April 7, 1981 - Madison Square Garden - New York, NY

Ricky Steamboat pinned Paul Jones after a rolling reverse cradle into a bridge in 0:04:07.
Rating: ** 1/4

Making it to Madison Square Garden is a huge milestone in the career of any wrestler, and Ricky Steamboat got that honor tonight in our opening contest against Paul Jones. Jones hasn't done a lot of work in the singles division in GCW, but with regular partner The Masked Superstar on the shelf with an injury, and Jones not wanting to team with his Army underling Austin Idol right now, Jones tried his luck against the GCW rookie. Steamboat hasn't picked up a victory yet, but he is clearly packed with potential, and Jones was unwise to take the Hawaiian so lightly. Steamboat was with Jones move for move, and when he caught him in a rolling reverse cradle, he executed a picture perfect bridge that Jones couldn't escape, earning Steamboat his first victory. Jones was in a rage afterward, reporting telling Austin Idol to "take care of my light work." Idol has been signed to a match against Steamboat later this month in Uniondale.

Ric Flair made Johnny Rodz submit to the Figure-Four Leglock in 0:08:54.
Rating: ***

"Unpredictable" Johnny Rodz may have never been as motivated for a match as he was for his match with "Nature Boy" Ric Flair tonight. Flair left Rodz high and dry when they teamed up to take on Dusty Rhodes & referee Dick Woehrle, allowing Rodz to suffer an embarrassment when he was pinned by the referee. Rodz brought his A-game to the match, and though Rodz has been a perennial loser, he had the fans in the Garden believing he was going to pull off the massive upset. Flair was way more on the defensive than he could have ever imagined, but when Rodz missed a big kneedrop, Flair took to it like a shark to blood in the water. Rodz fought really hard to get back on the offensive, but Flair was too relentless on the leg. Flair got the Figure-Four Leglock secured on tight, and Rodz had nowhere to go but the showers with the loser's purse.

The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes and Terry Gordy) defeated The Upstarts (Rick Martel and Terry Taylor) when T. Gordy pinned Taylor with the Power Bomb in 0:07:52.
Rating: *** 1/4

The Fabulous Freebirds were booed relentlessly as they fully embraced their new evil ways, taking on the Upstarts in tag team action. The Freebirds were solely responsible for Rick Martel & Terry Taylor being eliminated from the World Tag Team Title tournament, attacking them before their first round match for not being a fan of their music. The Upstarts evened the score by distracting the Freebirds in their semi-final match to cause their elimination. The next chapter in this battle was their first match together, and it was a doozy. I will go out on a limb and say these two teams are the future of tag team wrestling. They're both young and they're both hungry. The Upstarts showed a lot of fire, a fire that the Freebirds returned in equal. The Upstarts looked to be on the way to the winner's circle with Taylor getting the better of Terry Gordy. Taylor had Gordy in the corner and he climbed to the second turnbuckle to fire away with some punches. Taylor only got up to 6 before Michael Hayes grabbed his head from the outside and clotheslined Taylor on the top rope. This weakened Taylor enough for Gordy to hit the Power Bomb and escape with the win. The first nod goes to the Freebirds, but this one is just getting started. Gordy will meet Taylor on April 29 in Uniondale in a singles match.

Larry Zbyszko pinned B. Brian Blair after a spinebuster slam in 0:10:17.
Rating: ** 3/4
[Luke Graham interfered against Larry Zbyszko.]

Larry Zbyszko is a man who was once in a similar position to his opponent, B. Brian Blair. Zbyszko was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed rookie, trying to find his place in the landscape of professional wrestling. He learned that he had to toughen up to find his place in the wrestling world, and has turned himself into one of the most ruthless wrestlers in the world. Blair has a ways to go before he reaches that point, if ever, but he does have the managerial services of Luke Graham, which bodes well in his favor. Graham is no stranger to Zbyszko, as Graham and his brother engaged in a great feud with Zbyszko and his then partner, Dino Bravo. Times have changed a lot since 1976, but the disdain that Graham & Zbyszko had for each other is still around in bulk now. Zbyszko toyed around with Blair in the beginning, wanting to prove to Graham that he has far exceeded him. Blair has taken to Graham's teachings almost right away, and his aggression has gone up considerably. It helped him get back on the offensive and put the boots to Zbyszko nearly as much as was boot to him. It took a well placed thumb to the eye and a spinebuster slam for Zbyszko to get the win. A great showing by Blair, but it was the Cruncher who left laughing at Luke Graham.

