November 21, 1983 - Civic Center - Baltimore, MD

Tully Blanchard pinned Spike Huber with the Slingshot Suplex in 0:03:27.
Rating: ** 1/4

With how arrogant Tully Blanchard is, it's easy to forget just how talented he is in the ring. He displayed some of those skills with his win in our opening match against Spike Huber. This was more or less a platform for Blanchard to get seen, and he did so in a winning fashion, hitting the Slingshot Suplex to put the hard worker away.

Blanchard wouldn't leave the ring as he wanted to keep on his self-aggrandizing, but they came to an end when RICKY STEAMBOAT chased him out of the ring. Steamboat grabbed the microphone and said that Tully disrespected him last month. "You can do a lot to me, but once you disrespect me, I won't stand for it!" Steamboat challenged Blanchard to one more match at the year-end show on December 23. Blanchard accepted the challenge, saying that he is the top young prospect in all of wrestling and he will prove it in the Garden.

Rocky Johnson pinned Dennis Condrey with the Johnson Shuffle in 0:06:55.
Rating: * 1/2

The Midnight Express has gotten the better of The Soul Patrol in two tag matches since their debut, much to the delight of Mrs. Cornette's favorite son, Jim Cornette. Not only have they been winning tag matches over them, but Dennis Condrey & Bobby Eaton have driven a wedge between Rocky Johnson & Tony Atlas. Johnson has grown more aggressive in the ring, and that aggression led to him attacking referee Dick Woehrle to get the Soul Patrol disqualified. Johnson also ate a $1,000 fine, but he didn't seem to care from what we heard. He was booked in a singles match against "Loverboy" Dennis Condrey tonight, and the fine or Atlas' urgings did nothing to curb his aggression. Condrey's strategy was to piss the Soulman off to get him to make a mistake. That plan half worked, as he did piss Johnson off, but all it got him was abused. Condrey ended up eating the Johnson Shuffle and lost the match. Johnson didn't stop though as he kept punching away at Condrey, yelling that it was his fault for the troubles Soul Patrol were having. Tony Atlas ran down to pull Johnson off of Condrey, letting the Loverboy get out of the ring. Johnson asked Atlas what the hell he was doing, and Atlas told him that's not the way they should be conducting themselves. Johnson finally calmed down and he apologized to Atlas. Atlas went to leave the ring first, which was a mistake. Johnson shocked everyone by nailing Atlas in the back and then dropped him with a suplex! Nobody could believe it as Johnson punched Atlas mercilessly, busting him open with his stone fists. We unfortunately all saw this coming, but hoped it wouldn't come to this. These now former partners are going to do battle in the Garden.

Don Muraco pinned Mike Rotundo with the Tombstone in 0:11:34.
Rating: *** 1/2

Don Muraco appears to be back and in a big way! There was a time early this year where his career looked like it might be experiencing it's denouement when 1983 started, but he has turned it around and show that he has a lot of gas in the tank. Mike Rotundo's career is still blossoming, and even when he's not on the winning side of things, he shows a little more in the ring every match. He proves each and every time out that he can hang with the veterans and is going to make an excellent pro. However, he also has a lot to learn, as he fell victim to Muraco's underhanded tactics. This allowed the Magnificent One to hit the Tombstone and get a tough win.

Nick Bockwinkel pinned Junkyard Dog after hitting him with a shoe in 0:05:59.
Rating: * 3/4
(Nick Bockwinkel retained the GCW Intercontinental Title.)
[Bobby Heenan interfered against Junkyard Dog.]

Junkyard Dog might not have Andre the Giant to back him up for awhile, but he almost didn't need it as he challenged Nick Bockwinkel once again for the Intercontinental Title. Bockwinkel has quietly put together a title reign of 7 months, and hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. JYD is no easy out though, and he has quickly become one of the most popular wrestlers in GCW. Still, his popularity couldn't keep him from taking his eye off the ball when Bobby "the Brain" Heenan distracted him after JYD had hit Bockwinkel with a headbutt. Heenan jumped on the apron to make the distraction, but he got himself caught in the clutches of JYD. The crowd begged JYD to clock Heenan, which he obliged, but not before the Brain tossed his shoe in the ring to Bockwinkel. JYD turned back to put Bockwinkel away, but walked right into a size 10 1/2 upside his head. JYD hit the mat and Bockwinkel got yet another cheap victory to keep his title. You might not like the method, but it's hard to argue with the results.

