July 14, 1981 - Memorial Auditorium - Lowell, MA

The Upstarts (Rick Martel and Terry Taylor) defeated The Can-Am Strongmen (Dino Bravo and Ken Patera) when Taylor pinned Bravo with the Five Arm in 0:13:03.
Rating: ** 1/4

The Upstarts may have come up short in the #1 contenders match last month, but Rick Martel & Terry Taylor had another chance to impress with a match against the former World Tag Team champions, the Can-Am Strongmen. Dino Bravo & Ken Patera were very vocal about not wanting to take this match, feeling that they should have been given a rematch for the tag titles. The Strongmen should have focused more on this match, as they walked away with a loss in a competitive affair. If the Strongmen want to get their rematch, they had better get back on the winning track. The Upstarts, however, took another huge step toward taking the next step. These two teams will meet again on August 1 in the Garden.

Dick Murdoch pinned Johnny Rodz with the Gourdbuster in 0:04:46.
Rating: ** 1/4

Dick Murdoch has been instrumental in Dusty Rhodes' transformation into the devious World champion, but he is also someone who has a lot of chops in the ring. He displayed those with an easy victory over Johnny Rodz. You don't have to like the way they conduct their business, but the Texas Outlaws look to be here to stay.

Larry Zbyszko pinned B. Brian Blair with the Crunch Time in 0:06:22.
Rating: ** 1/2

Larry Zbyszko has really gotten into Luke Graham's head. We knew that the things the Cruncher said struck a chord, but we didn't expect Graham to not show up at all for this show. B. Brian Blair did not seem thrilled that he was going about it alone, and his frustration was quite obvious to anyone who was looking. Zbyszko is a master of ring psychology and used Blair's unfocused state against him, dropping him with Crunch Time in a little over 6 minutes to get the duke. When Blair came to, he shook his head in disgust before going to the back.

Afa and Ricky Steamboat defeated The Moondogs (Moondog Rex and Moondog Spot) when Steamboat pinned M. Rex with the Flying Crossbody Press in 0:07:35.
Rating: * 1/4
[Lou Albano interfered against Ricky Steamboat.]

Captain Lou Albano is not a happy man these days. Not that he is generally a happy man, but you know what I mean. He felt that bringing in the Moondogs was going to be the perfect way to take out his old team, the Wild Samoans, and it started out well enough for him when Sika was put on the shelf. However, Ricky Steamboat got involved and has been a constant source of irritation for Albano. That continued tonight as Steamboat somehow managed to catch Moondog Rex with the Flying Crossbody Press. As we have seen countless times in the past, the Moondogs did not accept defeat gracefully and attacked Afa & Steamboat after the match, leaving them laid out. As Albano led the Moondogs to the back, a groggy Steamboat stopped them with the microphone. He said he was tired of these underhanded tactics by Albano and his men, and he wanted to put an end to it once and for all. He challenged the Moondogs to one more match to take place in Madison Square Garden on August 1, but it wouldn't just be any match. "If you boys want to act like dogs, I'll treat you like dogs, because Afa and I want a DOG COLLAR MATCH!" That's right, folks, for the first time ever, we will see a tag team dog collar match. Steamboat has proven to be a great friend, but I don't know if volunteering to compete in this environment is wise.

Don Muraco and Stan Hansen battled to a double disqualification in 0:12:00.
Rating: ****
(Don Muraco retained the GCW Intercontinental Title.)
[Freddie Blassie interfered against Stan Hansen.]

You would think that Don Muraco would have learned not to irritate Stan Hansen after narrowly escaping by the skin of his teeth with the Intercontinental Title in Atlantic City, but before the rematch here in Lowell, Muraco felt the need to once again declare himself the greatest Intercontinental champion of all-time. I have no idea what he was thinking poking the angry bear, but as you would predict, Hansen came out as surly as ever. In the opening minutes, Hansen beat the tar out of Muraco, not giving the Magnificent One much room to breathe. Muraco caught a charging Hansen in the corner with a knee to the face, and followed up with a bodyslam to get a little separation. Muraco tried to slow the pace down here with a methodical, calculated offense. It was perhaps too calculated as Muraco himself would miss a big splash in the corner. Once Hansen got on the offensive again, all hell broke loose. Hansen & Muraco spilled to the floor and started hitting each other with everything that wasn't bolted down. Referee John Stanley tried for about 15 seconds to get this to stop before he realized it was a lost cause and simply through the match out. Security couldn't get these two under control and rumor has it they brawled all the way to the streets before local police officers had to pull them apart. President Hisashi Shinma knew that GCW dodged a bullet in terms of avoiding a lawsuit here, so he doesn't want a repeat performance of this all out brawl. So on August 1 in the rubber match, the crown of greatest IC champion of all-time will be decided within the confines of a 15-foot high steel cage!

Sgt. Slaughter made Rick McGraw submit to the Cobra Clutch in 0:05:30.
Rating: **

Sgt. Slaughter's kicked up intensity was on display again tonight, as the newest soldier in Paul Jones' Army made short work of "Quick Draw" Rick McGraw, an impressive feat considering how good McGraw has looked this year. Slaughter continued after the match by hitting McGraw with a powerslam, and it only looked to get worse when the massive MASKED SUPERSTAR lumbered out from the back. His ankle healed faster than doctors expected, and that wasn't good news for McGraw… or so we thought. Superstar picked McGraw up and held him open for Slaughter to hit him, but when Slaughter charged in, the Superstar tossed McGraw aside and caught Slaughter in the face with a big boot! Jones looked on in shock as the Superstar picked Slaughter up and clotheslined him over the top to the floor! Superstar turned toward Jones now and removed his mask! We would find out later the man under the hood was Bill Eadie. Jones didn't stick around to ask any questions as he and the Sarge got out of Dodge in a hurry.

