July 4, 1969 - Grand Prix Of Wrestling - Day 1 - New York, NY

[GRAND PRIX - FIRST ROUND]:
Luke Graham pinned Danny Hodge with the Thumb to the Throat in 0:14:56.
Rating: ** 3/4

The first annual Grand Prix of Wrestling tournament kicked off in a huge way with the GCW World champion taking on Danny Hodge, a former GCW United States champ. Hodge is a superior mat wrestler and tried to keep Graham on the canvas, but Graham is just a brute and smashed Hodge's throat with the Thumb to the Throat to move on to the second round of the tournament.

[GRAND PRIX - FIRST ROUND]:
Gorilla Monsoon defeated Nick Bockwinkel by countout in 0:10:33.
Rating: ** 1/2

Gorilla Monsoon showed that he is primed and ready to have a long run in this tournament as he crushed Nick Bockwinkel - literally. Bockwinkel had enough of Monsoon bouncing him around the ring and walked out for the countout. Monsoon now meets the World champion in the second round.

[GRAND PRIX - FIRST ROUND]:
Bobo Brazil pinned Ole Anderson with the Coco Butt in 0:11:50.
Rating: * 1/4

Bobo Brazil punched his ticket to the second round with a solid victory over Ole Anderson.

[GRAND PRIX - FIRST ROUND]:
Dick the Bruiser pinned Osamu Kido after hitting him with a chain in 0:11:25.
Rating: ***

Dick the Bruiser showed that he doesn't care where you're from - if he can hurt you, he is going to. That's exactly what he did to the young Japanese wrestler Osamu Kido. Kido threw Bruiser off his game with that unique Japanese style, but one shot from a chain ended that. Bruiser is on to the round of 16.

[GRAND PRIX - FIRST ROUND]:
Ray Stevens and Terry Funk battled to a double countout in 0:10:50.
Rating: ** 1/2

Terry Funk and Ray Stevens certainly don't like each other, and their personal issues carried over to the Grand Prix. Both men lost sight of what the ultimate goal of this tournament is and instead went to maim the other, resulting in a brawl on the floor and a double countout. A big missed opportunity for both men.

[GRAND PRIX - FIRST ROUND]:
Gene Kiniski pinned Harley Race with the Backbreaker in 0:13:58.
Rating: ** 1/4

The young Harley Race really impressed everyone tonight with his performance against former World champion Gene Kiniski. Even Kiniski seemed impressed as I don't think the veteran expected to be taken to the limits this early in the tournament. Race came within an eyelash of picking up the upset, but when Race missed a diving headbutt, the wily veteran quickly hit his Backbreaker finisher and got the win. Kiniski and the fans at MSG gave Race a great nod of respect for his efforts.

[GRAND PRIX - FIRST ROUND]:
King Curtis Iaukea defeated Peter Maivia by disqualification in 0:18:43.
Rating: ** 1/4

Peter Maivia sometimes has trouble keeping his emotions in check, and tonight was one of those times. He was wrestling a man he knows very well, King Curtis Iaukea. After a grueling battle, Iaukea pulled a pair of brass knuckles out of his tights to nail the High Chief with. Maivia blocked the blow and took the knux from Iaukea. With one solid punch, Maivia knocked King Curtis out cold. However as he made the pinfall, the referee saw the knux on his hand and called for the disqualification. Iaukea moves on to the second round much to the dismay of the New York fans.

[GRAND PRIX - FIRST ROUND]:
Bruno Sammartino made Jerry Brisco submit to a standing short arm scissors in 0:08:02.
Rating: * 3/4

The roof blew off of Madison Square Garden as former 2-time World champion Bruno Sammartino had his first round match against Jerry Brisco. Brisco has a bright future in this business, no doubt about it, but tonight he was outclassed as Bruno had an easy time moving on to the second round.

