January 1, 1980 - Madison Square Garden - New York, NY

Paul Jones' Army (Austin Idol, Paul Jones and The Masked Superstar) defeated Gorilla Monsoon, Pedro Morales and Roddy Piper when A. Idol pinned Monsoon with the Las Vegas Leglock in 0:15:16.
Rating: *

With the amount of enemies that Paul Jones and his Army have made in their short time in GCW, it is no surprise that they have been under fire. However, Jones, Austin Idol, and the massive Masked Superstar have more than backed up their brash actions. They took on three of their rivals in our first match of the 80s, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and the World Tag Team champions Gorilla Monsoon & Pedro Morales. Monsoon has publically announced that when Morales and he lose the titles, he is retiring from wrestling, an accolade that Jones wants to notch on his belt in the worst way. The match was bowling shoe ugly, but that didn't take away from how much the fans were into watching Monsoon and his partners try to slow down the momentum of the Army. It looked like that was going to be exactly what happened, but the tide turned in a big way when Monsoon had Idol down and was setting up the Big Splash. The referee was busy dealing with the brawl between The Masked Superstar & Morales on the outside. Before Monsoon could hit the splash, Jones clipped his knee from behind, causing the 400 pound frame on Monsoon to buckle. Idol locked on the Las Vegas Leglock, and the pain on Monsoon's injured knee was too great and he had to tap out. Luckily for him the tag titles weren't on the line or this would have been his last match. They haven't gotten the announcement yet, but one has to think with this win, a tag title shot can't be far off for Paul Jones' Army. Meanwhile, Roddy Piper will meet Austin Idol in Philly.

Don Muraco pinned Terry Funk after a powerslam in 0:08:27.
Rating: ** 3/4

After the brawl that Terry Funk & Don Muraco got into in Detroit, it was only the threat of fines and suspensions that kept these two apart long enough to get in the ring for an official match. Muraco showed during this match that he can be as dirty as anyone in wrestling, and his means of winning this match showed there is no limit to what he will do. After an initial flurry of offense by Muraco, Funk took control of this match when he dropped Muraco throat first on the top rope. Funk went to work from there, but it was when he tossed Muraco to the floor that the complexion of the match changed. Muraco clutched his knee and screamed in pain, suffering what appeared to be a major injury. Referee John Stanley jumped on the floor to check on Muraco, much to the chagrin of Funk who wanted to continue the attack. When Funk finally got fed up enough to move Stanley out of the way, we learned the injury was all a ruse as Muraco quickly scooped Funk up and drove him onto the concrete floor with a powerslam! Funk was rolled back into the ring and Muraco made the cover, and with the impact of that move, there was just no way Funk was kicking out. You can't say it was the most noble of strategies, but it was certainly effective. Funk will get another chance at Muraco on January 26 in Philly.

Cage Match:
Dusty Rhodes and Jumbo Tsuruta defeated Larry Zbyszko and Stan Hansen by escaping the cage in 0:20:18.
Rating: *** 1/2

Stan Hansen & Larry Zbyszko brought this on themselves. With their heinous actions and words directed toward Jumbo Tsuruta & Dusty Rhodes the past few months, a cage match was the only way that this could be settled. This match had an interesting wrinkle to it as the only way you could win was for not one, but both members of your team to escape. That made strategy important because if you exited the ring too soon, your partner could be left all alone in the cage with two pissed off men trying to destroy him. That happened once to Jumbo Tsuruta. Rhodes had gotten his way over the top to the floor, but when Jumbo tried the same, Hansen caught him and crotched him on the top rope. Jumbo took his lumps as Hansen & Zbyszko double teamed him, taunting Rhodes the entire time. Eventually, Rhodes had seen enough and climbed back over the cage and into the ring to even the odds! Rhodes was letting the elbows fly and it evened the odds in a big way, giving Jumbo time to regain his bearings and get back into the fray. In a visually pleasing series of moves, Rhodes & Jumbo grabbed Zbyszko & Hansen respectively and sent them crashing to all four sides of the steel, giving them both ample time to climb over the top and to the floor, winning this punishing cage match!

Interview:
Ric Flair predicts that he will win the battle royal.

Before the $10,000 battle royal, 19 of the men had made their way to the ring. The last man to be introduced, Ric Flair, grabbed the microphone and ran down everyone in the ring. He said he would win the battle royal and with the $10,000 prize, take the ladies of NYC out for a night on the town. He did a good job of irritating everyone in the ring, as they all went right after him as the match began.

[WINNER RECEIVES $10,000]: 20-Man Battle Royal:
Ivan Koloff won a 20-man Battle Royal:
x Afa threw out Lanza in 0:02:17
x C. Guerrero threw out Mulligan in 0:02:38
x A. Idol threw out C. Guerrero in 0:04:03
x I. Koloff threw out M. Guerrero in 0:04:51
x Piper threw out A. Idol in 0:07:00
x R. Flair threw out T. Santana in 0:08:27
x I. Koloff threw out Piper in 0:09:34
x Bravo & Patera threw out Monsoon in 0:11:23
x Bravo & Patera threw out Morales in 0:12:29
x Sika threw out P. Jones in 0:14:02
x Patera threw out I. Putski in 0:14:19
x T. Funk threw out Muraco after a roundhouse right in 0:15:48
x Afa threw out Bravo in 0:17:05
x Afa & Sika threw out Superstar in 0:18:49
x Patera threw out Sika & Afa in 0:18:57
x T. Funk threw out Patera in 0:20:28
x R. Flair threw out T. Funk in 0:20:33
x I. Koloff threw out R. Flair in 0:21:05
Rating: ***

$10,000 is a lot of money, and these 20 superstars wanted that cold, hard cash in a bad way. The Blackjacks had hoped that working together was going to be their key to getting the ten grand, but that didn't exactly work out for them. Lanza got separated from Mulligan by the Wild Samoans, while Mulligan had his hands full with Chavo & Mando Guerrero. Lanza would be the first to be sent over the top, with Mulligan following not far behind.

