February 16, 1981 - Civic Center - Springfield, MA

Paul Jones' Army (Paul Jones and The Masked Superstar) and The Upstarts (Rick Martel and Terry Taylor) battled to a no contest in 0:07:36.
The Masked Superstar suffered a fractured right ankle. He will be out for approximately 7 months.
Rating: **
(Paul Jones' Army retained the GCW World Tag Team Titles.)

Rick Martel & Terry Taylor burst on the seen in a big way in Albany by winning the tag team battle royal in their debut. In their first official tag match, they had their shot to become the World Tag Team champions. Martel & Taylor are calling themselves The Upstarts, and you can see why with the way they've taken GCW by storm. A couple of people who were not impressed were the champs, Paul Jones & The Masked Superstar, who wanted to end this new threat before it started. Unfortunately for them, some bad luck befell the champs. The Masked Superstar had hit Taylor with a big shoulderblock, and then climbed up to the second turnbuckle. Superstar jumped off for a double axehandle, but took a nasty landing. The Superstar's right ankle twisted to a sickening angle, and it was obvious this was a serious injury. The referee stopped the match instantly as the paramedics ran out to tend to The Masked Superstar. Superstar was carted out on a stretcher and taken to a local hospital. Early reports indicate that The Masked Superstar's fractured ankle is going to keep him out of action for up to 7 months. No official word yet on what's to happen with the World Tag Team Titles.

Sgt. Slaughter defeated B. Brian Blair when B. Brian Blair passed out in the Cobra Clutch in 0:07:11.
Rating: ***

B. Brian Blair had someone in tow with him for this match, a new manager - Luke Graham! Graham helped out World champion Bob Backlund back in the Garden, and at Backlund's recommendation, his protege' Blair has taken on Graham as a manager. Graham is one of the more controversial figures in GCW history, but as a former 2-time World champion, he has a wealth of experience to pass along to Blair. Blair's opponent tonight was Sgt. Slaughter, looking to rebound for an up and down 1980. Blair showed a lot of spirit in this match, but the size and ruthless nature of the former drill sergeant was enough to thwart the high flying and put him out with the Cobra Clutch. After the match, Luke Graham told Blair he needed to toughen up some if he was going to be a big star in GCW, saying the high flying was nice but he needed more. We'll see how this teaching goes.

Austin Idol made Ricky Steamboat submit to the Las Vegas Leglock in 0:09:36.
Rating: ** 3/4

This was a match I was personally looking forward to as it was the GCW debut of Ricky Steamboat. Steamboat is a young Hawaiian wrestler who has been tearing in up in the Mid-Atlantic and Portland territories, but now he has a chance to ply his craft in the big time. He had a tough first test though against Austin Idol. Idol looked a bit unfocused after what happened to The Masked Superstar earlier, but he had a match to deal with against a fiery young competitor. Steamboat showed that the hype he has been garnering across the country was warranted, displaying some great technical wrestling as well as some dynamic high flying. With each move, Steamboat got the crowd more on his side. Idol was getting extremely frustrated, feeling that this youngster would be a walk in the park. If it weren't for a miscue on Steamboat's part, he wouldn't have walked away with the victory. Steamboat executed a picture perfect leap frog late in the match, but Idol reacted before he could turn around and clipped Steamboat's knee. From there, Idol went to work on the bum wheel of the GCW rookie before getting on the Las Vegas Leglock. Steamboat fought with all his heart, even rolling over to reverse the pressure. Idol expertly rolled through though to keep the hold on. The pain became too much for Steamboat to take, resulting in a submission loss in his first match. A good win for Idol, but an equally impressive showing for Steamboat in his first match.

Dusty Rhodes and Dick Woehrle defeated Johnny Rodz and Ric Flair when Woehrle pinned Rodz after a splash in 0:10:57.
Rating: ***

This match has been building for quite some time, with the issues between Ric Flair and referee Dick Woehrle going back for almost a year. It's gotten to the point where Woehrle agreed to get into the ring for his first match as an active competitor. He teamed with "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes to take on the Nature Boy and his partner, unpredictable wrestler and novice referee Johnny Rodz. As you would expect, Rhodes did most of the legwork for his team, though he did allow Woehrle to come in to get some selective shots. Flair tried desperately to get his hands on Woehrle, but the situation never came up as Flair got tired of catching Rhodes' elbows to the face and walked away, leaving Rodz all by himself. Rhodes drilled Rodz with a huge Bionic elbow before tagging in Woehrle. Woehrle hit a splash on Rodz and got an unlikely pinfall in what will probably be his last match ever. Flair said he was done with Rhodes & Woehrle after this "travesty," as he called it, but Rodz is anything but done with Flair. It doesn't look like the Nature Boy is taking this very seriously though.

