November 18, 1981 - Hartford Civic Center - Hartford, CT

B. Brian Blair pinned Terry Taylor after a bodyslam in 0:03:09.
Rating: * 1/4

The opening match in Hartford was a fan favorite affair between two of the finest young wrestlers in GCW, B. Brian Blair & Terry Taylor. A handshake got the match started, but a controversial ending would be what people remembered. The early moments featured some back and forth exchanges. Not long after, Blair would catch Taylor with a bodyslam and go for the cover. Blair had his feet on the ropes and referee Dick Woehrle didn't see it, awarding the victory to Blair. Taylor complained after the match, but Blair claimed that he got his feet tangled and it was an accident. Cooler heads prevailed and the two shook hands afterward. Both men have agreed to a rematch at the Winter Warfare show on Christmas day.

The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes and Terry Gordy) defeated The Wild Samoans (Afa and Sika) when T. Gordy pinned Afa after a gutwrench suplex in 0:08:37.
Rating: * 1/2

This feud between the Wild Samoans & the Fabulous Freebirds has been bubbling over for the better part of a year, and it looked to finally come to a head tonight. The Samoans have been as wild as ever since breaking ties with Lou Albano, but admittedly, they have lacked a little bit of focus. Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy are the much better team in terms of tag team strategy, but Afa & Sika are bruisers and will just try to beat you up until they can pin you. This match really tested the mettle of the Freebirds, but the youngsters proved that they could take a beating and still figure out a way to win, Gordy catching Afa with a big gutwrench suplex to do so. This has been one hell of a debut year for the Freebirds, and they only look to get better.

The Texas Outlaws cut a deal with Freddie Blassie.

Before the next tag match got started, "Classy" Freddie Blassie announced he had cut a deal with the Texas Outlaws. He said that if Terry Funk was going to insist on causing him such grief, he might as well profit from it. Terry Funk will be the 5th man on the Outlaws' team for War Games. Funk is definitely going to be at home inside of the double cage, but the question remains - can the Texas Outlaws really trust the Funker?

The Can-Am Strongmen (Dino Bravo and Ken Patera) defeated Don Muraco and Terry Funk when Patera defeated T. Funk when T. Funk passed out in a bearhug in 0:01:00.
Rating: **

Don Muraco couldn't find another partner, so he got stuck with his stablemate Terry Funk for this grudge match against the Can-Am Strongmen. Funk is known for his passive-aggressive protests against Blassie, and tonight was one of his finest hours. Funk apparently did not take the news of his involvement in War Games well, as within the first minute of this match, he got caught in a Ken Patera bearhug. A painful hold, yes, but Funk instantly "passed out" which caused the referee to call for the bell. As the Strongmen were awarded the win, Funk had what he called a "miraculous recovery" and tried to hug Blassie & Muraco, all the while yelling, "I'm alive, I'm alive!" Funk is nuts, but these tactics aren't going to do him much good in War Games.

The Texas Outlaws (Bobby Duncum and Dick Murdoch) defeated Antonio Inoki and Jumbo Tsuruta when Murdoch defeated Inoki by disqualification in 0:13:14.
Rating: ** 3/4
(The Texas Outlaws retained the GCW World Tag Team Titles.)

Antonio Inoki & Jumbo Tsuruta, for lack of a better term, got screwed out of the tag team titles in Boston, but they looked to turn their fortunes around in their rematch against Bobby Duncum & Dick Murdoch. Inoki & Jumbo would not be taken by surprise by anything the Outlaws tried. Any time Duncum or Murdoch tried to cut a corner, the Japanese duo was there to thwart them. Unfortunately, the bad luck demons were in the house for the Japanese stars. Near the end of the match, the fight broke down and all four men were in the ring. During the chaos, Inoki accidentally hit referee Tommy Young with an elbow, knocking Young loopy. Inoki locked the Octopus Hold on Murdoch and Dirty Dick was clearly submitting. Young called for the bell and the arena exploded, but Young inexplicably raised the hands of Duncum & Murdoch! Young had disqualified Inoki for striking an official. It appeared to us that the elbow was clearly accidental, but Young saw it differently and made a judgment call. This just adds more fuel to the fire going into War Games.

Tito Santana defeated Moondog Rex by disqualification in 0:04:53.
Rating: * 1/2
[Manny Fernandez interfered against Tito Santana.]

We thought the demeanor of Manny Fernandez was a bit off after the Matadors lost to the Moondogs last month, but we didn't think it was going to come to this. Tito Santana was taking on Moondog Rex in singles action, and everything was going his way. Technically speaking, Santana is far more sound than the Moondog was, and he used that skill to get himself in position for the victory. That is, until the Ragin' Bull jumped in the ring and blasted Santana right between the eyes with the Flying Burrito! The match was called on the spot, and Fernandez unleashed on his former partner with a flurry of rights and lefts, busting Santana open above his right eye.

This tension apparently has been building under the surface for awhile as after the show, Fernandez challenged Santana to a match at Winter Warfare, and he wanted it to be loser-leaves-town! It may have been the shock from what happened, but Santana was quick to accept and the match is signed for Christmas day!

Tony Atlas defeated Rick McGraw when Rick McGraw passed out in the Bearhug in 0:04:28.
Rating: * 1/4

A nice friendly match between two of GCW's newest superstars in Tony Atlas and Rick McGraw. McGraw has overachieved in 1981 and shown that he could be a force to reckon with for years to come, while Atlas has ruffled a few of the more muscular wrestlers' feathers with his impressive physique and fantastic strength. McGraw was seemingly the more agile of the two, but Atlas showed that he can really move in the ring with some nice dropkicks before getting Quick Draw in the Bearhug for the duke.