Unfortunately if you're a Guerrero fan, they would soon suffer the same fate as the Blackjacks. Wrestlers were trying to divide and conquer teams involved in the match, something Chavo & Mando fell victim to as Austin Idol dumped Chavo and Ivan Koloff tossed out Mando. Idol was as cocky as they come, but it would turn around to bite him as he became the next elimination. He thought that he had eliminated Roddy Piper by throwing him over, but he didn't notice that Piper had hooked the ropes and slid back in. While Idol took time to flex and pose for the crowd, Piper grabbed him by the back of the head and sent him flying out of the ring, much to the Universal Heartthrob's dismay!

Despite the blatant arrogance Ric Flair showed in his interview before the match, he was doing quite well for himself in this match. The Nature Boy isn't called Slick Ric for nothing, and he showed it with his ability to avoid danger in this battle royal. He suckered Tito Santana into coming at him too aggressively, ducking Santana's clothesline and heaving him over the top with a backdrop. About a minute later, Koloff would send Piper out of the ring after Idol caught the Rowdy Scot with a low blow to soften him up, sneaking back in the ring illegally to do so. Piper and Idol brawled all the way to the back.

The tag team champions were still major players at this point of the match, but they were clearly laboring a bit after being in the opening match of the evening as well. We wondered who could possibly throw out Gorilla Monsoon who is 400 pounds, but we got that answer when Dino Bravo & Ken Patera demonstrated their combined scary strength by dumping Monsoon over the top. This left Pedro Morales without a partner and prone to the same treatment at the hands of the Can-Am Strongmen. Moments later, the crowd exploded in cheers as Sika sent Paul Jones soaring over the top and to the floor! Jones was livid and tried to interject himself back in the ring. During this commotion, Patera eliminated Ivan Putski from competition. Meanwhile, Terry Funk got a measure of revenge on Don Muraco by blasting himwith a roundhouse right that propelled Muraco to the floor.

The numbers had certainly thinned at this point as we were down to 8, including two full tag teams - The Wild Samoans & The Can-Am Strongmen. These two squads instinctively went right at each other where Albano's charges got the upperhand when after took out Bravo. It seriously looked like one of the Samoans was going to be $10,000 richer as they also teamed up to take out the biggest man left in the match, The Masked Superstar. That momentum was cut short in quick fashion when Patera, in a scary display of power, dumped BOTH Afa & Sika over the top! Patera is not well liked by any means, but the 1979 Newcomer of the Year got a nice ovation for that. Flair was quick to broker an alliance with Koloff & Patera, convincing them they should all attack Funk and get rid of him first.

At this point, Terry Funk was on the bad side of the numbers game as across the ring from him stood Ivan Koloff, Ken Patera, & Ric Flair. When it was time to attack though, the Nature Boy stayed back and let Koloff & Patera do the dirty work. Either way, it still looked bleak for the Funker as Patera lifted him on his shoulder to throw him over the top. When they got to the ropes, however, Funk hooked onto the top and sent Patera over instead! There was a brief glimmer of hope that Funk could win this thing, but that was nipped in the bud by Flair who reemerged to put Funk out.

Flair immediately went into bargaining mode, telling Koloff he was willing to split the winnings in lieu of duking it out. After consulting Freddie Blassie, the Russian Bear seemed okay with this and it looked like we were going to have co-winners. That is until Koloff turned his back on Flair. Flair jumped Koloff from behind with a couple of forearms, but they were only effective at pissing Koloff off. Flair begged off, but there would be no amount of begging that would save the Nature Boy from elimination. Ivan Koloff picks up the win, and the $10,000 cash prize.

Bob Backlund pinned Jimmy Snuka after a fisherman suplex in 0:16:35.
Rating: *** 1/2
(Bob Backlund retained the GCW World Title.)

After such a great night of wrestling, only one thing could make it better - Bob Backlund defending the World Title against Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka. Backlund was allowed to personally select his opponent for this night, and to show the kind of champion that he is, instead of picking an easier opponent, he picked his friend and arguably the greatest wrestler to never hold a title in GCW, the Superfly. For the first half of this match we had ourselves a nice, fair, classy contest, the type of match you would expect out of two friends. But when those two friends are competitors, tempers will flare and that's precisely what happened here. By the ten minute mark, we had an all-out fight on our hands. Fists were flying like these two were the worst of enemies as opposed to the best of friends. Snuka nearly had the World Title won when he hit a jumping headbutt on Backlund and ascended the turnbuckles. He flew through the air with ease for the Superfly Splash, but unfortunately for him his landing was anything but easy. Backlund rolled out of the way causing Snuka to crash on his ribs on the mat. Snuka had the wind knocked out of him long enough for Backlund to execute a fisherman suplex to get the 1-2-3 and retain his title. After the match, cooler heads prevailed and the friends shook hands and hugged, despite how disappointed Snuka was to not capture the gold. He may not have won in this time, but you have to believe that championship gold is going to find Snuka sooner or later. A great way to end the first show of the 80s!

Card rating: *** 1/4

Match observations:

We are back at the Spectrum in Philadelphia on January 26 - the weather promises to be cold but the action promises to be HOT!

WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES - Gorilla Monsoon/Pedro Morales (c) vs. The Can-Am Strongmen
INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE - Stan Hansen (c) vs. Chavo Guerrero
Roddy Piper vs. Austin Idol
Terry Funk vs. Don Muraco
The Wild Samoans vs. Paul Jones/The Masked Superstar

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