February 29, 1984 - Civic Center - Springfield, MA

Larry Zbyszko pinned Ole Anderson with the Crunch Time in 0:13:15.
Rating: ***
[Bobby Heenan interfered against Larry Zbyszko.]

Opening contest on this rare February 29 show featured "The Cruncher" Larry Zbyszko taking on Ole Anderson of the Heenan Family. The match was solidly in Zbyszko's favor in the early going, keeping the veteran grappler on the mat. But the tide changed significantly when BOB BACKLUND came down to the ringside area, staring a hole through the Cruncher the entire time. Backlund didn't move or hardly even blink once he got down there - just stared Zbyszko down. This served as a huge distraction, allowing Ole to get back into the match and focus on Zbyszko's arm. With Zbyszko's left arm being worked over, it would make it that much more difficult for him to hit the Crunch Time spinebuster. Zbyszko tried it once, and was hurting. But he fought through, pointed to Backlund, and then hit the Crunch Time in a good match. Right when the bell rang, Backlund turned around and made a bee line for the back. I'm not entirely sure what is ever going on in Backlund's mind, but either way, he will meet Zbyszko at MSG on St. Patrick's Day.

Ricky Steamboat pinned Bret Hart with the Flying Crossbody Press in 0:10:18.
Rating: ** 3/4

We saw a debut in our next match, and it was one that was met with much anticipation. Bret Hart has been tearing it up north of the border, and his making it to the big time was a matter of when, not if. He was put in there with a tough man in the form of Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat. If you want to test your meddle in this sport, doing it against Steamboat is a great way to do so. Hart showed that all of the rumors about him are true, as he showed the promise that led many experts to call him a can't miss prospect. However, Bret got increasingly cocky as the match wore on in his favor, almost like he believed his own hype. You can't take any victory for granted, and Steamboat proved that when he caught a Hart dropkick attempt and countered it into a slingshot into the turnbuckle. The Flying Crossbody Press came next, and that was enough to get the win. Great win for Steamboat, but up until his ego got the better of him, a great showing for Bret Hart.

The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey), Dino Bravo and Nikolai Volkoff defeated The Rock 'N Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) and The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid) when Volkoff defeated D.B. Smith via pinfall in 0:09:35.
Rating: **

This match was a mess, and I say that as a good thing. When you have four teams that are hungry to climb to the top, and you throw them in an 8-man tag team match, you're more or less guaranteed to get some chaos. It all started with the teams looking to one up each other, even the teams that were partnered together. As the one upping progressed, referee Danny Davis slowly lost control of the match. By the end of it, as tends to happen in matches like this, all 8 men spilled into the ring. Davis had a look of pure terror and confusion on his face, so he just threw his hands up and let them go at it. The wrestlers all spilled out of the ring as quickly as they spilled into it until only Davey Boy Smith & Nikolai Volkoff remained. Davey Boy went for a running crossbody, but Volkoff moved and Davey Boy hit the ropes hard. Volkoff rolled Davey Boy up and with his feet on the ropes, stole the victory. That didn't stop this fight from continuing, and much like last show, it was an ordeal to get these four teams apart. GCW President Hisashi Shinma has come to a decision, and that decision is that these four teams will compete in a tournament on March 17 in the Garden. The British Bulldogs will meet the Midnight Express while the Rock 'N Roll Express will meet Dino Bravo & Nikolai Volkoff. The winning teams will then wrestle each other, and whichever team emerges victorious will become the new #1 contenders for the World Tag Team Titles.

Tony Atlas & Don Muraco meet in a pose-off.

This pose-off was interesting to say the least. For starters, Mr. Fuji announced that he would be the judge, taking into account the opinion of the live audience. He let his man, "The Magnificent" Don Muraco go first with his poses (of which there would be 3 apiece), and it became obvious that he was going to be a biased judge. Muraco is a strong man, no question about it, but Tony Atlas looks like he is cut from stone. It was obvious that the crowd firmly believed Mr. USA had won, but Fuji disagreed, saying that Atlas was disqualified for using too much oil and that Muraco was the winner. The crowd booed wildly, but they booed even more when Muraco attacked Atlas from behind (Atlas had been confronting Fuji about his decision). Muraco whipped Atlas into the ropes and went for a clothesline, but Atlas ducked it, hit the far ropes, and nailed Muraco with a clothesline of his own! When Muraco got up, Atlas caught him in the face with a dropkick, causing Muraco to roll out of the ring. Fuji went after Atlas, but he received a dropkick for his troubles as well. Pose-offs and tests of strengths aside, a wrestling match has been signed between Atlas & Muraco for MSG.