Don Muraco came out after the match and told Atlas he was not impressed. He said that it was obvious he was the strongest man in GCW, and he was going to prove it at Winter Warfare. The match has been signed, and we will see these two locomotives collide at the year-end show!

Ricky Steamboat and Bill Eadie defeated Larry Zbyszko and Sgt. Slaughter when Steamboat pinned Zbyszko after a rolling reverse cradle in 0:09:14.
Rating: *** 1/2
[Paul Jones interfered against Ricky Steamboat.]

Ricky Steamboat has shown what a good guy he is this year, coming to the aid of first Afa and now Bill Eadie in situations where they're over-matched. He was going up against an army tonight though - Paul Jones' Army to be exact. Eadie & Steamboat got thrown a curveball right off the bat. They were supposed to be going up against Sgt. Slaughter & Baron Von Raschke, but Jones announced before the match that he had fired Raschke for not getting behind his message. Jones said he found someone who did, and was even more ruthless than the Baron - LARRY ZBYSZKO! Zbyszko is a new member of Jones' Army, and it's a good pickup by Jones. The Cruncher is known for how uncaring and ruthless he can be. The match was filled with tension, like it wasn't if it would break down, but when. Slaughter taunted Eadie one too many times, causing the Ax to jump in the ring and tackle Slaughter to the outside! The two huge brawlers were pummeling away at each other, leaving Steamboat & Zbyszko in the ring. Zbyszko went for Crunch Time, but Steamboat got out of it, catching Zbyszko in a rolling reverse cradle for the 3 count! This result has led to two more big matches being signed for Winter Warfare. Ricky Steamboat will go 1-on-1 with Larry Zbyszko, while Eadie will finally get the chance to get his hands on Paul Jones in a singles contest!

Stan Hansen pinned Bob Backlund after a power bomb in 0:16:49.
Rating: **** 1/4
(Stan Hansen retained the GCW Intercontinental Title.)

It has already been announced that Bob Backlund will get to challenge for the World Title at the huge LA Supershow on December 10, but he had an opportunity to walk into Los Angeles as the Intercontinental champion as well. Backlund normally doesn't need any extra incentive to try to win a match. He is the most competitive individual we have ever seen in a GCW ring. But it was Hansen who cost Backlund the World Title back when the Lariat joined the Texas Outlaws, so you could see Backlund wrestling with a little extra incentive. Backlund did what so many have been unable to do in matches past against Hansen, and that's neutralize the Lariat. Backlund relentlessly focused his attack on the right arm of Hansen, using various armbars and submission holds and driving his elbow and knee into it whenever he could. This proved to be effective because twice Hansen would try the Lariat, and both times he couldn't get his arm up high enough and Backlund would counter. Backlund looked to have the IC Title secured when he got Hansen in the Crossface Chickenwing after the second failed attempt, but he couldn't get Hansen down on the canvas. Hansen drove Backlund backward into the turnbuckle to break the hold, and mustering up what he could from his injured arm, hit a big Lariat to Backlund in the corner. This stunned Backlund long enough for Hansen to hit a power bomb and just barely retain the championship. He may have kept the title, but one has to wonder if this arm injury will be an issue in War Games. Backlund will still have one more chance to win some gold at the LA Supershow.

Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes battled to a no contest in 0:32:00.
Rating: **** 1/2
(Dusty Rhodes retained the GCW World Title.)
[Antonio Inoki, Jumbo Tsuruta, Jimmy Snuka, and Bob Backlund interfered against Dusty Rhodes.]
[Dick Murdoch, Stan Hansen, and Bobby Duncum interfered against Ric Flair.]

"Nature Boy" Ric Flair earned this World Title shot by winning a battle royal back on October 3. Flair has become a major player in GCW and if he could win the World Heavyweight Title tonight, it would cement his place as one of the top players in the wrestling world. Problem is, Dusty Rhodes is a tough out, and he has shown that his modus operandi is to keep the World Title in his possession at all times, because as Rhodes has been quoted saying, with the championship comes the power. The American Dream wasn't looking to take a quick and easy way out for this one though. Rhodes' issues with Flair go way back, and for the first time since Rhodes won the title, he looked like he wanted to win a fight straight up. As a result, we got one damn good match out of the deal. If you want to know why Global Championship Wrestling is the best wrestling in the entire world, show them this match. So many counters, so many swings in momentum, so much emotion. The only thing this match was missing from being an absolute classic was a clean finish. During the course of the match, the Texas Outlaws had come down to ringside to be in Rhodes' corner. Not long after, BOB BACKLUND, JIMMY SNUKA, ANTONIO INOKI, & JUMBO TSURUTA came down to even the odds. With all of these combustible elements now surrounding ringside, it didn't take long before a fight broke out. Unfortunately for Flair, it was when he had the Figure-Four Leglock secured on the champ. Rhodes was close to giving it up, but Snuka got overzealous and tossed Bobby Duncum into the ring. The fight got too chaotic and senior referee Dick Kroll had to throw the match out, declaring it a no contest. A bad break for the Nature Boy, but the fans in Hartford were going nuts as this huge brawl raged on for quite awhile before officials got it broken up. If War Games is going to be anything close to this, we are going to witness something special on Christmas day.

Card rating: ***

Match observations:


WAR GAMES - Bob Backlund/Jimmy Snuka/Ric Flair/Antonio Inoki/Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Dusty Rhodes/Stan Hansen/Bobby Duncum/Dick Murdoch/Terry Funk
Bill Eadie vs. Paul Jones
Ricky Steamboat vs. Larry Zbyszko
Tony Atlas vs. Don Muraco
LOSER-LEAVES-TOWN - Tito Santana vs. Manny Fernandez
B. Brian Blair vs. Terry Taylor

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