January 11, 1984 - Maple Leaf Gardens - Toronto, ON, CA

Dino Bravo and Nikolai Volkoff defeated Spike Huber and Tony Atlas when Bravo defeated Huber by countout in 0:04:59.
Rating: *
[Freddie Blassie interfered against Tony Atlas.]
[Freddie Blassie interfered against Spike Huber.]

Tony Atlas no longer has a full-time partner after the Soul Patrol dissolved as it did the end of last year. He tried his luck with another partner, teaming with Spike Huber. Huber is one of the hardest workers in GCW, but so far hasn't had a lot of luck in the win/loss department. The thought was that possibly a partnership would bring out something in Huber, but unfortunately, Dino Bravo & Nikolai Volkoff didn't care much for Huber's plight. Atlas started the match and did well for himself, but once Huber got in the ring, he got overpowered and it wasn't long before he was dumped on the floor by Bravo. Huber hit the concrete hard and he was unable to return to the ring before the ten count. I think this Atlas/Huber team is going to be short lived.

Interview:
Dusty Rhodes explains why he helped Stan Hansen at MSG.

Dusty Rhodes was scheduled for a match against Ole Anderson, but first, he had some words for new World champion Stan Hansen. The American Dream wanted Hansen to be certain that he didn't cut Anderson off at the pass to help Hansen, but to get his own bit of revenge. He wanted Hansen to be sure that their issue isn't over by a long shot and that when all is said and done, he will get the World Title back. Anderson was to come out for their match now, but instead, out came… Bobby Heenan? Heenan grabbed the microphone from a confused Rhodes and let it be known that he has signed two new clients, the first being Ole Anderson. The Brain told Rhodes that his first bit of advisement was for Anderson to not participate in this match, as Rhodes is quite unstable and it would be unsafe for him. But he did say that he has a replacement opponent for Rhodes - his second new client, Tully Blanchard! Rhodes was not happy with the swerve that was pulled here, but he was in a fighting mood, and our new match was on.

Dusty Rhodes pinned Tully Blanchard with the Bionic Elbowdrop in 0:12:41.
Rating: ***
(Ole Anderson no-showed.)

Heenan picking up two new clients was a shocker - it looks like the return of the Heenan Family in full force. Putting Tully Blanchard in this match instead of Ole Anderson was meant to throw his game, but all it seemed to do was make the American Dream angry. But still, Ole Anderson & Tully Blanchard are polar opposites, and Rhodes had not prepared to wrestle a technical wrestler like Blanchard. Blanchard had a multitude of success early in the match. Like it or not, but the guy has a lot of skill, and it took Rhodes some adjusting. But Tully got a little full of himself, taking more time to gloat and brag after his big moves instead of going in for the kill. This gave Dusty plenty of openings to turn the tide, en route to getting the win with the Bionic Elbowdrop. Tully rolled out of the ring and went to the back with Heenan, the Brain assuring Tully they got what they needed. What does that mean?

Nick Bockwinkel defeated Jimmy Snuka by countout in 0:05:45.
Rating: **
(Nick Bockwinkel retained the GCW Intercontinental Title.)

Nick Bockwinkel has held the Intercontinental Title for a considerable amount of time, but he hasn't retained the title in the cleanest of ways. He is not above getting himself counted out or disqualified to keep the gold around his waist. The latter is exactly how he survived Jimmy Snuka, but he had to fight him again here north of the border. Snuka was more wary of the potential of Bockwinkel getting himself DQ'ed again, staying all over the champ like white on rice. He may have become overzealous though, and it cost him. When Snuka had went to the floor and chopped Bockwinkel who was out trying to stall, he threw him back in the ring. Before he could get back in himself, Bobby Heenan grabbed a hold of the Superfly's foot. Snuka went into a rage, chasing after Heenan and chasing him all the way to the back. The crowd loved it, until they realized that Snuka got himself counted out. Snuka didn't take too kindly to that, and hit Bockwinkel with a headbutt and the Superfly Splash after the match. Snuka has secured himself one more title shot on February 2 in Atlantic City, but with an added stipulation thrown in by Heenan - if Bockwinkel beats Snuka by pinfall or submission, it will be the Superfly's last shot at the Intercontinental Title!

The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid) defeated The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey) when D.B. Smith defeated Condrey by countout in 0:10:18.
Rating: * 1/4

Both of these teams are new to the landscape of GCW. The tag team division has been revamped a lot in recent months, and the British Bulldogs & The Midnight Express are major parts of the resurgence of the best tag division in the world. Jim Cornette insists that "Beautiful" Bobby Eaton & "Loverboy" Dennis Condrey are the future tag team champions, and skill wise, they are talented enough to be. They just need to start manning up and fighting though. As soon as Cornette felt this match was slipping out of his team's grasps, he made the decision to just walk out, taking the countout loss, but insisting that the Midnight Express could have won whenever they wanted to. This didn't make Davey Boy Smith & Dynamite Kid very happy, as they are looking for competition. They will get that against Dino Bravo & Nikolai Volkoff in Atlantic City on February 2. The Midnight Express, meanwhile, will have their hands full with the Rock 'N Roll Express.