Nick Bockwinkel pinned Rick Martel after a small package in 0:08:24.
Rating: ** 3/4
(Nick Bockwinkel retained the GCW Intercontinental Title.)

Nick Bockwinkel has stolen another one! This is getting ridiculous. Not almost a year now, Bockwinkel has held the IC Title, often doing so under nefarious circumstances. Rick Martel was looking to be the man to put an end to that, but if he's going to be the one to do so, it wasn't going to be tonight. Bockwinkel didn't take Martel seriously at all in the opening minutes, but that turned around when Martel caught him in the mush with a dropkick. Bockwinkel was back on his heels from that point on, and the feeling in the arena was that we were going to see a new champion. That is, until Bockwinkel reversed the Boston Crab attempt with a small package, hooked the tights, and stole another victory. The crowd was equally as livid as Bobby Heenan was ecstatic, grabbing the IC Title from the timekeeper's table and retreating with Bockwinkel to the back. We are going to see a rematch on St. Patrick's Day, and rightfully so.

Bruiser Brody pinned King Kong Bundy with the Bombs Away in 0:07:04.
Rating: 1/4*

Bobby Heenan must have been feeling cocky after keeping the Intercontinental Title in the Family, so he had his monster King Kong Bundy issue an open challenge to anyone. Bundy is his muscle, and he wanted to give a display of why nobody should mess with the Heenan Family. Well, somebody did want to mess with the Heenan Family tonight - BRUISER BRODY! It has been almost 6 years since Brody was in a GCW ring, and he didn't exactly leave under the best of circumstances, so it was a shock to see him in the ring. Bundy had no answer for Brody. Brody is big, strong, and a little crazy, and when you're as tough as nails like he is, you're going to get your head rattled. Bundy missed an avalanche, Brody caught him in the mouth with a big boot, hit the Bombs Away, and scored a huge win! Heenan looked flabbergasted and informed Brody that he will pay for embarrassing him like this.

The Iron Sheik defeated Junkyard Dog when Junkyard Dog passed out in the Camel Clutch in 0:01:36.
Rating: **

This feud between Junkyard Dog & The Iron Sheik is escalating in a hurry. It all started with Freddie Blassie pulling down the top rope during the battle royal in January to cause JYD's elimination, and it has only gotten worse from there. Blassie distracted referee Tommy Young early on, which gave The Iron Sheik the chance to load up his boot. JYD nailed Blassie with a right hand to knock him to the floor, but he turned right into a loaded boot to the midsection, and then one to the head. JYD was out cold, but Sheik wanted to add insult to injury and put JYD in the Camel Clutch. JYD wasn't moving, and the match was called on the spot. In an interview with PWI after the show, JYD said that he was tired of Blassie's meddling in matches, and he wanted to put an end to it. He challenged The Iron Sheik to one more match at Madison Square Garden where if JYD won, he would get 5 minutes alone in the ring with Blassie. Blassie agreed, but with the added stipulation that if Sheik won, JYD would have to declare to the whole world that Iran is number one. A lot at stake here in the Garden!

Bobby Duncum & Dick Murdoch have some questions for Dusty Rhodes.

Before the World Tag Team Title match, Bobby Duncum & Dick Murdoch had some words for their stablemate, Dusty Rhodes. The Dream wasn't in Springfield tonight as he was doing some promotional work in New York for the MSG show, where it has been announced that he will get a shot at Stan Hansen & the World Title. Duncum particularly had some harsh words for Rhodes, saying he has been buddying up to Hansen way too much recently instead of focusing his priorities where they should be, and that's on the Texas Outlaws. He almost went as far as to blame Rhodes for their losing the tag titles, but Murdoch cut him off before he could, declaring that the Outlaws would have the tag titles back by the end of the night.

