December 23, 1983 - Madison Square Garden - New York, NY

The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey) and The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid) battled to a draw in 0:10:00.
Rating: *

Shows at Madison Square Garden are always a huge deal, and it can be especially big if you are a team making your debut. Dynamite Kid & Davey Boy Smith, collectively known as the British Bulldogs, got that chance by making their debut in the world's most famous arena against Jim Cornette's ever-annoying Midnight Express. The Bulldogs didn't look overwhelmed by the magnitude of the situation in the least, showcasing a variety of impressive and athletic moves. Cornette was well-prepared for this though, having done his research and knowing about the skills of the English exports. Cornette directed Dennis Condrey & Bobby Eaton to stall as early and as often as possible. This served to frustrate the Bulldogs and the fans both, the latter growing impatient with the lack of action on the Midnight Express' part. The match would go to a time limit draw, which made no one but Cornette & the Express happy.

Tony Atlas pinned Rocky Johnson after a back suplex in 0:06:46.
Rating: ** 1/4

A year ago, there was no hotter team in all of wrestling than the Soul Patrol. They were such a feel-good story too, climbing the ladder to become the first African American tag team champions in GCW history. What a difference a year makes. After losing the straps to Bobby Duncum & Dick Murdoch in August, the team has slowly disintegrated to the point where Rocky Johnson finally turned on Tony Atlas in Baltimore. They were quick to get this match signed, and the way these two went at it, you can tell that there has been some animosity between them for quite a long time. Just because two guys makes a good team doesn't mean they like each other, and I think that was a big part of the Soul Patrol. Not a pretty match, but the fans were firmly behind Atlas throughout. The end came when the Soulman went for the Johnson Shuffle, but he missed a big swinging punch and got caught in a back suplex. Mr. USA gets the pin, and hopefully this ugliness is behind us.

The Rock 'N Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) defeated Dino Bravo and Nikolai Volkoff when R. Morton pinned Bravo after a flying cross body press in 0:05:45.
Rating: **
[Freddie Blassie interfered against Ricky Morton.]

Since Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson debuted in GCW earlier this year, it seems like they've been at odds with Dino Bravo & Nikolai Volkoff every step of the way. Bravo is considered by many as the best tag team wrestler in GCW history, but this new team with Volkoff hasn't meshed as smoothly as Freddie Blassie had expected. That could have turned all around had they pulled out a victory tonight, but they just didn't have an answer for the speed of the Rock 'N Roll Express. Morton caught Bravo with a flying cross body press to snag a big victory for the young exciting team.

Larry Zbyszko pinned The Iron Sheik after a gutwrench suplex in 0:07:14.
Rating: ** 1/2
[Freddie Blassie interfered against Larry Zbyszko.]

The end of a relatively rough year for Freddie Blassie came to an end with his Iron Sheik going up against "The Cruncher" Larry Zbyszko. I wouldn't have believed to ever hear it, but the ovation that Zbyszko got was DEAFENING. The still-sinister Zbyszko has slowly built up a fan following because of his intensity and no-nonsense wrestling style (and clocking Blassie in the jaw a couple of months ago certainly didn't hurt). Sheik is one of the strongest men on the roster, but Zbyszko countered that by being one of the smartest. The strength of a wrestler is greatly diminished if that wrestler can't get a hold of you, and that's what the Cruncher did. Zbyszko took pot shots at Sheik, gradually wearing him down before he could hit a gutwrench suplex to secure a big win. Not the way that Blassie wanted his 1983 to end, I can tell you that.

Don Muraco is looking for a new manager.

Speaking of managers, one of Blassie's former clients, "The Magnificent" Don Muraco was not booked for a match tonight, but he did make an appearance. Muraco insulted all of the fans for not being as magnificent as him, which just seemed unnecessary, before making an announcement. He admitted that there may have been a time in the recent past that he was not so magnificent, but that time is over now after his recent string of victories. Muraco continued by saying he is ready to take the next step to get back to where he was before, and to do that, he is officially in the market for a new manager. And when he finds the right person to handle his affairs, there will be no stopping Don Muraco.

