July 13, 1983 - Civic Auditorium - Pittsburgh, PA

Tito Santana pinned B. Brian Blair with the Flying Forearm in 0:07:22.
Rating: ** 1/4

The Civic Center had a huge night of wrestling all lined up, and it started with two young high-fliers going at it with Tito Santana taking on B. Brian Blair. Blair had a less than stellar showing in the King of the Ring, while Santana wanted to keep himself fresh while his partner, Rick Martel, was wrestling the World champion in our main event. Blair is a man you can tell is wrestling with no confidence. He was certain that his career would be much further along by this point and the championships would be pouring in, but thus far, that has not been the case. His woes continued in the Civic Auditorium as Santana caught him flush with the Flying Forearm and got the 1-2-3.

Killer Khan made Ken Patera submit to the Cobra Clutch in 0:03:21.
Rating: ** 1/2

Killer Khan hasn't had the success that Freddie Blassie was hoping for when he brought the monster in. He had a big chance to redeem himself, however, taking on former Blassie charge Ken Patera. The match didn't last long, but it was a fun brawl that never slowed down. Both men had the same strategy - lock on their powerful submission hold as early as possible and don't let go. Patera almost got the Swinging Full Nelson on, but Khan countered with a low back kick that referee Tommy Young missed. Khan put on the Cobra Clutch and just like that, was in the winner's circle.

Don Muraco pinned Johnny Rodz with the Tombstone in 0:01:12.
Rating: **

It looks like Don Muraco might be back in a big way. He has been in one hell of a funk since being violently ousted from the ranks of Freddie Blassie, but he was absolutely dominant in squashing Johnny Rodz tonight. Let's see if he can keep up this aggression that won him an Intercontinental Title going into the future.

Freddie Blassie offers up an open challenge to take on the new tag team of Dino Bravo & Nikolai Volkoff.

Speaking of Blassie, he was up next to debut the brand new team of Dino Bravo & his newest charge, Nikolai Volkoff. Neither man is new to GCW, obviously, but this is their first time teaming. Bravo is one of the most decorated tag team wrestlers of all time, holding 5 titles with 4 different partners. Volkoff is a lot bigger and stronger than he was last time we saw him, and this looks like he could be Bravo's most formidable partner to date. Blassie wanted to prove the dominance of his new team by issuing up an open challenge to any two men who wanted to get their butts whooped in Pittsburgh. Blassie was expecting two men from the roster, but he didn't get that as some rock music kicked in and out came two wild-haired and high energy competitors. Blassie asked them who they were, to which they responded with Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson, the Rock 'N Roll Express! Blassie laughed them off and said that if they wanted to be broken in half, it would be their pleasure.

The Rock 'N Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) defeated Dino Bravo and Nikolai Volkoff when R. Morton defeated Bravo by disqualification in 0:02:24.
Rating: * 1/4
[Freddie Blassie interfered against Ricky Morton.]

We didn't know anything about Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson coming in, but we know a ton about them now. They are fast, they are exciting, and the crowd warmed up to them almost immediately. Bravo & Volkoff looked all sorts of confused and had no idea what to do with the speedy undersized tag team, and Blassie didn't want to get himself embarrassed after his proud boasting of this open challenge. It didn't take long for him to act, shoving Morton off the top rope in clear sight of the referee to get his men disqualified. Bravo & Volkoff tried to put the beatdown on the Express, but Morton & Gibson fought back and dropkicked both foreign rulebreakers out of the ring to a huge pop. A rematch has been signed for East Rutherford, NY on August 4!

Mike Rotundo made Tully Blanchard submit to an abdominal stretch in 0:07:27.
Rating: ** 1/2

Since making their debuts against each other back in April, Mike Rotundo & Tully Blanchard have been engaged in a back and forth feud. Both are extremely talented and have huge upsides, and are very equally matched at this point. The matches have been competitive battles and they have traded wins. This match was no exception. It was a technical wrestling display that featured many reversals and counters. As these two become more comfortable in the ring, their wrestling is improving exponentially. Blanchard thought he had the edge when he went for an abdominal stretch, but Rotundo worked through it and reversed into an abdominal stretch of his own. Blanchard was caught so off guard that he couldn't get himself free and had to submit. Rotundo with a big win, and doubled with his pinning of Nick Bockwinkel in the King of the Ring tournament, he has earned a shot at the Intercontinental Title on August 4.

