October 3, 1981 - Madison Square Garden - New York, NY

The Upstarts (Rick Martel and Terry Taylor) defeated Don Muraco and Ken Patera when Martel pinned Muraco after a sunset flip in 0:08:06.
Rating: ***
(Dino Bravo no-showed.)

We thought our show at the Garden would kick off with the battle between the Upstarts and the Can-Am Strongmen to settle their long-standing differences, but Ken Patera came out alone. The former Olympian announced that there was an issue with Dino Bravo's work visa and he was not allowed to re-enter the United States from Canada to wrestle this match. Patera said not to fear though as he found a man who was "almost as strong as Bravo," DON MURACO! Patera cut a deal with Freddie Blassie for the Magnificent One to be his partner. It didn't matter much to Rick Martel & Terry Taylor - they were just happy to have the chance to shut Patera up.

On paper, Patera & Muraco make a good team. In reality, their egos were too big to share the spotlight in this match. They couldn't get along for the life of them, which was bad news because the Upstarts have developed into one of the more crisp teams in GCW. Muraco had the offensive advantage near the end of this match, and Patera wanted to be tagged in. Muraco told him to just sit back and watch how a pro does it. That hubris cost Muraco in a big way as he turned right into a sunset flip from Martel to get the flash pin! After the match, Patera got into a shouting match with Muraco until the two came to blows and had to be separated by officials. We will have a rare rulebreaker vs. rulebreaker match on Halloween night in Boston.

Terry Funk made Rick McGraw submit to the Spinning Toe Hold in 0:07:42.
Rating: *** 1/4

If matches were won on guts, Rick McGraw would be undefeated. Terry Funk almost ended his career a few weeks ago and yet the man they call Quick Draw was still asking for a piece of the Funker. Funk welcomed the fight as he will go at it with anyone. McGraw came out with guns blazing and nearly pinned Funk after a picture perfect dropkick, but unfortunately for him, that was as good as it would get for McGraw. Funk cut him off with a clothesline, and then went nuts. McGraw couldn't get away from Funk and eventually got caught in the painful Spinning Toe Hold to give Funk the win.

[BOOT CAMP MATCH]: No-Countout-No-DQ-Match:
Sgt. Slaughter pinned Bill Eadie after outside interference in 0:10:52.
Rating: ***
[Baron Von Raschke interfered against Bill Eadie.]

Bill Eadie claimed he would go through anything to get Paul Jones in a match, which led to the Ax having to wrestle Sgt. Slaughter in the ex-drill sergeant's specialty match, the Boot Camp Match. Eadie knew that Jones probably had something up his sleeve, but he never imagined that something was going to be the return of BARON VON RASCHKE. We hadn't seen Raschke in a GCW ring in 7 years when he left after suffering a broken leg at the hands of Ray Stevens. Well, Raschke is back, healthy, and the newest member of Paul Jones' Army. Eadie had Slaughter in the Cobra Clutch when Raschke came from behind and nailed him in the back. Raschke put on the Claw, and an already tired Eadie had no chance of fighting out of it. The Ax was completely unconscious, and a semi-conscious Slaughter threw an arm over Eadie to get the pin and save Jones' skin. Jones laughed at the fallen Eadie and spit on the Ax before leading his troops to the back.

The Texas Outlaws (Bobby Duncum and Dick Murdoch) defeated Antonio Inoki and Jumbo Tsuruta when Murdoch pinned Inoki with the Gourdbuster in 0:12:49.
Rating: **** 1/4

Antonio Inoki & Jumbo Tsuruta actually asked for this match against Bobby Duncum & Dick Murdoch, feeling that the Texas Outlaws have been severely lacking honor and needed to be taught a lesson in respect. The Championship Committee refused to put the World Tag Team Titles on the line though, agreeing with the champs that the recent actions of Duncum & Murdoch didn't warrant it. Well after this match, they may have earned it. No one seems to like the attitude and tactics of the Texas Outlaws, but all four members are wrestling machines. Duncum & Murdoch showed that as a team, they are highly skilled, and their willingness to bend if not outright break the rules makes them dangerous. Jumbo had been worked over for much of the middle portion of the match, but he caught Duncum with the Jumbo Knee. He couldn't capitalize with the cover, but he did crawl over and tag in Inoki while Duncum tagged in Murdoch. Inoki was all over Murdoch and would get him in the Octopus Hold, but he was too close to the Outlaws' corner. Duncum reached into his tights and pulled out a handful of powder, throwing it directly into Inoki's eyes! Inoki was blinded and couldn't defend against Murdoch's Gourdbuster to give the Outlaws the non-title victory. The reigning champs were enraged after the show, and demanded that they get a rematch against Duncum & Murdoch in Boston. The match has been signed, and it will be for the World Tag Team Titles!

