December 4, 1982 - Maple Leaf Gardens - Toronto, ON, CA

The Brisco Brothers (Jerry Brisco and Jack Brisco) defeated The Soul Patrol (Tony Atlas and Rocky Johnson) when Jack Brisco made R. Johnson submit to the Figure-Four Leglock in 0:12:11.
Rating: ** 1/2
[Ken Patera and Dino Bravo interfered against Rocky Johnson.]

A lot of important matches tonight in Toronto as we head into the year-end show at MSG, starting with determining who will wrestle for the World Tag Team Titles in New York. The champs, the Can-Am Strongmen, have done their best to run interference against the Soul Patrol, making them jump through hoops to get a fair crack at the gold. The hoop put in front of them tonight was the Brisco Brothers, but it ended up backfiring on them, because the Briscos demanded a title shot if they won the match. Dino Bravo & Ken Patera got a front row seat as the match went on, claiming that they were only their scouting their next opponents. Of course, we knew that was too good to be true. It was a matter of who the Strongmen wanted to face the least, and it was revealed to be the Soul Patrol. During a chaotic moment of the match when Dino Bravo had referee Danny Davis distracted, Patera entered the ring and clipped Rocky Johnson's knee from behind, causing the Soulman to crumple to the mat. Jack Brisco saw this and dispatched of Patera with a clothesline that sent him to fly over the top. Brisco was torn, but he knew a title match was on the line as he put Johnson in the Figure-Four Leglock and got the submission victory. Atlas & Johnson confronted the Briscos about how the match ended, but cooler heads prevailed as the Soul Patrol wished the Briscos luck in taking the tag titles from the Strongmen on December 27.

The Iron Sheik pinned Spike Huber with his special move in 0:02:26.
Rating: * 1/2

Freddie Blassie decided that The Iron Sheik & Don Muraco should go at it in singles competition, and the Sheik got an easy draw against hard-working Spike Huber. Huber brought what he could in the opening moment of the match, but Sheik over powered him, loaded up his boot, and kicked Huber hard in the face to get a quick but cheap win. Singles action may be where Sheik can make his biggest impact. We'll see how Muraco does back in singles action later against Jumbo Tsuruta.

Terry Funk made Terry Taylor submit to the Spinning Toe Hold in 0:08:52.
Rating: *** 1/2

Terry Taylor has had success in bending the rules to get the better of his former tag team partner Rick Martel, but those same tactics didn't work against the unstable Terry Funk. All of the things that normally work for Taylor were not working against the unorthodox Funk, who kept laying the leather to Taylor's hide. B. BRIAN BLAIR came down to interject himself into affairs, but one stern look from Funk sent Blair heading for the hills. That was the smartest thing Blair could have done as Funk isn't one to put up with such shenanigans. Funk got the Spinning Toe Hold and a submission victory in Toronto. Taylor's going to need to lick his wounds because he will be wrestling Rick Martel one more time at the year-end show.

Ricky Steamboat defeated Bill Eadie by disqualification in 0:05:52.
Rating: * 3/4
[Larry Zbyszko interfered against Ricky Steamboat.]

Bill Eadie teamed with Larry Zbyszko last month against Bruno Sammartino & Ricky Steamboat. After losing the match, Eadie wanted a little extra out of Steamboat, so a 1-on-1 match was signed. We found out why it was signed though. Eadie will do anything for a paycheck, and it was obvious that Zbyszko was lining his pockets in order to soften Steamboat up before the Intercontinental Title match in New York. Steamboat never takes a match easy, so he was going at the Ax with all he had, and he took a lot of punishment as a result. When Steamboat got himself a string of offense together and put himself up top for the Flying Crossbody, ZBYSZKO came down and shoved him off the turnbuckle, resulting in the disqualification. The 2-on-1 didn't last long before SAMMARTINO chased them off with a wooden chair. As if the steel cage match needed any more fuel for that fire.

