April 28, 1982 - Cobo Arena - Detroit, MI

8-Man Tag Team Battle Royal:
Michael Hayes and Terry Gordy won a 4-team Battle Royal:
x Patera threw out Taylor (partner: Rick Martel) in 0:01:00
x Atlas threw out Bravo (partner: Ken Patera) in 0:03:21
x T. Gordy threw out T. Santana (partner: Tony Atlas) in 0:06:10
Rating: * 3/4

The first match of the evening here in Detroit was a 4-team battle royal with the winning squad earning a title shot on May 25 at our big return to Pittsburgh, PA. The first elimination took place a mere minute in when Terry Taylor of the Upstarts tried a crossbody on Ken Patera of the Can-Am Strongmen, but Patera's massive strength allowed him to catch him in mid-air, dumping him over the top rope. The Strongmen got a taste of their own medicine though when Tony Atlas once again showed that as strong as the Strongmen are, he's even stronger as he over powered Dino Bravo to eliminate him from the match.

Tony Atlas & Tito Santana are a brand new team, and if they could get past the Fabulous Freebirds now, they were going to earn a title shot! Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy have been positioning themselves for this shot for months though, and they had avoided much of the physicality of the match up to this point. Hayes paired off with Santana while Gordy tried his hand at taking down the powerful Atlas. Gordy doesn't have the strength of Atlas, but he's a tough southern brawler and used that wild style to combat Mr. USA. Meanwhile on the other side of the ring, Santana had Hayes up over the top and almost thrown out. Gordy saw this and poked Atlas in the eye with his thumb to slow him down. Gordy ran over and dumped Santana over the top, grabbing Hayes' foot in the process to keep him from hitting the floor. The Freebirds will now wrestle for the World Tag Team Titles on May 25!

Terry Funk made Johnny Rodz submit to the Spinning Toe Hold in 0:03:18.
Rating: ** 1/2

Terry Funk was in action against Johnny Rodz, a match that the Funker won in quick and impressive fashion. But that wasn't the story. Not long after the final bell rang, Funk saw himself staring across the ring at BOBBY DUNCUM & DICK MURDOCH of the Texas Outlaws. The Outlaws still have some unfinished business with Funk for Funk's refusal to help Duncum when he was locked in the Crossface Chickenwing of Bob Backlund during War Games, and it looks like they were here to give Funk his receipt. Funk didn't back down though, and even had a sly smile on his face as he jumped Murdoch and fired away with some left hands. Duncum intervened and soon the numbers game was too much for Funk and he was getting a bad beating. Rodz got back up and asked the Outlaws what they were doing, and Murdoch responded by flooring Rodz with a boot to the face! Officials finally came and got Duncum & Murdoch out of the ring, but Funk wasn't done yet. He grabbed Howard Finkel's microphone and told the Outlaws that he wanted them in a match in Pittsburgh. Duncum laughed, yelling that no one was crazy enough to team with Funk, and that they would murder him in a handicap match. Funk responded by saying Rodz was crazy enough, because he was that damn unpredictable! Rodz's eyes got as big as dinner plates, but Funk assured him it would be fine. So we have signed for May 25, Funk & Rodz vs. Duncum & Murdoch!

Nick Bockwinkel pinned Bill Eadie with the Piledriver in 0:12:38.
Rating: *** 1/4
[Bobby Heenan interfered against Bill Eadie.]

Nick Bockwinkel has looked damn impressive since his controversial return to GCW, beating Tito Santana & Ricky Steamboat in impressive displays. Bobby Heenan got Bockwinkel a different kind of opponent for Detroit, the bruising Bill "the Ax" Eadie. Bockwinkel has had success against the technical wrestlers, but in the early stages of this match, Eadie was having his way with Bockwinkel thanks to his brawling tactics. Bockwinkel took a powder after another frustrating exchange with Eadie. I don't know what Heenan said to Bockwinkel at this point, but it motivated the blond bomber, who took over the match. Bockwinkel wore Eadie down with some work on his leg before ultimately hitting the Piledriver to win the match decisively. Bockwinkel would get some very exciting news after the show.

