February 2, 1984 - Convention Hall - Atlantic City, NJ

Dino Bravo and Nikolai Volkoff defeated The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid) when Bravo pinned D.B. Smith after hitting him with the cane in 0:02:49.
Rating: ** 3/4
[Freddie Blassie interfered against Davey Boy Smith.]

Tag team action was the theme of the evening as the top teams in the world were showcased in Atlantic City. The British Bulldogs have looked good in their first matches against the Midnight Express, but they had an entirely different team to deal with tonight in the former of Dino Bravo & Nikolai Volkoff. Bravo is widely considered one of the best tag team wrestlers ever, but so far, his team with Volkoff hasn't exactly set the world on fire. A win over a hot new team would do them a lot of good, and that's what they got, but not with a lot of class. Bravo caught Davey Boy Smith in the throat with Freddie Blassie's cane, getting a cheap victory. However, it still looks the same in the record books. We'll see how the Bulldogs bounce back after their first loss.

Rick Martel made Ole Anderson submit to the Boston Crab in 0:07:14.
Rating: *** 3/4

Ole Anderson is new under the employ of Bobby Heenan, and Heenan put Ole to use right away to soften up Rick Martel, the #1 contender for the Intercontinental Title. He will get that title shot on February 29 in Springfield, MA, and it was Anderson's job to make sure Martel wasn't at 100% for that match. Of course, that was assuming that Nick Bockwinkel got past Jimmy Snuka tonight, but more on that later. Anderson has been around this business a long time, and he has learned a thing or two about hurting an opponent. Anderson was stretching Martel, but the feisty Canadian kept firing back with hard punches and dropkicks. Martel was on the receiving end of a lot of punishment, but he got the Boston Crab on when he countered a piledriver attempt. Ole is a tough dude, but when he said uncle, it proved just how effective that hold is. If Martel can get it on in Springfield, we may be looking at a new Intercontinental champion.

Junkyard Dog defeated The Iron Sheik by disqualification in 0:06:41.
Rating: 1/4*
[Freddie Blassie interfered against Junkyard Dog.]

Junkyard Dog was pulled from the World Tag Team Title match at his own request because of what happened in the battle royal where Freddie Blassie pulled down the rope to make JYD fly to the floor. JYD is a proud man, and sure, maybe turning down a title shot wasn't the best career move, but you have to respect a man who will stand up for his principles. Blassie and his cronies certainly do not have any of these principles, and that was proved by The Iron Sheik. Blassie told Sheik to make JYD for embarrassing him by running him to the back. Sheik was choking, back raking, and eye gouging at every turn. Despite these underhanded tactics, JYD was getting the better of him at every turn, which was when Sheik loaded up his boot and kicked JYD in the head with it. Sheik originally got the pinfall, but luckily head referee Dick Kroll ran out and had referee Danny Davis check the boot. When they determined it was loaded, the decision was reversed and JYD was given the win! To make matters worse for Blassie, Sheik was hit with a big headbutt that sent him flying out of the ring.

The U.S. Express (Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham) defeated The Texas Outlaws (Bobby Duncum and Dick Murdoch) when Windham pinned Duncum with the Superplex in 0:18:40.
Rating: *** 3/4
(The U.S. Express won the GCW World Tag Team Titles.)

Bobby Duncum & Dick Murdoch were wrestling this match under protest. They were told originally they would be wrestling Mike Rotundo & Junkyard Dog, but with JYD wrestling The Iron Sheik, Rotundo was allowed to pick another partner. Duncum & Murdoch were insistent that not knowing who they would have to wrestle was grossly unfair, but the match was going to take place. No one was sure who Rotundo was going to bring out - would it be a familiar face or someone we've never seen before? It would be the latter when Rotundo announced BARRY WINDHAM as his partner. Windham has been tearing it up in various territories, but this was his first trip to the big time. This ended up being a fantastic encounter, and Rotundo & Windham were excellent as a team. They were announced as the U.S. Express, and as the match wore on, the crowd was getting more behind them. They showed great teamwork too, and it would lead to the finish of the match. Duncum went to the top rope, which is something that he normally doesn't do. We found out why, because he was slow getting up there. That let Rotundo run across the apron and sweep Duncum's feet from under him, causing him to crotch himself on the top turnbuckle. Windham went up to the top, and brought Duncum down with a crushing Superplex! Rotundo cut Murdoch off with a dropkick while Windham made the cover, and we had new tag team champions! Barry Windham becomes the first man to win a title in his debut match. Duncum & Murdoch have already enacted their rematch clause for February 29 in Springfield. Congratulations to the new tag team champs!

Tony Atlas' feats of strength are interrupted by a familiar face.

Now that Tony Atlas is on his own, he is trying to reestablish himself as a singles competitor. His biggest advantage in the ring is his strength, and so he did a strength display for the fans in Atlantic City. The first thing he did was drive a nail through a board with his bare hands. Secondly he blew up a water bottle until it exploded, and thirdly, he went a solid steel bar behind his neck, getting a great reaction from the crowd. At this point, out came a familiar face, MR. FUJI. Fuji said (in his unique brand of English), that he has secured his managerial license, and he wanted his first client to be Tony Atlas. He promised Atlas that he would take him straight to the top. Atlas said he didn't trust Fuji as far as he could throw him, and that he would never associate with scum like him. That's when DON MURACO clocked Atlas down behind with the board that had the nail in it, knocking him out cold! Fuji said Atlas couldn't be his first client anyway, because he already signed the Magnificent One! With these two together, Atlas may be in a lot of trouble.

