August 1, 1981 - Madison Square Garden - New York, NY

Dusty Rhodes pinned Johnny Rodz with the Bionic Elbowdrop in 0:01:46.
Rating: * 1/2
(Dusty Rhodes retained the GCW World Title.)

Since new World champion Dusty Rhodes decided not to show up for his title match against Bob Backlund in Lowell, he was forced to defend the title in our opening contest here in the Garden, but for some unexplainable reason, he got to hand select his opponent. Rhodes picked Johnny Rodz, saying that the unpredictable veteran has really come into his own and deserved this opportunity. With all due respect to Rodz, his win-loss record in his GCW career is atrocious and this match was a farce to say the least. Rodz only got in a couple of punches before Rhodes took over, and the American Dream walked out of MSG with a successful title defense. This would not be the last time we saw the Dream tonight.

B. Brian Blair wants to know where Luke Graham was last month.

B. Brian Blair came out for an interview, and he called out his manager, Luke Graham. Blair wanted to know just where Graham was last month during his match against Larry Zbyszko. Graham was quiet as Blair became more agitated trying to get answers from Graham about his whereabouts, saying it's hard for him to learn from his manager when his manager isn't there. Blair went one step too far when he said, "If you're that scared of Larry Zbyszko, why don't you just say so!?" That one set Graham off who blasted Blair with the Thumb to the Throat to a big pop from the crowd. Graham considered helping Blair up, but then just headed to the back.

The Upstarts (Rick Martel and Terry Taylor) defeated The Can-Am Strongmen (Dino Bravo and Ken Patera) when Taylor pinned Patera after a backslide in 0:09:21.
Rating: ** 1/4

The Can-Am Strongmen were upset about their loss to the Upstarts last month, feeling that they should have been given their rematch against the World Tag Team champions instead. Bravo & Patera were more prepared for this rematch against the Upstarts, but the result was much the same as it was in Lowell. The Strongmen controlled the majority of the match, but it was one great counter by Terry Taylor that put this one away. Patera thought he had Taylor weakened enough to put him in the Swinging Full Nelson, but Taylor spun out of it and surprised Patera with a backslide for the 1-2-3. The Upstarts jumped out of the ring before an angry couple of Strongmen got a hold of them. With these consecutive wins against the Strongmen, the Upstarts have been granted a tag title shot on August 28 in Toronto!

Rick McGraw defeated Terry Funk by disqualification in 0:07:53.
Rating: * 1/4

Well no one can say that Rick McGraw isn't a brave man. Not a lot of men are too excited about the concept of getting in the ring against the unstable Terry Funk, but McGraw is looking to make an impact in GCW and did so willingly. Before the match, even "Classy" Freddie Blassie tried to convince McGraw that taking this match wasn't in his best interests, but McGraw brushed him off and nailed Funk with a forearm smash to jump start the match. It looked for a few brief moments that McGraw's surprise start was going to lead him to a victory, but a thumb to the eye and a wild clothesline cut off that momentum. Funk spent the next few minutes ripping and tearing away at McGraw in as vicious a way as possible, before grabbing an electrical cable from ringside. Funk wrapped it around McGraw's neck and dragged him back into the ring. Referee John Stanley threatened to disqualify Funk, but the Funker was in some sort of psychotic trance. With the cord wrapped around his neck, McGraw got tossed over the top rope by Funk and was being choked out! Funk was trying to hang McGraw! This was a very dangerous situation and as you would expect, Funk was DQ'ed for his actions. McGraw was turning purple before officials finally got him to let McGraw go. Something needs to be done about Funk because this is getting serious.

Jimmy Snuka petitions to be Bob Backlund's partner tonight.

