones packing, and a dominant win over Johnny Rodz is a good start. Let's see where he goes from here.

The Brisco Brothers (Jerry Brisco and Jack Brisco) defeated The Texas Outlaws (Bobby Duncum and Dick Murdoch) when Jerry Brisco pinned Duncum after a bridging back suplex in 0:18:40.
Rating: *** 3/4
(The Brisco Brothers won the GCW World Tag Team Titles.)

Bobby Duncum & Dick Murdoch threw out an open challenge last show, clearly letting their successes as World Tag Team champions get to their heads. No matter how good of a team you are, an open challenge is dangerous because there's just no way you can prepare properly. I think that the champs were anticipating someone currently on the roster to accept the challenge, but instead, they were shocked when former champions THE BRISCO BROTHERS answered the call! It's been years since we've seen Jack & Jerry in a GCW ring, and they looked great in their return. They dominated the early portion of the match with their superior mat skills, and the Outlaws took a lot of early powders to try to regroup. Once the initial shock of the Briscos' appearance wore off, Duncum & Murdoch did what they did best and got back into this one, using their strength, and of course, they're ability to cheat. The Briscos fought back from it though, because as ring veterans, they know how to cheat right back. This threw Duncum & Murdoch off their game even more, and it cost them big time. Near the end of the match, Duncum directed Murdoch to grab the ring bell and hold it up in the corner. Duncum was looking to smash Jerry Brisco's head into it, but Jerry reversed it and sent Duncum head first into the bell instead! A bridging back suplex soon followed, and with Jack knocking Murdoch off the apron, we got a 3 count and brand new tag team champions! The Briscos were handed the gold as the crowd went nuts. Duncum & Murdoch vowed that they would get their titles back on April 28 in Detroit.

Luke Graham pinned B. Brian Blair with the Thumb to the Throat in 0:06:27.
Rating: * 3/4

B. Brian Blair has done everything in his power to get under the skin of his former mentor, Luke Graham, but the legend finally had his chance to take a bit out of the brash young punk's hide. Blair continued to irritate Graham early, jumping out of the ring instead of locking up and just generally trying to annoy the former World champ. Graham would get his hands on Blair though, and he showed he still has some of that brutality that made him famous. Once Graham had a hold of him, he didn't let up and put the match away with the Thumb to the Throat. Graham made the mistake of turning his back on Blair after the match while he celebrated his victory. Blair hit Graham with a low blow, and from there, the mugging was on. Blair tied Graham up in the ropes before wrapping his metal jump rope around his fist. Blair took several vicious shots at Graham's forehead, busting the legend wide open before help finally arrived. Graham was hurt, but didn't hesitate in saying that he wanted Blair back in the ring in Detroit.

The Can-Am Strongmen (Dino Bravo and Ken Patera) defeated The Upstarts (Rick Martel and Terry Taylor) when Bravo pinned Taylor with the Side Suplex in 0:07:11.
Rating: ** 3/4
[Freddie Blassie interfered against Rick Martel.]
[Freddie Blassie interfered against Terry Taylor.]

Signing on with "Classy" Freddie Blassie may be the best thing that has happened to Dino Bravo & Ken Patera. He has them as motivated as ever, and with the maniacal mind that he possesses, that spells bad news for the tag division of GCW. Just ask their opponents tonight, the Upstarts. Rick Martel & Terry Taylor have hit a few speed bumps in recent matches, but the youngsters are a dangerous team each and every time they go out there. A couple of breaks here and there, they will be competing for the World Tag Team Titles. They didn't get that break tonight, however, as Bravo drilled Taylor with the Side Suplex to put this one in the books.

Nick Bockwinkel pinned Ricky Steamboat with the Piledriver in 0:12:21.
Rating: *** 1/4

Dusty Rhodes has called Nick Bockwinkel's bluff, saying that if Bockwinkel wanted a shot at being the REAL World champion, he was going to have to climb the ladder of GCW. Bockwinkel is just cocky enough to want to do that, and Bobby Heenan is signing matches against the finest wrestlers he can find. Tonight, it was Ricky Steamboat who Heenan had found, and if there was ever an opponent that was going to take Bockwinkel to his limits, it was Steamboat. Steamboat isn't in GCW to be anyone's stepping stone - he's here to be the best, and he wrestled Bockwinkel accordingly. To Bockwinkel's credit, for as arrogant as he is, he doesn't take any opponent for granted. He knew exactly what kind of threat Steamboat was and knew he had a long night ahead of him. Bockwinkel never lost his cool and bid his time until the window to strike opened. It happened when he was playing possum and lured Steamboat up to the top rope. Steamboat didn't get a chance to fly though as Bockwinkel got back up and shook the ropes, making Steamboat crotch himself. Bockwinkel brought him back into the ring, hit the Piledriver, and won an evenly contested matchup. When asked after the show about Bockwinkel's performance, Rhodes said he was impressed… but not impressed enough to give him the title shot yet.

Dusty Rhodes pinned Jumbo Tsuruta with the Bionic Elbowdrop in 0:13:45.
Rating: *** 1/2
(Dusty Rhodes retained the GCW World Title.)

