January 5, 1963 - Madison Square Garden - New York, NY

[WORLD TITLE TOURNAMENT - Round 1]:
Bruno Sammartino made Mark Lewin submit to the Sammartino Backbreaker in 0:14:13.
Rating: *** 1/4

Bruno moves to the quarters.

[WORLD TITLE TOURNAMENT - Round 1]:
Ernie Ladd made Bill Watts submit to a sleeperhold in 0:05:31.
Rating: * 3/4

The Big Cat gets Bill Watts to submit to a sleeperhold. Watts claims it was an illegal chokehold after the match.

[WORLD TITLE TOURNAMENT - Round 1]:
Antonino Rocca pinned Gorilla Monsoon after a flying cross body press in 0:17:59.
Rating: 3/4*

Rocca sustains a lot of punishment from Monsoon, but finally moves to the quarterfinals after a flying cross body press.

[WORLD TITLE TOURNAMENT - Round 1]:
Gene Kiniski pinned Danny Hodge with the Backbreaker in 0:13:18.
Rating: ** 3/4

Though Hodge outwrestled Kiniski, Kiniski used cheating tactics and the Backbreaker on the floor to soften Hodge up before hitting another Backbreaker in the ring to move on to face Rocca in the quarters.

[WORLD TITLE TOURNAMENT - Round 1]:
Buddy Rogers pinned Johnny Valentine after a small package in 0:14:33.
Rating: ** 3/4

The Nature Boy showed he'd do anything to win the World Title, catching Valentine in a small package and hooking the tights for an unfair advantage, but the win.

[WORLD TITLE TOURNAMENT - Round 1]:
The Sheik and Bobo Brazil battled to a draw in 0:20:00.
Rating: *

Bobo Brazil & The Sheik were both eliminated from contention when they tumbled to the outside and brawled to a double countout. The fight continued after all the way to the locker room.

[WORLD TITLE TOURNAMENT - Round 1]:
Lou Thesz pinned Freddie Blassie after a sunset flip in 0:09:03.
Rating: ** 1/4

Thesz's wrestling was too much for Blassie's cheating as he countered a backdrop with a sunset flip to advance in the tournament.

[WORLD TITLE TOURNAMENT - Round 1]:
Killer Kowalski made Pedro Morales submit to the Stomach Claw in 0:19:35.
Rating: *** 1/2

He was taken to the limit, but Killer Kowalski's Stomach Claw proved the difference as he finished out the first round with a victory over the young Pedro Morales.

[WORLD TITLE TOURNAMENT - Round 2]:
Bruno Sammartino pinned Ernie Ladd after a powerslam in 0:16:02.
Rating: **

Bruno Sammartino again has to pull out a victory when he looked to have lost it, catching Ladd by surprise with a powerslam. Bruno moves onto the semi-finals.

[WORLD TITLE TOURNAMENT - Round 2]:
Gene Kiniski pinned Antonino Rocca with the Backbreaker in 0:08:03.
Rating: ** 1/2

Rocca frustrated Kiniski for most of this match, but Kiniski's Backbreaker slowed the Argentinian down long enough to move onto the semis.

[WORLD TITLE TOURNAMENT - Round 2]:
Buddy Rogers won via default.

The Nature Boy gets a free pass to the semis thanks to the double countout between Bobo Brazil & The Sheik.

[WORLD TITLE TOURNAMENT - Round 2]:
Lou Thesz defeated Killer Kowalski by disqualification in 0:06:44.
Rating: * 3/4

Killer Kowalski got very upset that Thesz was outwrestling him in the ring, so he grabbed a chair and smashed Thesz with it for the blatant disqualification. Thesz needed to be helped to the back, but vowed to wrestle his semi-final match against Buddy Rogers.

[WORLD TITLE TOURNAMENT - Semi-Finals]:
Bruno Sammartino made Gene Kiniski submit to a standing short arm scissors in 0:17:29.
Rating: *** 1/4

Bruno's streak of lengthy matches in this tournament continued with a hard fought win over Kiniski, reversing a Backbreaker attempt into a short arm scissors to win by submission. Kiniski was not happy, hitting Bruno with the Backbreaker after the match.

[WORLD TITLE TOURNAMENT - Semi-Finals]:
Buddy Rogers pinned Lou Thesz after a piledriver in 0:07:02.
Rating: *** 3/4

Thesz's head was a little rattled still from the chair shot from Kowalski, and it showed in this match. The Nature Boy targeted Thesz's head, hitting two piledrivers to move on to face Sammartino in the finals.

[WORLD TITLE TOURNAMENT - Finals]: Match for the vacant GCW World Title:
Buddy Rogers pinned Bruno Sammartino with the Figure-Four Leglock in 0:13:11.
Rating: **** 1/4
(Buddy Rogers won the GCW World Title.)

We have our first World champion and it is "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers. Rogers lucked out on his road to the finals, not needing to wrestle in the quarterfinals and getting an injured Lou Thesz in the semis. Sammartino had to wrestle 3 grueling matches to get to the finals, and he eventually just ran out of steam. Rogers got him in the Figure-Four Leglock. To Bruno's credit, he didn't submit - he just passed out and ended up getting pinned while in the hold. Rogers is the first GCW World champion.

Card rating: ** 3/4

Match observations:

Buddy Rogers will make his first World Title defense next month in Boston against Lou Thesz, as well as an 8-team tournament to crown the first World Tag Team champions.

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