[GRAND PRIX - FIRST ROUND]:
Antonio Inoki made Hiro Matsuda submit to the Octopus Hold in 0:12:30.
Rating: **** 1/4

Two old foes fought in our first match of the lower half of the bracket as Antonio Inoki squared off with Hiro Matsuda. These two know each other so well so you're almost guaranteed a great match every time. The result this time was similar to how it has been in previous encounters with Inoki narrowly escaping with the victory. One of the creators of this tournament avoids an early exit by advancing to round 2.

[GRAND PRIX - FIRST ROUND]:
Dory Funk Jr. pinned Wahoo McDaniel after a gutwrench suplex in 0:17:50.
Rating: *** 1/2

A great battle between two extremely popular wrestlers as Dory Funk Jr. met Wahoo McDaniel. The fans were torn on who to cheer for, but were treated to a gem of a match anyway that saw Funk narrowly escape getting locked in the Indian Deathlock to hit a gutwrench suplex and take the victory. The two men shook hands after the match in a great sign of sportsmanship.

[GRAND PRIX - FIRST ROUND]:
Mil Mascaras pinned Jack Brisco after a diving tope in 0:15:09.
Rating: ** 3/4

Mexico's contribution to the Grand Prix tournament, Mil Mascaras, didn't disappoint his home country as took the tough challenge of Jack Brisco head on and took the win. Brisco had the advantage on the mat, but he didn't adapt well to Mascaras' high-flying style, eating a diving tope and a first round exit.

[GRAND PRIX - FIRST ROUND]:
Pedro Morales defeated The Crusher by disqualification in 0:09:55.
Rating: 3/4*
[Lou Albano interfered against Pedro Morales.]

The Crusher apparently got tired of messing around with US champion Pedro Morales in his first round match. The Crusher is a brute, but he is easily flustered and frustrated, which is what Morales did. The Crusher got himself disqualified when he beat Morales down in the corner and refused to let up. Morales was the winner, but he sure didn't look like one at the end of this one. He will have his hands full with Mil Mascaras tomorrow night.

[GRAND PRIX - FIRST ROUND]:
Bill Watts pinned Chief Jay Strongbow with the Oklahoma Stampede in 0:02:27.
Rating: * 3/4

Not a great night for Chief Jay Strongbow as he took on former World champion Bill Watts in his first round matchup. Watts looked extremely motivated and has his eyes on winning this whole tournament, and he showed that by beating Strongbow in a mere 2 and a half minutes! No one has treated Strongbow like that before. This may be Watts' tournament to win.

[GRAND PRIX - FIRST ROUND]:
Giant Baba pinned The Sheik with the Crush Kick in 0:13:38.
Rating: 3/4*

Giant Baba became the second man from Japan to move on to round 2 as he got a victory over The Sheik. However, the Sheik didn't take too kindkly to his loss as after the match, he threw a fireball in Baba's eyes! Baba will try to compete tomorrow against Bill Watts, but one has to wonder how effective he is going to be.

[GRAND PRIX - FIRST ROUND]:
Ernie Ladd pinned Thunderbolt Patterson with the Boot to the Face in 0:10:03.
Rating: * 1/2

Ernie Ladd's red hot streak continued as he captured a victory over Thunderbolt Patterson. Ladd has been on a tear in GCW and it looks like that has carried over into the Grand Prix.

The final match of the evening was slated to be Verne Gagne vs. Gene Anderson, but Gene Anderson was said to have a nagging knee injury so he chose to withdraw from the tournament. Gagne moves on to the second round due by forfeit.

Card rating: **

Match observations:

The matches for day two are set and look as follows:

World champion Luke Graham vs. Gorilla Monsoon
Bobo Brazil vs. Dick the Bruiser
Gene Kiniski receives a BYE into the quarterfinals
Bruno Sammartino vs. King Curtis Iaukea
Antonio Inoki vs. Dory Funk Jr.
Mil Mascaras vs. United States champion Pedro Morales
Bill Watts vs. Giant Baba
Ernie Ladd vs. Verne Gagne

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