Speaking of Rhodes, the reigning World champion defended the title against a man who has been on fire as of late, the former 2-time champion Jumbo Tsuruta. Many fans will remember the confrontation that these two had during War Games in December, and thus, I personally was very excited to see these two go one-on-one. Rhodes couldn't afford to take Jumbo lightly as the Japanese superstar has beaten the best that the wrestling world has to offer. There have also been some rumblings in the locker room about the American Dream's inability to defend his championship without a little help from his partners in crime, the Texas Outlaws. At one point in the match, the Outlaws came down to the ring to offer "moral support," but Rhodes sent them to the back, saying he wanted to do this on his own. The Outlaws looked confused, but they honored his wishes. Rhodes almost came to regret it when Jumbo hit him with the Jumbo Knee, but Rhodes fell out to the floor. Jumbo got Rhodes back into the ring, but it took him so long that Rhodes kicked out at 2 1/2. Jumbo couldn't believe it as he pleaded his case with referee Danny Davis, but this wasted precious seconds that Rhodes used to recuperate. When Jumbo went back to him, Rhodes grabbed him by the tights and brought him face first into the middle turnbuckle. A Bionic Elbowdrop followed and Rhodes defended the gold - cleanly, I might add - in impressive fashion.

No-Countout-No-DQ-I-Quit Match:
Terry Funk made Don Muraco submit to a chokehold in 0:14:13.
Rating: ** 1/2

It has been a long road for Terry Funk, but he finally got the better of "Classy" Freddie Blassie after months and months of torment. One of the biggest sources of trouble for Funk was his opponent tonight, Don Muraco, so Funk set it up so he got the Magnificent One in an I Quit match. Muraco looked scared going in, and he didn't have Blassie in his corner as Blassie wanted no part in being anywhere near the unstable Funker. The rules to this match were simple - in fact, there was only one rule. Do whatever you can in your power to make the other man utter the words, "I quit." The two men took very different paths at trying to win this match. Muraco's power advantage was clear, and he wanted to make Funk submit. He used a variety of bearhugs, leg scissors, and body locks to both wear Funk down into submission. Funk, on the other hand, had a much different approach. Funk chose to try to beat the tar out of Muraco using everything at his disposal to get to hear those two precious words. Both men were exhausted by the end of this match, having exerted a lot of physicality on each other. Muraco got Funk in a bearhug and had a smug smile on his face as Funk started to fade. Funk suddenly came alive, grabbing Muraco in a chokehold! Funk had a crazed look on his face as he locked the hold on tighter, getting Muraco to release the bearhug. Muraco tried desperately to get out of it, but he found himself fading fast, barely managing to utter, "I quit!" before he passed out. It looks like Funk has finally put everything with Freddie Blassie behind him.

Ric Flair made Sgt. Slaughter submit to the Figure-Four Leglock in 0:11:03.
Rating: **** 1/4

"Nature Boy" Ric Flair has taken a small step back since his unsuccessful attempts to become the World champion, but he hasn't let it get him down as he keeps plugging along to get himself into contention for another title shot. He had to contend with Sgt. Slaughter here, a man who is looking to bounce back after losing in his specialty match to Jumbo Tsuruta. Slaughter took Flair behind the wood shed for a lot of the match, and with his size and power, that's really no surprise. Flair is known for how much damage he can take and his stamina though, so he took a licking and kept on ticking, working over Slaughter's knee before getting him in the Figure-Four Leglock for the win.

Cage Match:
Jimmy Snuka defeated Bob Backlund by escaping the cage in 0:19:40.
Rating: ** 1/4

The main event was one with a ton of history. As everyone knows, Bob Backlund & Jerry Snuka had one of the most intense feuds in GCW history in 1980 that culminated in the two trading the World Title back and forth. Ric Flair did his best to bring these two back together as friends, but the relationship has been tumultuous at best. It has reached the point of no return though as Backlund's inability to regain the World Title has driven him to the point of near madness. It all came to a head last month when Snuka tried to calm Backlund down and Backlund responded by putting him in the Crossface Chickenwing. Snuka said he had enough and wanted Backlund in a steel cage. The Championship Committee did them one better and made the match for a World Title shot, and we had a damn big main event.

These two had wrestled in a cage before - in fact, it was in a cage match that the Superfly won the World Title from Backlund. There was still a lot of bad blood boiling under the surface here, and as the bell rang, we saw it spew forth like a volcano. As much as you hate to see two former friends have a falling out life this, from a wrestling standpoint, the fans love when these two are fighting. This wasn't the most technically sound match we've seen from these two, but it may have been the bloodiest. This also showcased a new side of Backlund. He looked almost like he was in a trance, not acknowledging the fans or anyone else. Just full speed ahead at trying to take Snuka out. Snuka wasn't going to stand back and just take it though. Plus, the cage match is widely considered the Superfly's specialty match, and so he turned the heat back up on Backlund in a big way. The end of the match featured many near escapes from the cage. Snuka had Backlund down after a flying headbutt and started to climb out of the cage. It was slow going though as Snuka had lost quite a lot of blood, but he was making his way out. Simultaneously, Backlund began the long crawl toward the door. Backlund got the door open and was almost out, but Snuka was over the top of the cage and kicked the door back in Backlund's face! Backlund fell back into the ring, Snuka fell to the floor, and he is the new #1 contender!

Card rating: ***

Match observations:

4/28/82 - COBO ARENA - Detroit, MI

WORLD TITLE - Dusty Rhodes (c) vs. Jimmy Snuka
WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES - The Brisco Brothers (c) vs. Bobby Duncum/Dick Murdoch
Ricky Steamboat/Larry Zbyszko vs. Stan Hansen/???
Ric Flair vs. Bob Backlund
Luke Graham vs. B. Brian Blair

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