Ric Flair made Larry Zbyszko submit to the Figure-Four Leglock in 0:16:32.
Rating: ***

Out came the King of the Ring for his first match since being crowned the king, Ric Flair, taking on the man he beat in the semi-finals of the tournament, Larry Zbyszko. Flair came out with his crown on to a huge pop, and the #1 contender to the World Title was as determined as we have ever seen him before. Zbyszko tends to thrive when he feels he is being overshadowed by his opposition, and with all the pomp and circumstance involving the Nature Boy's crowning as the King, the Cruncher was all amped up for this match. As I mentioned before, these two met in the semi-finals, and they had a good feeling for each other. Zbyszko knows that Flair loves to work over his opponent's leg, so he did a wonderful job of protecting his wheels and making Flair find another way to beat him. You saw the Nature Boy get frustrated that he couldn't work over Zbyszko's leg, but you also see that Flair can change on the fly as he then worked over Zbyszko's neck. When Zbyszko started having to cover his neck, Flair got him in the Figure-Four Leglock and won a highly competitive contest. With his World Title shot on the horizon, Flair builds some more momentum.

Nick Bockwinkel pinned Ricky Steamboat with the Piledriver in 0:10:56.
Rating: *** 1/2
(Nick Bockwinkel retained the GCW Intercontinental Title.)
[Bobby Heenan interfered against Ricky Steamboat.]

Ricky Steamboat should have never lost the Intercontinental Title in the first place, only having to vacate it because of an injury suffered at the hands of Bob Backlund. He was finally getting his well deserved chance to regain the title as he took on the new champion, Nick Bockwinkel. From a wrestling standpoint, this was a great match. Bockwinkel has probably never been better than he is now, and at around 50 years old, it's amazing that he's still in the shape he is in. Steamboat may very well be the future of wrestling though, and his physical fitness is amongst his top qualities. The guy is fanatical about the gym, and it translates well to the ring. Unfortunately, it didn't translate to keeping him from being distracted. Steamboat was rolling and may have been on his way to becoming a 3-time IC champ, when BACKLUND came out from the back, and he had a bloodied SPIKE HUBER in tow! Backlund had clearly attacked Steamboat's good friend and was parading him out there for the world to see. Steamboat went nuts and tried to exit the ring to go after Backlund, but he got hit from behind by Bockwinkel and dropped with the Piledriver, putting him down and out. After the show, a despondent Steamboat said that if Backlund wants blood, he will give him blood, challenging him to a FIRST BLOOD MATCH for the East Rutherford show on August 4! Backlund accepted, and this guaranteed blood bath is signed!

Jimmy Snuka defeated The Iron Sheik by disqualification in 0:06:13.
Rating: * 1/4
[Freddie Blassie interfered against Jimmy Snuka.]

Freddie Blassie has become almost obsessed with getting even with Jimmy Snuka. Ever since the Superfly turned down his managerial services, Blassie has sent all of his charges after the former World champion. The Iron Sheik has been the latest man to step up to the plate for Classy Blassie. Although Snuka defeated the Sheik in the King of the Ring tournament, it was Sheik's post-match attack which ultimately led to Snuka's elimination from the tournament. Blassie has shown that in this feud with the Superfly, he will sacrifice a victory for his men in order to potentially injure Snuka, which is how tonight played out. It didn't take long into the match before Blassie tripped Snuka up in clear sight of the referee for the disqualification. KILLER KHAN then joined the party to attack Snuka, but the Superfly got himself enough separation to get out of the ring before any major damage was done. The GCW Championship Committee met and decided that Snuka & Iron Sheik should meet one more time in East Rutherford, and that a World Title shot will be on the line. Blassie was happy to hear about this, until he was told that he will be banned from ringside for the match!

The Texas Outlaws (Bobby Duncum and Dick Murdoch) defeated Tito Santana and Rocky Johnson when Murdoch defeated R. Johnson by countout in 0:09:56.
Rating: ** 1/2
(Tony Atlas no-showed.)