Dick Murdoch pinned Mike Rotundo with the Gourdbuster in 0:05:58.
Rating: ** 3/4

One-half of the World Tag Team champions, Dick Murdoch, demanded this singles match against Mike Rotundo tonight. His reasoning was that he puts all the blame for Bobby Duncum's back injury on Rotundo's shoulders, and he wanted to give him a little taste of his own medicine. Rotundo may be inexperienced, but he is proving that he will back down from no one, and that includes Captain Redneck. Murdoch has been in the tag team ranks for so long, that I had forgotten that he can go in the singles ranks. He showed some good wrestling skills to keep up with Rotundo, and then when he made this a brawl, it was only a matter of time before he caught Rotundo with the Gourdbuster to get the 3 count.

Murdoch kept the attack going by stomping on Rotundo's back, trying to inflict the same injury on him that Duncum suffered. He drove a knee in Rotundo's back and was pulling him up by his nose and mouth when JUNKYARD DOG ran out and broke it up with a headbutt! Murdoch got back up and ate one more headbutt before he realized that it was time to get out of there. Rotundo & JYD were so mad, they asked the Championship Committee for a title shot in Atlantic City, and given the circumstances, their request was granted. What a match that should be.

[WINNER RECEIVES INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE SHOT]:
10-Man Battle Royal:
Rick Martel won a 10-man Battle Royal:
x Backlund threw out Gibson in 0:00:29
x Martel threw out Blanchard in 0:00:35
x Sheik threw out R. Morton in 0:03:21
x Sheik threw out JYD in 0:03:31
x Zbyszko threw out Backlund in 0:08:50
x Backlund pulled out Zbyszko in 0:08:58
x Martel threw out Sheik after a dropkick in 0:11:14
x Steamboat and Martel threw out Muraco in 0:12:29
x Martel threw out Steamboat in 0:17:39
Rating: *** 1/4
[Freddie Blassie interfered against Junkyard Dog.]

Ten wrestlers were told to come to Toronto, but were not told what match they were booked in. When they got here and found out that they'd be in a battle royal for an Intercontinental Title shot, they were certainly glad they showed up. As we've covered before, title shots are few and far between and not to be taken lightly, and it helped fuel each and every man involved. In fact, it actually led to our first elimination. Robert Gibson was so jacked up that he foolishly made a run at Bob Backlund, which you simply don't want to do. Backlund has the experience edge and used Gibson's momentum against him, making him the first casualty of the match. On the other side of the ring at almost the same time, Tully Blanchard would become the second elimination. He was spending the early going yelling at the crowd, saying how this match was his to win. Rick Martel noticed that nobody had touched Blanchard, so he came up from behind and dumped Tully out of the ring. Blanchard hardly noticed he had been eliminated as he kept arguing with a particular fan at ringside. What an interesting man.

The strongest man in the match was The Iron Sheik, and in a match like this, that is a huge advantage. Ask Ricky Morton, who the Sheik caught when he went for a crossbody. Sheik caught him, walked him over to the ropes, and dumped him to the floor. JYD went after Sheik right after, but encountered some bad luck as he hit the ropes for a big shot, but when he did so, FREDDIE BLASSIE was pulling the top rope down, sending JYD flying over the top rope. JYD was steamed to say the least, and the crowd was in a frenzy as JYD pointed to Blassie and barked at him! Blassie backed away and went up the aisle, JYD hot on his tail. More on that later.

For the next several minutes, we had some great action. Sheik was exerting his will on Ricky Steamboat in the corner, choking away at him. Meanwhile Don Muraco & Martel were exchanging blows, which was impressive to say the least in regards to Martel. We've seen him mat wrestle and take to the air, but he showed in this match that he can brawl a little bit too. But the real battle going on at this point was between Larry Zbyszko & Bob Backlund. We know how intense Backlund can get, and he had put all of his focus on Zbyszko. Backlund would hit anyone else that was nearby because he wanted to test Zbyszko, apparently. To Zbyszko's credit, he didn't back down a lick. He welcomed the fight, and it was getting so out of hand that the rest of the action in the ring was being dwarfed by their fight. Backlund got to the point where he was in control and had Zbyszko in the Crossface Chickenwing, but couldn't get him down to the canvas. Zbyszko had enough in him to back Backlund hard back into the turnbuckles, and then clotheslined Backlund out of nowhere, sending Backlund out of the match to a huge pop! Backlund was stunned, but quickly regained his bearings, got on the apron, and pulled Zbyszko out over the top, eliminating the Cruncher from the match! Well from that point, as they say, it was on. Backlund & Zbyszko tore into each other with a fervor that was off the charts. It took a slew of officials and security officers to split these two up.

