October 19, 1977 - Madison Square Garden - New York, NY

Bob Backlund pinned Billy Graham after a side step in 0:13:07.
Rating: *** 1/4
[Bobby Heenan interfered against Bob Backlund.]

This was going to be a historic night in GCW as we were going to see two World championship matches. Both Dory Funk Jr. & Billy Graham would get title shots. Funk would get the first title shot, but Billy Graham had to wrestle a second match as well which was our opener. Graham took on the undefeated Bob Backlund which turned out to be a highly interesting matchup. Graham asserted his will early on, pounding Backlund down with a series of power moves. But Backlund is a bad matchup for Graham because Backlund has such a strong amateur background - he knows how to frustrate a much stronger opponent and keep him on the mat. This match went longer than the Superstar wanted it to, and it didn't have the result he wanted either. Graham went for a big kneelift, but Backlund sidestepped it causing Graham to take a bad fall to the mat. Backlund cradled Graham up and got the 3 count, the biggest win of his GCW career. Billy Graham will still get a World Title shot later, but one has to wonder how this will affect his confidence.

Mike Graham pinned Blackjack Lanza after a small package in 0:06:36.
Rating: ***

Bobby Heenan put both of the Blackjacks into singles matches this month in order to get them some confidence back. Well someone should have told Mike Graham about that, because he went ahead and got an upset win over Blackjack Lanza. Lanza missed a big lariat and got caught in a small package for the 1-2-3. Heenan gave Lanza quite the tongue lashing after the match, but fact remains, Mike Graham got a huge win.

The Brisco Brothers (Jerry Brisco and Jack Brisco) and Dominic DeNucci and Dino Bravo battled to a draw in 0:20:00.
Rating: *** 3/4
(Dominic DeNucci and Dino Bravo retained the GCW World Tag Team Titles.)

It is surprising that to this date, Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco have never held the World Tag Team Titles. They've come close before, but could never get over the hump. They earned this title shot against Dino Bravo & Dominic DeNucci, and they wanted to make the best of it. We don't get to see many fan favorite matches, but this one did not disappoint. No cheating, no cutting corners, no underhanded tactics. It was two teams wrestling as hard as they could to see which was the better unit. The two teams fought hard and the fans loved it, but it turns out they needed more time to settle this one. After 20 minutes, a winner couldn't be decided and the match was declared a draw. The fans (and the participants for that matter) wanted 5 more minutes, but the referee stood his ground and the match was a draw. All four men shook hands post-match, and I for one look forward to the rematch on November 12 in Providence.

Terry Funk pinned Peter Maivia after a DDT in 0:07:32.
Rating: *** 1/4

Terry Funk looked a little unhinged, I'm not going to lie about it. He lost the Intercontinental Title back in August, and since then, he has been impossible to deal with. Peter Maivia tried to keep Funk in check, but he was bombarded by the onslaught of the Funker. Funk drilled the High Chief's head into the mat to get the victory.

Jumbo Tsuruta pinned Dory Funk Jr. with the Jumbo Knee in 0:19:07.
Rating: **** 3/4
(Jumbo Tsuruta retained the GCW World Title.)

Our first of the two World Title matches came up next with Jumbo Tsuruta defending the gold against Dory Funk Jr. This match could potentially be the match of the year as not only are are these two amongst the best technical wrestlers in GCW, but the rivalry that has developed is becoming one of the hottest we've seen in quite a long time. Funk, likes the Briscos in the tag division, has come painfully close to capturing the World Title, but has never gotten to the promise land. You could tell Funk trained hard for this one as he was geared up, but on the same token, so was Tsuruta. This was his chance to beat his two biggest rivals in the same night, and he didn't want to lose in the first title defense. This match was how wrestling should be. Funk went after Jumbo's back with ruthless intent, while Jumbo went after Funk's knee to keep him at bay. In the end, Funk thought he had Jumbo wore down enough to lock on the Texas Cloverleaf, but Jumbo kicked off and sent Funk into the turnbuckle. When Funk bounced back out, Jumbo crushed him with the Jumbo Knee to get the 1-2-3. The crowd gave the two a standing ovation for their efforts. After the match, the two engaged in a staredown and it looked like we were going to see round two. But Funk extended his hand and Jumbo shook it. Jumbo was favoring his back a lot, which did not bode well as he still had one more title defense against Billy Graham.

Don Muraco pinned Chief Jay Strongbow after a powerslam in 0:09:16.
Rating: ***

For the second time since his return, Chief Jay Strongbow lost a match to Don Muraco. Strongbow used his veteran savvy to keep Muraco on his toes, but one powerful powerslam drove the oxygen out of Strongbow's lungs long enough for him to get the 1-2-3. After the match, Strongbow offered his hand to Muraco, but Muraco scoffed at him and just walked to the back.

