January 26, 1980 - The Spectrum - Philadelphia, PA

Ric Flair made Ivan Putski submit to the Figure-Four Leglock in 0:08:21.
Rating: ** 1/2

Ivan Putski, along with his partner Tito Santana, are establishing themselves as one of the brightest young tag teams in all of wrestling, but they were wanting to show they were just as big of a threat in the singles division. Polish Power would have his hands full with the vastly improving and ever arrogant "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. Flair didn't make himself any friends before the $10,000 battle royal, but he did quite well for himself before becoming the last man eliminated by winner Ivan Koloff. As you'd expect, Putski was fired up and used that fire to bounce Flair around the ring like a bleach-blond bouncy ball. Still, what we are learning about Flair is that he can absorb a lot of punishment and find a way to come back. Flair cut a few corners to get back on the offensive, gouging Putski's eye before clipping his knee. The Figure-Four Leglock was soon to follow, and even the muscular Putski couldn't withstand the pain and was forced to give it up. 1980 could be a breakout year for the Nature Boy.

The Guerreros (Hector Guerrero and Mando Guerrero) defeated The Blackjacks (Blackjack Lanza and Blackjack Mulligan) when M. Guerrero defeated Mulligan by disqualification in 0:03:42.
Rating: * 3/4
[Freddie Blassie interfered against Mando Guerrero.]

For the first time in GCW history, we have a trio of brothers in Chavo, Hector, & Mando - the Guerreros. They had the opportunity to have a special night with Chavo challenging Stan Hansen for the Intercontinental Title, and this next match with Hector & Mando taking on the former 3-time World Tag Team champions, The Blackjacks. A win in Philadelphia over Lanza & Mulligan would catapult them in the tag team rankings. They would get that win, but not the way they had envisioned. After the opening minutes saw the Guerreros frustrate the Blackjacks with their lucha style offense, Mulligan nailed Hector with a blatant low blow for the DQ. The Blackjacks beat up the Guerreros for a bit after the bell before dumping them to the floor. Freddie Blassie has been trying to get the Blackjacks fired up to get back into title contention, and this may have done it. Blassie is hard at work to get his men one more shot at the titles.

Terry Funk made Don Muraco submit to the Spinning Toe Hold in 0:12:05.
Rating: *** 1/4
[Freddie Blassie interfered against Terry Funk.]

The feud between Terry Funk & Don Muraco has become a as hard-hitting as you could ever hope to see, and tonight's encounter was more of the same. Muraco pinned Funk in New York after a ruthless powerslam on the concrete floor, but Funk gained a measure of revenge by eliminating Muraco from the battle royal. Muraco is on the cusp of becoming a major player in GCW, and this match could serve as that final springboard to elevate him to the next level. Muraco put a hurting on Funk, putting most of his offensive focus on Funk's back which couldn't be feeling good after that powerslam on the arena floor. Funk kept himself in the match by getting in shots at Muraco's knee to slow down the powerhouse. It would prove to be a winning strategy as Muraco's knee was sufficiently injured that when Funk surprised Muraco with a single-leg takedown and executed the Spinning Toe Hold, he picked up the submission victory.

Ivan Koloff pinned Tito Santana with the Russian Sickle in 0:08:18.
Rating: ***

"The Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff is on quite a roll (and $10,000 richer) after winning the battle royal in the Garden, and he kept that train rolling against Tito Santana. Santana is developing a big fan following since coming to GCW, and with the heart that he shows in his matches, it's no surprise as to why. Santana was probably outmatched against Koloff, but you tell that to Tito Santana. Santana fought valiantly and refused to stay down despite how much Koloff beat on him. Santana even hit the Flying Forearm on the Russian Bear, but he hit him with such velocity that it knocked Koloff out of the ring. Freddie Blassie would keep breaking the count by getting into it with referee John Stanley. Santana lost his cool and went out to the floor to bring Koloff back in, which would be his last mistake. Koloff had recovered enough to smash Santana's head into the ring post which busted him open. Koloff threw Santana back in the ring, hit the Russian Sickle, and finished this one off.

Interview:
Stan Hansen continues his tirades against the foreign superstars of GCW.

Before Stan Hansen's title defense against Chavo Guerrero, the Lariat had some derogatory words for his Mexican American opponent. Hansen said that though the Guerreros may technically be from Texas, they are no better than the "dirty beaners from Mexico" that their family is. If that wasn't offensive enough, he said the only reason they are even American today is because his worthless mother and loser of a father jumped a fence and swam a river to get here. He didn't get a chance to say anything else inflammatory as CHAVO GUERRERO sprinted to the ring and nailed Hansen with a dropkick, and the match was on!