Jimmy Snuka came out next and once again volunteered to be Bob Backlund's partner in the main event against Dick Murdoch & Bobby Duncum. Snuka said during his time off, he learned the errors of his way and set he let personal greed get in the way or what was truly important. Snuka said that he knew Backlund didn't owe him anything, but he wanted to prove that he has changed his ways by being Backlund's partner. Backlund came out and told Snuka that there was no way that Snuka was ever going to be his partner again, claiming that the bridge has already been burned. Besides, Backlund said he already had a partner lined up for tonight. He finished by telling Snuka to keep his distance and stay out of his life.

Sgt. Slaughter pinned Bill Eadie after a spinebuster slam in 0:08:18.
Rating: ** 3/4

The newest member of Paul Jones' Army was in action against the former member of Paul Jones' Army, with Sgt. Slaughter taking on Bill "the Ax" Eadie. Eadie, the former Masked Superstar, shocked the world when he returned from injury last month to attack Slaughter. Not only that, but he unmasked which shocked everyone. Eadie has said he is ready to be himself and that it was Paul Jones who wanted him to hide under a hood. Jones has made it clear that he feels Eadie made the mistake of his life, and now the Army is going to make him pay for it. The Army won the first battle in the war as Slaughter got the pin thanks to some shenanigans. Slaughter had hit a nice spinebuster on Eadie, but it wasn't going to be enough to put Eadie away. That is, if Jones hadn't grabbed Eadie's foot from the outside and hold it down on the apron so he couldn't kick out. The first win goes to the Army, but this war is far from over.

Dog Collar Match:
The Moondogs (Moondog Rex and Moondog Spot) defeated Afa and Ricky Steamboat when M. Rex pinned Steamboat after hitting him with a foreign object in 0:08:29.
Rating: ** 3/4
[Lou Albano interfered against Ricky Steamboat.]

Many felt that challenging the Moondogs to a dog collar match was a knee-jerk reaction by Ricky Steamboat, and that he was going to get himself hurt. Steamboat is largely untested in situations like this, but I would say that when it comes to ruthlessness, Steamboat passed with flying colors. Steamboat was connected to Moondog Rex while Afa was connected to Moondog Spot, and right from the opening bell, this was a bloody affair. If you wanted to see wrestling holds, go somewhere else, because this match was nothing more than a fight. Steamboat held up for himself well, but his lack of experience in brawls ended up costing him as he got smashed by the large dog bone of Moondog Rex and pinned. It wasn't over though as the Moondogs kept pounding on Steamboat & Afa, Lou Albano not happy with his barbaric team only getting the win. The situation was getting very dangerous before there was a rumble from the audience. We found out why as we saw SIKA sprinting down to the ring. We haven't seen Sika for several months since he was injured at the hands of the Moondogs, but he was back and cleaning house! Sika took turns hitting the Moondogs with headbutts before they finally got their dog collars off and escaped out of the ring. Afa was extremely happy to see Sika back, and Steamboat had a huge smile on his face seeing their reunion. We found out after the show that the 3 of them will be united on August 28, as a 6-man tag match has been signed pitting Steamboat & the Wild Samoans against the Moondogs & Captain Lou Albano!

The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes and Terry Gordy) defeated The Matadors (Tito Santana and Manny Fernandez) when T. Gordy pinned T. Santana with the Power Bomb in 0:12:08.
Rating: *** 1/2

The Fabulous Freebirds may not have won the World Tag Team Titles in their first attempt on our last show, but Michael "P.S." Hayes & Terry "Bamm Bamm" Gordy showed the world that the sky is the limit for them. The brash youngsters got back on the winning track here against the Matadors in a competitive matchup. Good way to bounce back by the Freebirds, while it's another disappointment for the Matadors.

The Texas Outlaws (Bobby Duncum and Dick Murdoch) defeated Bob Backlund and Ric Flair when Duncum pinned R. Flair after a dragon suplex in 0:09:34.
Rating: **

Bobby Duncum stunned the world when he returned to GCW and became the third member of the Texas Outlaws, making an already strong force even more powerful. Bob Backlund needed a counter punch in a big way, and he did just that with his pick of a partner for this tag team match. Backlund had already turned down Jimmy Snuka as his partner earlier tonight, so we weren't really sure who he'd have in his corner. I had my guesses, but I would have NEVER thought Backlund's partner would be RIC FLAIR! No one would confuse the Nature Boy for being a nice guy, but he does have a long-standing rivalry with Dusty Rhodes, so Flair is a great choice. Dick Murdoch & Bobby Duncum were certainly at a loss and clearly not prepared for this team.