Ricky Morton, Ricky Steamboat and Larry Zbyszko defeated Dino Bravo, Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik when R. Morton defeated Sheik by disqualification in 0:13:30.
Rating: ** 3/4
(Robert Gibson no-showed.)

Our first of two 6-man tag team matches was next, and it was a doosy. We didn't quite get the match we expected, but we got something very interesting. It was supposed to be the Rock 'N Roll Express teaming up with Larry Zbyszko, which is strange in itself. However when they were introduced, Robert Gibson was not with the team. This pleased Freddie Blassie who thought his team should now have a handicap match. Morton told the live crowd that he was with Gibson earlier, but he disappeared about an hour before the match. Blassie said that was just too bad and it was time for a handicap match, but Morton let Blassie know that he was allowed to find another partner - and he chose RICKY STEAMBOAT! It was a sight to see Steamboat & Zbyszko on the same team after how intense their feud was in 1982. You could tell they still have a lot of animosity toward each other, but they put their differences aside for this match. Though it was a pretty evenly contested match, it looked like Blassie's team was wrestling a little frantically, which I suppose happens when you think you have a 3-on-2 advantage forthcoming. That frantic nature finally got the better of Blassie's team as all 3 of them got in the ring for a 3-on-1 attack on Morton. Match thrown out, and brawl on. This became a pier six encounter, but Sheik, Bravo, & Volkoff had the ball in their court. The momentum swung the other direction when ROBERT GIBSON sprinted to the ring and hit Bravo with some rapid fire punches. Zbyszko, Steamboat, & Morton all recovered enough to clear the ring of the rulebreakers. Gibson explained to his team that he was locked in a restroom in the back by Blassie's goons and was finally let out by a custodian in time to make the save. Before everyone headed to the back, Zbyszko & Steamboat shared a handshake, which is something I thought I would never see.

Bob Backlund defeated Rick Martel when Rick Martel passed out in the Crossface Chickenwing in 0:11:08.
Rating: **** 1/4

Rick Martel is back on his own. In one of the finest tag team matches we have seen in years, The Texas Outlaws beat Strike Force in Boston with the stipulation that whoever took the fall would be forced to leave GCW. That man was Tito Santana, and we all wish him well in the wrestling world. Martel has shown that he has great skill in singles action, taking then World champion Dusty Rhodes to the limit back in July. He had an equally steep mountain to climb as he took on the eerily focused Bob Backlund. For the second card in a row, Backlund was completely business. No bouncing around, no complaining to the referee, nothing of the sort. Just always moving forward and looking for the kill. Martel used his speed and agility to keep Backlund at bay in the opening minutes, but Backlund was relentless until he got the Crossface Chickenwing locked on tight. Martel showed great heart by fighting to get out of the hold, refusing to quit. Problem was the more that he struggled, the tighter Backlund cinched the hold on. Eventually the pain was just too much to take and Dick Kroll stopped the match. Backlund didn't even take the time to have his hand raised as he jumped right out of the ring and tromped to the back. The medical staff came to check on Martel, but he refused their help, going to the back under his own power to a great ovation.

Jimmy Snuka wants the Intercontinental Title.

"Superfly" Jimmy Snuka came out to the admiration of the fans as he asked for a small amount of interview time. Snuka thanked the fans for their continued support before getting down to business. Snuka said that he has been a staple of GCW since 1972, and in that time he has almost done it all. He mentioned that there is one thing that has eluded him in his time here, and that is the Intercontinental Title. He was officially challenging Nick Bockwinkel to a title match at the MSG show. This brought out Bobby Heenan, who wasn't alone as he brought out King Kong Bundy. Heenan said that Snuka was right - he was a legend in GCW and has had an amazing career, and that he Superfly did deserve a shot at the IC Title. Heenan said that Bockwinkel didn't agree though, and that if Snuka wanted a shot, he'd have to prove himself to the champion by beating Bundy in a match. The crowd booed as a sly smile crossed Heenan's face. Snuka didn't back down though and welcomed Bundy's challenge, even nailing him with a kneelift as he entered the ring.