The U.S. Express (Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham) defeated The Texas Outlaws (Bobby Duncum and Dick Murdoch) when Windham pinned Murdoch after a kneedrop in 0:08:42.
Rating: ***
(The U.S. Express retained the GCW World Tag Team Titles.)

Bobby Duncum & Dick Murdoch had to change their focus from Rhodes to the U.S. Express, and that is not the easiest thing to do. There had been some rumblings that Mike Rotundo & newcomer Barry Windham winning their first tag team title in Windham's first match was a fluke. It's hard to argue that on paper - both men are young and inexperienced in the big time. We have learned more about Windham since then, including the fact that he has teamed with Rotundo before GCW quite a lot - in fact, they are brothers-in-law! They are very close, and we got a good display of that in this match. Their tag team skills are top notch, and they definitely have each others' back, always knowing where the other is at all time. Still, even with that, Duncum & Murdoch are former 2-time champions, and in terms of toughness, possibly the toughest team in GCW history. They were a bit out of sorts though, I think from a combination of U.S. Express being better than they thought and the issue with Rhodes. The end came when Windham was in the ring with Murdoch. Murdoch was holding Windham open for Duncum, who cocked back for a big punch, but Windham wriggled free and Duncum caught his partner in the jaw! Rotundo came in the ring and nailed Duncum, knocking him off the apron to the floor before following him out there to keep him at bay. Windham hit a kneedrop on Murdoch which was just even to secure the 1-2-3 and a successful title defense. I don't think the way this ended is going to sit well with Duncum & Murdoch.

Jimmy Snuka has a huge announcement.

Before our World Title match, "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka came out to a huge ovation from the Springfield crowd. Snuka thanked the fans, and then got right to the point - announcing his retirement. This got a round of boos from the fans, who love the Superfly. Snuka said that he promised himself that when he felt he could no longer go at a high level, he wouldn't stick around. His matches with Nick Bockwinkel recently made him realize that maybe he can't get it done anymore and that it was time to call it quits. Snuka thanked the fans one more time and then said goodbye, getting a standing ovation as he left. If this is the end for Jimmy Snuka, what a storied career he has had.

Stan Hansen pinned Tully Blanchard with the Lariat in 0:13:45.
Rating: *** 1/2
(Stan Hansen retained the GCW World Title.)
[Bobby Heenan interfered against Stan Hansen.]

It was hard for the crowd to get back into wrestling after Snuka's announcement, but we had a damn good World Title match with Stan Hansen defending against Tully Blanchard. It was hard not to think that this match was going to be a slaughter early on, as Hansen was tossing Blanchard around like he was a piece of trash. But that is part of what makes Tully so dangerous - he is easy to overlook. He is a punk, but he is extremely talented and that often gets lost in translation. Not only that, but having Bobby Heenan in your corner is a big help as well. He is a master of distraction and the moniker "the Brain" is very true - he's the smartest manager in wrestling. That being said, even a great strategy and great wrestling out of Blanchard wasn't enough for Tully to avoid the Lariat and a loss at the hands of the World champ. Now Hansen has to contend with his arch rival, Dusty Rhodes, in the world's most famous arena.

Card rating: ** 1/2

Match observations:

3/17/84 - MADISON SQUARE GARDEN - New York, NY

WORLD TITLE - Stan Hansen (c) vs. Dusty Rhodes
INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE - Nick Bockwinkel (c) vs. Rick Martel
TAG TEAM TOURNAMENT SEMI-FINALS - The British Bulldogs vs. The Midnight Express
TAG TEAM TOURNAMENT SEMI-FINALS - The Rock 'N Roll Express vs. Dino Bravo/Nikolai Volkoff
TAG TEAM TOURNAMENT FINALS - Winners of Semi-Final matches
Larry Zbyszko vs. Bob Backlund
Tony Atlas vs. Don Muraco
Ricky Steamboat vs. Bret Hart
Bruiser Brody vs. Ole Anderson

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