March 18, 1980 - Memorial Auditorium - Lowell, MA

Manny Fernandez pinned Victor Rivera with the Flying Burrito in 0:04:51.
Rating: * 3/4

We got the ball rolling tonight with the in-ring GCW debut of Manny Fernandez, a man who has immediately earned the disapproval of the GCW loyal when he caused Dusty Rhodes to lose last month in the first round of the Intercontinental Title Tournament. Despite the palpable amount of dislike he received, the Ragin' Bull came to Lowell to impress, and impress he did. Victor Rivera didn't have a lot of answers for the El Paso native and ate the Flying Burrito, allowing Fernandez his first win.

Dusty Rhodes wants some answers from Manny Fernandez.

Before Fernandez could get out of the ring, he was joined in it by "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, and he wanted some answers from the Ragin' Bull. Rhodes asked, no - flat out DEMANDED to know why Fernandez did what he did in Atlantic City. Fernandez replied that Rhodes should know, and the fact that he doesn't know completely justifies him for what he did. Fernandez asked Rhodes if he remembered June 14, 1978. Fernandez didn't give him a chance to answer before he mentioned it was GCW's trip to Puerto Rico. Fernandez wrestled on that card, Rhodes was there with GCW. Fernandez asked if Rhodes remembered a conversation they had that night. Rhodes said he did, but Fernandez cut him off and filled in the crowd on what it was about. Fernandez let it be known that Rhodes said he was going to talk to the higher ups in GCW about getting him a job, and then… nothing. First days, then weeks, then months went by, and Fernandez heard nothing. "I thought we were friends, Dusty!" Fernandez told Dusty he found his own way to GCW, and he was going to make it his goal to make Rhodes feel as worthless as the Dream had made him feel. Fernandez left the ring leaving Rhodes looking on stunned.

Larry Zbyszko pinned Hector Guerrero with the Shoulderbreaker in 0:07:53.
Rating: ** 1/2

Many people feel that Hector Guerrero backed in to the semi-finals of the IC Title Tournament, but for the critics, the fact remains - Hector is only two wins away from being the champion. He had to get through "The Cruncher" Larry Zbyszko first, and that's easier said than done. Zbyszko has gotten his fair share of criticism too, experts claiming that he would have never gotten by Dusty Rhodes if it wasn't for outside interference. Zbyszko quieted a lot of the chatter with a decisive victory on Guerrero to move to the finals. Zbyszko will have the chance to wrestle for his first singles championship on April 2 in Madison Square Garden. But who will he face?

The Wild Samoans (Afa and Sika) defeated The Can-Am Strongmen (Dino Bravo and Ken Patera) when Sika pinned Bravo with the Samoan Drop in 0:06:37.
Rating: 3/4*

The Can-Am Strongmen were causing quite a stir in GCW offices the past few weeks after the way that the Wild Samoans defeated them back in Atlantic City. GCW officials agreed and set up this rematch in Lowell. With the recent actions of Afa & Sika, it wasn't surprising that there were some boo birds in the house tonight for Captain Lou Albano's charges. None of the trio really seemed to care though - they were simply looking to win the match. Dino Bravo & Ken Patera didn't exactly give the fans any reason to cheer for them either. Sometimes though his business isn't about winning over the love of the fans, but rather just about winning. The Samoans again out-cheated the Strongmen and picked up the duke. To say the response to the win was a mixed reaction would be an understatement, but it's hard to argue with results.

Ric Flair gives a public critique of new referee Dick Woehrle.

Before his next match with Mando Guerrero, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair grabbed the mic to run down new referee Dick Woehrle. Flair said he wasn't aware that GCW was a fan of hiring incompetent idiots, but Woehrle is proof that these are GCW's hiring practices. Flair went as far as to say if it wasn't for Woehrle, Flair would be on his way to becoming the Intercontinental champion. Flair warned Woehrle not to screw up again.