Ricky Steamboat pinned Tully Blanchard after a German suplex in 0:10:20.
Rating: *** 3/4

Tully Blanchard has already proven in his short time in the business that he is not somebody that you can ever trust. But if he's even half as good as he tells everyone that he is, he is going to have a fantastic career. We thought he was showing a softer side recently when after losing to Ricky Steamboat, he offered a handshake, but instead kicked the Dragon below the belt. Steamboat made the challenge for this match after being disrespected in such a manner, and what a damn good match it was. Like we've said before about Blanchard, he's very easy to hate, but if you take his sometimes cowardly demeanor as a sign that he's not an accomplished wrestler, you are going to find yourself with your shoulders on the mat. But with Steamboat, that is never a problem. He is one of, if not the best prepared wrestlers in the game. He is constantly working to get better, studying his opponents ahead of time to have a game plan. He didn't fall for a single one of Blanchard's underhanded tactics, making Blanchard wrestle his match. Blanchard did a great job of holding his own and we got a fantastic match as a result, with Steamboat dropping Tully on his head with a German suplex to pick up the duke.

Jimmy Snuka defeated Nick Bockwinkel by disqualification in 0:08:25.
Rating: ** 1/2
(Nick Bockwinkel retained the GCW Intercontinental Title.)

Jimmy Snuka earned this title opportunity for the Intercontinental championship by being the first man to pin King Kong Bundy. That is a feat in itself, but he still had a tough row to hoe against the impressive Nick Bockwinkel. It also didn't help the Superfly that he started at a grave disadvantage because Bockwinkel jumped him on his way to the ring! The first two minutes of this encounter wasn't even official as it was Bockwinkel putting the boots to Snuka on the floor. Snuka was fighting back, but Bockwinkel had the upper hand through most of that until the bell rang to officially get this one under way. Snuka was wrestling from the defensive for the whole match, but with the crowd firmly behind him, he was clawing his way back into contention to the point that he had Bockwinkel in position for the Superfly Splash. Snuka climbed to the top, but before he could leap off, Bockwinkel shoved referee Danny Davis into the ropes, causing Snuka to get crotching on the top and Bockwinkel to be disqualified! Bobby Heenan wasted no time in getting his man out there, grabbing the IC Title off the timekeeper's table, helping Bockwinkel roll out of the ring, and retreating to the locker room. Snuka needed a bit of time to recover, but when he figured out what happened, he went stomping to the back in search of Bockwinkel.

The Texas Outlaws (Bobby Duncum and Dick Murdoch) defeated Junkyard Dog and Mike Rotundo when Duncum defeated Rotundo when Rotundo passed out in a cobra clutch in 0:07:47.
Bobby Duncum suffered a back injury. He will be out for approximately 2 months.
Rating: * 3/4

This ended up being a very interesting match. The World Tag Team Titles wouldn't be on the line since this was their first time teaming up, but Junkyard Dog & Mike Rotundo asked for a non-title match against Bobby Duncum & Dick Murdoch to see how they would do. It turns out that they did very well, quite frankly. They complimented each other very well, what with Rotundo's meticulous scientific wrestling and JYD's brawling style. That being said, Duncum & Murdoch are still the World Tag Team champions, and when they realized what they were dealing with, they kicked it up a notch. Despite Duncum suffering what appeared to be a back injury when trying to hoist JYD up for a suplex early in the match, he would get a cobra clutch on Rotundo to win the match for his team. Still, a good showing on the part of Rotundo & JYD, a team we may see again in the future.

Dusty Rhodes pinned Ole Anderson with the Bionic Elbowdrop in 0:03:40.
Rating: * 3/4

I have never seen Dusty Rhodes more pissed off than he was tonight. And after the ruse that Ric Flair & Ole Anderson perpetrated on him, I can't say that I blame him. Now we haven't seen Ole in quite awhile, but if there's one thing we know about him, it's how tough he is. You wouldn't have guessed it after watching this match. The Dream never gave him a chance to get out of the blocks, being fueled by pure rage en route to a dominating victory in just under 4 minutes. Anderson would get a small measure of revenge on Rhodes by hitting him in the back with a wooden chair after the match, but the blow didn't hurt Rhodes as much as it infuriated him more. Ole knew this was not going to be his night and he sprinted away as quickly as possible, Rhodes tight on his heels.