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 0:20:12.
Rating: ****
(The Brisco Brothers retained the GCW World Tag Team Titles.)

The Brisco Brothers turned the wrestling world upside by returning to GCW earlier this month at Madison Square Garden and answering the open challenge of Bobby Duncum & Dick Murdoch, winning the World Tag Team Titles for a second time in the process. Duncum & Murdoch got their rematch tonight, and felt that having time to prepare would guarantee them a second title reign together (ignoring the fact that it was their open challenge that cost them in the first place). The rematch was as well wrestled as the first match, and you could tell how much more prepared the challengers were this time around. Duncum & Murdoch are not easy to like, but they showed tonight that they make a great team. However, the Briscos have been a great team for years, and they showed the expert teamwork throughout this 20-minute war. Duncum thought he had this match wrapped up when he set Jerry Brisco up for the Full Nelson Slam, but Jack Brisco stopped that from happening. He dropped down to the floor and held onto Jerry's foot, preventing Duncum from lifting the younger Brisco. Brisco rolled forward and sent Duncum's neck into the top rope, temporarily damaging his larynx. Jerry followed with a bridging back suplex (the same move that won them the titles). Jack cut Murdoch down with a flying forearm, and the Briscos retained the gold. They now will have the Freebirds to deal with on May 25, while Duncum & Murdoch move on to Terry Funk & Johnny Rodz.

B. Brian Blair pinned Luke Graham with the Flying Dropkick in 0:04:00.
Rating: * 3/4

B. Brian Blair is learning that he can't stand up to Luke Graham in a one-on-one fight, but he has also learned how to turn the tables to his advantage. Tonight, his plan was to assault Graham while he was on the way to the ring before the bell had even started. Blair had the jump rope wrapped around his fist and rabbit punched Graham in the back of the skull. Graham was loopy from that, and it got worse as Blair rammed Graham's skull into the ring post, opening up a cut on Graham's forehead. Blair tossed Graham into the ring and the match was officially started, but Graham was out on his feet. Graham was running on instinct and got some desperation offense, but he was losing blood at an alarming rate. It was only a matter of time before Blair caught him in the forehead with the Flying Dropkick and picked up the duke. These two are going to go at it one more time in Pittsburgh, and has vowed that Blair will feel pain like he has never felt before.

Bob Backlund made Ric Flair submit to the Crossface Chickenwing in 0:21:02.
Rating: **** 1/4

Ric Flair had asked for this match against Bob Backlund because like many people, the Nature Boy has seen the change in attitude of Backlund and as his friend, wanted to put a stop to it. Flair tried talking to Backlund early on, but Backlund just stared at Flair blankly. Once the bell rang, Backlund went right after Flair like a wild animal. Flair knew he was in a fight, and as the match wore on, he stopped looking at Backlund like a friend but rather as an opponent that needed to be beaten down. Flair tried to stay even keeled, but tempers flared and this turned into a knock down, drag out fight. Backlund has such a vicious streak instilled in him now that Flair had a lot of trouble combating it. Flair can take a lot of punishment and fight back though - it's becoming his calling card. And let's face it, he took a thrashing in this one. But the more you beat on Flair, the stronger he gets and the more he fights back. The tide all turned though when Flair was making his comeback and tossed Backlund into the corner. Flair charged in for a shoulderblock to the stomach, but Backlund moved and the Nature Boy's shoulder connected with the steel ring post. Backlund had that crazed look in his eye as he locked on the Crossface Chickenwing. Flair tried to fight out, even ramming Backlund backward into the corner, but Backlund's grip was firm. He got Flair down tot he canvas and into a bodyscissors, and it was only a matter of time before Flair had to submit.

