April 21, 1984 - The Spectrum - Philadelphia, PA

Tony Atlas defeated Bret Hart when Bret Hart passed out in the Bearhug in 0:07:20.
Rating: **** 1/4

For someone who has yet to win a match, Bret Hart has really been spouting off at the mouth a lot. Sure, he has impressed a lot of people with his in-ring skill, but having talent and winning matches are two entirely different animals, and in GCW, you're judged by how often you can get to the pay window. Hart had a big roadblock in his way on his quest to get his first win in the form of "Mr. USA" Tony Atlas. Hart found some moderate success early on by grounding the muscular Atlas. As Bret worked over Atlas, he became more and more cocky, taking more and more time to play to the crowd after each move. He made the mistake of letting Atlas up to his feet and play to the crowd, but when he turned back, he was met in the mush by a hard right hand from Mr. USA. Bret then swung wildly, only to have Atlas duck and hit an atomic drop, followed quickly by a Gorilla Press. Bret was in a world of hurt, but not nearly as much as when he was put in the Bearhug. Bret flailed wildly, but the more he fought, the tighter Atlas' grip got until Bret passed out. Another impressive showing, but another loss for the proud Canadian. Meanwhile, great win for Atlas. This wouldn't be the last we saw of Mr. USA tonight.

The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey) defeated The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid) when Eaton pinned Dynamite Kid with the Alabama Jam in 0:05:42.
Rating: ** 3/4
[Jim Cornette interfered against Dynamite Kid.]

It was a cowardly act by the Midnight Express, clipping Dynamite Kid's knee after the British Bulldogs had beaten them, that ultimately could be argued cost the Bulldogs their first chance at the World Tag Team Titles. Dynamite Kid's knee was nowhere near 100%, but you would have had to sedate him to keep him from wrestling in this match. Dynamite Kid was all fired up early on, taking out a month's worth of frustrations on Bobby Eaton & Dennis Condrey, causing Jim Cornette to sweat quite profusely on the outside. Dynamite & Davey Boy Smith were showing some excellent teamwork that is sure to make them a force to reckon with in the tag team division for years to come, but it would be Condrey catching Dynamite's injured knee again that would lead to the demise of the Bulldogs. Dynamite couldn't get the tag because of his bum wheel, and ended up eating defeat to Eaton's Alabama Jam (top-rope legdrop). Dynamite Kid has vowed that he will be rehabbing his knee and be as good as ever for the rematch on May 13 in Pittsburgh.

Larry Zbyszko pinned Don Muraco with the Crunch Time in 0:05:59.
Rating: *** 1/2
[Mr. Fuji interfered against Larry Zbyszko.]

Larry Zbyszko ate another tough loss to Bob Backlund in the Garden, prompting Backlund to tell him that he can't beat the former World champion. Zbyszko has been said to have let that get to him somewhat over the last month, but he had to shake it off against a tough opponent tonight, "The Magnificent" Don Muraco. This match never really had a chance to get as far as it could have, because Muraco and his manager Mr. Fuji had some distractions of their own to deal with. After Muraco was arrested last month for punching a fan in Madison Square Garden, there had been some question about whether legal action would be taken. GCW lawyers had tried to handle the situation, but apparently they didn't appease the fan enough. During the match, an unnamed man in a suit walked down and handed Fuji an envelope. Fuji opened it and in broken English, yelled to Muraco in the middle of the match that he was being sued! Why the legal notice had to be delivered now is a mystery to me, but fact is, Muraco is in a lot of legal trouble. Unfortunately, the information came while he was on the offensive, and he took his focus off of Zbyszko. Big mistake. One Crunch Time later and this match was in the books. Muraco could have used that winner's purse to pay his legal fees.

Junkyard Dog sings the praises of Iran… or does he?

