December 11, 1980 - Maple Leaf Gardens - Toronto, ON, CA

Bob Backlund pinned Dino Bravo after a small package in 0:05:45.
Rating: ** 1/4

December in the Great White North can be icy cold, but the wrestling action was red hot here in Toronto! Bob Backlund is 19 days away from what might be the biggest rematch in GCW history, his World Title shot against former best friend Jimmy Snuka. He had a match against Dino Bravo to kick off our evening. Many people were calling this a tune up match for Backlund, but Bravo is anything but a tune up. As a former 3-time World Tag Team champion, Bravo is by no means a slouch. He got in some nice power offense in the early goings, but he became a bit complacent and felt he had this one in the bag early. Backlund suckered him in to going for his Side Suplex too early, hit Bravo with a back elbow, and cinched him up in a small package to get the 1-2-3. Bravo went after Backlund, but Backlund dove out of the ring to avoid any further confrontation. He didn't see KEN PATERA come from behind though, who nailed him with a big clothesline to the back of the head. Patera tossed Backlund back in the ring where Bravo planted him with the Side Suplex. Patera locked him in the Swinging Full Nelson for a few seconds for good measure before tossing Backlund down to the mat. As the Can-Am Strongmen went to the back, they were met by ARNOLD SKAALAND who handed them what appeared to be a big wad of cash. Skaaland had paid off the Strongmen to soften Backlund up! Despicable.

Bob Backlund says he will have someone in his corner on 12/30/80.

When Bob Backlund got back to his feet and shook out the cobwebs, he grabbed Howard Finkel's microphone and had a message directed for Arnold Skaaland. He told the Golden Boy that he thought something like this might happen, and to ensure it doesn't happen again at Madison Square Garden, he will have someone in his corner to watch his back! There's a lot of speculation going around the locker room of who Backlund has found to watch his back, but he says he won't spill the beans until December 30.

B. Brian Blair defeated Don Muraco by disqualification in 0:06:47.
Rating: * 1/2
(Don Muraco retained the GCW Intercontinental Title.)
[Freddie Blassie interfered against B. Brian Blair.]

With the huge upset in pinning Ivan Koloff at our last event, B. Brian Blair was granted the biggest opportunity of his young career when he got a shot at Don Muraco and his Intercontinental Title. "Classy" Freddie Blassie has been saying that Blair is trying to embarrass him, which anyone watching would know is not the case. Either way, Blair had a chance to hold gold as a rookie, which is nothing to scoff at. Problem is, he would have to beat Muraco to do so, and Muraco was set on breaking Blair in half. It looked as if the miracle story wasn't going to take place at the beginning of the match, as the much larger, stronger, and more experienced Muraco had his way with Blair, tossing the high flyer around like he was nothing. Muraco could have had the pin after a big suplex, but he chose to lift Blair's shoulders off the mat to inflict more punishment. Since Blair is a high flyer, Muraco wanted to show that he could do that better as well, uncharacteristically going to the top rope. He jumped off with a splash and crashed and burned hard, giving Blair his chance. Blair went nuts with a flurry of dropkicks that had Muraco all out of sorts before going to the top himself. Blair flew through the air with the greatest of ease with a flying cross body for the 1…2… FREDDIE BLASSIE BREAKS IT UP! The crowd booed as Muraco was disqualified, a blatant move by Blassie to keep the Intercontinental Title in his camp. To make matters worse, Blair was stunned long enough for Muraco to scoop him up and plant him with the Tombstone. Due to what happened, the Championship Committee was quick to act and has granted a rematch for Blair at the year-end show… with Freddie Blassie banned from ringside!

The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes and Terry Gordy) defeated The Guerreros (Hector Guerrero and Mando Guerrero) when T. Gordy made M. Guerrero submit to a camel clutch in 0:07:19.
Rating: ** 1/4

The Fabulous Freebirds have looked spectacular in the first couple of matches they've had, showing a flamboyance and style we've never seen in the tag team division. Each time we see them, they have a little more swagger, as was the case in this match against Hector & Mando Guerrero. The Guerreros didn't much appreciate this cockiness of Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy, which they let the Freebirds know about with stereo slaps to the face. From there, the match got a little heated as you could tell there was a little extra mustard on each move. The Guerreros were wrestling dangerously though, and Mando missed a senton from the top that surely would have finished the match off. Instead, it was the nail in his own coffin as Gordy locked him in a camel clutch to get the submission. The Freebirds wanted another handshake after the match but the Guerreros wanted nothing to do with it as they just left in disgust.

