August 28, 1981 - Maple Leaf Gardens - Toronto, ON, CA

Cage Match:
Stan Hansen defeated Don Muraco by escaping the cage in 0:17:05.
Rating: *** 1/2
(Stan Hansen won the GCW Intercontinental Title.)

The evening kicked off with the Intercontinental Title cage match we all thought we were going to see at MSG. Don Muraco had feigned an injury in the previous match to get out of it, but when he smashed a crutch over Stan Hansen's head after the Lariat had defeated Ivan Koloff, he got himself in this predicament. Muraco came out looking like hell, and grabbed the microphone from Howard Finkel. Muraco said that he was running a fever of 112 and despite what President Hisashi Shinma said, there was just no way that he could possibly compete tonight. He even produced a doctor's note to prove it and handed it to referee John Stanley. Hansen came stomping out and the scowl on his face could have peeled paint off the wall. Hansen got inside the cage, grabbed the doctor's note, and ripped it in half! Muraco protested, but he took a hard right hand from Hansen for his troubles. And now, with the doctor's note in pieces on the canvas, the bell was called for and we had our title match!

Whether Muraco was legitimately sick or not, he didn't look like he was at his best. Hansen came at him early and often, and despite some select flurries of offense from the Magnificent Muraco, he couldn't put anything together against Hansen. Hansen hit the Lariat and walked out the cage door, and with that, is now the first 3-time Intercontinental champion! Freddie Blassie was throwing a fit, and has already said he is going to file an official protest that Muraco shouldn't have even had to wrestle this match. Either way, congrats to the new champion!

B. Brian Blair pinned Johnny Rodz with the Flying Dropkick in 0:03:27.
Rating: ** 1/4

Luke Graham was back in the corner of B. Brian Blair, and it looks like any tension from the Garden has been smoothed over. Blair apparently was just happy to see some fight out of Graham. Blair had plenty of fight himself as he made short work out of Johnny Rodz.

Larry Zbyszko continues to taunt Luke Graham.

Larry Zbyszko came down after Blair's win and mockingly clapped in congratulations before getting the house microphone from the Fink. Zbyszko continued to shower Blair with faux praise before turning his attentions to Luke Graham, saying he was glad to find out last show that Graham still had some life left in his old, creaky bones. Zbyszko snidely added that it was too bad he wasted the last bit of fight on a loser like B. Brian Blair. Graham got the microphone from Zbyszko and said, "If I did that to my friend, what do you think I'm going to do to you?" Zbyszko's cocky look suddenly changed to one of concern, especially when Graham challenged Zbyszko to a no holds barred match on September 15 in Philadelphia! Zbyszko has been talking a big game. Now we'll see if he can back it up at the Spectrum.

Bill Eadie pinned Sgt. Slaughter after a swinging neckbreaker in 0:06:11.
Rating: *** 1/4

Paul Jones got the better of his former soldier Bill Eadie in the Garden, but the Ax returned the favor in Toronto. A few minutes into the match, Jones and Sgt. Slaughter unhatched their plan, which was for Slaughter to hold Eadie open so Jones could throw a handful of powder into his eyes. The powder did hit the eyes, but unfortunately for Jones, it was the eyes of Slaughter as Eadie got loose. Eadie nailed Jones with a kneelift to take him off the apron before hitting Slaughter with a swinging neckbreaker to get the pin. The score is 1-1 now in this war, but it is far from over.

Terry Gordy pinned B. Brian Blair after a fisherman suplex in 0:05:07.
Rating: *** 1/4
(Rick McGraw no-showed.)

With the injuries that Rick McGraw suffered thanks to the unstable Terry Funk, he was not cleared to wrestle tonight against Terry "Bamm Bamm" Gordy. B. Brian Blair was high on confidence after his easy win earlier, so he volunteered to step in and take Gordy's place. Blair learned the hard way messing with Gordy when you've already had a match might not be the best idea. Gordy is raw and green, but he is a big man who is powerful and can move. Gordy (with the help of a distraction from partner Michael "P.S." Hayes) gets the win with a fisherman suplex.

