July 5, 1969 - Grand Prix Of Wrestling - Day 2 - New York, NY

Luke Graham pinned Gorilla Monsoon with the Thumb to the Throat in 0:13:38.
Rating: ** 1/4
[Lou Albano interfered against Gorilla Monsoon.]

As Day Two of the Grand Prix tournament kicked off, World champion Luke Graham had a huge obstacle in front of him in the form of Gorilla Monsoon. Monsoon asserted his dominance early in the match, but Graham used his speed advantage to get out of the way of a Monsoon avalanche in the corner. Graham followed up with the Thumb to the Throat and the World champion has found his way into the quarterfinals.

Bobo Brazil pinned Dick the Bruiser with the Coco Butt in 0:03:17.
Rating: * 3/4
[Lou Albano interfered against Bobo Brazil.]

Seeing how Luke Graham had already moved to the quarterfinals, this seemed to light a new fire under Bobo Brazil, who took on Dick the Bruiser in his second round match. With the thought of another shot at Graham looming, Brazil never let Bruiser get out of the blocks, attacking him before the bell even rang. Bruiser never really got started as Brazil cracked him with the Coco Butt. It is going to be Brazil vs. Graham in the quarters tomorrow night!

Bruno Sammartino defeated King Curtis Iaukea when King Curtis Iaukea passed out in the Sammartino Backbreaker in 0:11:04.
Rating: ** 3/4

Bruno Sammartino had his hands full with King Curtis Iaukea in this match, but as we have seen from Sammartino in the past, he can take a beating and come back strong as ever. That is what happened here as Iaukea threw everything he could at Bruno, but nothing could save him from the Sammartino Backbreaker and a trip out of the Grand Prix. With Bruno's win he will meet Gene Kiniski in the quarters tomorrow, giving us 4 former or current World champions in the top half of the bracket!

Antonio Inoki made Dory Funk Jr. submit to the Octopus Hold in 0:22:25.
Rating: **** 1/4

Our next second round match was a bit of a dream match as Antonio Inoki took on Dory Funk Jr. Both men were extremely popular in MSG and the respect and admiration between the two was apparent. These two went hold for hold as they worked the crowd up into a frenzy. The end came when Dory wound up for a huge lariat, but the crafty Inoki ducked away from it and locked Funk in the Octopus Hold. Funk tried his best to inch toward the ropes but he fell just short before he had to submit. A great match between two of the best in the world.

Pedro Morales pinned Mil Mascaras after a back suplex in 0:12:05.
Rating: * 3/4

Pedro Morales has advanced to the quarterfinals, but not without controversy. The United States champion was facing Mil Mascaras, and for the most part this match was controlled by the Man of a Thousand Masks. Morales used great counter wrestling to stay competitive, but it seemed to be Mascaras' match to take. Morales ducked a swinging punch and hit a back suplex on Mascaras and held it into a pinfall. Mascaras clearly got his shoulder up at 2, but referee Jack Davis didn't see it and counted the 3, awarding the match to Morales. Mascaras was furious after the match, but a referee's decision is final.

Bill Watts pinned Giant Baba with the Oklahoma Stampede in 0:18:34.
Rating: ** 1/4

No one can question Giant Baba's heart after this match. Baba had to wrestle this match with a large bandage obstructing his vision after The Sheik threw a fireball in his face last night. Not only that, but he was going up against the vicious "Cowboy" Bill Watts. Watts targeted that eye relentlessly, which may not be moral, but it sure is smart strategy. Baba's size and strength allowed him to fight Watts off for awhile, but eventually it became too much as Watts hit the Oklahoma Stampede and made his way to day 3 of the Grand Prix.

Verne Gagne defeated Ernie Ladd when Ernie Ladd passed out in the Gagne
Sleeper in 0:20:23.
Rating: ** 1/2

Our main event saw our first look at Verne Gagne, who got a free pass to the second round thanks to Gene Anderson having to withdraw from the tournament. Gagne's opponent was the ruthless Ernie Ladd, who didn't care much about Gagne's reputation as a tough guy. The fact that Ladd already had a match under his belt from yesterday looked to be a factor as Gagne was fresher for obvious reasons. Gagne locked the King in the Gagne Sleeper and is now in the quarterfinals.

Card rating: ** 1/2

Match observations:

The third and final day of the highly successful Grand Prix of Wrestling tournament will be tomorrow, and it will feature the quarters, semis, and finals of the prestigious event! The quarterfinal matches are as follows:

World champion Luke Graham vs. Bobo Brazil
Gene Kiniski vs. Bruno Sammartino
Antonio Inoki vs. United States champion Pedro Morales
Bill Watts vs. Verne Gagne

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