That didn't seem to affect the chipper mood of the Freebirds though, as Hayes grabbed the microphone from the Fink and announced that at the year-end show, the Fabulous Freebirds were going to play a live rock concert for all of their fans in New York! We'd heard rumblings that there was some musical talent amongst the Freebirds, and we are going to see it at Madison Square Garden.

Ivan Koloff pinned Ivan Putski with the Russian Sickle in 0:07:54.
Rating: ** 1/4

"The Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff was wrestling with a chip on his shoulder after his surprising loss to B. Brian Blair in Landover. Koloff was completely embarrassed that he lost, and as a former World champion, you can't blame him when he gets pinned by a rookie. Koloff wanted to take this out on "Polish Power" Ivan Putski, but Putski is a powderkeg of power. Putski is not going to be pushed around by anybody. Koloff insisted on trying to match power with Putski, and when he did that, he was met with less than favorable results. Koloff actually did something he doesn't have to do often, and that's move around to use a more hit-and-run offensive attack. He kept away from Putski before he found his opening to hit the Russian Sickle and get the win.

Sgt. Slaughter touts making Roddy Piper submit, but gets a rebuttal from the Rowdy Scot.

Sgt. Slaughter was all smiles (well, as much smiles as the former drill sergeant ever is, anyway) as he came out for an interview. Slaughter's main point was to brag about how he made Roddy Piper "cry like a baby and quit" during their last encounter, conveniently neglecting to mention that before he put on the Cobra Clutch, he blasted Piper between the eyes with a foreign object. Slaughter kept running Piper down before the Rowdy Scot finally had enough and came to the ring. Piper wanted to make it very clear that he never submitted and that Slaughter knocked him silly with a foreign object. "I don't say 'uncle' for no man!" Piper wanted Slaughter to put his money where his mouth was and if he thinks he could do it again, he wanted to wrestle Slaughter at the year-end show in an I Quit match! Slaughter accepted the challenge, saying it was going to be his pleasure to make Piper squeal like a pig and embarrass him right out of GCW. Piper went to leave, but Slaughter tried to jump him from behind. Piper saw it coming though, ducked the blow, and put Slaughter in the Sleeper! Piper could have put Slaughter down, but he let him go just before Slaughter lost consciousness. Piper is in Slaughter's head now, but we know this is going to be one hell of a fight at MSG.

Terry Funk pinned Larry Zbyszko after a crucifix in 0:12:25.
Rating: ***

"The Cruncher" Larry Zbyszko has been raving all day, telling anyone who was willing to listen about how he feels he should be the one challenging Jimmy Snuka for the World Title tonight, not Stan Hansen. Zbyszko wanted a match tonight with the last man to "unjustly get a shot at the World Title," Terry Funk, who was unsuccessful in his attempt to dethrone Snuka in Landover. Funk & Zbyszko are tremendous mat wrestlers when they want to be, but they didn't want to be here. This became a knock down, drag out fight, both men throwing and connecting with big haymakers. By the end of this match, Funk & Zbyszko were punch drunk from all of the wild shots they were throwing. Considering what a wild brawl this was (the ringside area housed as much of the match as the ring did), it ended with a simple wrestling hold. Zbyszko went for that final blow to put Funk down, but the Funker ducked and caught the Cruncher in a crucifix. Zbyszko was so thrown off that he couldn't kick out in time and Funk grabbed the win.

After the match, Zbyszko was beside himself, and he decided to take this out on Howard Finkel. Zbyszko pushed the Fink around after Fink announced Funk the winner, grabbing him by the collar and threatening to deck him. This brought out STAN HANSEN who jumped in the ring, causing Zbyszko to release the announcer and exit the ring to safer pastures. The Fink tried to thank Hansen by offering his hand for a shake, but Hansen just snorted at him and went to the back.

