March 1, 1978 - Madison Square Garden - New York, NY

Gorilla Monsoon defeated Rene Goulet via pinfall in 0:03:50.
Rating: *

The show here in Madison Square Garden is going to be one for the record books, the first match being Gorilla Monsoon taking on the hapless Rene Goulet. Monsoon is getting up there in years, but he still can get it done in the ring by blasting Goulet so hard with a shoulderblock that it knocked him hard into the turnbuckle. This gave Monsoon the chance to pick up the win.

Chief Jay Strongbow and Billy White Wolf defeated The Blackjacks (Blackjack Lanza and Blackjack Mulligan) when Strongbow defeated Mulligan by countout in 0:08:49.
Rating: *

Chief Jay Strongbow & Billy White Wolf have had some speed bumps since their return to GCW, but if any match was going to get their confidence up, it was this one against the former 2-time World Tag Team champions, The Blackjacks. Strongbow & Wolf didn't get the pinfall or submission victory they would have liked, but they did get the W by countout. Bobby Heenan didn't even seem to care after the match, seeming way off his game since Billy Graham lost the World Title last month. Lanza & Mulligan didn't look happy about that development.

Don Muraco pinned Ivan Koloff with the Tombstone in 0:13:59.
Rating: ** 3/4

This has to be considered the biggest win of Ivan Koloff's career! Not only did he beat a former World champion, but he did it cleanly in the middle of the ring. Koloff is not the wrestler he was when he was terrozing the league in 1974, but he is still a tough opponent as Muraco found out here. Muraco took what he learned in the double countout last month and got the better of Koloff, dropping him with the Tombstone. We are all witnessing Don Muraco's coming out party.

Peter Maivia defeated Johnny Rodz by disqualification in 0:06:17.
Rating: ** 3/4

Johnny Rodz wanted to make a statement against Peter Maivia that he is ready to be taken seriously. He was still being outclassed early in the match, so Rodz unpredictable act was to put Maivia in a chokehold and refuse to let go. This rare sign of ruthlessness from Rodz actually was unpredictable, but he still lost the match by DQ. However, this loss was different as for once, Rodz left with a loss but not with his back on the mat.

Dominic DeNucci defeated Larry Zbyszko by disqualification in 0:03:24.
Rating: ***

Larry Zbyszko is a punk, plain and simple. Dino Bravo wants to get his hands on him in the worst way, but Dominic DeNucci jumped at it first, still furious that Zbyszko has cost him the tag titles not once, but twice. Zbyszko welcomed DeNucci's challenge and used this match to send a message to Bravo. It didn't take long into the match for Zbyszko to go under the ring and grab a lead pipe. Zbyszko had sinister intentions as he got in the ring and blasted DeNucci in the back of the head with the pipe, Sure, Zbyszko was DQ'ed immediately, but he was trying to hurt DeNucci. With DeNucci knocked out, Zbyszko lifted him up and dropped him with the Shoulderbreaker. That wasn't enough though as he hit a second Shoulderbreaker. Zbyszko then went to the top and jumped off with a kneedrop on that arm, shattering it in the process. We were surprised that Bravo didn't come down to help, but we later found out why - Zbyszko had chained the door of Bravo's locker room shut! DeNucci had to be rushed to the hospital for his badly broken arm. Zbyszko has done everything possible to infuriate Bravo, but he may come to regret this one.

Stan Hansen defeated Pat Patterson by countout in 0:10:39.
Rating: ** 3/4
(Stan Hansen retained the GCW Intercontinental Title.)

Pat Patterson lost the Intercontinental Title to Stan Hansen last October, but he never received a rematch because he wanted to get his hands on the man who cost him the title, Terry Funk. Patterson finally got his chance to win back the gold against Hansen, a match he was more than ready for. Hansen is used to bullying people around, but Patterson is a stubborn veteran who doesn't let anyone dictate the pace. Hansen had to think of a backup plan, and he did so when he lured Patterson to the floor. Patterson was beating on him and had him up against the ring post. Patterson charged at him, but the Lariat sidestepped and Patterson cracked his skull on the steel. Hansen rolled back in the ring as Patterson was counted out. Hansen keeps the gold, but the unconvincing way he did it might mean he is going to have to tangle with Patterson again in the future.