Terry Funk defeated Roddy Piper by countout in 0:07:56.
Rating: **

Terry Funk is not at all happy about his position in the camp of Freddie Blassie, but at this point, he doesn't have much of a choice. Blassie wanted Funk to take out Roddy Piper, feeling that the Rowdy Scot is the biggest threat to Don Muraco's Intercontinental Title. Though Funk doesn't want to be Blassie's heavy, he does love to fight, and no one brings a fight tougher than "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. Blassie brought some tactical support in the form of Muraco, who got involved right from the get go. Muraco caught a punch from Piper who ran to the floor to pop him in the jaw, which may have been his undoing. Blassie jumped on the apron to complain to referee Tommy Young. This left Muraco open to pull Piper to the floor and throw him head first into the ring post. Ten seconds later, Piper was counted out. The worst was yet to come, however. Blassie dressed down Funk after the match, inferring that Funk NEEDED Muraco to win the match. Funk was getting madder and madder, looking like he wanted to punch Blassie right upside the head. Blassie reminded Funk that he owned his contract, and he had to do everything he wanted. And right now, he wanted him to piledriver Piper on the floor. Funk refused, but Blassie told him it was either Piper's career or Funk's. Funk didn't look happy about it, but was pushed to the point where he lifted Piper up and drove his head to the floor. Funk looked like he had food poisoning after what he did, but Piper was in much worse shape than him. Piper was stretched out of the arena, his neck in seriously bad shape. I wonder how much Funk is willing to take from Blassie, but that doesn't do Roddy Piper a lot of good.

Antonio Inoki made Austin Idol submit to the Octopus Hold in 0:10:51.
Rating: ***

This match was a bit strange to say the least. Antonio Inoki was wrestling Austin Idol, and the Universal Heartthrob had Paul Jones down at ringside with him. Idol had his hands full with the former World champion, and Jones was giving Idol advice throughout. The only problem was, he was giving Idol advice for his match next show with Ricky Steamboat! Idol was both confused and irritated, but Jones was making it clear that Idol avenging his loss to Steamboat was far more important than his own match with Inoki. As you would expect, this cost the Heartthrob big time and it wasn't long before the Octopus Hold put him away for Inoki. Jones & Idol left to the back while Inoki celebrated, Jones belittling Idol the entire way.

On the Inoki side of things, it was announced that Jumbo Tsuruta & he were granted a shot at the World Tag Team Titles on April 29 in Uniondale, no matter who wins our main event tonight. The Japanese contingent came within an eyelash of taking the titles in the finals of the tournament, and they're a good bet to take the titles in Uniondale.

The Matadors (Tito Santana and Manny Fernandez) defeated Don Muraco and Ivan Koloff when T. Santana pinned Muraco with the Flying Forearm in 0:14:08.
Rating: *** 1/2

Freddie Blassie was riding high after for all intents and purposes taking Roddy Piper out earlier in the evening, and his night had a chance to get even better as he teamed up Intercontinental champion Don Muraco & "The Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff to take on the Matadors - Tito Santana & Manny Fernandez. Individually, Muraco & Koloff are as good as they come, but collectively, they had a hard time matching up with Santana & Fernandez. The Matadors have developed some of the finest teamwork in the wrestling world, getting crisper and more innovative every time they go out there. They still have trouble against strong teams though, and Muraco & Koloff are quite powerful. This became a great tag team match with both teams getting to showcase their skills. All hell broke loose near the end and referee Dick Woehrle had a hell of a time maintaining order. During the chaos, Woehrle tried to get Koloff & Fernandez out of the ring while the legal men, Muraco & Santana, battled behind him. Blassie slid a chair into Muraco to use, but when he picked it up, Santana dropkicked it back into Muraco's face! The chair flew out of the ring, and the referee saw nothing except for Santana hit the Flying Forearm right after, getting the pin on the Intercontinental champion! If you're Blassie, a sour end to the evening for certain. Because of what went down tonight, in Uniondale Manny Fernandez will face Ivan Koloff and in the biggest match of his career, Tito Santana will challenge Don Muraco for the Intercontinental Title!

