June 16, 1982 - Madison Square Garden - New York, NY

The Von Erich Brothers (Kerry Von Erich and Kevin Von Erich) defeated The Golden Boys (Terry Taylor and B. Brian Blair) when Kevin Von Erich pinned Taylor after a flying elbowdrop in 0:13:56.
Rating: ** 3/4

Our opening contest was the debut of two new teams, but we didn't expect one of them to be made up of two current members of the roster. The first team comes to us from Dallas, TX in the form of the brothers Von Erich - Kevin & Kerry. They come in with a lot of hype and look to make a major impact in GCW. The second team started with B. Brian Blair, one of the more unpopular young punks on the roster. What was surprising was that his partner was TERRY TAYLOR. Taylor spoke before the match and said he was tired of his former partner, Rick Martel, holding him down. He was also tired of not being shown any respect because he was young, and now that Martel was injured, it was time for him to take what was his. He warned Martel to just stay away if he knew what was good for him.

The match itself was highly competitive and if this contest is any indication of the future of the tag team division, it is in very capable hands. Both teams knew they only got one chance to make a first impression and they capitalized. The result was in doubt until the last moments, and it took Taylor going for a superplex to change the complexion. Kevin Von Erich hooked the top rope with his foot and shoved Taylor back to the mat. Kevin then jumped off with a flying elbowdrop that was enough to hold Taylor down for the 3 count. After the match, the Golden Boys as they're calling themselves did not take kindly to having their debut spoiled, so they attacked the Von Erichs and left them lying. A rematch has been scheduled for July 9 in Springfield, MA.

Tito Santana defeated Terry Gordy by disqualification in 0:07:07.
Rating: ** 1/4

A month ago, Terry Gordy was wrestling for the World Tag Team Titles against the Brisco Brothers with his partner in the Fabulous Freebirds, Michael Hayes. By the end of the match, not only was he not a tag team champion, but he was no longer in the Freebirds as Hayes unexpectedly quit! Gordy was now thrust into singles action on his own, and he looked a little out of sorts as he took on Tito Santana. Gordy is going to be a star in this business, but he is young and very inexperienced, and that showed here against Santana. Santana has really been coming into his own as a singles competitor, and looks poised to make a big run. Still, even if he is rough around the edges, Gordy is a hoss, and he tossed the much smaller Santana around a bit. Gordy showed that inexperience though when Santana got under his skin and Gordy kicked Santana low, leading to the disqualification. Gordy left in disgust, angry at himself for losing his cool. Gordy is definitely a work in progress.

Bruno Sammartino is presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Bruno Sammartino is a living legend, and after he made his surprising return to a GCW ring in Pittsburgh, it was a great moment in GCW history. Unfortunately, Bruno's homecoming was ruined by the no-good jerk, Larry Zbyszko. Zbyszko is lucky it didn't blow the whole deal, as a big award presentation was planned for Sammartino tonight. Sammartino was being presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from PWI Magazine for all of his efforts over his illustrious wrestling career. Sammartino was joined in the ring by the editors of Pro Wrestling Illustrated and GCW promoter Mark Niemiller for the ceremony. Niemiller listed off Sammartino's accomplishments, and even mentioned the controversial title loss to Pedro Morales back in 1973. Sammartino was then presented with a large plaque as photographers captured the moment. But sadly, once again, this moment was ruined again by LARRY ZBYSZKO. Zbyszko didn't get a chance to spew any venom into the microphone, but he did cause a huge ruckus as security and police officers tried to hold him back. Zbyszko was yelling about being Bruno's protege and how the student has become a lot better than the teacher. Security finally got Zbyszko to the back, but Bruno was obviously agitated about the whole situation.

The Can-Am Strongmen (Dino Bravo and Ken Patera) defeated The Brisco Brothers (Jerry Brisco and Jack Brisco) when Patera made Jack Brisco submit to the Swinging Full Nelson in 0:17:58.
Rating: *** 1/2
[Freddie Blassie interfered against Jerry Brisco.]

"Classy" Freddie Blassie was said to be livid that the match that the Can-Am Strongmen got against the World Tag Team champions the Brisco Brothers was non-title. That being said, Ken Patera & Dino Bravo knew that a win here would get them a title shot. That's much easier said than done, as Jack & Jerry Brisco have been unstoppable since coming back to GCW and winning the titles. What we got is a hotly contested match for tag team supremacy. The Briscos were trying to keep this a wrestling match as this is where their bread is buttered but the Strongmen did everything in their power - pun intended - to turn this into a power match. The strength of all of Blassie's charges is well documented, and though the Strongmen weren't on offense for the majority of the match, the impact of their offense kept this one even. Still, Jack Brisco got Patera down on the mat and was going for the Figure-Four Leglock, but Patera kicked Jack away. Jack hit the corner where Bravo was, and also hit the forearm of Bravo. Brisco was staggered, and came right into the grips of Patera's Swinging Full Nelson. Jack tried to get free, but once Patera has you, it's pretty much the end. Jerry couldn't make the save and Jack submitted to not risk injury. A huge win for the Strongmen, who will be getting a title shot in Springfield. If they can repeat this performance, we're going to have new tag team champions.