Antonio Inoki and Jumbo Tsuruta defeated The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes and Terry Gordy) when Tsuruta pinned T. Gordy after a power bomb in 0:10:04.
Rating: ***
(Antonio Inoki and Jumbo Tsuruta retained the GCW World Tag Team Titles.)

The Fabulous Freebirds got their first opportunity to wrestle for the World Tag Team Titles, titles I'm convinced that they will hold at some point in their careers. But tonight, they ran into the buzzsaw that is the new champs, Antonio Inoki & Jumbo Tsuruta. Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy wrestled a good match, but I couldn't see anyone beating the champs tonight. In what had to hurt his pride somewhat, Gordy fell to Jumbo with the use of a power bomb, which is of course Gordy's finishing move. The Freebirds will be back to this point, but for now, they're going to need a little more seasoning to beat two former World champions.

The Matadors (Tito Santana and Manny Fernandez) defeated Ivan Koloff and Terry Funk when T. Santana defeated T. Funk by disqualification in 0:04:21.
Rating: ** 1/4

Both members of the Matadors have a bone to pick with Terry Funk, and they hoped to pick it in this tag match against the Funker and Ivan Koloff. The only problem for Funk was that Koloff wanted nothing to do with him. Freddie Blassie tried to convince the Russian Bear to team with the unbalanced Funk, but when Koloff refused, Blassie didn't really try to convince him too hard. The scarier thing was, Funk didn't seem to mind that this was more or less a handicap match. We got a good viewing of how insane Funk has become as despite the 2-on-1 odds, Funk held his own before snatching his branding iron out of Blassie's hands. Funk didn't even think twice before taking the iron and blasting Santana in the forehead, an obvious DQ. Fernandez got in the ring right away to stop it, but he was met with more of the same. Blassie considered getting in the ring to attempt to calm Funk down, but when he got a glimpse of the crazed look in the Funker's face, he thought better of it and went to the back with Koloff. If Blassie can't get Funk under control, it could lead to a lot of people getting hurt.

Dick Murdoch and Bob Backlund battled to a no contest in 0:10:04.
Rating: **** 1/4
(Dusty Rhodes no-showed.)

Ugh. Just when you think that Dusty Rhodes couldn't sink any lower, he pulled what he did tonight. Bob Backlund's ribs were all healed up and he was going to get his chance to wrestle Dusty Rhodes for the World Heavyweight Title, but that didn't end up happening. When Rhodes was introduced, instead out came "DIRTY" DICK MURDOCH to a chorus of boos. Murdoch told Backlund that Rhodes was down in Texas doing public appearances. Murdoch said Rhodes is a hero in Texas, and his schedule has been full of opening hospitals, leading parades, and talking to the kids about how to reach the American Dream. Backlund said he wasn't here to talk, he was here to fight, challenging Murdoch to a match! Murdoch didn't want it, but after Backlund grabbed him when he tried to walk away and hit an atomic drop, the bell was called for by Dick Kroll and we had our main event! We all knew that Murdoch was going to bring a brawl to the match, seeing how a lot of his training has been done in bar fights. What was surprising was that Backlund shied away from his mat wrestling in favor of having a good old-fashioned fight. Murdoch was taken aback by Backlund's intensity, but he brought it back just as intense. The fight got out of control and featured both Backlund & Murdoch shoving Kroll away when he tried to break up fights, leaving Kroll no choice but to throw this one out. That didn't matter much to Backlund & Murdoch, who even both ended up punching Kroll when he tried to intervene after the match while the fight was going on (earning a hefty fine for both of them).

Backlund got Murdoch down and he had the ring bell in his hands, but before he could bring it crashing down on Dirty Dick, someone came out of nowhere and nailed Backlund in the back of the head with a forearm! After the shock of the attack was taken in, we saw it was BOBBY DUNCUM! Bobby Duncum has returned to GCW! Duncum stomped at Backlund's head before lifting him up and dropping him hard with the Full Nelson Slam! Duncum picked Backlund up with the intention of doing it again, but there was another commotion from the crowd. Out from the locker room ran JIMMY SNUKA! Snuka is back too! This didn't bode well for Backlund, but the Superfly shocked everyone when he went after Murdoch and sent him out of the ring! Duncum took a swing at Snuka, but Snuka ducked and hit him with a bodyslam. Snuka then went to the top and came crashing down on Duncum with the Superfly Splash! Duncum rolled out of the ring as Snuka stood tall!

Interview:
Bob Backlund tells Jimmy Snuka he doesn't want his help.

Bob Backlund got to his feet and nearly struck Jimmy Snuka when he saw them there. These two were at one point extremely close, but that went out the window with one of the most heated feuds in GCW history. Backlund grabbed the microphone and simply told Snuka, "I don't want your help!" before dropping the microphone and walking to the back. Snuka looks like he's trying to make amends, but that is going to be an uphill struggle.

Card rating: ***

Match observations:

8/1/81 - MADISON SQUARE GARDEN - New York, NY

STEEL CAGE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH - Don Muraco (c) vs. Stan Hansen
Bob Backlund/MYSTERY PARTNER vs. Dick Murdoch/Bobby Duncum
DOG COLLAR MATCH - Afa/Ricky Steamboat vs. The Moondogs
Bill Eadie vs. Sgt. Slaughter
The Upstarts vs. The Can-Am Strongmen

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