Don Muraco pinned Roddy Piper with the Tombstone in 0:06:02.
Rating: **
(Don Muraco retained the GCW Intercontinental Title.)

Due to his victories over Sgt. Slaughter & Austin Idol, Roddy Piper was granted another shot to win back the Intercontinental Title from Don Muraco, but that was a task much easier said than done. If anyone was up to it though, it was Piper, who's unstable wrestling style makes him a matchup nightmare. One thing that will work well against Piper though is a good old-fashioned low blow. That'll slow anyone down, and the Tombstone from the man calling himself "Magnificent" will put you out. Muraco got the pin, but he's not out of the woods as he will have to defend the title against Piper once again in Baltimore on March 11.

Antonio Inoki and Jumbo Tsuruta defeated The Matadors (Tito Santana and Manny Fernandez) when Tsuruta pinned M. Fernandez with the Jumbo Knee in 0:07:32.
Rating: ****

We don't get to see matches pitting fan favorites against fan favorites very often, so we had ourselves a treat with The Matadors taking on Antonio Inoki & Jumbo Tsuruta. Handshakes to kick off the match, but from there, this one was high octane from then on. The Japanese wrestlers are hard to contend with because they're so well versed in all of the wrestling styles. Tito Santana & Manny Fernandez want to pick up the pace and take it to the air, but Inoki & Jumbo are comfortable doing that. They flew just enough to neutralize the Matadors, before turning this into a mat based ground attack. Once that had happened, the Japanese contingent took control and Jumbo's big knee put this one in the books. After the match, all four men shook hands.

[IF FUNK WINS, GETS IC TITLE SHOT]:
Ivan Koloff pinned Terry Funk after hitting him with the cane in 0:13:18.
Rating: ** 1/4
[Freddie Blassie interfered against Terry Funk.]

A ton was on the line between Terry Funk & Ivan Koloff here. If Funk won, he would get a guaranteed Intercontinental Title shot. If Koloff won, Freddie Blassie would own Funk's contract for the foreseeable future. Funk didn't want that in the least as I don't think Blassie has Funk's best interests in mind. As a result, Funk pressed and pushed to get this win, making a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes. Don't get me wrong, Koloff had a lot of pressure on him too because he would have a hard time facing Blassie again if he lost this match (let alone if Funk went on to beat Don Muraco for the IC Title). The benefit that the Russian Bear had though was his manager was interfering on his behalf. Blassie went all out to help his client, getting on the apron when Funk had the Spinning Toe Hold on Koloff. Funk released the hold and blasted Blassie with a big left hand, knocking him to the apron and down to the floor. Funk got rid of that threat, but some bad luck saw Blassie's cane end up in the ring and in Koloff's hands. When Funk turned around, it was right into a shot to the throat with the cane by Koloff, giving him the 1-2-3. If you're a fan of Terry Funk, you have to now deal with the fact that he is in Freddie Blassie's stable. Now we just have to wait and see how Funk handles it.

The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes and Terry Gordy) defeated The Wild Samoans (Afa and Sika) when T. Gordy pinned Sika with the Power Bomb in 0:08:55.
Rating: * 1/4

Back at the year-end show, the Fabulous Freebirds put on a rock concert, performing "Badstreet U.S.A." in what I have to admit was a good performance. Captain Lou Albano was not a fan though, feeling that the concert took precious time off the show that prevented his Wild Samoans from getting a match on the biggest card of the year. A brawl erupted, and that brought us to this match here. This would be the first big test for the Freebirds to see just how resilient they are when on the wrong side of a beating. Afa & Sika are savages through and through, and they ripped, clawed, and scratched at Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy. The Freebirds are packed with potential, but they were going up against former 2-time World Tag Team champions which is no easy night at the office. Gordy showed how powerful he is though when he got Sika up and drove him through the mat with the Power Bomb. After the match, Michael "P.S." Hayes promised there would be more rocking and rolling and more tag team dominance in the future.

Bob Backlund defeated Dino Bravo by disqualification in 0:04:05.
Rating: * 3/4
(Bob Backlund retained the GCW World Title.)
[Ken Patera interfered against Bob Backlund.]

