December 30, 1976 - Madison Square Garden - New York, NY

Jimmy Snuka, Peter Maivia and Billy Robinson defeated Killer Kowalski, Nikolai Volkoff and Stan Hansen when Robinson pinned Kowalski with the Double-Arm Suplex in 0:12:24.
Rating: ** 3/4
[Bobby Heenan interfered against Peter Maivia.]

The year end show at Madison Square Garden is always one of the best shows of the year in all of wrestling. This one would be no exception, and it started off with a great 6-man tag team affair. There were no issues between the teams, other than Killer Kowalski & Stan Hansen begrudingly having to team up after the issues they've had. As you would expect, they didn't get along very well at all, making the whole team easy pickings for Billy Robinson, Peter Maivia, & Jimmy Snuka. Robinson finished the match off with the Double-Arm Suplex on Kowalski.

Hiro Matsuda pinned Mike Graham after a backslide in 0:09:03.
Rating: **** 1/4

This was a rematch from the Cobo Arena where Mike Graham scored what many felt to be an upset over Hiro Matsuda, causing Matsuda to lose the services of manager Bobby Heenan. Matsuda wanted to show Heenan that he made a mistake by getting a win in the return bout. Graham showed some impressive moves, but the crafty nature of Matsuda allowed him to catch the young Graham in a backslide. With the help of his feet on the ropes, Matsuda captured the victory. On January 13, these two will wrestle in the rubber match to see who the better man truly is.

The Blackjacks (Blackjack Lanza and Blackjack Mulligan) defeated Dean Ho and Tony Garea when Lanza made Garea submit to the Blackjack Claw in 0:06:51.
Rating: ****
(The Blackjacks retained the GCW World Tag Team Titles.)
[Bobby Heenan interfered against Tony Garea.]

The Blackjacks are currently Bobby Heenan's top dogs, and as reigning 2-time World Tag Team champions, they wanted to go into 1977 still holding the gold. They would get a challenge from Dean Ho & Tony Garea here. Garea is a former tag team champion himself, and has tried for years to regain the titles, but has always fallen just short. Tonight would be more of the same as he & Ho couldn't get past Lanza & Mulligan. Maybe 1977 will bring better luck for Garea.

Gorilla Monsoon made Sgt. Slaughter submit to a bearhug in 0:06:20.
Rating: ** 1/4

Sgt. Slaughter has grown increasingly vocal about his career frustrations, and he seems to be blaming a lot of it on his mentor and tag team partner, Gorilla Monsoon. Monsoon gave Slaughter the opportunity tonight to show he could do it on his own as the two had a match. Slaughter was confident he would be able to best the veteran, but Monsoon showed he still had some gas in the tank, getting the win over his protege' with a crushing bearhug. After the ring, Monsoon more or less demanded that Slaughter shake his hand, which he did after some trepidation. Hopefully this will put all of their problems in the past once and for all and they can focus on getting the tag team titles in 1977.

Mr. Wrestling I made Jack Brisco submit to the Sleeperhold in 0:15:17.
Rating: *** 1/2

Jack Brisco returned and exposed Mr. Wrestling I for the cheating ways he has perpetrated over the last several months, getting himself reinstated in the process. Brisco's first match back was against Mr. Wrestling, and he was fired up to say the very least. Brisco kept himself in great shape during his time away, but he was neutralized by the persistant cheating of Mr. Wrestling I. Near the end of the match, Wrestling I again slid something into his mask, looking to headbutt Brisco once again. He never got the chance though as we saw the return of JERRY BRISCO, Jack's brother! Mr. Wrestling was distracted by the the younger Brisco, allowing Jack to lock him in the Sleeperhold! Mr. Wrestling I was put to sleep, and that was all she wrote. The Briscos weren't done though, as they got their ultimate revenge by ripping the mask off the unconscious Mr. Wrestling I, revealing TIM WOODS! Woods was underneath the mask the whole time! Maybe from this experience, he will learn his lesson once and for all.

Dory Funk Jr. pinned Don Muraco after a waistlock suplex in 0:08:03.
Rating: ****

Don Muraco has tried and tried to get a win over his former mentor, Dory Funk Jr., but he has been unable to do so thus far. He knew doing so at this show would be huge, but he still seems to be missing that extra something to get him over the hump. Funk Jr. ends the year on a good note when a waistlock suplex put Muraco on his back for the 1-2-3.

Jumbo Tsuruta pinned Billy Graham with the Jumbo Knee in 0:13:29.
Rating: *** 3/4
[Bobby Heenan interfered against Jumbo Tsuruta.]

Many feel that "Superstar" Billy Graham has went too far in recent months in his efforts to try to injure Dino Bravo. Graham blames Bravo for forcing he and his brother Luke to have to break up when they were considered by many to be one of the best tag teams in the world. Bravo's new partner, Jumbo Tsuruta, took offense to Graham's attacks and came to the defense of his partner, setting up this match. The Superstar is used to intimidating his opponents, but Jumbo is not easily intimidated, taking it right to Graham. This took the Superstar aback, but he neutralized that with some huge power moves, trying to soften up the back of Jumbo for the Bearhug. The plan of Graham & Bobby Heenan was put into play. Heenan removed one of the turnbuckle pads from a corner of the ring so Graham could send Jumbo crashing into it, but when the time came, Jumbo reversed it and it was the Superstar who met the cold steel! Jumbo quickly followed up with the Jumbo Knee, and 3 seconds later, this win was in the books.