Tony Atlas defeated Don Muraco by disqualification in 0:05:34.
Rating: *** 1/2
[The Iron Sheik interfered against Tony Atlas.]

Since Tony Atlas has burst on the scene in GCW, his immense power has been a point of contention for "Classy" Freddie Blassie's troops, most notably Don Muraco. Muraco was under the belief that he was the strongest man in wrestling, but time and time again, Mr. USA has out shined the Magnificent One and overpowered him at every turn. The latest occurrence was Atlas making Muraco pass out to his Bearhug in a 6-man tag team match. Muraco complained that he never submitted and thus, this match was signed. Little did we know that when the bell rang though that this would be nothing but a setup. It wasn't long into this match before Blassie inexplicably left ringside and went to the back, much to the confusion of everyone involved. When he returned moments later, he wasn't alone as he had another huge man with him of Iranian descent. We would find out that this man is THE IRON SHEIK, and he wasn't making his interference subtle. He came in the ring and immediately blasted Atlas in the ribs with a hard kick, causing the disqualification. Blassie instructed The Iron Sheik to punish Atlas, and he did just that when he locked him in the Camel Clutch! Atlas was in the painful hold for over a minute before officials got it broken up. Atlas may be hurting, but he said he wants The Iron Sheik in the ring as soon as possible. That will take place in Springfield, and Atlas says he will have some backup with him.

Stan Hansen pinned Sgt. Slaughter with the Lariat in 0:11:13.
Rating: **** 1/4

This was an interesting matchup in that two wrestlers with similar styles who aren't particularly well liked by the fans going at it in the form of Sgt. Slaughter & Stan Hansen. These two were actually tag team partners recently, but the partnership did not go well. Slaughter did not take too kindly to Hansen bossing him around and left Hansen by himself in the match, letting Ricky Steamboat get the pin on the Lariat, earn an Intercontinental Title shot, and ultimately lead to Hansen losing the gold. These two beat the snot out of each other, and it was a damn good match between two of the real tough guys. It was well fought and neither man clearly dominated, but Hansen's Lariat made all the difference. Once he hit it, Slaughter's bell was rung and Hansen picked up the win. After the show, Slaughter announced that he had lost a step over the last year and that he was leaving GCW to recharge so that he can come back later, better than ever.

Texas Bullrope Match:
The Texas Outlaws (Bobby Duncum and Dick Murdoch) defeated Johnny Rodz and Terry Funk in 0:12:17.
Rating: *** 1/4

This match was unique for several reasons. Not only did we have the still strange pairing of Terry Funk and perennial loser Johnny Rodz taking on the former tag team champions Bobby Duncum & Dick Murdoch, but for the first time in history, this was a tag team Texas Bullrope Match. Funk was connected by a bullrope with Duncum, and Rodz was hitched with Murdoch. This match became a wild barroom-esque brawl, and given the competitors involved, it's not surprising. A lot of people thought that Rodz was going to be the weak link, but he more than held his own. His odd relationship with Funk has brought out something in him that we have never seen in his years with GCW. The rules applied the same in this match as it would in a singles Texas Bullrope Match, where four corners would need to be touched in succession. For the majority of this match though, that wasn't on the minds of the competitors, as they were more than content in beating the trash out of each other. In the end, it would be the Texas Outlaws who divided and conquered with Duncum keeping Funk occupied on the floor by tying him to the guardrail with the bullrope. This gave Murdoch the opportunity to hit Rodz with the Gourdbuster and touch all four corners, getting the win in this hard-hitting affair.

Funk & Rodz got a measure of revenge though as Funk got himself loose from the guardrail and smashed Duncum head first into the ring post. He got in the ring and hit Murdoch with a low blow before sending him over the top rope. Funk helped Rodz to his feet and took the rope off his wrist and helped him to his feet. The crowd gave the losing team a nice round of applause, but the applause became even greater when Funk blasted Rodz with a clothesline and then drilled him with the cowbell on the bullrope, just because! If you had any doubts that Terry Funk was crazy before, this should put an end to that.

Larry Zbyszko pinned Ricky Steamboat after a backbreaker in 0:04:29.
Rating: *** 1/4
(Larry Zbyszko won the GCW Intercontinental Title.)

This match probably should have never happened, but new Intercontinental champion Ricky Steamboat insisted that in take place. Steamboat became the Intercontinental champion at our last show thanks to an assist from Larry Zbyszko, but Zbyszko showed that his recent friendship with Steamboat was all a ruse when he viciously assaulted the new champ. It ended with the Cruncher stabbing Steamboat in the eye with a pencil, causing a severe injury. Steamboat was told by doctors not to wrestle this match, but the last thing he was going to do was forfeit the title to the man who injured him in the first place. Steamboat was sporting a large bandage over his injured eye, and predictably Zbyszko targeted it with ruthless intent. Steamboat couldn't get in any offense as he was having a lot of difficulty with his vision. Steamboat swung wildly, but he couldn't make any contact as Zbyszko picked him apart before a backbreaker put him away. Larry Zbyszko is the new Intercontinental champion.