The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey) defeated The Rock 'N Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) when Eaton pinned R. Morton after the Rocket Launcher in 0:14:04.
Rating: **
[Jim Cornette interfered against Ricky Morton.]

Many pundants were excited about this match as the Rock 'N Roll Express & the Midnight Express are the future of tag team wrestling, and this match would be a good indication of where tag team wrestling was going. This match was filled with great tag team wrestling. The innovation of these two young teams was off the charts. Both teams put a focus on double team moves, the likes we have never seen before. This match also went to show how important Jim Cornette is going to be to the success of the Midnight Express. He is loud-mouthed, he is obnoxious, but most importantly, he is effective. Cornette saw the match slipping away from his men, so he jumped up on the apron to get referee Dick Woehrle's attention. He also got the attention of Ricky Morton, who nailed Cornette in the face with a dropkick that sent him flying to the floor. When Morton turned around, it was right into a Flapjack from Condrey & Eaton. The impressive assisted top-rope splash they call the Rocket Launcher followed, and thanks to Cornette, the Midnight Express were in the winner's circle.

Once he got back up, Cornette was furious, astonished that Morton would have the nerve to strike him. He commanded the Midnight Express to keep on the attack, cackling like a mad man the entire time. Well, that is until THE BRITISH BULLDOGS ran down to mix it up and help out Morton & Gibson. This then brought out DINO BRAVO & NIKOLAI VOLKOFF, and we had a four team brawl on our hands! Officials rushed out and pulled these 8 men apart, but it took a considerable effort to do so. An 8-man tag has been signed for Springfield - The Rock 'N Roll Express & The British Bulldogs vs. The Midnight Express, Dino Bravo, & Nikolai Volkoff. The tag team division is on fire!

Nick Bockwinkel pinned Jimmy Snuka after a missed Superfly Splash in 0:04:13.
Rating: ** 3/4
(Nick Bockwinkel retained the GCW Intercontinental Title.)

Jimmy Snuka had to make this match count. He was getting a one more chance to win the Intercontinental Title, but with a catch - if Nick Bockwinkel beat him by pinfall or submission, that would be the last shot he had at the gold. Snuka is known for stepping up when the pressure is on, but tonight, he just seemed out of it. He wasn't the same man that we came to know as the Superfly, and instead he was making a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes. Bockwinkel has made a career on capitalizing on mistakes, and he goaded Snuka into trying the Superfly Splash way too early. Snuka soared through the air, but connected with nothing but canvas. Bockwinkel quickly wrapped Snuka up in a cradle, and just like that, the match was over. Bockwinkel escapes with the Intercontinental Title once again. After the match, Snuka was inconsolable. He left the ring completely downtrodden. We've never seen Snuka like this before, looking like his confidence is completely shaken. Hopefully he can get it together soon.

Bob Backlund pinned Larry Zbyszko after a small package in 0:18:26.
Rating: ****

Sometimes it's amazing how quickly a confrontation can escalate. Larry Zbyszko & Bob Backlund had rarely crossed paths in the past, but the battle royal last month set these two off. Neither man is exactly world famous for being calm, and we got exactly what we expected in this fanastic match. It's still a bit strange hearing the Cruncher receive cheers, and it seems that every show we put on, the cheers become louder and louder. It hasn't effected how Zbyszko handles his business, and I don't think Backlund hears anything once a match starts anymore. He is so focused that it is almost scary. This was definitely our match of the night, and an early favorite for match of the year. Backlund has lost some big matches in the last year, namely to Ricky Steamboat & Rick Martel, and he is starting to get the reputation of a stepping stone. A loss to Zbyszko would cement that even more. When Zbyszko planted him with Crunch Time, we thought that would be all she wrote. But when Zbyszko went for the cover, Backlund pulled him over into a small package, hooked the tights, and stole a victory. Zbyszko didn't give a look after the match of a man who thought this one was over.

Dusty Rhodes and Stan Hansen defeated The Heenan Family (King Kong Bundy and Tully Blanchard) when Dusty Rhodes pinned Blanchard with the Bionic Elbowdrop in 0:07:31.
Rating: ***
[Bobby Heenan interfered against Stan Hansen.]

Strange bed fellows in the main event tag team match. Mortal enemies Dusty Rhodes & World champion Stan Hansen were being forced to team up against King Kong Bundy & Tully Blanchard. Bundy & Blanchard had the huge advantage in that they are both members of the Heenan Family, so they had time to get together and strategize over the last month. I sincerely doubt that Rhodes & Hansen have even talked, let alone talked any strategy. The tension between Rhodes & Hansen could be cut with a knife, and in the early moments of the match, it looked like the Heenan Family was going to steamroll their way to a victory. As they were being completely out classed, the competitor spirit of the American Dream and the World champ kicked in, and they got their stuff together. They isolated Blanchard, put together some offense, and Rhodes would pin him after the Bionic Elbowdrop. Heenan sent Bundy into the ring at that point, but when Rhodes & Hansen turned to him ready to fight, the monster thought better of it and left the ring. The show then ended with Rhodes & Hansen engaging in a staredown before the Dream left the ring without incident.

Card rating: ***

Match observations:

2/29/84 - CIVIC CENTER - Springfield, MA

INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE - Nick Bockwinkel (c) vs. Rick Martel
WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES - The U.S. Express (c) vs. Bobby Duncum/Dick Murdoch
Junkyard Dog vs. The Iron Sheik
The Rock 'N Roll Express/The British Bulldogs vs. The Midnight Express/Dino Bravo/Nikolai Volkoff
Plus… per a challenge by Mr. Fuji, a pose-off between Tony Atlas & Don Muraco!

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