August 25, 1983 - Hartford Civic Center - Hartford, CT

Johnny Rodz and Spike Huber defeated Strike Force (Rick Martel and Tito Santana) when Rodz pinned T. Santana after a roll up in 0:03:57.
Rating: *** 1/4
[Bobby Duncum and Dick Murdoch interfered against Strike Force.]

Our opening contest in our return to Hartford looked like it was going to be a nice exhibition match for Strike Force as they took on the makeshift team of Spike Huber & Johnny Rodz. They were very crisp in this match early, showing off their tag team prowess with double team moves. It was on the way to being an easy victory, when BOBBY DUNCUM & DICK MURDOCH showed up to ruin the party. They came out and distracted Strike Force, showing that the Texas Outlaws were not done with them, not by a long shot. Martel dropped down from the apron and confronted the World Tag team champions, and Santana did the same from the ring. But this let Rodz sneak up behind Santana, roll him up, hook a handful of tights, and score a huge upset. Strike Force were in disbelief as Duncum & Murdoch headed back up the aisle, pointing to their heads and yelling about this is what happens when you mess with them.

Two-out-of-three-Falls Match:
Tully Blanchard beat Mike Rotundo 2 falls to 1:
x Rotundo beat Blanchard via the Flying Clothesline in 0:08:17
x Blanchard beat Rotundo via the Slingshot Suplex in 0:09:34
x Blanchard beat Rotundo via a half Boston in 0:20:20
Rating: *** 1/4

For four months, these two have been at each other's throats at every turn, looking to be the dominant rookie of 1983. Wins have been traded back and forth between Rotundo & Blanchard, and now this 2 out of 3 falls match was signed in hopes for these men to settle their differences once and for all. This was going to be a good indicator of where these two were strategy wise, because there is a great amount of it needed in these types of matches. Blanchard came out all guns a-blazing, trying to score that first fall ASAP. Rotundo used Blanchard's aggression against him, causing him to make several mistakes and got himself caught by Rotundo, catching the Flying Clothesline under the chin and eating the first fall. Blanchard was stunned, but he still had the wherewithal to put a thumb in Rotundo's eye and hit him with the Slingshot Suplex about a minute later to get the 1-2-3, and even out the match at a fall apiece.

With the match tied up, both men relaxed a little and just wrestled their match. We got a great showing of what the future of this business is going to be. Rotundo is a masterful mat wrestler, and say what you want about Blanchard's attitude, but he has a hell of a future in this business. For the next ten minutes, you could have flipped a coin about who was going to win this contest. So many holds, reversals, counters, and nearfalls. It would eventually be Rotundo with the upperhand, but when he went for a big kick, Blanchard moved and Rotundo got it caught up in the second rope. Rotundo injured his knee, and Blanchard quickly put on a half Boston. Blanchard cranked back on that freshly injured knee, and the pain was enough for Rotundo to have to call it quits. A very impressive win for Blanchard, who showed when he's not being a crybaby, he can be a damn good wrestler.

Bobby Heenan & King Kong Bundy have a challenge for Andre the Giant.

Before our next match, we had an interview segment with Bobby Heenan and his monster, King Kong Bundy. Heenan had some strong words for Andre the Giant, saying that Bundy is the one true giant in GCW, and that Andre needs to be humbled. Bundy went chimed in that he is unstoppable and would put Andre on his back. Heenan proposed a special challenge for Andre on September 16, our next stop in Madison Square Garden. Most of Andre's allure, according to the Brain, is this reputation he has as being impossible to bodyslam. "Well, Bundy really IS impossible to bodyslam!" Heenan proposed that in MSG, Andre meet Bundy in a Bodyslam Challenge. The first man to be bodyslammed is declared the loser. Andre was not here in Hartford as he was doing a short tour of Japan, but when he found out about the challenge, he was quick to accept it.

Ric Flair made Don Muraco submit to the Figure-Four Leglock in 0:13:28.
Rating: **** 1/4

Ric Flair's World Title match takes places at our next show on September 16, and he has looked great leading up to it. He had a huge challenge ahead of him tonight as he took on the former Intercontinental champion, Don Muraco. Muraco was looking to remind everyone how strong he is with this match, and he did so with a variety of throws, slams, and bearhugs that had the Nature Boy screaming in pain. Flair showed how crafty he is though by getting out of a bearhug with a thumb to the eye, and then going to work on Muraco's leg. Once he had the big man down on the mat, the Magnificent Muraco couldn't utilize his strength, leading to Flair getting the Figure-Four Leglock slapped on and gaining a hard fought victory. If Flair can have a repeat performance of this in New York, we will be seeing a new World champion.

The Texas Outlaws (Bobby Duncum and Dick Murdoch) defeated The Soul Patrol (Tony Atlas and Rocky Johnson) when Duncum pinned Atlas after a falling splash in 0:09:44.
Rating: *** 1/4
(The Texas Outlaws retained the GCW World Tag Team Titles.)