Zbyszko wasn't satisfied with only taking the title from Steamboat - he wanted to take his career. Zbyszko rolled out and grabbed another pencil, yelling, "Now I'm going to get the other eye!" Luckily for Steamboat, Zbyszko never got that chance. Before Zbyszko could get back in the ring, he turned and saw BRUNO SAMMARTINO standing over Steamboat, daring the Cruncher to try him. Zbyszko considered it but then thought better of it when he saw the look in Bruno's eyes. Zbyszko grabbed the Intercontinental Title and walked to the back with a big smile on his face. Steamboat is going to miss some considerable ring time, but hopefully he doesn't suffer any permanent damage to his vision.

Bob Backlund defeated Ric Flair by disqualification in 0:02:11.
Rating: *
[Jimmy Snuka interfered against Bob Backlund.]

This match should have been a Jimmy Snuka vs. Bob Backlund had Backlund not maliciously (and offensively, mind you) smashed Snuka's head with a coconut back in Pittsburgh. Snuka suffered a concussion and was not cleared to compete tonight. Snuka's buddy Ric Flair was more than happy to step in as he has a beef with Backlund as well. Backlund has completely fallen off the deep end, turning his back on his friends and his fans in his quest to get the World Title back. We were looking to see another great wrestling match, but Snuka couldn't keep himself in control. Sure, he wasn't cleared to compete, but as far as Snuka was concerned, he was cleared to kick the crap out of Backlund. We were only a couple minutes in before Snuka slid in the ring and started wailing away on Backlund for the disqualification. Sure, a potential great match never really got out of the blocks, but the fans were going crazy and Snuka unloaded on Backlund. Flair understands why Snuka wants a piece of Backlund so badly, but he didn't appreciate his match getting ruined. Flair went to pull Snuka away, but Snuka hit Flair with an elbow and went back on the attack. The Nature Boy didn't take too kindly to this and he went after Snuka, and we had a 3-way brawl on our hands! It was a chaotic scene, and now we don't know which way is up. This situation just got a whole lot more interesting, and it is a long way from over.

Nick Bockwinkel pinned Jumbo Tsuruta with the Piledriver in 0:17:08.
Rating: **** 3/4
[Bobby Heenan interfered against Jumbo Tsuruta.]

Both men involved in this match have come close to winning the World Title in recent months, Nick Bockwinkel most recently taking Dusty Rhodes to a 45-minute draw. A win here in this match between Bockwinkel & Jumbo Tsuruta would go a long way to earning another title shot in the near future. We knew this one was going to be good because technically speaking, Jumbo & Bockwinkel are near the top in all the world. They don't rush, they pick their spots, and they rarely make mistakes. This gave us a match that built nicely, and by the end of it, the intensity was off the charts and the crowd was on their feet in the final minutes. The match reached its conclusion when Jumbo had rocked Bockwinkel and went for the Jumbo Knee, but Bockwinkel had the wherewithal to move, catch Jumbo with a boot to the midsection, and plant him with the Piledriver. Jumbo was so jacked that he managed to kick out, but it was just barely after the 3 count. With how fantastic this match was, we are going to see a rematch in Springfield, with the added bonus that it will be for a World Title shot!

Dusty Rhodes pinned Luke Graham with the Bionic Elbowdrop in 0:08:00.
Rating: * 1/2
(Dusty Rhodes retained the GCW World Title.)

Our main event had a very special feel as the World Title was on the line. Dusty Rhodes has entered strong company as his title reign has now reached over a year long, having defeated Bob Backlund back last June. The leader of the Texas Outlaws hasn't always won with the most dignity, but in the past year he has defeated Backlund, Jimmy Snuka, Ric Flair, and Jumbo Tsuruta amongst others, which is nothing to scoff at. Rhodes' opponent tonight is widely considered one of the greatest wrestlers in GCW history and a man who dominated the wrestling world throughout the 60s and 70s, and a former World champion twice over, Luke Graham. Graham has been a great story over the past year or so with his comeback after what was thought to be career-ending back and neck injuries. On paper, no one gave Graham much of a chance in this match, as his last World Title reign was over a decade ago. Graham showed in the opening moments of this match that the potential for an upset was there as he completely floored Rhodes with clotheslines and bodyslams before the American Dream took a powder to the floor. As the match wore on, Graham really had the crowd believing that he was going to walk out of MSG with a record-tying third title reign when he called for the Thumb to the Throat. Graham reared back, but Rhodes ducked it and brought Graham down with a side suplex. From there, Rhodes worked on Graham's bad back before hitting the Bionic Elbowdrop to defend the gold in a match that was surely tougher than he could have anticipated. A great showing for the legend, but Rhodes is clearly the man right now.

Card rating: ***

Match observations:

7/9/82 - CIVIC CENTER - Springfield, MA

Jimmy Snuka vs. Bob Backlund
#1 CONTENDER MATCH - Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Nick Bockwinkel
WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES - The Brisco Brothers (c) vs. The Can-Am Strongmen
Tony Atlas vs. The Iron Sheik
The Von Erichs vs. The Golden Boys

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