Mando Guerrero pinned Ric Flair after a backslide in 0:06:22.
Rating: ** 1/2

I bet if Ric Flair could go back in time and not say those things to Dick Woehrle, he would have. During the Nature Boy's match with Mando Guerrero, Flair didn't like that Woehrle kept stopping him and reprimanding him from cheating. Eventually Flair got into a shoving match with Woehrle, trying to intimidate him. Flair pushed Woehrle back into the corner, but he was never expecting Woehrle to push back! Woehrle pushed Flair back, causing the Nature Boy to stumble right into a backslide from Mando! Woehrle hit a fast three count and Mando had the win! Flair lunged for Woehrle, but Woehrle was out of the ring in a hurry and retreated to the back. If Flair was pissed off at Woehrle before…

Cage Match:
Jumbo Tsuruta defeated Stan Hansen by escaping the cage in 0:13:59.
Rating: ***

There is no other way to settle the feud between Jumbo Tsuruta and Stan Hansen than the way we did tonight - in a 15-foot high steel cage. Hansen couldn't help but get the crowd riled up prior to the match with his xenophobic mic work. Jumbo didn't need any extra motivation to take on Hansen, who has been making his life hell for months. The cage not only was to keep Jumbo & Hansen in the ring, but it was also to keep others out, namely the Guerreros. Right from the opening bell, there was no chance that this was going to be anywhere close to a technical matchup. It was brutal, plain and simple. Don't know how else to explain it other than that. Jumbo is known for being a great technician, but I have never seen him be as vicious as he was here. He wasn't looking to win a match, but rather he was looking to cause the Lariat a small portion of the pain that Hansen has caused him with his hateful words. Hansen got a real beating tonight, but despite how horrible of a person he has proven himself to be, you have to give the devil his due and admit that Hansen is one of the toughest men in the sport. And truthfully, the cage is probably better suited for the Lariat than it is for Jumbo. Hansen took all the punishment Jumbo dished out, but Hansen turned the tides when he caught the Lariat out of nowhere. Jumbo was down and looked to be hurt as Hansen slowly climbed up the cage. Halfway up, Jumbo started to stir and crawl toward the door. It was essentially a race at this point to see who had the most left in the tank to win this match. Hansen appeared to be that man as he got over the top and began the descent down the cage when CHAVO GUERRERO ran down from the locker room! Chavo positioned himself under Hansen and as Hansen climbed down, he ended up on Chavo's shoulders! Chavo wouldn't let Hansen loose while Jumbo got out of the door and his feet touched the floor, winning the match!

As Jumbo was announced the winner, Chavo dropped Hansen on the concrete floor with an electric chair drop and then mounted up for some punches! Chavo was looking to do the same to Hansen that Hansen had done to him. Luckily for Hansen, officials managed to pull Chavo away, but this one isn't over by a long shot!

Ivan Koloff pinned Blackjack Lanza with the Russian Sickle in 0:05:26.
Rating: ** 1/2

Freddie Blassie shocked everyone when he fired Blackjack Mulligan last month after the Blackjacks failed to regain the tag team titles. Blassie assured Blackjack Lanza that he was safe, and booked him in a match against fellow stablemate Ivan Koloff, in what he deemed to be a "friendly encounter between friends." Lanza should have known better than to trust Blassie after what happened to Mulligan. It did start out as a friendly encounter, until Blassie deliberately tripped Lanza when he hit the ropes. Lanza looked like he was about to come out of his skin with anger as he yelled at Blassie, but the distraction was exactly what Koloff needed to hit the Russian Sickle and get the pin. After the match was over, Blassie got in the face of the downed Lanza and subsequently fired him too! Looks like Blassie is really serious about reshaping his stable of wrestlers.

Paul Jones' Army (Austin Idol, Paul Jones and The Masked Superstar) defeated Tito Santana, Ivan Putski and Terry Funk when Superstar made T. Santana submit to the Cobra Clutch in 0:09:18.
Rating: **

Say what you want about Paul Jones' Army, but the term we need to start using for them is "winners." They learned just today that regardless of who wins tonight's main event, Paul Jones & The Masked Superstar will be challenging for the World Tag Team Titles. They couldn't afford to think ahead to that though as they were in 6-man tag team action here, teaming with Austin Idol to take on Tito Santana, Ivan Putski, & Terry Funk. A strange mesh of styles on the fan favorite side with a flier, a powerhouse, and a brawler, but their teamwork was shockingly crisp. But in the end (as has so often been the case), the size and strength of The Masked Superstar was too much as once Santana was caught in it, it was al over but the shouting. The win should have been enough, but the arrogant "Universal Heartthrob" Austin Idol wanted some more of Santana, trying to put him in the Las Vegas Leglock. Terry Funk had other ideas, however, as he grabbed his trusty branding iron and chased Idol into the crowd and right out of the building! Idol will have nowhere to run when he wrestles Funk on April 2.