Stan Hansen pinned Pat Patterson with the Lariat in 0:14:13.
Rating: ***
(Stan Hansen won the GCW Intercontinental Title.)
[Terry Funk interfered against Pat Patterson.]

Stan Hansen finally got his shot at the IC Title after his no-showing his title shot in Landover last month. Before the match, Hansen revealed that someone locked him in his locker room last month, and he suspected that it was Terry Funk who did it, considering Funk ended up wrestling Pat Patterson instead last show. Either way, Hansen was confident he would be walking out of New York the new Intercontinental champion. Most wrestlers have been tentative about wrestling Hansen, but Patterson isn't scared to fight anyone, and he wants to prove he is a fighting champion. As you would expect from this match, it was a pier six brawl. As much as Hansen dished out, he took right back from Patterson giving us a highly entertaining fight. Who was going to win this match seemed up in the air until TERRY FUNK came out of nowhere and nailed Patterson in the throat with his branding iron! Patterson clutched his throat as he stumbled right into the Lariat. Three seconds later, we had a brand new Intercontinental champion - Stan "The Lariat" Hansen. After the match, Funk jumped in the ring looking to keep attacking Patterson, but before he could, Hansen took his head off with the Lariat! What a statement from the new champion!

Bobby Duncum pinned Blackjack Mulligan with the Full Nelson Slam in 0:07:29.
Rating: ** 1/2
[Bobby Heenan interfered against Bobby Duncum.]

This wasn't a good night for the Blackjacks. Blackjack Lanza had already lost a match earlier in the night to Mike Graham, but Blackjack Mulligan was looking to change that around against a former Heenan Family member, Bobby Duncum. You could tell Mulligan was wrestling desperate, not wanting to drop a match. If you wrestle desperate with Duncum, he will drop you in a heartbeat and that's precisely what happened here. Full Nelson Slam, and that was the end of the road for Mulligan.

Dusty Rhodes and Ivan Koloff defeated Bruiser Brody and Nikolai Volkoff when I. Koloff pinned Brody with the Russian Sickle in 0:20:06.
Rating: * 3/4

It was a bit surreal to see our next match as Dusty Rhodes & Ivan Koloff teamed up. The feud between Rhodes & Koloff was legendary, but they developed such a respect that Rhodes has come to Koloff's aid against Captain Lou Albano. Not only that, but we've learned that Rhodes has personally helped Koloff establish his citizenship so that there is no worries of him being deported! Koloff seemed re-energized that he wasn't under the control of Albano, and he seemed truly grateful to have Rhodes on his side. That said, wrestling Bruiser Brody & Nikolai Volkoff is never a fun experience, and the fight was on from the opening bell. Not a technical masterpiece by any means, but a match with a lot of passion behind it. Albano did NOT want to see his men lose to Rhodes & Koloff at any cost, and he interfered at every turn to make sure that didn't happen. However, it wasn't enough to overcome the fire of Rhodes & Koloff, who pick up the duke. The fight went on after the match, so clearly, this one isn't over yet.

Billy Graham made Jumbo Tsuruta submit to the Bearhug in 0:11:21.
Rating: **** 1/4
(Billy Graham won the GCW World Title.)
[Bobby Heenan interfered against Jumbo Tsuruta.]

Only one match to go, and it was our second World Title match of the night. Jumbo Tsuruta already had a successful title defense under his belt, beating Dory Funk Jr. in a classic match. "Superstar" Billy Graham had wrestled a match too, wrestling in a losing effort against Bob Backlund. The main difference though was that even though Graham had lost, he had managed to escape injury. Tsuruta, however, had his back thoroughly worked over by Funk Jr. during the match, and his back didn't have ample time to recover. If there's one body part you don't want injured going into a match with Billy Graham, it's your back. Jumbo fought valiantly, but with his back in the shape it was and the Superstar going at it ruthlessly, he couldn't muster enough offense to keep Graham at bay. When it was all said and done, Graham got his 23-inch biceps wrapped around Jumbo, squeezed as hard as he could with the Bearhug, and Jumbo had to submit or face permanent injury. For the first time in his career, "Superstar" Billy Graham is the World Heavyweight champion.

Card rating: *** 1/4

Match observations:

What a monumental night here in the Garden with two huge title changes! We hope to keep the momentum going on November 12 in Providence!

WORLD TITLE - Billy Graham (c) vs. Jumbo Tsuruta
INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE - Stan Hansen (c) vs. Mike Graham
WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES - Dino Bravo/Dominic DeNucci (c) vs. The Brisco Brothers
Pat Patterson vs. Terry Funk
Dusty Rhodes vs. Nikolai Volkoff

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