The Wild Samoans (Afa and Sika) and The Moondogs (Moondog Rex and Moondog Spot) battled to a double disqualification in 0:06:20.
Sika tore his left calf muscle. He will be out for approximately 6 months.
Rating: **
[Lou Albano interfered against Sika.]

Captain Lou Albano dumped Afa & Sika last month after their early exit from the World Tag Team Title tournament, despite the success they've had in their GCW careers. It didn't take Albano long to find another team, bringing in Moondog Rex & Moondog Spot, the Moondogs. The Moondogs have a unique look to them, and each man came to the ring holding a large bone. I'm not sure where Albano unearths these characters. The Wild Samoans looked a little lost without Albano, but once the Moondogs attacked them, they knew it was time to fight (and if there's one thing Afa & Sika know how to do, it's fight). As you would expect, it didn't take long for this one to completely degenerate into an ugly fight. John Stanley tried to keep order to the best of his ability, but I for one can't blame him for not being able to. After about 6 minutes, he gave up trying and called the double DQ. The fight continued, and it's an unfortunate thing for Sika that it did. During the chaos of the brawl, Sika planted wrong when delivering a blow to Rex and tore his left calf muscle. Doctors estimate that he is going to be out until September because of the injury. This leaves Afa by himself to battle the Moondogs, and I don't know if he is aware enough to know this is a horrible idea.

Stan Hansen pinned Sgt. Slaughter with the Lariat in 0:11:15.
Rating: **** 1/4

Sgt. Slaughter has been bragging to anyone who would listen since the show in Baltimore about how he pinned Stan Hansen in the middle of the ring during the 6-man tag team match (of course neglecting to mention that Bob Backlund & Dusty Rhodes were busy battling The Can-Am Strongmen on the floor and that Hansen was the victim of a triple slam). That was all fine by Hansen, as if he needed any motivation to want to put a beating to Slaughter. Slaughter is one tough former drill sergeant, but he still needs a big win to establish himself as a top threat in GCW. A win over Hansen would have qualified as such, but many have tried to take out Hansen and fell victim to the same fate Slaughter did tonight. Slaughter can take a lot of punishment and keep dishing it back in spades, but when Hansen caught him under the chin with the Lariat, that was the end of that.

Bob Backlund and Dusty Rhodes defeated The Can-Am Strongmen (Dino Bravo and Ken Patera) when Backlund defeated Patera by disqualification in 0:05:33.
Rating: ** 1/2
(The Can-Am Strongmen retained the GCW World Tag Team Titles.)
[Dick Murdoch interfered against Bob Backlund.]

Dino Bravo & Ken Patera got through 7 other teams to win the World Tag Team Titles last month, but their first title defense was a daunting task indeed. The Strongmen have been a major problem for Bob Backlund the past few months, but Backlund became the problem tonight as he recruited the services of "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes to be his partner to challenge for the tag titles. Rhodes never got a chance to get into the ring though before things got out of control. The match had barely gotten going before there was a disturbance coming from the crowd. Before anyone knew what was going on, a man had jumped the railing and clubbed Backlund from behind with a hard forearm to the back of the head! This mystery man began laying the blows to Backlund before Rhodes intervened and pulled him off. We got our first good look at the assailant and saw that it was… DICK MURDOCH? What the hell was he doing here? Rhodes was wondering the same thing, but he never got a chance to ask as Murdoch was out of the ring just as quickly as he had entered. There are a lot of questions to be answered, but Backlund isn't going to wait as he has already challenged Murdoch to a match for Uniondale.

Card rating: ***

Match observations:

4/29/81 - NASSAU COLISEUM - Uniondale, NY

NON-TITLE - Bob Backlund (World champion) vs. Dick Murdoch
INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE - Don Muraco (c) vs. Tito Santana
WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES - The Can-Am Strongmen (c) vs. Antonio Inoki/Jumbo Tsuruta
HANDICAP MATCH - Afa vs. The Moondogs
Ricky Steamboat vs. Austin Idol
Manny Fernandez vs. Ivan Koloff
Terry Taylor vs. Terry Gordy

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