Roddy Piper pinned Don Muraco after a small package in 0:22:24.
Rating: *** 1/4

We already knew that Larry Zbyszko would be in the finals of the Intercontinental Title tournament on April 2 in New York, and he came out during this match to see if he was going to face Roddy Piper or Don Muraco. Muraco has been with GCW for quite some time now, but as yet to taste championship gold. But with Freddie Blassie calling the shots, the Magnificent Muraco has shown that he is a major threat every time he steps in the ring. Up to this point, it was hard telling if Piper was interested in winning championships. In the past, he's seemed content to just fight. This match proved that he also wants to win. As the battle raged on, Zbyszko methodically made his way closer to ringside, getting as close a look as he possibly could of who he would be wrestling at MSG. As he watched on, he apparently decided he didn't want to wrestle the Rowdy Scot. When Blassie was arguing with the referee over some invented slight on Muraco, Zbyszko jumped up on the apron and directed Muraco to hold Piper open for him. Zbyszko reared back to hit Piper, but the Rowdy One wriggled loose and Zbyszko hit Muraco instead! Piper knocked Zbyszko off the ring apron and then caught Muraco in a small package to snag the victory and a trip to the finals! It will be Roddy Piper vs. Larry Zbyszko to crown a NEW Intercontinental champion!

Gorilla Monsoon and Pedro Morales defeated Bob Backlund and Jimmy Snuka when Monsoon pinned J. Snuka with the Big Splash in 0:17:43.
Rating: ** 1/4
(Gorilla Monsoon and Pedro Morales retained the GCW World Tag Team Titles.)

World champion Bob Backlund has defeated his best friend Jimmy Snuka twice in title defenses recently, but he knows how much a championship reign would mean to the Superfly. He asked Gorilla Monsoon & Pedro Morales if they could have a shot at the World Tag Team Titles, to which Monsoon & Morales accepted to give us this massive main event featuring four of the best wrestlers of all time. The story of Monsoon is incredible, getting this tag team title reign in the twilight of his career. Not only that, but how Morales and he have defended the titles even though Monsoon's career is on the line each and every title defense. Backlund & Snuka had great chemistry, as you would expect two people who know each other this well would. The crowd wasn't sure which team they wanted to cheer for, so they just cheered loudly the entire match. This match was filled with several changes of momentum, but neither team could find that big move to put this match away. It appeared that Backlund had this match won when he hit Morales with the Atomic Drop, but Snuka practically begged him for the tag. Backlund obliged knowing this was the Superfly's big moment. Snuka went up top for the Superfly Splash, but Morales moved out of the way and Snuka crashed and burned. Snuka landed extremely hard and looked to have injured his ribs. Morales tagged in Monsoon who hit Snuka with the Big Splash for the 1-2-3.

Backlund tended to his injured partner and helped him to his feet, but Snuka wanted none of it as he shoved Backlund onto his back! Backlund looked stunned as Snuka left the ring in a disgruntled fashion, being showered by boos as he left. The pressure of winning a championship looks to have finally boiled over for Snuka.

Card rating: ** 1/2

Match observations:

April 2, 1980 is bound to be a huge night, because we are guaranteed to see a new champion crowned! Not only that, but we are going to see a lot of great matches from Madison Square Garden in New York City!

WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES - Gorilla Monsoon/Pedro Morales (c) vs. Paul Jones/The Masked Superstar
Chavo Guerrero vs. Stan Hansen
Dusty Rhodes vs. Manny Fernandez
Terry Funk vs.Austin Idol
Tito Santana/Ivan Putski vs. The Wild Samoans

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