Chavo Guerrero pinned Stan Hansen after a flying sunset flip in 0:08:09.
Rating: *** 1/4
(Chavo Guerrero won the GCW Intercontinental Title.)

Despite the early fire that Chavo Guerrero showed in this match and the lack of being intimidated by the 300-pound punisher from Texan, not a lot of people were betting on Chavo walking away the Intercontinental champion. But in this great sport, upsets can happen on any given night - no match is a guarantee, and Guerrero proved that in Philly tonight. After absorbing the early assault from Guerrero, Hansen got the upperhand and was out to put the hurting on his Mexican American foe. Hansen looked to have a pinfall secured twice in this one, once after a huge side suplex and the other after a vicious power bomb, but both times he lifted Chavo's shoulders off the canvas to inflict more punishment. He was going to finally capitalize on it when he put Guerrero on the top turnbuckle to go for a superplex, but at this point, JUMBO TSURUTA had seen enough and was making his way down to ringside to put a stop to this mauling. Hansen saw him and about flipped his lid, challenging Jumbo to get in the ring and fight him. Officials came down to prevent Jumbo from getting to the ring, but his presence was a huge distraction to Hansen. When the Lariat turned back to finish off Guerrero, Chavo had recovered. Chavo soared off the top with a flying sunset flip that caught him completely off-guard. Chavo just barely held Hansen's shoulders down for the 3, and in perhaps the biggest upset in history, Chavo Guerrero was declared the Intercontinental champion! Hansen couldn't believe it as he saw Guerrero handed the title, and he completely snapped. Hansen nailed Guerrero with the Lariat, bending the new champ's neck at a sickening angle. Most of the officials were still contending with Tsuruta on the outside so they didn't get in the ring in time to stop Hansen from piledriving Guerrero on top of the IC Title. After this cowardly assault, Guerrero was in bad shape as he was stretched out of the arena, accompanied by his brothers Hector and Mando. What a horrible scene.

Austin Idol and Roddy Piper battled to a draw in 0:20:00.
Rating: * 1/4

It was hard to focus after what had just happened, but the show must go on, and we had a great grudge match between Roddy Piper and Austin Idol of Paul Jones' Army. Paul Jones himself was down at ringside as he also serves as manager to Idol & The Masked Superstar in addition to being an in-ring competitor, and he prides himself on being a "hands on" manager. Any time the referee wasn't looking, Jones was sure to get in a cheap shot (this was during the times, of course, that he wasn't directly distracting the ref so Idol could get in some cheap moves). But even though Piper has earned the respect of the GCW fans, don't kid yourself for a second into thinking he won't wrestle just as dirty as anyone in the world. Piper is a street fighter, plain and simple, and he gave Idol plenty of his own medicine. As this match wore on, it was completely up in the air to who was going to walk away with the W. We thought it was going to be Piper as around the 18 minute mark, he got the Universal Heartthrob in the Sleeper. Jones was quick to jump on the apron to get Willie Webber's attention, completely missing that Idol was giving up in the ring! Not only that, but he missed THE MASKED SUPERSTAR jump in the ring and nail Piper from behind with a forearm to break the hold, and then hitting a massive backbreaker on the Rowdy Scot. Idol got his bearings back and put Piper in the Las Vegas Leglock with 45 seconds left in the 20 minute time limit. Piper was screaming bloody murder from the pain of the hold, but he absolutely refused to give up. As the clock counted down, no one expected Piper to hold on. The bell rang, and Idol raised his hands in victory, but the ring announcer declared that it was a time limit draw! Piper had held on, much to the disbelief of Paul Jones and his Army. What a display of guts by Rowdy Roddy.

Paul Jones' Army (Paul Jones and The Masked Superstar) defeated Afa and Victor Rivera when P. Jones pinned Rivera after a small package in 0:07:30.
Rating: **
(Sika no-showed.)

Paul Jones' Army may have had all that they could handle with Roddy Piper, but they were looking to have an easier time as Jones & The Masked Superstar took on Afa & Victor Rivera. You might be thinking that Afa & Rivera are a very strange team, and you'd be right. Sika, Afa's regular partner, got a bad case of food poisoning yesterday (that's what happens when you eat raw fish) and was in no condition to compete tonight - thus, Lou Albano recruited Rivera to take his place. Rivera is a former tag team champion, but since returning to GCW, he hasn't had a lick of success. That trend would continue, but he only has himself to blame. Rivera didn't want to cooperate with Afa at all, mostly because he couldn't understand a damn thing he was saying. Captain Lou does speak English, but he's only slightly easier to understand. Rivera was at a complete loss, and that is the last place you want to be going against Paul Jones & The Masked Superstar. Rivera's constant arguing with Afa & Albano would be his downfall, getting caught in a small package by Jones and pinned for the 1-2-3. After the match, Rivera ran his mouth and got in Afa's face, blaming him for the loss. It looked like Afa was going to let it slide until Rivera slapped him, causing Afa to plant him with the Samoan Drop. Not the best night of Rivera's career.

