August 9, 1980 - Rumble At Wrigley - Chicago, IL

Tito Santana and Ivan Putski defeated The Can-Am Strongmen (Dino Bravo and Ken Patera) when T. Santana pinned Bravo with the Flying Forearm in 0:09:18.
Rating: * 3/4

A raucous crowd arrived at the home of the Chicago Cubs as GCW returned for the Rumble at Wrigley! Tag team action got us started as Tito Santana & Ivan Putski took on The Can-Am Strongmen. Due to an unfortunate series of events, Santana couldn't be involved in the #1 contenders match in Detroit, but Putski won the match with replacement partner Dusty Rhodes. There is said to be no ill will from Santana over what happened and he is encouraging Putski to win the titles. Some found it hard to believe that Santana would be okay with this, but this match against Dino Bravo & Ken Patera showed that Santana & the Polish Power were still cohesive as a team. Santana nailed Bravo with the Flying Forearm and recorded a victory for his team. A good way to kick off what would be a historic show.

Ivan Koloff pinned B. Brian Blair with the Russian Sickle in 0:07:59.
Rating: *** 1/4

B. Brian Blair continues to get some great in-ring experience taking on the best in the world, but thus far he hasn't been able to notch up any victories. That trend would continue in a spirited contest against "The Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff. Blair showed his potential to be one of the best high flyers in the business early on, but he went to the top rope too soon and Koloff threw him to the mat hard. That was the beginning of the end as the Russian Sickle put this match away for the Russian.

Texas Death Match:
Austin Idol pinned Terry Funk after a piledriver in 0:16:31.
Rating: ****

Austin Idol finally showed a meanstreak, or as Terry Funk called it, "grew a pair." But being willing to fight and winning a fight are two very different things, and he would have to show he could stand toe-to-toe with Terry Funk in a Texas Death Match. The Universal Heartthrob showed in this match that his show of manhood last month was no fluke as he brought it to this match. The rules of this one led to a lot of strategy, because to win a Texas Death Match, you need to not only get a pinfall or a submission, but keep the man down for a 10 count after that. Funk was frustrating Idol in the first half of this match. Every time that Idol locked on the Las Vegas Leglock, Funk would immediately submit so that he wouldn't suffer lasting damage from the hold and easily get up before the 10 count. Idol had to find another way to get the job done, but Funk wasn't going to make it easy. Funk is perhaps the best brawler in the world, and he is so unorthodox that he's hard to defend. Funk got several pinfalls on Idol, but Idol showed a toughness we didn't expect by getting up each and every time. Funk looked to put this away with a piledriver on the floor, but Idol countered with a low blow. That will slow anyone down - even a crazy man like Terry Funk. Idol hit a piledriver of his own right on the concrete, and Funk was not getting up from that. This has to be the biggest win of Idol's career, and it looks like this hardcore edge is here to stay.

Paul Jones' Army (Paul Jones and The Masked Superstar) defeated The Guerreros (Hector Guerrero and Mando Guerrero) when Superstar made M. Guerrero submit to an armbar submission in 0:04:50.
Rating: *** 1/4

Paul Jones & The Masked Superstar were mad about the recent slump they've been in the past couple of shows, especially since they missed out on an opportunity to be #1 contenders for the World Tag Team Titles. They took it out on Mando & Hector Guerrero in this one. Superstar did most of the work, demolishing Mando's arm and getting him to submit to an armbar submission after the mauling. This has been a big night for Paul Jones' Army, and they weren't done yet as we would see later.

Don Muraco pinned Roddy Piper with the Tombstone in 0:09:32.
Rating: *** 1/4
(Don Muraco won the GCW Intercontinental Title.)

Don Muraco has been a solid hand in GCW for years, but he has really come into his own since he took on "Classy" Freddie Blassie as a manager. Blassie has harnessed that raw talent that Muraco possesses and got him into a position to wrestle for the Intercontinental Title in Wrigley Field. Muraco has never held a title in GCW, and he wanted to change that against "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, but with the way Piper has wrestled the past few months, good luck to him. Piper is such a wild brawler that he is nearly impossible to game plan for, but Muraco managed some defense to this with his raw power. We thought we were going to see a successful title defense for the Rowdy Scot when he grabbed a hold of Muraco while he was on the apron and put him in the Sleeper. Problem for Piper was that Muraco was on the apron to be handed a foreign object from Blassie. Referee Tommy Young was admonishing Blassie for being too close but didn't see the object passed. While Young had his back turned, Muraco punched up and clocked Piper in the head with the object! Muraco shook out the cobwebs and hit the Tombstone after to get the 1-2-3 and secure his first championship! When Piper came to and found out what happened, he sprinted out of the ring in hopes of finding Muraco. Muraco may have won the title, but he also now has an angry Piper breathing down his neck.