World champion Bob Backlund tangled with Ken Patera last month, but he had to contend with Patera's partner this month as the World Title was on the line against Dino Bravo. Bravo is one of the all-time great tag team wrestlers in GCW history, but one thing that has eluded him is singles gold. Patera was at ringside with him to help him achieve this gold, interfering any time he saw an opening. Backlund knew to retain his title he was going to need to capitalize on any opening he could find, and that's exactly what he did. Bravo charged Backlund in the corner, but Backlund caught him with a back elbow.Bravo spun back, leaving him wide open to the Crossface Chickenwing! Backlund had it on tight and Bravo simply wasn't going to escape. Patera knew this too, so he ran in the ring and broke it up for the DQ. Backlund tried to fight Patera off, but as soon as he got the upper hand, Bravo was back up to club him from behind. The Strongmen left the World champion laid out before security got them out of there. Not a good couple of months to start Backlund's second title reign, but fact remains, he is still World Heavyweight champion.

Cage Match:
Stan Hansen defeated Larry Zbyszko by escaping the cage in 0:16:17.
Rating: *** 3/4

Stan Hansen and Larry Zbyszko have been leaving a path of destruction in their wake any time that they lock up. The feud has gotten so personal and so violent that nothing else could have possibly ended this than a good old-fashioned steel cage match. In this environment, you'd think Hansen would have the clear advantage due to his distinct size and strength edge, but Zbyszko has developed into one of the most feared and ruthless men in all of wrestling. The Cruncher was at home in the confines of the cage, dishing out just as much as he was taking from the Lariat. Zbyszko showed a different approach in this cage match than we have seen in the past, focusing on getting Hansen's left arm in damaging positions with the aid of the cage, including a nice dropkick with the arm pinned against the mesh. Hansen had to wrestle the match with one arm for the most part, but Hansen with one arm is as good as a lot of people with two. Hansen put the hammer to Zbyszko, but with his arm as damaged as it was, he couldn't the Lariat. Zbyszko ducked the Lariat attempt and caught Hansen with the Shoulderbreaker, and looked to have this one in the bag. He was still exhausted though and it took him quite awhile to get up the cage, giving Hansen time to regain his bearings and start up the cage as well. Hansen caught Zbyszko at the top and the two combatants exchanged haymakers on top of the cage - a dangerous position to say the least. Hansen would hit a huge punch with his injured arm,causing himself a lot of pain but knocking Zbyszko back into the ring. Hansen garnered the rest of his strength and climbed out of the cage, getting the win in this match and ultimately in this feud, once and for all.

Mil Mascaras pinned Pedro Morales after a diving tope in 0:09:23.
Rating: *

Gorilla Monsoon pulled a rabbit out of a hat to wrestle his former partner Pedro Morales, who has returned to his dark side ever since Monsoon had to retire last August. Monsoon recruited the services of Mexican wrestling legend Mil Mascaras to come in for this one match only to do what he's no longer allowed to do - kick Morales' ass. GCW has some of the greatest wrestling action in all of the world, but I have to be honest: this match wasn't it. It was ugly from the word go, and the fans made sure to let both competitors know that they were not pleased. Regardess, the bad blood between these two goes back over a decade, and not much has been solved in that time. Morales was laying in some stiff shots before Mascaras caught him out of nowhere with a diving tope to put this one in the books (mercifully). Morales didn't spend much time before he got up and left the ring disgusted. Mascaras won, but the crowd was giving him more boos than cheers as our show came to an end on a bit of a flat note.

Card rating: ** 1/4

Match observations:

BREAKING NEWS !!!

The Masked Superstar's fractured right ankle that he suffered tonight is quite serious, and he is going to be out of action 5-7 months. A decision had to be made regarding the World Tag Team Titles of which the Superstar is a co-holder of. President Hisashi Shinma has made a decision, and that as of 2/17/81, the tag titles are officially VACANT! Shinma doesn't want the titles to remain vacant for long, so at our next show on March 11 in Baltimore, a 8-team tournament will take place to crown the new World Tag Team champions! The teams scheduled to participate are as follows:

The Matadors
The Upstarts
Antonio Inoki & Jumbo Tsuruta
B. Brian Blair & Ricky Steamboat
The Fabulous Freebirds
The Can-Am Strongmen
The Wild Samoans

Also, Paul Jones was given access to the tournament seeing how he was The Masked Superstar's partner. He will be teaming with Austin Idol for the final spot in the tournament.

Not only that, but the Intercontinental Title will be on the line as Don Muraco once again defends against Roddy Piper!

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