January 13, 1977 - The Spectrum - Philadelphia, PA

Bob Backlund pinned Johnny Rodz with the Atomic Drop in 0:05:15.
Rating: *** 3/4

1977 began with a debut. Johnny Rodz got the task of taking on the much-heralded Bob Backlund, a find of the returning Arnold Skaaland. Backlund is a great amateur standout and wants to apply his craft in Global Championship Wrestling. Rodz unpredictable act this show was only punching with his left hand… I can't make this stuff up. Despite this, well, "innovative" strategy, Rodz wasn't in the same league as Backlund, who looked fantastic in his debut, hitting the Atomic Drop to get the victory. Backlund has the makings of being a game changer here in GCW. Quite a find by Skaaland.

Killer Kowalski pinned Tony Garea after a back suplex in 0:08:42.
Rating: *** 1/4
(Dino Bravo no-showed.)

This match was scheduled to be Dino Bravo vs. Killer Kowalski, but Bravo is still nursing injuries he suffered at the hands of Billy Graham. Therefore, Tony Garea took Bravo's place, a decision he may end up regretting. Kowalski was extra vicious tonight, wanting to put a hurting on somebody. Garea couldn't keep the monster down, and a big back suplex sealed his fate.

The Blackjacks (Blackjack Lanza and Blackjack Mulligan) defeated Gorilla Monsoon and Sgt. Slaughter when Lanza defeated Monsoon when Monsoon passed out in the Blackjack Claw in 0:12:55.
Rating: ** 1/4
(The Blackjacks retained the GCW World Tag Team Titles.)

What an ungrateful punk Sgr. Slaughter is! Gorilla Monsoon has gone above and beyond to mentor the young Marine, and Slaughter has been nothing but a crybaby jerk. But tonight, he went too far. Monsoon & Slaughter had a huge opportunity, challenging the Blackjacks for the World Tag Team Titles. For most of this match, it looked like Monsoon & Slaughter had settled their differences - that is, until the end. Monsoon had been in the ring for awhile taking a lot of abuse, but he got some separation when he ducked a clothesline from Blackjack Mulligan and hit one of his own. Monsoon crawled over to make the cover, but when he got there, Slaughter dropped to the floor and headed for the back, leaving Monsoon high and dry! The look on Monsoon's face said it all, but he didn't get much of a chance to stew as Lanza locked on the Blackjack Claw, zapping the last of Monsoon's energy to retain the gold. When Monsoon came to, he stomped to the back in search of Slaughter. He'll get his hands on him on February 6 at the Boston Garden.

Mike Graham and Hiro Matsuda battled to a double countout in 0:10:24.
Rating: ***

This match between Mike Graham and Hiro Matsuda was supposed to serve as the rubber match, as each man had previously scored a victory over the other. However, we'll have to wait at least one more show for that, as the two battled to the floor and didn't beat the count, resulting in a double countout. A rematch has been signed for the Boston Garden.

Interview:
Jimmy Snuka wants a shot at the Intercontinental Title.

Before our next contest pitting Terry Funk defending the Intercontinental Title against Peter Maivia, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka came out and grabbed the microphone. Snuka had a banner year in in 1976, and he wants 1977 to be even better. Snuka said he didn't care who won this match - he wanted to challenge the winner to a match for the gold. Maivia gladly accepted and said he would be happy to give Snuka a shot, but Funk looked a bit more tentative, giving a non-committal answer. Either way, this match had a lot more intrigue to it.

Peter Maivia defeated Terry Funk by disqualification in 0:14:41.
Rating: ** 1/2
(Terry Funk retained the GCW Intercontinental Title.)

Terry Funk has held the Intercontinental Title for several months now, and whether you like him or not, he has been a great champion. Peter Maivia has never held championship gold in GCW, but this was a prime opportunity for him to change that. Jimmy Snuka stayed at ringside to observe the match, and this seemed to rattle Funk, who would take time to jaw with the Superfly any chance he had. This almost led to him losing the title on many occasions as the High Chief was focused on nothing but winning the match. Funk got desperate and grabbed the Intercontinental Title from the timekeeper's table, brought it in the ring, and blasted Maivia in the face with it - a blatant disqualification if there ever was one. Funk looked to hit a piledriver on Maivia as well, but Snuka jumped in the ring and broke that up by dropkicking Funk, sending him flying to the outside. Maivia is going to get one more shot at the gold in Boston, while Funk has told his lackey Don Muraco to take Snuka out.

Bobby Duncum pinned Tim Woods after a belly-to-belly suplex in 0:08:12.
Rating: **** 1/4

Mr. Wrestling had his mask removed by the Brisco Brothers at our last show in MSG, revealing his identity to be Tim Woods. Woods has been completely rattled since losing the mask, and he looked to regain his focus here against Bobby Duncum. Woods appeared to be trying way too hard, and that's something you can't do against Duncum. Duncum took complete advantage of this, drilling Woods with a belly-to-belly suplex for the 1-2-3.