Ric Flair defeated Dusty Rhodes by disqualification in 0:11:36.
Rating: ** 1/4

Dusty Rhodes is a standup guy, and he stood up for referee Dick Woehrle who is currently out with a broken leg thanks to "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. Rhodes' disapproval of Flair's weak apology and Flair's subsequent attack on Rhodes led to this match, and what a match it was. The American Dream knows how to captivate a crowd, probably better than anyone in the business today. Rhodes had Wrigley Field rocking and rolling as he bounced Flair around the ring. Flair got back in it when Rhodes missed a running knee in the corner and went to work on Rhodes' knee. Flair looked like he had this one when he got the Dream in the Figure-Four Leglock, but behind the thousands of fans in Chicago, Rhodes refused to submit. He got out of the hold and built some momentum, hitting Flair with a flurry of elbows. Rhodes was on fire, but then PAUL JONES ran down to ringside. Jones took off one of his boots and went to hand it to Flair, but Rhodes caught sight of this and nailed Jones with a Bionic Elbow to knock him off the apron. Rhodes grabbed the boot and at the rabid urging of the fans, smashed Flair in the face with it. Rhodes was DQ'ed, but he didn't seem much to mind as he lost control for a bit and nailed Flair with the boot two more times before Jones pulled the Nature Boy to safety. Jones didn't get the revenge he wanted tonight, but there will be another chance for him on August 31 in Boston as an 8-man tag match has been scheduled. It will be Paul Jones, Ric Flair, The Masked Superstar, & Austin Idol taking on Dusty Rhodes, Terry Funk, Tito Santana, & Ivan Putski!

[BOOT CAMP MATCH]: No-Countout-No-DQ-Match:
Stan Hansen pinned Sgt. Slaughter with the Lariat in 0:10:43.
Rating: **** 1/4

Sgt. Slaughter made a shocking return to GCW on Independence Day by attacking Stan Hansen, and we found out it was because he felt Hansen had gotten soft on his stance toward foreigners. The Lariat has certainly changed for the better, even recently teaming with one of his former enemies, Jumbo Tsuruta. Slaughter has adopted a policy of "if you're not with me, you're against me" and has taken the message of xenophobia Hansen used to have and turned the rhetoric up.

Hansen doesn't care about Slaughter's politics - he cares that Slaughter attacked him and you just don't do that to the Lariat. Hansen agreed to wrestle Slaughter in his match, the Boot Camp Match, where there are no rules other than the match ends in a pinfall or submission. Just an absolutely vicious encounter we had here. Hansen is perhaps the most feared brawler in the game, but it looks like Slaughter wants to give him a run for his money. Slaughter gave Hansen quite the run for his money, dominating Hansen in a way we haven't seen in quite some time. Hansen did not control the physicality for once, and it seemed strange. However, Hansen has a great equalizer: the Lariat. He ducked one of Slaughter's clothesline attempts and blasted him with the Lariat to get the 3 count. Hansen had a huge fight on his hands here and was lucky to escape. When Slaughter came to, he was fuming. He later asked for another match against Hansen which he will get on August 31 in a Texas Bullrope Match!

Larry Zbyszko pinned Jumbo Tsuruta after a swinging neckbreaker in 0:09:39.
Rating: ***

Before we got to our big double main event, we had singles action between Jumbo Tsuruta & Larry Zbyszko. Zbyszko is still wanting to get to that next level, and a win over Jumbo would go a long way in doing that. Jumbo doesn't want to be a stepping stone for anyone though, and wrestled as such. Zbyszko has been developing his more ruthless wrestling style over the last year though, and he brought that to the table by working over Jumbo's neck from the opening bell. Jumbo kept firing back though, getting a nearfall after a power bomb. It wasn't quite enough to get the win, but Tsuruta set up for the Jumbo Knee which would definitely put the Cruncher away. He came charging, but Zbyszko stepped out of the way and countered with a swinging neckbreaker. The previous damage Zbyszko had inflicted to the neck of Jumbo proved to be the difference as the Cruncher was just able to hold his shoulders down for the 1-2-3. A gigantic victory for Zbyszko, and an opportunity for Jumbo to step back and reload.

The Wild Samoans (Afa and Sika) defeated Gorilla Monsoon and Pedro Morales when Sika pinned Morales with the Samoan Drop in 0:13:50.
Rating: * 1/2
(The Wild Samoans won the GCW World Tag Team Titles.)