Ric Flair won a 20-man Battle Royal:
x Backlund threw out I. Koloff in 0:01:44
x M. Hayes threw out Sika in 0:02:59
x Afa threw out M. Hayes in 0:03:11
x Afa threw out T. Gordy after a backdrop in 0:03:14
x Steamboat threw out Raschke in 0:05:24
x Steamboat threw out M. Rex in 0:05:39
x B. Eadie illegally threw out P. Jones in 0:06:47
x T. Santana threw out Spot in 0:07:54
x R. McGraw threw out T. Funk in 0:09:58
x Muraco threw out Afa in 0:11:32
x R. McGraw threw out Rodz in 0:12:13
x Backlund threw out Zbyszko after a legsweep in 0:13:34
x Muraco threw out R. McGraw in 0:15:47
x Muraco threw out Blair in 0:15:47
x Backlund threw out M. Fernandez in 0:17:55
x T. Santana threw out Muraco in 0:18:48
x Backlund threw out T. Santana after a back suplex in 0:19:54
x R. Flair threw out Steamboat in 0:20:30
x R. Flair threw out Backlund in 0:22:40
Rating: *** 3/4

Twenty men didn't know when they arrived at the Garden tonight that they would be granted a huge opportunity on the card as a battle royal was scheduled where the winner would receive a future World Title shot. A chance like this doesn't come along every day. But still, there would be 19 people very disappointed when all was said and done.

Bob Backlund, the former World champion, gained the first elimination is fairly short order as he got the better of an overzealous Ivan Koloff. Koloff heard it from Freddie Blassie as the Russian Bear walked to the back. The next elimination would occur when the Freebirds showed that they were going to work together, teaming up to eliminate Sika of the Wild Samoans. The feud between the Samoans and the Freebirds has been really heating up, and it continued when Afa then jumped the Freebirds to get revenge for his partner. Afa surprised them enough that he got Michael Hayes over the top. Terry Gordy was mad and wildly charged at Afa right after, getting a backdrop for his troubles and being eliminated as well. Afa eliminated BOTH Freebirds!

Baron Von Raschke had a big opportunity having just returned tonight and being a part of this battle royal, but instead of trying to win, it looked like he was only there to help Paul Jones on the way to victory. Any time anyone got near Jones, Raschke intervened and brutalized him. He tried that with Ricky Steamboat, but Steamboat ducked an attempt of the Claw and caught Raschke in the back with a dropkick to send the veteran to the outside! Jones looked to be in trouble, but fortunately for him, Steamboat saw that his good friend Afa was in trouble with the Moondogs and he ran over to eliminate Moondog Rex and save his buddy. Jones' luck would run out soon after though, as an irate BILL EADIE ran into the ring illegally and attacked Jones, sending him out of the ring with a clothesline to eliminate the man who calls himself #1! Eadie tried to go after more, but he was met by BARON VON RASCHKE & SGT. SLAUGHTER, the 3 brawling to the locker room while Jones ran away.

Tito Santana would notch an elimination next by getting rid of Moondog Spot, taking out Albano's entrants in the match. A couple of minutes later, Rick McGraw shocked everyone when he reversed a hiptoss attempt by Terry Funk and sent the Funker out of the ring! That elimination was absolutely huge, and the crowd exploded accordingly. The ring was really starting to empty up now and the cream was rising to the top. Don Muraco has had a rough couple of months, but he had a great showing in this battle royal. He made the next elimination by tossing out Afa, Steamboat unable to make the save in time. McGraw continued his hot streak in the match by eliminating Johnny Rodz, who unpredictably had gone unnoticed this long to not be eliminated prior.

Larry Zbyszko had focused his sights on Bob Backlund, methodically wearing down the former 2-time champion. No matter how Zbyszko tried though, the Cruncher couldn't get Backlund out of the ring. He almost had him at one point, but Ric Flair came from behind and hit Zbyszko with a low blow, letting Backlund turn the tide and eliminate Zbyszko!

There were 8 men left in the ring, and it wasn't looking good for Don Muraco, because he was the only rulebreaker remaining. He did his best to lay low, but for a couple of minutes, he was on the receiving end of some stiff shots from his opponents. He showed what kind of power he possesses though when he got a hold of both Rick McGraw & B. Brian Blair and sent them flying from the ring simultaneously, an impressive feat of strength to say the least. Manny Fernandez would be the next to go courtesy of Backlund, who was really exerting a lot of effort to win this match. About a minute later, Muraco's luck would run out as Tito Santana caught him with the Flying Forearm and then sent him to the floor.