Nick Bockwinkel defeated Tito Santana when Tito Santana passed out in a figure-four leglock in 0:07:55.
Rating: *** 1/4

Nick Bockwinkel ate a loss to Tito Santana recently, thanks to a distraction from Ric Flair. With Flair not here tonight, Bockwinkel wanted to show the world that he could beat Santana, and beat him badly. Santana used his speed to keep Bockwinkel away from him early on, but once Bockwinkel got a firm hold on him, it became a mugging. At Bobby Heenan's urging, Bockwinkel ripped and tore at Santana's knee, clearly trying to put Santana on the shelf. He didn't quite get to that point, but it was close. Bockwinkel put Santana in Flair's hold, the Figure-Four Leglock, a direct slap in the face to the Nature Boy. Santana couldn't hold on and passed out from the pain of the hold. If Bockwinkel is this vicious at the year-end show, Flair might be in over his head, especially if his knee isn't at 100%.

Jumbo Tsuruta pinned Don Muraco with the Jumbo Knee in 0:13:12.
Rating: ****
[Freddie Blassie interfered against Jumbo Tsuruta.]

Freddie Blassie wanted to split The Iron Sheik & Don Muraco up after they're lack of cohesion as a tag team, so both men got singles matches. Sheik won his earlier in impressive fashion, but Muraco had a bit more trouble against his opponent, Jumbo Tsuruta. With all respect to Spike Huber, he is no Jumbo Tsuruta. Muraco's plate had a lot more on it than Sheik did. Still, Muraco is no slouch, being a former Intercontinental champion. He held his own against Jumbo, going move for move with the former 2-time World champion, and by the end of the match, the crowd was on their feet. The ending came when Muraco hoisted Jumbo up for the Tombstone but Jumbo pushed through it, kicking Muraco in the gut and then hitting the Jumbo Knee. As a groggy Muraco came to after the match, Blassie did not look happy as he stared at the Magnificent One. A little trouble in paradise?

Rick Martel defeated B. Brian Blair when B. Brian Blair passed out in the Boston Crab in 0:09:20.
Rating: **** 1/4

Rick Martel gets to finally get his hands on his former partner, Terry Taylor, at the year-end show, but he first had to get through the roadblock that is Taylor's new partner, B. Brian Blair. It didn't take long for Taylor join the action at ringside, merely to "scout and lend moral support" to his partner, which was hard to believe. To Taylor's credit, he didn't get physically involved in this match. But his presence did serve as a major league distraction to Martel. Martel suffered quite a bit of punishment as a result, much to the delight of Taylor. Any match can change in a heartbeat though, and that happened here when Blair got too cocky and chose to gloat on the top rope before going for a flying dropkick. Martel moved, Blair missed, and Martel put on the Boston Crab. Blair couldn't get out and the referee stopped the match and awarded it to Martel. Taylor jumped in and attacked Martel from behind, but Martel turned the tides and threw Taylor over the top to the outside. This battle is going to be heated in New York.

King Kong Bundy defeated Jimmy Snuka by countout in 0:08:56.
Rating: *
[Bob Backlund interfered against Jimmy Snuka.]

This match was the ultimate example of a calculated risk by Jimmy Snuka. He got his match with Bob Backlund for the year-end show, but to do so, he had to both put up his career AND take this match with Backlund's mountain of a bodyguard, King Kong Bundy. No one has been able to even knock Bundy down yet, let alone defeat him. Bundy has even already beaten the Superfly once, which is nothing to scoff at. Snuka went in with the wrong gameplan last time, but he was far better prepared this go-round. He is a veteran and used that ring savvy to his advantage. For as physically imposing as Bundy is, he is a rookie, and there's a lot of in-ring skills that can't be developed through any other means but experience. Snuka got in most of the offense, but he still couldn't get the big man off his feet. It didn't help that BOB BACKLUND came out to distract Snuka, tripping him from the outside when the Superfly hit the ropes. Backlund turned around and pointed to his head like he was so smart, but he didn't see Snuka jump to the outside and plant Backlund with a headbutt! The crowd was very excited about that, but in the heat of the moment, Snuka failed to see Bundy drop to the floor. Bundy hit Snuka in the back of the head with a clothesline. If that wasn't bad enough, Bundy hit Snuka with a big splash right on the floor! Snuka's ribs were all but crushed, and Bundy got back in the ring to pick up the countout win. Snuka's ribs were re-injured, and though no one would think less of him for backing out of the match in MSG with his career on the line, the Superfly will take on Backlund in the match to finally end this epic feud once and for all!