Dusty Rhodes pinned Larry Zbyszko with the Bionic Elbowdrop in 0:13:21.
Rating: ***

Since Larry Zbyszko returned from suspension, Dusty Rhodes has yet to get an opportunity to get into the ring with the man who is now referring to himself as the Cruncher, 1-on-1. The American Dream got that chance here, and truthfully, it looked like Zbyszko was looking forward to the match just as much. With as much hell as Zbyszko has caused Rhodes, you know that the Dream wants to rip his head off. And yet, Zbyszko wants just as much of Rhodes as Rhodes does Zbyszko. The Cruncher is getting a reputation as being one of the most ruthless men in wrestling, but if anyone can hold his own in a fight, it's Rhodes. As you would expect, the crowd was thoroughly on the side of Rhodes and vehemently against Zbyszko, and oddly enough, this fueled them both. Zbyszko wrestled a great match except that he made one big mistake. He had Rhodes hurt and thought he could lift him up for the Shoulderbreaker, but at well over 10 minutes into this brutal match, Zbyszko didn't have the strength to lift up the 300-plus pound American Dream. As the Cruncher clutched his back in pain, Rhodes smashed him with a series of Bionic Elbows before hitting the big elbowdrop to get the 1-2-3.

Interview:
Jimmy Snuka challenges Bob Backlund for one more match.

Jimmy Snuka came out to a huge ovation and asked for the microphone. He called out his friend, the World champion Bob Backlund, who joined him in the ring. Snuka thanked Backlund for the chance to wrestle him for the World Title, mentioning that it's been his dream to be the champion for as long as he could remember. Backlund said his was his pleasure as he wants to prove himself against the very best the wrestling business has to offer. Snuka continued to put Backlund over, telling the fans in the Spectrum that there is no one in the world as worthy of the gold as Backlund is… well, except for himself. Snuka asked Backlund to give him one more match on February 20 in Atlantic City. He says he knows he has it in him to be the World champion, and would be honored to try one more time against Backlund. Backlund didn't hesitate in accepting the challenge, and we are going to have a tremendous rematch on February 20!

Gorilla Monsoon and Pedro Morales defeated The Can-Am Strongmen (Dino Bravo and Ken Patera) when Monsoon pinned Bravo with the Big Splash in 0:17:13.
Rating: * 1/4
(Gorilla Monsoon and Pedro Morales retained the GCW World Tag Team Titles.)

Every time the World Tag Team champions are in action, there is a special feeling in the air, because every match could end up being Gorilla Monsoon's last. The team looking to dethrone Monsoon & Pedro Morales in our main event was the Can-Am Strongmen, Dino Bravo & Ken Patera. Despite the overwhelming fan support, Bravo & Patera were motivated and focused to win the titles, because let's face it - if you can say that you ended the career of Gorilla Monsoon, that's enough to build a resume'. Every time we see Monsoon in a match though, you can tell he's not ready to hang up the boots yet. Monsoon & Morales had to fight hard but in the end, Monsoon's Big Splash on Bravo put the match in the books.

Card rating: ** 1/4

Match observations:

BREAKING NEWS!!!

Due to the injuries suffered after the heinous post-match attack by Stan Hansen, as of February 1, 1980, the new Intercontinental champion Chavo Guerrero has been STRIPPED of the championship. After being seen by two separate doctors, the damage to Guerrero's neck is severe enough to keep him out of the ring for several months. The GCW Championship Committee has been quick to act and on February 20 in Atlantic City, an 8-man tournament will begin to crown the new champion. The four first round matches will take place on this night, with the semi-finals being held on March 18 in Lowell, MA and the finals taking place on April 2 from Madison Square Garden. The first round matches are as follows:

Hector Guerrero vs. Ric Flair
Dusty Rhodes vs. Larry Zbyszko
Roddy Piper vs. Austin Idol
Terry Funk vs. Don Muraco

Not only that, but on February 20 we will see the former champion, Stan Hansen, take on the man he blames for costing him the IC Title, Jumbo Tsuruta! Tito Santana & Ivan Putski will meet Paul Jones & The Masked Superstar, The Blackjacks get one final shot to win back the tag team titles against Gorilla Monsoon & Pedro Morales, and in our main event, the huge rematch for the World Title, Bob Backlund vs. Jimmy Snuka!

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