Ricky Steamboat and Larry Zbyszko defeated Sgt. Slaughter and Stan Hansen when Steamboat pinned Hansen after a small package in 0:11:45.
Rating: **** 1/4

With his partners in the Texas Outlaws busy with their own matches, Intercontinental champion Stan Hansen was in desperate need of a partner. He found Sgt. Slaughter earlier in the day and more or less told Slaughter he was going to be his partner. Slaughter has been on a slide recently but is anxious to better his standing, so he accepted the match. On the other side we had the team of Ricky Steamboat & Larry Zbyszko, two unlikely partners who have developed what seems to be a friendship based on respect in recent months. Steamboat & Zbyszko had never teamed before, but you wouldn't know it by their performance tonight. Frequent tags, cutting the ring off expertly, and a willingness to do whatever it took for the team to win paid off big time. Hansen & Slaughter, meanwhile, suffered from a major inability to get on the same page. Hansen was bullying Slaughter around, telling him the Lariat was the captain of the team and that Slaughter better do whatever the hell he told him to. Slaughter finally had enough of it when Hansen pushed him. Slaughter pushed him back and then dropped to the floor, walking out on the match! While Hansen snapped and yelled at Slaughter to get back to the ring, Steamboat caught him in a small package and pinned him! A big win for Steamboat & Zbyszko, and now Steamboat has earned himself another shot at the Intercontinental Title on May 25!

Dusty Rhodes defeated Jimmy Snuka by countout in 0:12:58.
Rating: **
(Dusty Rhodes retained the GCW World Title.)
[Bob Backlund interfered against Jimmy Snuka.]

Dusty Rhodes keeps finding ways to retain the World Title, but many feel that he is wrestling on borrowed time. With the caliber of competition that he is facing, he is needing to use every bit of skill and treachery he has to keep the most important title in the game around his ample waist. He took on the former World champion Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, who earned this match by beating Bob Backlund in a steel cage match earlier this month. Snuka looked primed to get himself a second title reign, and he had the fans in Detroit firmly behind him. Snuka feeds off that energy, and it's still amazing to me to hear the fans so wildly get behind Snuka considering how much he was hated in the not-so-distant past. Snuka has worked hard to regain the trust of the fans, and they've paid him back with this unwavering support. The American Dream didn't care much about the fans though. He cared solely about escaping yet another show with the World Title in tact. Rhodes cut every corner he could to slow Snuka down, but the Superfly had an answer for everything the Dream did. The only thing he didn't have an answer for was outside interference. Snuka had Rhodes reeling after a big jumping headbutt. Rhodes grabbed referee Dick Kroll to beg for help as Snuka ascended the ropes in preparation for the Superfly Splash. He never got a chance to make that leap though as BOB BACKLUND rushed down to ringside. With one hearty shove from Backlund, Snuka went soaring to the outside and crashed dangerously hard on the concrete floor. Backlund was gone as quickly as he had arrived, and Snuka was not moving. Rhodes was awarded the match by countout, and he escaped with his World Title in short order. Snuka was shaken up by the fall, but is physically okay. He has said that he's tired of playing nice though, and Backlund is going to get what he deserves, starting in Pittsburgh on May 25!

And in breaking news, Rhodes will be defending the World Title on May 25. The man picked to get the title shot? NICK BOCKWINKEL. The controversial Bockwinkel has impressed the Championship Committee with his performances and Bobby Heenan has negotiated a deal to get him the shot at the title. What a huge match that will be!

Card rating: *** 1/4

Match observations:

5/25/82 - CIVIC AUDITORIUM - Pittsburgh, PA

WORLD TITLE - Dusty Rhodes (c) vs. Nick Bockwinkel
INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE - Stan Hansen (c) vs. Ricky Steamboat
WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES - The Brisco Brothers (c) vs. The Fabulous Freebirds
Jimmy Snuka vs. Bob Backlund
Terry Funk/Johnny Rodz vs. Bobby Duncum/Dick Murdoch
Luke Graham vs. B. Brian Blair

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