Jimmy Snuka pinned King Kong Bundy after a sunset flip in 0:07:56.
Rating: 1/4*
[Bobby Heenan interfered against Jimmy Snuka.]

Bobby Heenan will do anything to protect his clients. You don't have to like his methods, but he will do whatever it takes to make sure his people win (and thus make him more money). That's a big reason why he put King Kong Bundy in Jimmy Snuka's way. It was simple really - Snuka beats Bundy, he gets an Intercontinental Title shot. The Superfly has had battles with Bundy in the past, and come out on the losing side of things. Snuka is a crafty veteran though, and he remembers what he did wrong in those previous matches. He also got a little luck. Heenan was looking to do something similar to what he did in Bockwinkel's match earlier in the night. He instructed Bundy to hold Snuka open to hit him with his shoe, but when Heenan went for the hit, Snuka moved and Heenan nailed Bundy! Snuka dropkicked Heenan off the apron and then caught a surprised Bundy with a sunset flip that barely got the 3 count! This is the first time that Bundy has officially been pinned, and Heenan could not believe it. The Superfly now gets a title shot in the Garden!

Ole Anderson, Ric Flair and Stan Hansen defeated The Texas Outlaws (Bobby Duncum, Dick Murdoch and Dusty Rhodes) when Hansen pinned Dusty Rhodes with the Lariat in 0:17:19.
Rating: *** 3/4

The masked man saga came to an end when the man who had helped Ric Flair win the World Title was revealed to be Ole Anderson. The Andersons are famous in wrestling, and Ole even has held the World Tag Team Titles twice in the past. Our main event was a 6-man tag team match as those two aforementioned men teamed with Stan Hansen to take on Dusty Rhodes (the man who was screwed out of the World Title) and the World Tag Team champions, Bobby Duncum & Dick Murdoch. The match had a lot of intensity and the crowd was hot for it the whole time. It was strange because though Flair has been a consistent fan favorite for years now, part of the crowd was booing him, apparently not being appreciative of the way he went about winning the World Title. Flair didn't care though, as he even spent part of the match going down and checking on his World Title at the timekeeper's table. Even with Flair not being 100% focused on the match, Hansen was 100% focused on beating the tar out of Rhodes. The Dream couldn't avoid him forever, and this big time match came to an end when on his third attempt at it, Hansen smacked Rhodes with the Lariat for the 1-2-3.

Ric Flair shows his true colors.

Flair immediately grabbed his World Title and got in the ring, taking credit for the victory like he had done all the work. Hansen took offense to this and got in his face, reminding Flair that it was the Lariat that won the match. The Nature Boy backed down when confronted by the hothead Hansen, and everything seemed to be smoothed over. That is until Hansen turned his back and Flair clocked him with the World Title! Everyone was stunned as Flair & Ole put the boots to Hansen, Flair yelling that no one tries to upstage him. Flair called for the Figure-Four, but Hansen countered by kicking Flair off and knocking him straight into Ole! Ole went flying through the ropes, and when Flair stumbled back, he got met with the Lariat! Ole pulled Flair out of the ring before any further punishment could be inflicted. Flair could come to regret his decision making here, as he is being forced to defend the World Title against Hansen in the Garden! Flair immediately protested the match, but as of now, it is signed and ready to take place on December 23.

Card rating: ** 1/2

Match observations:

12/23/83 - MADISON SQUARE GARDEN - New York, NY

WORLD TITLE - Ric Flair (c) vs. Stan Hansen
INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE - Nick Bockwinkel (c) vs. Jimmy Snuka
Larry Zbyszko vs. The Iron Sheik
Tony Atlas vs. Rocky Johnson
Rick Martel vs. Bob Backlund
The Rock 'N Roll Express vs. Dino Bravo/Nikolai Volkoff
Ricky Steamboat vs. Tully Blanchard

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