Bruiser Brody pinned Luke Graham with the Bombs Away in 0:03:12.
Rating: *** 1/4

Luke Graham never thought his night was going to pan out the way it did. Graham is still licking his wounds after the losses to Jimmy Snuka, and so he issued an open challenge for this show. The last person he expected to answer it was THE GRAND WIZARD, his former manager! The Wizard showed he wasn't there for a happy reunion as he took Graham to task for attacking him after they lost their match earlier this year to cause the Graham Brothers to break up. The Grand Wizard said he was back, and he brought his new client with him - BRUISER BRODY! Brody is famous the world over for being the best brawler in wrestling, and Graham learned that first hand. Graham has made his GCW career beating people up in dominant fashion, but he was completely manhandled by Brody here. It only took Brody three minutes to put this away with the Bombs Away kneedrop. From what The Grand Wizard said after the match, it looks like this is only the beginning for Luke Graham.

Terry Funk defeated Bobby Duncum by countout in 0:26:02.
Rating: ****
(Terry Funk retained the GCW Intercontinental Title.)

At long last, Bobby Duncum got a chance to regain his Intercontinental Title from the man who put him on the shelf to take the title from him, Terry Funk. Duncum came out like a house of fire, months of aggression pent up that he finally got to unleash here in the Garden. Despite how you feel about Funk personally, there is no denying that he is tough as nails, and he maliciously went after Duncum's neck from the opening bell. A normal man would have called it quits with the amount of punishment his neck took, but Duncum is not a normal man. He was too motivated by hate and revenge for that to happen, continually fighting back time and time again. The fight spilled to the floor later on in the contest, and Funk showed how ferocious he can be by slamming Duncum's neck into the ring post. Funk got the win after rolling back into the ring as Duncum got counted out. Funk wasn't finished though as he rolled Duncum back in the ring and grabbed a branding iron, wanting to put Duncum out of commission once and for all! Funk was ready to nail Duncum in the neck with it, but Duncum caught Funk with a desperation low blow to buy him some time. Funk took another swing, but Duncum blocked it and wrestled the branding iron away from him, reared back, and clocked the IC champ between the eyes! To put the icing on the cake, Duncum hoisted Funk up and drove him into the mat with a piledriver, a final nail in this feud.

Dusty Rhodes pinned Ivan Koloff with the Bionic Elbowdrop in 0:11:08. Dusty Rhodes tore his right rotator cuff. He will be out for approximately 5 months.
Rating: ** 1/2
[Lou Albano interfered against Dusty Rhodes.]

This was without question the most important match in the career of Dusty Rhodes. He has given himself the moniker, "The American Dream," and he put the pride of American on his back for this final contest with Ivan Koloff. This was all about country pride - whoever won the match would get to wave the flag of his country proudly in the ring, and that was something Rhodes just could not let happen. You have to give it to Rhodes. He hasn't been able to put a win on the board against Koloff, but not once has he been discouraged, pulling himself up by the boot straps time and time again and taking the fight to the Russian Bear. Rhodes took heart to a completely new level tonight, as in the early minutes of this match, he appeared to injure his shoulder, but he fought on. We found out after the fact that Rhodes suffered a torn rotator cuff, but he not only finished the match, but he won! Koloff and Captain Lou Albano tried everything in their bag of tricks, but nothing on God's green earth was going to keep Rhodes from the winner's circle. The Bionic Elbowdrop proved to be the difference as Rhodes got to win and wave Old Glory high in the air.

Two-out-of-three-Falls Match:
Harley Race beat Antonio Inoki 2 falls to 1:
x Race beat Inoki via the Piledriver in 0:18:31
x Inoki beat Race via a small package in 0:28:58
x Race beat Inoki via a flying headbutt in 0:40:37
Rating: **** 1/4
(Harley Race retained the GCW World Title.)

After a gutsy one hour draw in Tokyo, Harley Race & Antonio Inoki went at it one more time in the world's most famous arena, but this time it was best two out of three falls. We knew this one had the chance to be an all-time classic, and though it fell just short of that, it still was a great main event. It's always interesting to see what strategy the competitors are going to employ in a 2/3 falls match, but it's always a constant that the first fall is crucial. You don't want to fall into a 1-0 hole, but unfortunately for Inoki, that is exactly what happened. Inoki outwrestled Race in the opening stages of the match, but couldn't get Race to submit as he was wanting to do. Inoki seemed obsessed with getting a submission fall, which let Race find an opportunity to hit the Piledriver and take the first fall, a distinct advantage. After this, it became Race who made a mistake in strategy, thinking he had Inoki ripe for the picking because of the Piledriver. He took Inoki too lightly and got caught by surprise with a small package, tying the score at 1-1! Race was completely flustered as he now knew he was only 3 seconds away from no longer being World champion, and it didn't help his confidence in the least. Inoki had all the momentum and the buzz in the arena indicated that we were on the brink of a brand new champion. Race tried desperately to cut off the momentum of Inoki, but the former champion was a step ahead of him at every move. Inoki and Race both ended up on the top rope, which allowed Race to turn this around. He hit a headbutt which sent Inoki crashing to the mat. A diving headbutt followed and somehow, Handsome Harley once again found a way to escape with the World Heavyweight Title around his waist.

Card rating: *** 1/2

Match observations:

1976 was a good year for Global Championship Wrestling, and we're hoping 1977 will be even better! This first show of the year is in Philadelphia on January 13!

WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES - The Blackjacks (c) vs. Gorilla Monsoon/Sgt. Slaughter
Luke Graham vs. Bruiser Brody
Billy Robinson vs. Stan Hansen
Mike Graham vs. Hiro Matsuda

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