Coming into tonight, Gorilla Monsoon & Pedro Morales had held the World Tag Team Titles for 369 days, the third longest reign in GCW history. Considering this is Monsoon's retirement tour, it is an absolutely phenomenal feat that Monsoon & Morales have held the gold for over a year, but they were in the most danger they'd ever been in against the Wild Samoans. They have proven they would take on all comers, but the last time these two teams faced, the Samoans badly injured Morales' arm. It had healed up somewhat since that match, but Morales was clearly still suffering some ill effects coming into Wrigley Field. Morales is a competitor though and insisted he wrestle this match. In hindsight, that proved to be a horrible idea. Monsoon & Morales wrestled a strong match early, but once Afa & Sika got a hold of Morales' arm, it was the beginning of the end. Morales got cut off in the ring and had his injured arm worked over with kneedrops and splashes to the point where referee John Stanley considered throwing the match out for Morales' health. But the fiery Puerto Rican continued to fight, doing whatever he could to stay alive and prolong the career of Gorilla Monsoon. Morales finally got an opening when Afa missed a diving headbutt and knocked himself a bit silly. Morales could have made the tag, but he decided instead to go for the Boston Crab on Afa. He got Afa turned over, but his arm was in such bad shape, that he had to release the hold almost instantly. Afa used this time to recover and hit Morales with a savate kick right to the throat and tagged out to Sika. Sika came in, hit the Samoan Drop, and for the first time in over a year, we have brand new World Tag Team champions in the Wild Samoans. Captain Lou Albano celebrated like he had just won the Super Bowl as he grabbed the titles and took Afa & Sika to the back.

The bigger story was that now with the loss of the titles, Gorilla Monsoon is going to retire. Monsoon took a bit to soak this in as the fans in attendance gave him a standing ovation. Morales' arm was still hanging in intense pain, but he gave Monsoon a hug and raised the Manchurian Monster's arm in respect (hurting his own arm more in the process). It's hard to believe, but the storied career of Gorilla Monsoon has come to an end.

Cage Match:
Jimmy Snuka defeated Bob Backlund by escaping the cage in 0:22:30.
Rating: ****
(Jimmy Snuka won the GCW World Title.)
[Arnold Skaaland interfered against Bob Backlund.]

This rivalry between Bob Backlund & Jimmy Snuka is as personal a vendetta as I have ever witnessed in all my years around the wrestling business. These former friends are now the bitterest of rivals, and it all has to do with the World championship and greed. Snuka is absolutely obsessed with winning the title, but thus far has been unsuccessful in wrestling it away from Backlund. That had all the potential in the world to change tonight as he got Backlund in his specialty match, the steel cage match. Snuka had "Classy" Freddie Blassie at ringside with him, and even though there was a 15-foot tall steel cage in the way, Blassie knows how to cause havoc. Backlund countered that by having his manager, the freshly returned Arnold Skaaland at ringside to watch his back. Backlund is no slouch in the cage either, and with the hatred involved in this feud, this became a bloodbath in a hurry. Snuka struck first, throwing Backlund face first into the cage and busting him wide open at about the 6 minute mark. Backlund was bleeding like a stuck pig, but his best trait as World champion has been his tenacity. He fought to stay alive and evened the odds when he ducked a flying forearm attempt that sent Snuka flying over the ropes and into the cage. Backlund grabbed Snuka's face and ground it into the mesh, causing the Superfly to wear the crimson mask as well. The mat was more blood than canvas by the end of this one. Backlund hit his patented atomic drop that sent Snuka flying face first into the cage, and it looked like he had this one all locked up. He crawled toward the door and had a clear path, but right when he got to the door, Skaaland slammed it into his face! Backlund crumpled to the mat in a heap as Snuka began to stir. Snuka got near the door and when he was close, Skaaland grabbed his arms and pulled him out to the floor. New World champion, and I'm absolutely disgusted. Skaaland laughed as he grabbed the World Heavyweight Title and put it around Snuka's waist. This might be the most shocking turn in wrestling history. But the question remains - why?

Card rating: ***

Match observations:

For the first time in GCW history, all three championships changed hands. Jimmy Snuka is World champion, Don Muraco is Intercontinental champion, and The Wild Samoans are the World Tag Team champions. It's a new era in GCW, and we have action in Boston Garden in Boston, MA! Matches scheduled so far are:

TEXAS BULLROPE MATCH - Stan Hansen vs. Sgt. Slaughter
Dusty Rhodes/Terry Funk/Tito Santana/Ivan Putski vs. Ric Flair/Paul Jones/The Masked Superstar/Austin Idol

In addition, we will hear from World champ Jimmy Snuka & Arnold Skaaland as they explain their actions from tonight. Plus, Gorilla Monsoon will give his farewell address as his storied GCW career comes to a close! You won't want to miss it!

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