The Brisco Brothers (Jerry Brisco and Jack Brisco) defeated The Russians (Ivan Koloff and Nikolai Volkoff) when Jack Brisco pinned I. Koloff after hitting him with the cane in 0:13:00.
Rating: ** 1/4
[Lou Albano interfered against Jerry Brisco.]
[Lou Albano interfered against Jack Brisco.]

Speaking of the Brisco Brothers, they were reunited for the first time in years and they have made it known that their only focus now is to win the World Tag Team Titles. A win here against the Russians would go a long way into getting them into title contention, but you know Captain Lou Albano would have his men prepared. The Russians haven't teamed up a lot recently due to Ivan Koloff's battles with Dusty Rhodes. Even though Jack & Jerry hadn't teamed up in even longer, they are brothers, and they looked like they hadn't missed a beat. Albano tried to play equalizer by jumping up on the apron and distracting referee Terry Taranova so he could throw the cane into Koloff. Jack Brisco blocked the blow though, grabbed the cane, and smashed it over the Russian Bear's head! The pinfall was academic at that point.

Stan Hansen pinned Billy Robinson with the Lariat in 0:09:55.
Rating: *** 3/4

If Stan Hansen wasn't someone to be afraid of before, he certainly is now. Specifically, the Lariat is proving to be the most dangerous move in all of wrestling. Not only did he break the neck of Pedro Morales with it, but tonight, he can add Billy Robinson's neck to his trophy case. Robinson did what he could to corale the big burly youngster, but once Hansen got free, that power was dominant. Hansen reared back and smashed Robinson hard with the Lariat, and in the same sickening way we had seen before, Robinson fell in a heap. Hansen got the victory, but the bigger story was Robinson was hurt and hurt badly. Much like Morales, Robinson suffered a broken neck and it looks like his career too is over. Something needs to be done about Hansen and his Lariat.

Luke Graham and Bruiser Brody battled to a double disqualification in 0:08:17.
Rating: ** 1/2

Luke Graham was better prepared for Bruiser Brody this time around, and it was clear from the get go that neither man was necessarily trying to simply win a match. Both men were looking to maim the other, and referee Danny Bartfield lost control of this one from the opening bell. It was your ultimate slugfest, and eventually Bartfield became frustrated and tossed this match out - a double disqualification. Graham & Brody sure didn't seem to mind as the battle raged on before a slew of security personnel finally broke them up. There will be no need to break them up in Boston, as GCW officials have determined that these two are going to settle their differences in a steel cage!

Dory Funk Jr. defeated Billy Graham by disqualification in 0:09:07.
Rating: *** 1/4
[Bobby Heenan interfered against Dory Funk Jr..]

It is surprising that in all the years of GCW, Dory Funk Jr. & Billy Graham had never locked horns in the ring. That changed tonight in The Spectrum. The match had a "big fight feel" to it based on the reputations of these two, largely considered two of the greatest in GCW history to never hold the World Title. This match was a small sampling of what these two could give us in the future, but tonight's match was cut short when the Superstar got himself disqualified by refusing to break a chokehold. Not the way anyone wanted the match to end, but fortunately for us, we will see a rematch in Boston. And to put a cherry on top, we have learned it will be to determine the #1 contender for the World Title!

Harley Race pinned Jumbo Tsuruta after a roll up in 0:25:00.
Rating: *** 1/2
(Harley Race retained the GCW World Title.)

The main event of our first show of 1977 was for the World Title. Harley Race is in his third year as champion, and is quickly approaching the all-time record for longest title reign. He had a tough young gun to contend with as he put the gold against Jumbo Tsuruta. Jumbo earned this title shot by being the Newcomer of the Year for 1976, and if he won the World Title tonight, he'd make a huge step toward being Wrestler of the Year for 1977. Though Jumbo is inexperienced, he is one of those wrestlers who just gets it - a complete natural. Race had his hands full with Tsuruta, who seemed to be a step ahead of Handsome Harley at every turn. You don't often see it, but you could sense fear in Race, a fear that he felt the title slipping out of his grasp. Race had to resort to nefarious tactics to keep the gold around his waist. Jumbo had all the momentum on his side as he went for the Jumbo Knee, but Race sidestepped and rolled him up. Not only that, but he grabbed a handful of tights for added leverage to get a very tainted win. The fans were so livid about this, so thoroughly behind wanting to see Jumbo take the gold that security had to rush Harley Race out of the building. Has Race finally met his match?

Card rating: *** 1/4

Match observations:

We are going to have perhaps the best card we've ever had in the Boston Garden, and it will take place on February 6th with the following matches on deck:

WORLD TITLE REMATCH - Harley Race (c) vs. Jumbo Tsuruta
INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE REMATCH - Terry Funk (c) vs. Peter Maivia
WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES - The Blackjacks (c) vs. Tony Garea/Dean Ho
#1 CONTENDERS MATCH - Dory Funk Jr. vs. Billy Graham
STEEL CAGE MATCH - Luke Graham vs. Bruiser Brody
Gorilla Monsoon vs. Sgt. Slaughter
Jimmy Snuka vs. Don Muraco
The Brisco Brothers vs. The Russians
Mike Graham vs. Hiro Matsuda
Bob Backlund vs. Killer Kowalski
Dino Bravo vs. Tim Woods

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