Bobby Duncum pinned Tim Woods with the Full Nelson Slam in 0:10:40.
Rating: *** 1/4
(Bruiser Brody no-showed.)

Bobby Duncum and Bruiser Brody were meant to lock horns again, a brutal match I personally was looking forward to. But Brody never came to the building tonight for undisclosed reasons, leaving Duncum to wrestle Tim Woods, a past rival. Woods tried to keep this match on the mat, his best bet to avoid the Full Nelson Slam. For awhile, it worked. Woods is a great mat wrestler and as technically sound as they come. But Duncum is becoming a superstar all his own, and he's a hard man to keep down. Once he got the advantage, he didn't let up and drilled Woods with the Full Nelson Slam for the win.

Texas Death Match:
Great Kabuki made Dusty Rhodes submit to a chokehold in 0:18:41.
Rating: ** 1/2
[Don Muraco and Freddie Blassie interfered against Dusty Rhodes.]

Freddie Blassie has selected Dusty Rhodes as the first man to go after as a manager, looking to make a huge statement to the rest of GCW. He may have bit off more than he could chew by having Great Kabuki take on Rhodes in his specialty match, the Texas Death Match. Kabuki is a vicious competitor from Japan, but this is Rhodes' element. You had to wonder why Blassie would agree to put his man in this match, but then he hatched a plan. Rhodes had all the momentum going his way, rocking Kabuki with a flurry of elbows after dodging the blue mist. What he didn't dodge though was DON MURACO hitting him in the back with a wooden chair! Rhodes was out cold, letting Kabuki choke Rhodes until referee Willie Webber called the fall. As you would expect, Rhodes couldn't answer the ten count and again, Kabuki was declared the winner in shady fashion. Muraco and Blassie shook hands after the match as Muraco is now Blassie's second client. If Rhodes was mad before, he is downright PISSED now. He'll have Ivan Koloff with him next month when they take on Kabuki & Muraco on March 31 in Chicago.

The Gunslingers (Dory Funk Jr. and Terry Funk) defeated The Brisco Brothers (Jerry Brisco and Jack Brisco) when D. Funk Jr. pinned Jerry Brisco after a backslide in 0:22:49.
Rating: *** 1/2
(The Gunslingers won the GCW World Tag Team Titles.)

The Funk Brothers are reunited, and along with Stan Hansen, the Gunslingers have put GCW on notice. They want to be taken seriously again, as Dory Funk Jr. especially feels that his inability to win the big one has made him a laughing stock amongst the fans. Dory has been around this game long enough to know that gold is power, so his brother Terry and he have went after the Brisco Brothers, the reigning World Tag Team champions. The feud between the Briscos & the Funks is legendary, spanning the globe and being a major part of GCW back in the late 1960s. Once the bell rang, it was like no time had passed at all as the hatred between the two families came to the surface. It's still strange seeing the Funks back together, but even after years of fighting each other, they hadn't missed a beat as a team. But the Briscos are the best in the world and the tag team champions and don't care about the Funks quest for respect. If you want to do tag team wrestling, you should watch these teams wrestle. Such an even match from two teams that know each other so well. The difference would be the Funks' willingness to cheat as Dory caught Jerry Brisco in a backslide. Dory got his feet up on the middle rope while he had Jerry pinned, adding extra leverage to get the 1-2-3. For the first time in ten years, Dory Funk Jr. & Terry Funk are the champions of the world. The Briscos pleaded their case with the ref after the match, but Mario Savoldi simply didn't see it - the decision stands. The Funks are the luckiest men in the world right now, but fact remains, they're the tag team champs.

Bob Backlund pinned Billy Graham with the Atomic Drop in 0:18:04.
Rating: **** 1/4
[Bobby Heenan interfered against Bob Backlund.]