Four men remained, and any one of them would make a great #1 contender: Bob Backlund, Tito Santana, Ric Flair, & Ricky Steamboat. All of these men are on friendly terms, but when there's a World Title shot up for grabs, it becomes a whole different ball game. Backlund targeted Santana and sent him packing after a terrific showing. Meanwhile Flair & Steamboat were having a heated exchange on the far side of the ring, blasting each other with chops and punches that got the crowd fired up, before Flair hit Steamboat with a kneelift and sent him to the floor. I for one would love to see Flair & Steamboat lock up in the future.

Now we only had two men left, and the crowd was on their feet as Flair & Backlund went toe-to-toe. They've been on the same side of the battle against the Texas Outlaws, but you wouldn't know it by how intense this final couple of minutes was. Backlund & Flair were like bitter enemies, clawing and scratching to get the other out of the ring. Backlund thought he had won when he hit Flair with an atomic drop that sent the Nature Boy over the top, but Flair caught the ropes and stayed on the apron. Backlund turned his back to celebrate, letting Flair come back in the ring and dump Backlund over the top, securing the win for the Nature Boy! Backlund was hot afterward, but cooler heads prevailed and he raised Flair's hand in victory. Flair will now receive a World Title shot in the future.

Stan Hansen pinned Bob Backlund with the Lariat in 0:06:13.
Stan Hansen suffered an elbow injury. He will be out for approximately 1 month.
Rating: *** 1/4

Bob Backlund is a proud man and a fighter, but one had to question his decision to participate in the battle royal when he knew he had a match against the Intercontinental champion Stan Hansen. That's what the allure of a World Title shot will do to you. That being said, Backlund was at a tremendous disadvantage as he was the last man thrown out of the battle royal and was in the ring for well over 20 minutes. If you're not fresh against the Lariat, you're bound to get beat, and that's exactly what we saw tonight. Backlund was just too drained from the battle royal to beat Hansen. He avoided the Lariat once, but he couldn't do so the second time and ate the pinfall loss. It was a mighty Lariat too as Hansen connected so solidly that he injured his own elbow. It's a relatively minor injury, but it goes to show what power he packs behind that move.

Tony Atlas pinned Ivan Koloff after a powerslam in 0:03:26.
Rating: *

After falling to a "pathetic rookie" as Freddie Blassie called Ricky Steamboat, Blassie told Ivan Koloff to go out tonight and issue an open challenge to prove what the former World champion is made of. You should have seen the look on Koloff's face when the man who answered the challenge was TONY ATLAS! Mr. USA is here in GCW! Atlas may be the strongest man in all of professional wrestling, and he showed that against Koloff. The Russian Bear is no slouch in the power department himself, but Atlas is on a whole other level and got the win by driving the air out of Koloff with a powerslam. Madison Square Garden gave Mr. USA a standing ovation. What a debut!

Dusty Rhodes defeated Jimmy Snuka by countout in 0:17:23.
Rating: ** 1/4
(Dusty Rhodes retained the GCW World Title.)

It has been nearly 10 months since Jimmy Snuka lost the World Title, and in tonight's main event, he had his first opportunity to reclaim it in our main event. Not only did he have the support of the crowd once again, but he also was hauling a dump truck full of momentum after pinning World champion Dusty Rhodes 1-2-3 in the middle of the ring during the 8-man tag team match last month. It was painfully obvious from the get-go that Rhodes wasn't sure what to do with Snuka. There has never been anyone in wrestling like the Superfly, someone who can fly around the ring like he does. Rhodes is very effective when he can wrestle the match on the mat. Snuka knew this and used an aerial assault to keep the Dream off-guard and wear the champ down. The rest of the Texas Outlaws came down to ringside when they saw the match going in the wrong direction, but referee Dick Kroll was quick to act and throw them out before they even made it to the ring. That was a good call, but the problem was this distraction let Rhodes catch Snuka with a low kick and completely change the complexion of this match. With Snuka grounded, Rhodes really put the leather to him and showed that despite his recent actions, Rhodes is the World champion for a reason. Snuka had to dig deep to fight back, but he made one big error that cost him. Snuka was mounting the comeback and had Rhodes reeling up against the ropes. Snuka hit the far ropes and dove at Rhodes, but the Dream moved and Snuka bounced off the rope and flew out to the floor, landing hard on the concrete. With how much damage he had taken in the match, he couldn't recover in time allowing Rhodes to escape with a countout. A tough break for Snuka, but his performance was so impressive that he has earned a rematch in Boston.

Card rating: ** 1/2

Match observations:

10/31/81 - BOSTON GARDEN - Boston, MA

WORLD TITLE - Dusty Rhodes (c) vs. Jimmy Snuka
WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES - Antonio Inoki/Jumbo Tsuruta (c) vs. Bobby Duncum/Dick Murdoch
Bill Eadie vs. Baron Von Raschke
The Wild Samoans vs. The Fabulous Freebirds
Don Muraco vs. Ken Patera

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