The Wild Samoans (Afa and Sika) and Ricky Steamboat defeated The Moondogs (Moondog Rex and Moondog Spot) and Lou Albano when Sika pinned Albano after a gutwrench suplex in 0:03:51.
Rating: * 1/2

Sika was back from his injury, and the combo of the Wild Samoans and Ricky Steamboat were fired up to shut the mouths of Captain Lou Albano and the Moondogs once and for all. With all the torment that their former manager has caused them, Afa & Sika were practically foaming at the mouth to get their savage hands on Albano. With Steamboat's help, they were able to do that as Steamboat forced Albano to tag in a lot earlier than he wanted to. Sika got a hold of Albano and after a big gutwrench suplex, got the win and hopefully put all of this behind them.

Jimmy Snuka and Ric Flair defeated The Texas Outlaws (Bobby Duncum and Dick Murdoch) when J. Snuka pinned Duncum with the Superfly Splash in 0:10:48.
Rating: ** 1/4

Bob Backlund may not be willing to forgive Jimmy Snuka and team with him, but Ric Flair had no problem doing so as the duo teamed to take on Bobby Duncum & Dick Murdoch of the Texas Outlaws. The Outlaws have fired the first shot and have made it clear that they're wanting to get rid of the top competition in GCW and keep the World Title with Dusty Rhodes, and both Snuka & Flair are surely near the top of that list. This was an aggressively wrestled match, and also our first chance to see Snuka back in the ring for an official match in 8 months. Well if he had any ring rust, he did an excellent job at hiding it because he wrestled like he hadn't missed a beat. It seemed strange to hear the Nature Boy getting cheers from the fans as well, but he seemed to soak it in and use it to motivate him during the contest.

Duncum & Murdoch tried to divide and conquer during the match, separating the ring and focusing their attacks on Flair during the middle part of the bout. Flair took a lot of punishment and a normal man would have been defeated, but with the new found support of the crowd, he kept managing to fight back. The Outlaws were getting flustered and made a big miscalculation. Murdoch was holding Flair open as Duncum climbed to the middle turnbuckle. Duncum jumped off for a double axhandle, but Flair moved and Duncum hit Murdoch instead! Flair sent Duncum crashing into the turnbuckle while he was distracted while checking on Murdoch, and finally made the tag to Snuka. Snuka's first move was to go up top and come crashing down on Duncum's ribs with the Superfly Splash. I don't care who you are - you're not getting up from that. Snuka and Flair pick up the first victory, but if it wasn't for some miscommunication from the Outlaws, this one could have went differently. That being said, is this an omen of things to come in the main event?

The Can-Am Strongmen (Dino Bravo and Ken Patera) defeated The Matadors (Tito Santana and Manny Fernandez) when Patera defeated T. Santana when T. Santana passed out in the Swinging Full Nelson in 0:12:35.
Rating: *** 1/4

The Can-Am Strongmen made sure before their match with the Matadors to mention that they should be the team challenging for the tag team titles tonight, not the Upstarts. They needed to be careful though as Tito Santana & Manny Fernandez weren't here to listen to them whine and complain - they were here to win a match. Santana & Fernandez nearly did just that as the Strongmen were clearly not focused on the task at hand. Luckily for them, extreme power can be a great equalizer and all it took was Ken Patera catching Santana in the Swinging Full Nelson. Fernandez tried to break it up, but Dino Bravo cut him off as Santana passed out. The victorious Strongmen pulled up a couple of chairs and decided they were going to get a front row seat at the following championship match.

The Upstarts (Rick Martel and Terry Taylor) defeated Antonio Inoki and Jumbo Tsuruta when Taylor defeated Inoki by disqualification in 0:01:28.
Rating: **
(Antonio Inoki and Jumbo Tsuruta retained the GCW World Tag Team Titles.)
[Ken Patera interfered against Terry Taylor.]