This partnership deal must have been brokered awhile ago, because Backlund & Flair worked like a well-oiled machine together. Frequent tags, some crisp double team moves, cutting the ring in half - you would never believe you were looking at two of the top singles stars in the world. It took Murdoch & Duncum a couple minutes to get their bearings and make this a competitive match. Duncum also looked great in his return, like the former Intercontinental champion hadn't missed a beat. The crowd was hot for the match, and by the end of it, Flair had gotten Duncum in the Figure-Four Leglock. Murdoch got in the ring to break it up, but Backlund got him off by tackling him through the ropes. Flair was really cranking down on the hold and Duncum was about to submit, but referee Dick Kroll was dealing with the brawl going on on the outside. This allowed DUSTY RHODES to get in the ring and drop a huge Bionic Elbow on Flair to break it up. Rhodes picked Flair up and added a side suplex for good measure, giving Duncum time to get to his feet. Duncum grabbed Flair and hit a dragon suplex to get a tainted victory for the Outlaws.

The Outlaws saw an opportunity to nip this problem in the bud and put both Backlund & Flair on the shelf. Luckily for Backlund & Flair, JIMMY SNUKA hadn't left the building and was out to make the save! Snuka kept the Outlaws off-balance long enough for Backlund & Flair to get back into the fight and send their foes out of the ring. Despite the save, Backlund still didn't look thrilled to see Snuka, but Flair gave the Superfly a pat on the back.

Cage Match:
Stan Hansen defeated Ivan Koloff by escaping the cage in 0:14:20.
Rating: *** 1/4
(Don Muraco no-showed.)

While the ring crew was setting up the cage for our main event, "Classy" Freddie Blassie came out with the Intercontinental champion Don Muraco, the man scheduled to defend the gold against Stan Hansen in our main event. Problem was, Muraco came out on crutches. Blassie let everyone know that Muraco begged the doctors to let him wrestle tonight, but earlier this week while he was training, he severely sprained his ankle. Muraco added that he could still beat Hansen tonight if the doctors would clear him, but unfortunately that was not possible. Blassie said not to worry though as a replacement was found willing to take care of Hansen in the cage, IVAN KOLOFF!

Hansen was not pleased to say the least with this change in opponent, as he showed by running down and forcibly tossing Koloff in the ring to start the match. This was not the match everyone was wanting to see, but we were treated to a grueling cage match between two legit tough guys. Muraco stayed at ringside to lend "moral support" to Koloff, but ultimately, it wasn't helpful. Hansen nailed Koloff with the Lariat before walking out the door of the cage right in front of Blassie and Muraco to get the win. Muraco didn't like Hansen rubbing the victory right in his face, and he showed this by breaking the crutch right over Hansen's head! In doing so, sure, Hansen was knocked out, but Muraco also revealed that his ankle wasn't really injured at all! A tactical error by Muraco, as now he has been told he has to defend the IC Title on August 28 in Toronto in the steel cage, and if he pulls another stunt like this, he will not only forfeit the title to Hansen, but he will be FIRED!

Card rating: ** 3/4

Match observations:

8/28/81 - MAPLE LEAF GARDENS - Toronto, ON, CA

WORLD TITLE - Dusty Rhodes (c) vs. Bob Backlund
WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES - Antonio Inoki/Jumbo Tsuruta (c) vs. The Upstarts
Jimmy Snuka/Ric Flair vs. Dick Murdoch/Bobby Duncum
Ricky Steamboat/The Wild Samoans vs. The Moondogs/Lou Albano

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