Rick Martel made Bob Backlund submit to the Boston Crab in 0:24:04.
Rating: *** 1/2

If there's anyone who has done more for his career in 1983 than Rick Martel, I don't know who it is. He has grown from being a fringe tag team guy with a lot of untapped potential to taking the top stars in wrestling to the limit. The only thing he was missing was that big win. Well, not any more. Martel now has that marquee win under his belt. This was a great match, featuring the new stoic Backlund in all his glory. This cool, calculating Backlund is a little scary because now that he's keeping his emotions a lot closer to his chest, he is hard to read. Martel was kicking on all cylinders though. He was crisp, he was fast, and he gave Backlund a run for his money. Backlund looked to be pulling a repeat from last show though as he had the Crossface Chickewing on, but he couldn't get Martel down on the canvas to truly get it locked on tight. Martel fought and fought, eventually pushing Backlund back into the corner. A big dropkick followed, and then he didn't hesitate in locking on the Boston Crab! The crowd could sense we were about to see something big, but Backlund was inching himself closer to the ropes. If Backlund could get to the ropes, it wouldn't be out of question to think he'd be able to go on and win this match - he's that dangerous. But right when Backlund's fingertips touched the bottom rope, Martel pulled him back out to the center of the ring as the crowd exploded! Martel sat all the way back and Backlund gave it up! A huge win for Martel going into 1984!

Stan Hansen pinned Ric Flair with the Lariat in 0:14:57.
Rating: *** 1/2
(Stan Hansen won the GCW World Title.)

The 180 degree turn that Ric Flair has pulled over the last couple of shows is astounding. He had been one of the most popular wrestlers in all of the world, and just as quickly he has become one of the most reviled. He may have lost the respect of the fans, but he has earned his first World Title, which depending on your perspective is not a bad trade-off. He did make the mistake of pissing off a man that you have to be out of your mind to piss off, Stan Hansen. Hansen's main goal in coming back from his broken hand was to do the same to Dusty Rhodes, but when you're dumb enough to attack Hansen from behind with your World Title, you're going to get some of his wrath too. Flair has made it known that he is never without a plan, and his plan was pretty basic tonight - if the going got tough, Ole Anderson was going to get involved to help him keep the title, either through interfering directly or by getting the Nature Boy disqualified. What they didn't anticipate was when Ole came out, Hansen received an unexpected assist from DUSTY RHODES! Rhodes cut Ole off and brawled with him in the aisle. I don't think this save was to help Hansen as much as it was to hurt the man who helped cost him the World Title. The Nature Boy was looking out into the brawl at the brawling Rhodes & Anderson and had a shocked look on his face. He should have been paying attention to the ring, as when he turned back around, he turned right into the Lariat! One…two… THREE! New World champion! For the second time, Stan Hansen is holding the most prestigious championship in all of wrestling. Hansen was presented with the title and shot Rhodes a look that said, "Thanks for your help, but you're still dead," a look that the Dream returned.

After Hansen had left the ring with the World Title, Anderson helped Flair get to his feet. The Nature Boy was still knocked a little loopy after that Lariat, but he still grabbed Howard Finkel's microphone. Flair told the people to stop laughing at him, because he is still better than all of their fat asses. Flair said he was tired of the ugly people in GCW's crowds and tired of the whole company. He surprised everyone by QUITTING and saying he was never coming back! We thought later on that maybe this was simply Flair being upset in the heat of the moment, but we verified later that he has indeed left Global Championship Wrestling.

What a shocking end to what has been a great 1983. What does 1984 have in store for the top wrestling promotion in the world? Join us on January 11 in Toronto to find out!

Card rating: ** 3/4

Match observations:

1/11/84 - MAPLE LEAF GARDENS - Toronto, ON, CA

INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE - Nick Bockwinkel (c) vs. Jimmy Snuka
The British Bulldogs vs. The Midnight Express
Mike Rotundo vs. Dick Murdoch
Dusty Rhodes vs. Ole Anderson

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