This was supposed to be a match for the World Tag Team Titles, but we ran into a major problem. When the champion Soul Patrol was introduced, only Rocky Johnson came down. Johnson explained that Tony Atlas had been attacked in the back and that the doctors weren't going to let him perform tonight. No one knew for sure who perpetrated the attack, but the over-the-top denial by Bobby Duncum & Dick Murdoch led them to be suspects number one. So the titles wouldn't be on the line, which made the Outlaws furious, and they became even more upset when Johnson introduced Atlas' stand-in for the evening, TITO SANTANA! Santana is a member of Strike Force, and they have had a lot of issues with the Outlaws recently, so this was not something Duncum & Murdoch were thrilled about. Johnson & Santana have a common enemy, and they were quite cohesive as a result. They were the victims of some bad luck though as when Johnson had thrown Murdoch outside the ring, he went out to follow. When Johnson jumped down, he looked to tweak his knee. Murdoch didn't help matters when he kicked Johnson hard in the kneecap, rolled back in, and allowed Johnson to get counted out. The rematch for the tag titles has been set for August 4, but with the various injury issues for the champs, one has to wonder how healthy the champions will be.

Andre the Giant defeated King Kong Bundy by disqualification in 0:04:09.
Rating: -1/2*

These two behemoths clashed in the first round of the King of the Ring, and it ended in a double countout and a pull apart brawl. The two monsters went at it again, and, well, we got a lot more of the same. When these two lock up, it's not pretty, but it's a spectacle. These two clubbed away at each other and the fans ate up every minute of it, before Bobby Heenan handed Bundy a chair to hit Andre with, causing the DQ. The chair shot barely phased the Giant though, and Bundy headed to higher ground. The feud between these two is just starting to brew, and a tag team match has been signed for East Rutherford where both men will be allowed to bring a partner of their choosing. Andre the Giant has chosen Ken Patera to be his partner, while Bundy & Heenan have went and secured the services of Don Muraco.

Dusty Rhodes pinned Rick Martel with the Bionic Elbowdrop in 0:16:56.
Rating: *** 1/2

Strike Force made a huge statement when they confronted World champion Dusty Rhodes a couple of months, something that has not been lost on the American Dream. Rick Martel got Rhodes' attention so much that Rhodes personally cost Martel his chance at the Intercontinental Title. Now Martel got to wrestle the World champion, and even though the title wasn't on the line, this was a coming out party for Martel. Martel is a young stud, but he is largely untested in a big matches. Martel was in a main event and in for the fight of his life, and he didn't back down from the spotlight whatsoever. Rhodes thought that the youth of Martel would be a huge detriment, but Martel stepped up in a big way. Rhodes tried to embarrass Martel early, but when Martel slapped him across the face, the champ knew he was in for a fight. Martel kept stringing together offensive move after offensive move, and the crowd was really starting to believe that Martel was going to pull this off. Rhodes thought he had this one in the bag near the end despite some close calls, but he took way too much time going for the Bionic Elbowdrop. When he went for it, he hit nothing but canvas. Martel got up and turned Rhodes over in the Boston Crab, and the fans were on their feet screaming as Martel did his best to get Rhodes to tap. The American Dream screamed in pain, but managed to get himself to the ropes just in time. Martel let himself get slightly frustrated as he argued with referee Dick Kroll, sure that he heard Rhodes give up. This gave Rhodes the slightest window to put a thumb in Martel's eye, clothesline him down, and hit the Bionic Elbowdrop for the 1-2-3. He may not have won, but Martel received a standing ovation for his efforts tonight. Rick Martel has arrived. We'll see if Tito Santana can do the same in New Jersey.

Card rating: **

Match observations:

8/4/83 - THE MEADOWLANDS - East Rutherford, NJ

NON-TITLE MATCH - Dusty Rhodes (World champion) vs. Tito Santana
INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE - Nick Bockwinkel (c) vs. Mike Rotundo
WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES - The Soul Patrol (c) vs. Bobby Duncum/Dick Murdoch
FIRST BLOOD - Ricky Steamboat vs. Bob Backlund
Andre the Giant/Ken Patera vs. King Kong Bundy/Don Muraco
The Rock 'N Roll Express vs. Dino Bravo/Nikolai Volkoff

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