Dino Bravo & Ken Patera insisted that they were down at ringside only to scout future opponents (since they're 100% sure they're getting a tag title shot soon), but nobody really believed that. We just didn't think they were going to be so blatant in ruining this title defense of Antonio Inoki & Jumbo Tsuruta against the Upstarts. Even when the Upstarts were introduced, you could see the anger seething inside of Bravo & Patera, feeling that this should be their shot. It only took a minute and a half for the Strongmen to lose their cool and attack Rick Martel & Terry Taylor, making this a disqualification loss for the champs. The Strongmen were looking to hurt the Upstarts, but Inoki & Jumbo (still sore over having to take the loser's purse) intervened and sent the Strongmen sprawling from the ring. Inoki & Jumbo said after the show via a translator that they've had enough of the whiny attitude of Bravo & Patera, and that they're going to give them something to cry about on September 15 in Philadelphia.

Freddie Blassie tries to cut Terry Funk loose.

Before our main event, "Classy" Freddie Blassie came out alone to address his client, Terry Funk. Blassie said that Funk is a valuable commodity for any manager, but that to be frank, Funk was out of his damn mind. Blassie said that it was better off for both parties if they went their separate ways. Funk came out himself to a huge mixed reaction and a sinister smile on his face. Funk said that sounded like a perfect idea, because that way, if he's not under contract to Blassie, he can spend his time hunting Blassie and his men. Blassie didn't like the sound of this and looked like he could scream as Funk stalked him. Blassie finally showed some false bravado and told Funk that he still owned him and that the contract was iron clad. Funk made a false lunge at Blassie, which made the Classy One jump out of the ring with his tail tucked between his legs. Funk watched Blassie with a huge smile on his face as his manager went to the back.

Dusty Rhodes pinned Bob Backlund with the Bionic Elbowdrop in 0:30:53.
Rating: **** 1/2
(Dusty Rhodes retained the GCW World Title.)
[Stan Hansen interfered against Bob Backlund.]

Dusty Rhodes has been trying to avoid giving Bob Backlund the title rematch he so clearly deserves, but there was no hiding this time. Backlund, for all intents and purposes, should still be the World champion, and harnessed all of that frustration in this one. Rhodes had his backup at ringside with him in the form of Bobby Duncum & Dick Murdoch, but Backlund had his blinders on and was focused solely on the task at hand. In the opening minutes, Backlund was outclassing the Dream on the mat. Rhodes looked to get a little separation by throwing Backlund out to the floor. Duncum & Murdoch attacked Backlund on the floor, right in front of referee Dick Kroll! Kroll had every right to throw the match out as a DQ right then and there, but he was savvy enough to realize that is exactly what Rhodes wanted. Instead, he tossed Duncum & Murdoch out so this would be one-on-one!

Rhodes had to rely on his own skills from this point on, which is not a bad thing to rely on. He's been in the upper echelon of wrestlers for years now, and regardless of the way he captured the title, he is the World champion and has the credentials to back it up. This bout raged on with a fury that made for a great match to watch. Rhodes was looking to hit the big move while Backlund wanted to make this a grinder. With Backlund's wrestling credentials, he can make it a very unpleasant experience to be on the canvas against him. Rhodes managed to hit the Bionic Elbowdrop on two separate occasions, but both times Backlund was able to get a hold of the bottom rope.

Backlund strung together a series of moves as we approached the 30 minute mark, and it looked like we were going to see a 3-time World champion. Backlund slammed Rhodes to the mat, and Rhodes clutched his back like he had just been shot. Rhodes grabbed a hold of Kroll and complained about how severely he was injured, taking the complete attention of our senior referee. While Kroll was tied up with Rhodes, he were shocked when the new Intercontinental champion STAN HANSEN and nearly decapitated Backlund with the Lariat! Nobody knew what the hell was going on or why Hansen attacked Backlund unprovoked, but the fact was, the damage was done. Rhodes hit the Bionic Elbowdrop for good measure and successfully retained the title. It looks like Hansen is the 4th member of the Texas Outlaws, but he's going to have a lot of explaining to do when asked why.

Card rating: ***

Match observations:

9/15/81 - THE SPECTRUM - Philadelphia, PA

MAIN EVENT - Bob Backlund/Jimmy Snuka/Ric Flair/B. Brian Blair vs. The Texas Outlaws
WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES - Antonio Inoki/Jumbo Tsuruta (c) vs. The Can-Am Strongmen
NO HOLDS BARRED - Luke Graham vs. Larry Zbyszko

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