The Von Erich Brothers (Kerry Von Erich and Kevin Von Erich) and Stan Hansen defeated The Texas Outlaws (Bobby Duncum, Dick Murdoch and Dusty Rhodes) when Hansen pinned Duncum with the Lariat in 0:29:34.
Rating: ** 1/2

If it wasn't for the huge cage match main event, this would have been the main event on a normal night. A huge 6-man clash pitting the 3 remaining members of the Texas Outlaws - World champion Dusty Rhodes, Bobby Duncum, & Dick Murdoch, taking on the Von Erich Brothers and former Outlaw, Stan Hansen, who was unceremoniously ousted from the group at our last show. Hansen by no means cares for the Von Erichs, but he was willing to look past that to coexist with them in order to get his hands on Dusty Rhodes. As a result, the teamwork on the Hansen/Von Erichs side was surprisingly crisp. The same can't be said for the Outlaws, as the American Dream was looking out for himself only. Rhodes was exclusively looking to avoid Hansen at all costs, and though he was successful in doing that, his team suffered as a result. Duncum & Murdoch had to do the brunt of the work, and they were growing increasingly disillusioned by it. When Duncum was getting pounded on by the Lariat in the closing moments, he looked to make a tag into Rhodes, but Rhodes instead dropped to the floor and retreated to the back. This let Hansen jack Duncum's jaw with the Lariat and pick up the win for his team. Rhodes got away tonight, but he will have nowhere to run at the year-end show as he will defend the title against Hansen in Madison Square Garden!

Cage Match:
Larry Zbyszko defeated Bruno Sammartino by escaping the cage in 0:12:24.
Rating: ** 1/2

Main event time, and it was historical in nature as it was announced as Bruno Sammartino's final match. It was going to be a hell of a way to go out, as it was in the most dangerous match in wrestling, the steel cage match, against his former protege', the disrespectful villain Larry Zbyszko. Zbyszko has become obsessed with getting the better of his once mentor, but so far, thanks in part to Ricky Steamboat, has been unable to do so. As we would expect, Bruno controlled the early parts of the contest with his experience and his clear power advantage. Even at his age, Bruno is tremendously powerful, and he used that to bust Zbyszko open. Bruno couldn't put Zbyszko away though, and the ruthless villain evened the odds with a poke to the eye and throwing Bruno's head off the cage wall to bust him open as well. From there, the Living Legend was relentless, beating Bruno into a pulp. The beatdown got to be so bad that RICKY STEAMBOAT ran down to help, but a semi-conscious Sammartino told Steamboat to go to the back and let him fight his own battle. Steamboat reluctantly did, but it just got Bruno hurt more. Bruno had a little life in him, but he used up the last of his energy in a final push but couldn't get out of the cage. Zbyszko planted him in the ring with the Crunch Time and casually walked out of the door, picking up the victory to the chagrin of Toronto. Zbyszko is flying high right now, but he is going to have a whale of a time against his old rival Steamboat in MSG.

Card rating: ** 3/4

Match observations:

12/27/82 - MADISON SQUARE GARDEN - New York, NY

WORLD TITLE - Dusty Rhodes (c) vs. Stan Hansen
INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE - Larry Zbyszko (c) vs. Ricky Steamboat
WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES - The Can-Am Strongmen (c) vs. The Brisco Brothers
SUBMISSION MATCH - Ric Flair vs. Nick Bockwinkel
Jumbo Tsuruta vs. King Kong Bundy
The Von Erichs vs. Bobby Duncum/Dick Murdoch
Rick Martel vs. Terry Taylor

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