June 9, 1981 - Convention Hall - Atlantic City, NJ

Sgt. Slaughter made B. Brian Blair submit to the Cobra Clutch in 0:10:21.
Rating: **** 1/4
[Luke Graham interfered against Sgt. Slaughter.]

Sgt. Slaughter is the newest member of Paul Jones' new look Army, and if tonight is any indication, he is a great sergeant (pun intended) to have. Slaughter was taking on the spunky B. Brian Blair. Taking on Sarge is bad enough for you if you're Blair, but it didn't help that LARRY ZBYSZKO sauntered down to ringside to taunt Blair's manager, Luke Graham. Graham looked like he was going to blow a gasket as Zbyszko calmly looked at Graham and smiled, trying to get him to go after him. Zbyszko wasn't trying to distract Blair, but it worked as Blair was trying to talk with Graham. Blair was shouting at Graham to look at him, but Graham's gaze was focused solely on the Cruncher. Blair got caught from behind in the Cobra Clutch, and with Slaughter's size and power, couldn't get himself out. A big win for Slaughter in his first match for the Army. Slaughter left with a beaming Paul Jones while Zbyszko grabbed Howard Finkel's ringside microphone.

Interview:
Larry Zbyszko tells Luke Graham that he's gone soft.

Larry Zbyszko had one simple message to give Luke Graham - "You've gone soft." Zbyszko talked about some of Graham's credentials - former 3-time United States champion, former 3-time World Tag Team champion, former 2-time World Heavyweight champion. One of the most feared wrestlers in GCW history. But he said that was all in the past, that no one was scared of big, bad Luke Graham anymore. That the once dominant beast was nothing more than a neutered puppy, reduced to managing losers like B. Brian Blair. Graham was fuming at this, so Zbyszko told him if it made him so angry, he should come in the ring and shut him up. Graham thought about it, and the fans in Atlantic City cheered him on to do so. After a moment of pondering though, Graham hung his head and walked to the locker room. Zbyszko had a huge grin on his face as he watched Graham leave a beaten man.

Number-One-Contenders-Match:
The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes and Terry Gordy) defeated The Upstarts (Rick Martel and Terry Taylor) when M. Hayes pinned Taylor with the DDT in 0:12:26.
Rating: **** 1/4

The Upstarts and the Fabulous Freebirds have split a series of singles matches on the last two shows, but now they had a tag team match, and the stakes were high. The winners tonight would walk away with a shot at the World Tag Team Titles on July 14 in Lowell, MA. With as skilled as all four gentleman are, it's hard to believe that they are all still so young (Terry Taylor being the 'old man' of the match at 25 years old). But if you weren't on board before, this match showed that we are looking at the future of tag team wrestling. The Freebirds are loaded with charisma, but Michael "P.S." Hayes and Terry Gordy showed tonight that they are packed to the gills with talent. After a match that saw the momentum swing countless times, Taylor thought he had the pin when he hit the Five Arm on Gordy, but he was unaware that Hayes had made the blind tag to become the legal man. Hayes rushed in and hit a kneelift on Martel to knock him off the apron, and then picked up an unsuspecting Taylor to drop him with the DDT. Hayes made the pin, and with that, the Freebirds earned their very first shot at the World Tag Team Titles. The Upstarts may have walked away with a loss in Atlantic City, but they made a lot of believers. But for now, Hayes & Gordy await to see who they will be wrestling for the gold next month.

Ric Flair defeated Rick McGraw when Rick McGraw passed out in the Figure-Four Leglock in 0:11:52.
Rating: ** 1/2

Rick McGraw is new to GCW, but he has shown that he is ready to make an impact in the home of the best wrestling in the world. It was back in April that McGraw took "Nature Boy" Ric Flair to the limit, and so a rematch was signed for tonight. Flair didn't take McGraw nearly as lightly as he did the first time around, but he still had his hands full with the 5'7" spark plug that is Quick Draw. McGraw was fired up and his energy got the crowd going, but McGraw made a crucial error when he went to the second turnbuckle for a splash. Flair got his knees up when McGraw dove off, and after that, McGraw never fully recovered before the Nature Boy caught him in the Figure-Four Leglock to get the deuce.

Stan Hansen defeated Don Muraco by countout in 0:06:44.
Rating: * 3/4
(Don Muraco retained the GCW Intercontinental Title.)
[Freddie Blassie interfered against Stan Hansen.]

Don Muraco's big mouth almost got him in a lot of trouble. Last month he was spouting off about how he was the greatest Intercontinental champion in GCW history, a comment that was taken offense to by Stan "the Lariat" Hansen, who is widely considered to be the best champ by pundits. Muraco got backed into the match, and Hansen came out with guns blazing to shut the Magnificent One up. Muraco couldn't get his bearings in the early goings, and after a distraction by "Classy" Freddie Blassie, Muraco grabbed the Intercontinental Title and walked out for the countout, all the while saying he had "proven his point." He may think so, but the GCW Championship Committee disagrees and has signed a rematch for the 7/14 Lowell show.

Two-out-of-three-Falls Match:
Antonio Inoki and Jumbo Tsuruta beat
The Can-Am Strongmen (Dino Bravo and Ken Patera) 2 falls to 1:
x Tsuruta beat Patera via the Jumbo Knee in 0:02:37
x Patera beat Inoki via the Swinging Full Nelson in 0:28:18
x Inoki beat Patera via the Octopus Hold in 0:40:21
Rating: **** 1/4
(Antonio Inoki and Jumbo Tsuruta won the GCW World Tag Team Titles.)