Antonio Inoki and Jumbo Tsuruta defeated The Wild Samoans (Afa and Sika) when Tsuruta pinned Sika with the Jumbo Knee in 0:16:27.
Rating: ** 3/4

Captain Lou Albano felt that having to wrestle Jumbo Tsuruta and a mystery partner last month was unfair and impossible to prepare for, especially when that mystery partner turned out to be former World champion Antonio Inoki. Albano had Afa & Sika far more prepared than last match, showcasing why the Wild Samoans have held the tag titles on two separate occasions. What got them off course was Albano's insistence that they teach Inoki a lesson for coming back to GCW when "nobody wants him here." Instead of working toward getting the win, they kept trying to punish Inoki. Inoki is the type of wrestler where he is always in a match: all he needs is an opportunity. He got that opportunity when Afa missed a splash off th second turnbuckle, letting Inoki tag in Jumbo. Afa also tagged in Sika, but Jumbo was a house of fire and started cleaning house. The Samoans temporarily regained the edge when Afa got up and helped double team Jumbo, but Inoki recovered enough to dropkick Afa out of the ring. Jumbo then hit Sika with the Jumbo Knee and secured the victory.

After the show in a press conference, Tsuruta thanked Inoki (in Japanese) for his help the past couple months, and for being an inspiration and mentor for him in his career. But he said that one question has always been in the back of his mind: "can I beat Antonio Inoki?" Jumbo challenged Inoki to a one-on-on match for the year-end show! Inoki praised Jumbo for what he has accomplished in the United States, saying that he has the potential to be the greatest puroresu competitor of all-time. Inoki said it would be his honor to wrestle Jumbo and see if he still has it to be the best. The two men shook hands and we have ourselves another huge match for the year-end show!

The Matadors (Tito Santana and Manny Fernandez) defeated Paul Jones' Army (Paul Jones and The Masked Superstar) when M. Fernandez pinned P. Jones with the Flying Burrito in 0:14:44.
Rating: ** 1/2

Because Manny Fernandez managed to pin The Masked Superstar in the 8-man tag match last month, the new team of Tito Santana & he, The Matadors, got a non-title match against Superstar & Paul Jones. This match had a ton of ramifications in the tag team division, because if the Matadors could pull off the win, they'd catapult to the top of the contenders list. There was some question about how well Fernandez & Santana would function as a team, given their inexperience teaming and Fernandez's nefarious past. Those questions were put to rest early when the Matadors showed some great teamwork with a double hiptoss and a double dropkick. The tag team champions saw this coming and managed to weather the early storm to get back on the advantage thanks to a big powerslam from the Masked Superstar on Santana. The Matadors never lost their composure though and Fernandez was quick to make saves for his partner when it looks like Santana may have been pinned. Santana needed to find a chance to get the tag out to Fernandez, and he did so when he ducked a Masked Superstar clothesline, causing the masked man to hit Paul Jones instead! Santana dove to make the tag, and the Ragin' Bull came in a house of fire, delivering dropkicks left and right. The champs temporarily regained the advantage based on the numbers game, but Santana recovered enough to send Superstar out of the ring with the Flying Forearm. The crowd was going crazy by now, but not as much as when Fernandez connected with the Flying Burrito on Paul Jones to get the 1-2-3! The Matadors have defeated the World Tag Team champions in a non-title match! We've just learned that the Matadors will be given another match against Paul Jones & The Masked Superstar in the Garden, this time for the World Tag Team Titles! If lightning can strike twice, we will see new champions crowned in the Big Apple!