Nobody in Philadelphia outside of "Classy" Freddie Blassie & The Iron Sheik was looking forward to this next segment. Junkyard Dog had signed onto a match with the Sheik where if he lost, he would publicly declare Iran as the best country in the world. He was supposed to do so last month after the match, but since the Iron Sheik's loaded boot had illegally knocked JYD out, he was unable to, so JYD was here to do it now in Philly. To JYD's credit, he could have tried to back out of this. Surely the thought of saying Iran was the best made him sick to his stomach, but JYD's word is his bond, so like a man, he was here to do what he had to do. He was in the process of getting to it when FREDDIE BLASSIE and his men, that he is now calling the Foreign Legion, all came out to witness this embarrassing moment for JYD. The Dog was getting close to saying it when he was stopped by TONY ATLAS, MIKE ROTUNDO, & BARRY WINDHAM. The men all begged JYD not to go through with it, saying that it wasn't worth it to do something so low because everyone knows that the United States of America is the best country in the world (cheap pop). JYD appreciated what they were saying, but he said he is a man, and a man doesn't back down on his word. So JYD said the unthinkable - "Iran is the greatest country in the world." This made Blassie and especially The Iron Sheik extremely happy, until JYD added, "But no one kicks butt like the USA," before hitting Sheik with the microphone! The brawl erupted from there, and it took officials quite awhile to break this apart before the next match could begin.

The U.S. Express (Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham) defeated The Foreign Legion (Dino Bravo and Nikolai Volkoff) when Windham pinned Bravo after a waistlock suplex in 0:06:55.
Rating: ** 1/4
(The U.S. Express retained the GCW World Tag Team Titles.)

After that huge brawl that broke out, we still had to get things in order for the World Tag Team Title match between the champion U.S. Express and the challenging Dino Bravo & Nikolai Volkoff. Blassie & The Iron Sheik stuck around at ringside for the match, so Tony Atlas & JYD stayed in the Express' corner to keep them at bay. With the tension of the fight still in the air, everyone knew is was just a matter of time before the fight broke out again. The Iron Sheik tried to interview, and there were Atlas & JYD to stop him! Volkoff jumped off the apron to join the battle, leaving a disoriented Bravo to be hit by a waistlock suplex from Windham to end the match. If you thought that ended the skirmish, you are crazy, as officials once AGAIN had to break this fight up. A World Tag Team Title rematch has been signed for Pittsburgh with everyone without a manager's license being barred from ringside, as well as Tony Atlas taking on The Iron Sheik.

The Texas Outlaws (Bobby Duncum and Dick Murdoch) defeated The Rock 'N Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) when Murdoch pinned R. Morton after a powerslam in 0:09:44.
Rating: *** 1/2

To say that Bobby Duncum & Dick Murdoch were in a foul mood would not be doing foul moods justice. They were downright PISSED OFF. It was interesting that Duncum & Murdoch insisted on being introduced as "The Texas Outlaws," bullying Howard Finkel into calling them such after the Fink initially just used their individual names. Duncum & Murdoch were pretty dominant in this match. That's not to say that the Rock 'N Roll Express didn't have their moments - Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson are far too talented to be bowled over by anybody. But with the mood the former tag team champs were in, it was just too much to overcome. Murdoch drilled Morton with a crisp powerslam to put the upstart team away.

Bobby Duncum & Dick Murdoch have a challenge for Stan Hansen & Dusty Rhodes.

After throwing Morton & Gibson out of the ring, Duncum & Murdoch had one simple point across - a challenge to Stan Hansen & Dusty Rhodes. Duncum said if they wanted to be so buddy-buddy, they would have no problem kicking their teeth in in Pittsburgh. The Lariat & The American Dream were quick to accept the challenge, and it looks like we have our main event for Pittsburgh!

Bob Backlund pinned Ricky Steamboat after a rollover in 0:11:37.
Rating: ***

We had a rekindling of the Feud of the Year for 1983 as Ricky Steamboat and Bob Backlund locked up. Backlund has recently gotten himself back on track with some victories over Larry Zbyszko, while Steamboat has been putting newcomer Bret Hart threw the wringer a bit. Backlund has his confidence back, and when he's on top of his game, he's nearly unbeatable. He proved that tonight by just being a step ahead of Steamboat at every turn, including the finishing sequence. Steamboat had Backlund reeling, and the end of the match was reminiscent to how the end of the feud went in 1983. Steamboat soared through the air and connected with the Flying Crossbody Press, but Backlund rolled through it, hooked the tights, and pulled off a crime by successfully stealing a victory. Steamboat argued his case to referee Tommy Young, but it fell on deaf ears as the ref can only call what he sees.

Rick Martel pinned Nick Bockwinkel after a roll up in 0:13:08.
Rick Martel suffered a neck injury. He will be out for approximately 10 months.
Rating: *** 1/2
(Rick Martel won the GCW Intercontinental Title.)
[Bobby Heenan interfered against Rick Martel.]