The final four paired off: Steamboat & Martel on one side, Muraco & The Iron Sheik on the other. This quickly turned into bad news for the Sheik, because Muraco doesn't like Sheik either spawning from their time together under Blassie's management. Sheik got bounced around the ring by all 3 men before he got sent over the top by a well-placed Martel dropkick. Muraco slapped Martel & Steamboat on the back, trying to buddy up to his "new friends." That didn't work out well for the Magnificent One as Martel & Steamboat took turns taking shots on Muraco, and hitting him with some great double team moves like a double suplex and double dropkick. Martel & Steamboat grabbed Muraco by his hair and both sent him flying out of the ring.

That left us with two, and they were two of the most popular and exciting wrestlers in GCW. Martel & Steamboat shook hands before spending the next 5 minutes engaging in some off-the-charts action. These two were so evenly matched that there was just no predicting who was going to walk away with the title shot. Steamboat has held the Intercontinental Title twice in the past, and he knows how important that championship is. The action went back and forth, but it all changed when Steamboat went to the top turnbuckle. That is always dangerous in a battle royal, and it came back to bite Steamboat in the ass. Martel caught him with a punch to the stomach, and started to climb up the turnbuckles as well. Both men were teetering precariously as they jockeyed for position. Martel would get the final blow in as a big left hand sent Steamboat crashing to the floor. Rick Martel earns an Intercontinental Title shot! In a great show of sportsmanship, Martel went to the floor to make sure that Steamboat was okay. The two men shook hands, and Steamboat wished Martel luck in his title opportunity.

Stan Hansen pinned King Kong Bundy with the Lariat in 0:10:00.
Rating: ** 1/4
(Stan Hansen retained the GCW World Title.)

Stan Hansen's second World Title reign was not going to start on an easy note, as his first title defense was against the monstrous King Kong Bundy. Even though Bundy recently suffered his first pinfall loss, the reign of terror he has left in his wake was enough for the Championship Committee to grant him the title shot. There's not a lot of men who can stand up to Bundy physically, but if anybody can, it's Hansen. He hasn't ascended to being the World champion by being flashy - he is a fighter, plain and simple, and there is not a man on the planet that he is afraid of. But Bundy doesn't care if you're scared of him or not; he's going to come at you like an out-of-control locomotive either way. This match had a lot of heat as the Toronto crowd was in the mood to watch two big, tough guys beat the starch out of each other. Hansen is faster than Bundy though, and that was crucial to his retaining the title when he avoided Bundy's Big Splash. When Bundy got back up, he was met in the jaw by the Lariat, and Hansen was just BARELY able to keep Bundy down for the 3 count to keep the title around his waist.

Bundy shook the cobwebs out pretty quickly and hit Hansen with a clubbing forearm to rock the World champ. It didn't get better for Hansen from there as TULLY BLANCHARD joined in, going after the eye of Hansen with some right hands. A small cut opened up over Hansen's eyes before DUSTY RHODES ran down for the save! Blanchard ran at Dusty, but the Dream took him over with a backdrop. Bundy went for a punch, but Dusty blocked it and pepper Bundy with some fast Bionic elbows that sent the monster stumbling. Hansen was back up too and caught Bundy with a knee to send him through the ropes while Dusty clotheslined Tully over the top. Dusty then stared at Hansen and motioned that he was getting the World Title back. What an explosive way to kick off the year!

Card rating: ** 1/2

Match observations:

A couple of breaking news stories to get to before we run down the card for Atlantic City. For starters, the main event was announced, and there are two men who are very unhappy about it. The main attraction will be a tag team match pitting King Kong Bundy & Tully Blanchard of the Heenan Family against World champion Stan Hansen & Dusty Rhodes! Considering how much Hansen & Rhodes hate each other, it is no surprise that they both blew a gasket when they were informed of this match. Bobby Heenan, on the other hand, was thrilled when he found out, as he has publicly stated that there is no way Hansen & Rhodes can work together in that match, making it an easy night for the Heenan Family.

Secondly, there has been a change to a previously announced match. Originally, Bobby Duncum & Dick Murdoch were to defend the World Tag Team Titles against Mike Rotundo & Junkyard Dog. However, due to the incident with JYD & "Classy" Freddie Blassie, JYD has been removed from this match and will instead be taking on The Iron Sheik on February 2. Rotundo will still be receiving the shot at the tag titles, and will be allowed to bring in any partner he wants, a decision that hasn't made the reigning champions very happy. When asked about who the partner would be, Rotundo kept quiet and says we will all find out in Atlantic City.

2/2/84 - CONVENTION HALL - Atlantic City, NJ

MAIN EVENT - Stan Hansen/Dusty Rhodes vs. King Kong Bundy/Tully Blanchard
INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE - Nick Bockwinkel (c) vs. Jimmy Snuka
WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES - Bobby Duncum/Dick Murdoch (c) vs. Mike Rotundo/Mystery Partner
Larry Zbyszko vs. Bob Backlund
Junkyard Dog vs. The Iron Sheik
Rick Martel vs. Ole Anderson
The Rock 'N Roll Express vs. The Midnight Express
The British Bulldogs vs. Dino Bravo/Nikolai Volkoff

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