Dusty Rhodes pinned Ric Flair with the Bionic Elbowdrop in 0:00:14.
Rating: *

Dusty Rhodes & Ric Flair have been going back and forth with each other for much of 1980, and this was the next installment of this feud. This match also marked the return of referee Dick Woehrle, who of course had his leg broken by Flair back at Independence Day. Before the match even started, the Nature Boy was jawing with Woehrle, threatening to snap his leg again if he didn't call this right down the middle. After the bell rang, Rhodes unleashed a barrage of elbows on Flair, catching him completely off guard. The American Dream hit the Bionic Elbowdrop and in one of the fastest matches in GCW history, pinned the Nature Boy! Flair took his eye off the ball and focused on Woehrle, and Rhodes made him pay for it. Flair was inconsolable backstage, telling anyone that would listen that Dick Woehrle screwed him over again. Rhodes said he was tired of Flair's crying and agreed to let Flair choose whatever referee he wants for their match in the Garden. As of press time, no word on the referee's identity, but since it's Flair, you have to assume it's not going to bode well for the Dream.

Pedro Morales' apology to Gorilla Monsoon goes terribly awry.

Pedro Morales had invited the retired Gorilla Monsoon to Toronto, wanting to apologize for shoving him last month and present a Lifetime Achievement Award to the Monster From Manchuria. Monsoon came out to a thunderous response, and at first was skeptical of Morales because of the Puerto Rican's recent attitude. Morales gave what looked to be a heartfelt apology, saying that Monsoon was his best friend and it was his honor to present him with a plaque to honor Monsoon for his near 20 years of in-ring service to GCW. Monsoon thanked Morales for the plaque and was glad that they could get past the unpleasantness of the past couple months. Monsoon reiterated that he doesn't blame Morales for losing back in August and ending Monsoon's career. Hearing this caused something in Morales to snap as he attacked Monsoon from behind! Morales put the boots to Monsoon before grabbing the plaque and smashing it over the skull of Monsoon! Morales was pelted with trash as he held the cracked plaque in his hands and got a twisted smile on his face. I can't believe what we just saw. Disgusting.

Jimmy Snuka pinned Stan Hansen after a savate kick in 0:14:55.
Rating: ***
(Jimmy Snuka retained the GCW World Title.)
[Larry Zbyszko interfered against Stan Hansen.]

Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka has a date with destiny on December 30 when he defends the World Title in the rematch of the century against Bob Backlund. He had to be careful though as he had quite the 'trap match' in our main event, defending the title against Stan "The Lariat" Hansen. Snuka's mind was clearly elsewhere in the early stages, looking ahead to the match with Backlund and pondering who Backlund is going to have in his corner. As Hansen was bouncing Snuka around like a rubber ball, Snuka realized that he wasn't going to make it to the year-end show if he didn't get his head on straight. Snuka used his incredible speed and agility to stay away from Hansen, peppering him with shots whenever he could. This was serving to get Hansen all riled up, and the more riled the Lariat got, the harder it became for Snuka to keep him down. It looked like we were going to see our first World Title change in Canada since 1973 as Hansen had everything going his way. He had the Superfly all set up for the Lariat, but when he hit the ropes, LARRY ZBYSZKO tripped him up! Hansen turned back to Zbyszko and about burned a hole in him with his stare. The problem was, when Hansen finally turned back to Snuka, it was just in time to catch a savate kick under the chin from the World champion. Snuka made the cover and it was just enough to retain the championship. It didn't take long for Hansen to come to, and when he locked eyes with Zbyszko, the Cruncher's smug smile turned into a look of concern as he took off in a full sprint to get away from the burly Texan, who was hot on his heels.

Card rating: ** 1/4

Match observations:

Just one more show left on the GCW calendar for 1980, and it has all the potential to be the biggest show in wrestling history! Madison Square Garden will be the place and December 30 will be the date. Just take a look at the card we have lined up for you!

WORLD TITLE - "The Rematch of the Century" - Jimmy Snuka (c) vs. Bob Backlund
INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE (Freddie Blassie banned from ringside) - Don Muraco (c) vs. B. Brian Blair
WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES - Paul Jones/The Masked Superstar (c) vs. The Matadors
Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Antonio Inoki
RIC FLAIR CHOOSES THE REFEREE - Dusty Rhodes vs. Ric Flair
I QUIT MATCH - Roddy Piper vs. Sgt. Slaughter
Stan Hansen vs. Larry Zbyszko

And if that's not enough, The Fabulous Freebirds are going to put on a concert!

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