Two epic time limit draws led this this third and final match for the tag team titles, but this time, the Can-Am Strongmen would have to defend in a best 2 out of 3 falls match against Antonio Inoki & Jumbo Tsuruta! Considering the previous two matches have been marathon affairs, we were all shocked that the first fall occurred in the first 3 minutes of the match when Jumbo blasted Patera out of nowhere with the Jumbo Knee for the fall. After that, the match settled down into the great wrestling we have seen time and time again from these four. Bravo & Patera honed in on Inoki's back after he missed a senton. Inoki fought back, but he was never quite able to make the tag as Patera caught him in the Swinging Full Nelson. Inoki would have normally did all he could to fight the hold off, but with the one fall cushion to work with, Inoki chose to submit right away and get his one minute resting period. It was a smart decision too, because as the third fall was started, Inoki lifted his legs to catch Patera in the face with a boot as the Olympian charged in, and made a diving tag to Jumbo. From this point, the momentum started to sway back in the direction of the challengers. Despite everything the champs did, the ebb of the match had changed drastically and they couldn't recover. With Inoki back as the legal man, Patera made a desperation attempt to get the Swinging Full Nelson on again, but Inoki reversed it and applied the Octopus Hold! Bravo jumped in to go for the save, but Jumbo cut him off and put him in an abdominal stretch! With the dueling submission holds, there was nothing the Strongmen could do. Patera gave up as the crowd exploded into cheers, as we have brand new World Tag Team champions! Inoki & Jumbo thanked the fans in broken English after the match and promised to be fighting champions.

Afa and Ricky Steamboat defeated The Moondogs (Moondog Rex and Moondog Spot) when Steamboat defeated M. Rex by disqualification in 0:04:36.
Rating: 3/4*
[Lou Albano interfered against Ricky Steamboat.]
[Lou Albano interfered against Afa.]

Captain Lou Albano was not unprepared for Ricky Steamboat & Afa this time around, but came in with a plan for his Moondogs. At the first sign of trouble, the Moondogs were to punish Steamboat by any means necessary, and that's exactly what they did. After Spot & Rex knocked Afa off the apron, Albano slid Rex the large dog bone they bring to ringside. Steamboat came in to get at Rex, but then got blasted in the face for his efforts. A clear disqualification, but an even more clear dangerous situation. The Moondogs worked over Steamboat for a bit before Afa slid back in the ring. He tried to fight them off, but he was overwhelmed by the onslaught as well. Afa realized he wasn't going to win the fight, so he crawled on top of Steamboat to protect him from taking any more damage. The Moondogs kept stomping away at Afa before security broke it up. Afa was willing to sacrifice his own body to protect his friend. The bond that has formed between these two is really an amazing story. Steamboat has vowed to Albano that Afa and he would get even in Lowell.

Terry Funk pinned Tito Santana after hitting him with the cane in 0:07:34.
Rating: ** 3/4
[Freddie Blassie interfered against Tito Santana.]

"Classy" Freddie Blassie was out with Terry Funk, but it looked like he wanted to be anywhere else but out here. Funk is a mad man, and Blassie has awakened something that he may regret. Tito Santana didn't care if Funk was out of control or not. All he knew was that Funk injured his partner, so he was going to get some revenge if it killed him. Santana was all over Funk to kick the match off, uncharacteristically jumping his opponent before the bell. Santana was relentless until he was slowed down considerably by a low blow. At this point, Funk went off and tore into Santana like a starving dog on a piece of meat. Referee Tommy Young tried to pull Funk off of Santana in the corner, and got caught with an accidental poke to the eye. Funk recognized this and yelled for Blassie to give him his cane. Blassie was tentative, but when he saw the deranged look in Funk's eyes when he screamed for the cane a second time, he quickly slid the weapon in the ring. Funk blasted Santana in the throat with it, removed the evidence, and got a slow 3 count. Blassie quickly left ringside, with Funk trailing behind him shouting, "YOU CREATED THIS MONSTER!"

Dusty Rhodes pinned Bob Backlund with the Bionic Elbowdrop in 0:10:54.
Rating: *** 3/4
(Dusty Rhodes won the GCW World Title.)
[Dick Murdoch interfered against Bob Backlund.]

The Texas Outlaws did a number on Bob Backlund last month, cracking 3 of his ribs in a vicious and cowardly assault. Dusty Rhodes knew that Backlund was too proud to take the proper time off to heal, and thus got a World Title match against a wounded champion. Rhodes had to survived Backlund's initial push to be in good shape, and he did that with the help of Dick Murdoch, who tripped Backlund up, causing him to fall hard on his ribs. Backlund kept trying to fight back, but he couldn't get any oxygen into his lungs to mount a comeback. The crowd tried desperately to get Backlund back into it, but their cheers were in vain as Backlund was simply too hurt. Rhodes dropped a huge elbow on Backlund's ribs, made the cover, and after nearly 8 years in a GCW ring, the American Dream was presented with the World Heavyweight Title. Backlund has invoked his rematch clause for the show in Lowell next month, and has promised that when he is 100% healthy, Rhodes is going to rue the day he ever laid eyes on Bob Backlund.

Card rating: ** 3/4

Match observations:

7/14/81 - MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM - Lowell, MA

WORLD TITLE - Dusty Rhodes (c) vs. Bob Backlund
INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE - Don Muraco (c) vs. Stan Hansen
WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES - Antonio Inoki/Jumbo Tsuruta (c) vs. The Fabulous Freebirds
B. Brian Blair vs. Larry Zbyszko
Afa/Ricky Steamboat vs. The Moondogs

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