Rick Martel finally got the fair shake that he deserved. If Nick Bockwinkel got himself counted out or disqualified (like he has so many times before), he would lose the Intercontinental Title! You'd be hard pressed to find anyone in GCW with more momentum than Rick Martel, and it looked like it was finally going to be his night to be a champion. He has worked hard for it, and he definitely had the deck stacked in his favor. Even the interference and attempted distractions of Bobby "the Brain" Heenan weren't going to slow him down. He was so focused, Heenan was nothing more than a small nuisance. Everything changed though once Martel went for a splash and Bockwinkel got his knees up. Bockwinkel went on the offensive that only someone with 30 years experience in this business can do. Martel was suffering for certain, but something would go wrong late in the match. Bockwinkel hoisted Martel up for the Piledriver, but Martel kicked his legs and blocked it the first time. The second attempt though, Martel again kicked his legs, but this time he slipped out of Bockwinkel's grip and landed hard on his head and neck. Everything kind of stopped for a moment as it didn't look like Martel was moving at all. Bockwinkel stalled by playing to the crowd while Danny Davis checked on Martel. Thankfully, Martel was showing some signs of movement. Bockwinkel again played to the crowd, but Martel grabbed Bockwinkel by the tights and awkwardly pulled him down into a cover. It wasn't much of a cover, but it held Bockwinkel's shoulders down for the 3. Brand new Intercontinental champion! Even after winning the title, Martel was barely moving as the doctors rushed to the ring. After a long look over, a stretcher was brought out and Martel was strapped down to it. The energy in the building was deflated as fans looked on at the motionless Martel. As he was taken to the back, he managed to give a thumbs up, which got a huge ovation from the crowd.

After being taken to a local hospital, Rick Martel was diagnosed with a broken neck and he is going to miss close to a year of action at least. Needless to say, he is not going to be able to defend his newly won Intercontinental Title. At this point, it may be too soon to tell if Martel will ever wrestle again. As of April 22, Martel has been stripped of the championship. The Championship Committee has met, and announced that a new champion will be crowned as followed. On May 13, there will be two separate 10-man battle royals. The winner of each will move on to a match on June 5 where the winner will be crowned the brand new IC champion! The participants will not be officially announced until we get to Pittsburgh. We all wish Rick Martel a speedy recovery.

Bruiser Brody, Dusty Rhodes and Stan Hansen defeated The Heenan Family (King Kong Bundy, Ole Anderson and Tully Blanchard) when Hansen pinned O. Anderson with the Lariat in 0:32:13.
Rating: ****
[Bobby Heenan interfered against Dusty Rhodes.]
[Bobby Heenan interfered against Bruiser Brody.]
[Bobby Heenan interfered against Stan Hansen.]

The winds were understandably out of the sails of the crowd, and even the wrestlers in our main event looked a little out of it after the injury to Rick Martel, but we still had a hell of a main event on tap. World champion Stan Hansen teamed with Dusty Rhodes and Bruiser Brody to take on the Heenan Family, consisting of Tully Blanchard, Ole Anderson, and King Kong Bundy. If there were any questions about how Hansen & Rhodes were getting along, they were answered early when they were hitting a few double team moves together. The teamwork with Brody was a bit spotty, but in all fairness, Brody doesn't really like anybody. Brody's difficulties in working with anyone allowed the Heenan Family to divide and conquer much of this match. Heenan's men are jerks, but they are skilled jerks, and they had the ball in their court for a good portion of this match as a result. Still, when you have 3 powerhouses like Hansen, Rhodes, & Brody, you're always going to be in the match. This was just a great 6-man tag team match - not a lot else to say about it besides that. In the end, your traditional brawl ensued between all 6 men, and during that chaos, Rhodes hit Ole with a Bionic elbow which sent Ole right into the Lariat for the 1-2-3 to end the show.

Card rating: *** 1/2

Match observations:

5/13/84 - CIVIC CENTER - Pittsburgh, PA

MAIN EVENT - Stan Hansen/Dusty Rhodes vs. Bobby Duncum/Dick Murdoch
WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES - The U.S. Express (c) vs. Dino Bravo/Nikolai Volkoff
Tony Atlas vs. The Iron Sheik
Bruiser Brody vs. Ole Anderson
The British Bulldogs vs. The Midnight Express

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