Our semi-main event featured an extremely frustrated "Superstar" Billy Graham taking on the undefeated Bob Backlund. Graham is only 4 weeks removed from losing the World Title, and that hasn't sit well with him or manager Bobby Heenan. Heenan was more focused for this match than he was the Blackjacks' match earlier, and we found out that Heenan had been lobbying to get Graham his rematch tonight instead of Harley Race getting the title shot. He obviously didn't make that happen, and he wanted the Superstar to take it all out on Bob Backlund. Backlund hasn't tasted a singles defeat yet, but for much of this match, it looked like it was a serious possibility. This was by far the most trouble Backlund has been in as Graham was on point with all of his offense. Backlund usually controls the pace of his matches, but tonight, he had to play a lot of defense and survive power move after power move. If this match proved anything though, it's that Backlund is a survivor. There were times when I was certain he was done for, but he found a way to get his shoulder up or get himself out of a submission hold. Graham was sure he had the pin after a powerslam, and when he didn't get it, he nearly snapped and got in referee Tommy Young's face instead of continuing to work over Backlund. This gave Backlund some crucial time to regain his bearings. Backlund got back on the offensive and went on to hit the Atomic Drop to get the win.

After the match, Heenan got in Graham's face for losing the match, a match for all intents and purposes he should have won. Graham tried to block Heenan out, but once Heenan slapped him, all bets were off! Heenan immediately realized what a mistake he had made as he jumped out of the ring and ran to the back before an enraged Superstar could get a hold of him. Graham instead took out this pent up anger on Tommy Young, dropping him with a powerslam before putting him in the Bearhug! Because of these actions, Billy Graham has been suspended from GCW indefinitely! Not a good 4 weeks for the Superstar.

Two-out-of-three-Falls Match:
Harley Race beat Jumbo Tsuruta 2 falls to 1:
x Tsuruta beat Race via the Jumbo Knee in 0:10:47
x Race beat Tsuruta via the Piledriver in 0:19:31
x Race beat Tsuruta via brass knuckles in 0:29:32
Rating: ***
(Harley Race won the GCW World Title.)

It was time for the big one - Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Harley Race for the World Title. Race made his shocking return to GCW in Baltimore and challenged the new champion Jumbo to a match, which was made a 2 out of 3 falls match by President Hisashi Shinma. To date, Tsuruta is the only man to ever beat Harley Race, being the man who ended his 2 year plus World Title reign and sending him packing from GCW in the first place. Jumbo had a lot of that magic going for him in this match as the first fall was more or less dominated by him, hitting the Jumbo Knee around the 10 minute mark to go up 1-0. Thoughts that Race had lost a step during his absence were quickly put to rest, as the notorious slow starter picked it up and picked up the second fall with the Piledriver at 20 minutes in, knotting it all up.

The intensity level kicked up hard for the final fall, Jumbo not wanting to lose the title he had fought so hard to win back in the first place. It wouldn't be long before we learned that Harley Race didn't return to GCW alone - he had reinforcements. When it looked like Jumbo had gotten the upperhand for the final time, prepping to hit the Jumbo Knee, when RIC FLAIR jumped up on the ring apron to distract him! Jumbo went over and nailed Flair with a right hand to knock him off the apron. During this distraction, RODDY PIPER was out from the crowd and slid Race a pair of brass knuckles. Race slid them on his hand and when Jumbo came back to him, Race jacked him in the jaw before stashing the evidence in his trunks. Race made the pin and in his return match to GCW, he was the World champion. The show ended with Race, Flair, and Piper all celebrating with the World Title.

Card rating: *** 1/4

Match observations:

The landscape of GCW has completely changed as we have not only new World Tag Team champs, but a new World champ as well! We go to Chicago next at the end of the month with these matches already signed:

WORLD TITLE - Harley Race (c) vs. Jumbo Tsuruta
The Brisco Brothers/Pat Patterson vs. The Gunslingers
Dusty Rhodes/Ivan Koloff vs. Great Kabuki/Don Muraco
CHICAGO STREETFIGHT - Dino Bravo vs. Larry Zbyszko
Bobby Duncum vs. Bruiser Brody
Chief Jay Strongbow/Billy White Wolf vs. The Blackjacks

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