The Texas Outlaws took advantage of injuries by Tony Atlas & Rocky Johnson to win the tag team titles for a second time, but in the rematch, the Soul Patrol were back at 100% and looking to get their titles back. They also had the support of a packed Hartford Civic Center who wanted nothing more than to see Bobby Duncum & Dick Murdoch get exactly what they deserved. If anything, the Soul Patrol were TOO amped up, and it cost them in the end. Atlas looked liked he could have put Duncum away late in the match while Johnson & Murdoch were fighting on the floor. Atlas found himself distracted by the brawl outside, yelling at Johnson to knock it off so they could win the titles. Duncum used this distraction to grab Atlas by the tights and propel him face-first into middle turnbuckle. A falling splash followed, and the Outlaws had a successful title defense. While Atlas & Johnson had some words with each other, STRIKE FORCE ran down and attacked the champs, a little payback from what took place in our opener. They could get the ultimate payback in the Garden, when Strike Force challenges the Texas Outlaws for the World Tag Team Titles!

Dino Bravo pinned Ricky Morton with the Side Suplex in 0:05:03.
Rating: ** 3/4
[Freddie Blassie interfered against Ricky Morton.]

A rare singles match between two primarily tag wrestlers. The Rock 'N Roll Express have been a huge thorn in the side of Dino Bravo & Nikolai Volkoff since the Express debuted, and Bravo was looking to put a hurting on Ricky Morton in a singles match. Volkoff & Robert Gibson were both at ringside, so there were a lot of combustible elements involved here in this one. Freddie Blassie started getting into it with Gibson on the floor, distracting him so Volkoff could attack him from behind. Morton saw this in the ring, got on the apron, and jumped out on the big Russian with a crossbody! Morton got back in the ring, but he walked right into the clutches of Bravo and his Side Suplex. I don't care who you are - you're not getting up from that. We'll see how the Rock 'N Roll Express deal with their first setback in GCW.

I-Quit Match:
Ricky Steamboat made Bob Backlund submit to a double chickenwing submission in 0:18:34.
Rating: *** 3/4

You know there is a lot of bad blood in a feud when you can't settle the differences in a first blood match. Ricky Steamboat & Bob Backlund needed one more match, and it was the ever-dangerous I Quit match. The rules of this match were simple - beat your opponent so badly that he has to say the words, "I quit!" If this match had one story you could point to, it would be Steamboat's ability to take punishment. Sure, Steamboat dished out his fair share, but Backlund was as sinister as they come with the array of submission holds he was locking onto Steamboat. Backlund wasn't just trying to get Steamboat to give up - he was trying to rip his limbs off. Even with how deep the hatred is between these two, even Backlund had a dumbfounded look of slight admiration on his face that Steamboat wouldn't give up. That looked was wiped off his face though when Steamboat fought back, eventually locking on a double chickenwing submission. Backlund struggled desperately to get out of the hole, but that made it even worse for him. Backlund made one final attempt to get out of the hold but he couldn't, yelling the two magic words and giving Steamboat the biggest win of his career. What a match, and what a feud this was.

Intercontinental champion Nick Bockwinkel gets confronted by a new challenger.

Nick Bockwinkel had the night off from wrestling, but he and manager Bobby Heenan were not going to take the night off from being pompous jackasses. Bockwinkel came out with the Intercontinental Title around his waist and a smile across his face. Bockwinkel said that it has only been about 5 months, but that he was well on his way to being the greatest IC champ of all time, what, with his dominant performances so far in title defenses. Somebody took offense to that, and that man was JUNKYARD DOG! What is JYD doing here in GCW? Bockwinkel & the Brain certainly weren't happy to see him, despite the huge ovation he received from the Hartford Civic Center. JYD told Bockwinkel he has been watching, and if Bockwinkel thinks he has been dominant, he must have both contact lenses in the same eye. JYD mentioned how most of his title defenses have involved some outside interference or nefarious means to keep the title around his waist. He was offering up a challenge to Bockwinkel to defend his title against him at MSG. Bockwinkel laughed and asked why JYD thinks he deserves a title shot. JYD said, "This is why," and dropped Bockwinkel with a headbutt before throwing him over the top rope and to the floor! JYD went barking after Heenan who bailed from the ring in a hurry. JYD brought some kids in the ring to dance with him to end the segment.

Dusty Rhodes made Jimmy Snuka submit to a figure-four leglock in 0:11:29.
Rating: ** 1/2
(Dusty Rhodes retained the GCW World Title.)

In recent magazine interviews with PWI, Dusty Rhodes has been talking about his upcoming MSG title defense against Ric Flair. One man who has taken much offense to that is the man who won the right to wrestle for the title tonight, former champion Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka. Snuka is not a man that you should overlook by any means, and it didn't take the American Dream long to get it through his head that his title was in some serious jeopardy. That's the thing a lot of people overlook about Rhodes - he's cocky, he's a loud mouth, and he will do whatever it takes to cut corners, but when push comes to shove, he's a hell of a wrestler too. These two have had battles in the past, and like in the past, Snuka fell just short. Rhodes got his knees up when Snuka went for the Superfly Splash, which let the champ put on a figure-four leglock a few moments later to keep the title in his possession. As Rhodes was presented the World Title, RIC FLAIR came out and got nose-to-nose with him, ending the show with a staredown. This is going to be one fantastic match in the Garden!

Card rating: *** 1/4

Match observations:

9/16/83 - MADISON SQUARE GARDEN - New York, NY

WORLD TITLE - Dusty Rhodes (c) vs. Ric Flair
INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE - Nick Bockwinkel (c) vs. Junkyard Dog
WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES - Bobby Duncum/Dick Murdoch (c) vs. Strike Force
BODYSLAM CHALLENGE - Andre the Giant vs. King Kong Bundy
The Rock 'N Roll Express/Jimmy Snuka vs. The Iron Sheik/Dino Bravo/Nikolai Volkoff

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