September 15, 1981 - The Spectrum - Philadelphia, PA

The Matadors (Tito Santana and Manny Fernandez) defeated The Moondogs (Moondog Rex and Moondog Spot) when T. Santana defeated M. Rex when M. Rex passed out in a Fujiwara armbar in 0:07:35.
Rating: ** 1/2
[Lou Albano interfered against Tito Santana.]
[Lou Albano interfered against Manny Fernandez.]

Captain Lou Albano is still licking his wounds from being beaten by his former clients, the Wild Samoans, so he put his Moondogs in what he called a "sure thing" against the struggling Matadors, who haven't been on the winning side in quite some time. This was a perfect example of what happens when you don't take an opponent seriously. Tito Santana showed some great counter wrestling by turning a backdrop attempt by Moondog Rex into a Fujiwara armbar to get the win. Albano was a mess after the match, telling everyone who would listen what a crock this was. Well, prepare your men better next time, Cap.

Terry Funk defeated Rick McGraw by disqualification in 0:03:26.
Rating: * 1/4

Not even Terry Funk's own manager Freddie Blassie wants to get too close to the unstable nutcase these days, so you have to hand it to "Quick Draw" Rick McGraw for having the stones to ask for a match with Funk. The last time these two fought, Funk nearly ended McGraw's career by hanging him over the top rope via an electrical cable. McGraw showed no intimidation of Terry Funk, standing toe-to-toe with the man from the Double Cross Ranch. Blassie was even trying to talk McGraw out of it, but McGraw kept coming. McGraw got Funk down with a big dropkick, and instead of going for the pin, he went out to the floor and grabbed a chair. McGraw rolled back in and when Funk got back up, McGraw BLASTED him with the chair, getting himself disqualified in the process. Funk went down in a heap as McGraw put the bad mouth on him (and got a standing ovation from the crowd in the process). McGraw threw the chair down, but had a look of shock on his face when he saw that Funk was struggling to get to his feet! Funk is so crazy that he doesn't even know when he has taken a chair to the skull. Not knowing what to do, McGraw rolled out of the ring and backed up toward the locker room. These two are going to go at it one more time, and I'm not sure I'd want to be in McGraw's shoes right now.

Interview:
Bob Backlund still doesn't trust Jimmy Snuka, but Ric Flair tries to put an end to it.

In our big 8-man tag team main event, Bob Backlund & Jimmy Snuka are going to be forced to team up, something that Backlund has been vehemently against. Ric Flair wanted to put an end to this by calling out both Backlund & Snuka to hammer this out. Backlund vented his reasons for not wanting anything to do with Snuka, saying that they were best friends and then Snuka threw it all away out of the greed to become the World champion. Snuka countered by saying that he knew he made a mistake, but Arnold Skaaland had gotten into his head, and if he could take it all back, he would. The bickering continued before Flair stopped it by saying that they need to put it aside because tonight, it was all of their asses. Flair said nobody was leaving the ring until Backlund & Snuka shook hands. B. Brian Blair came down to the ring for added support, and eventually Backlund & Snuka begrudgingly shook hands. It's a step, and for their sake, hopefully it's enough to save them from the Texas Outlaws.

The Wild Samoans (Afa and Sika) defeated The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes and Terry Gordy) when Afa pinned M. Hayes with the Samoan Drop in 0:09:22.
Rating: * 3/4

The Wild Samoans are back together after Sika returned from his injury, and with the unpleasantness of their breakup with Lou Albano behind them, they seem poised to make another run at the World Tag Team Titles. The first step would be against the Fabulous Freebirds though, which is a tough out for anyone. These two teams have some history from when the Freebirds debuted in GCW, and they rekindled that feud in this match. The Freebirds may have won this match had they tried to finesse the match a little more, but the ego of Michael Hayes made him want to try to out fight Afa, and boy, not a smart move. Hayes got in a few licks, but then got dropped with the Samoan Drop for the 1-2-3. Terry Gordy came in after and immediately blasted Afa with a chair, but when he saw Sika coming in, he dropped the chair and hightailed it out of the ring, grabbing Hayes and pulling him out with him. I know the Freebirds are cocky and brash youngsters, but I don't know if it's in their best interests to be messing with the Samoans.

Sgt. Slaughter and Bill Eadie battled to a double countout in 0:08:02.
Rating: **

The next battle in Bill Eadie's war against Paul Jones' Army took place in the Spectrum as he met Sgt. Slaughter one more time. Much like their last encounter, this was a slugfest. The action spilled to the outside and Eadie got the better of Slaughter by sending him into the ring post. Eadie would have won the match by countout, but when he tried to get back in the ring, PAUL JONES grabbed a hold of his foot. The Ax turned his attentions to and stalked Jones, but in doing so, lost track of the count and got counted out as well. Jones got Slaughter to his feet and they took off toward the back, laughing at screwing Eadie out of a win.

Interview:
Bill Eadie will do whatever it takes to get his hands on Paul Jones.

Bill Eadie grabbed the house mic and stopped Jones before he got to the back. Eadie said that for months, he's been thinking about nothing but getting his hands around the scrawny little neck of Paul Jones, and that he would do whatever it took to make that dream a reality. Jones came back and had Howard Finkel get the mic from Eadie so he could respond. Jones said he would agree to wrestle Eadie, IF and only IF Eadie could first defeat Sgt. Slaughter in a Boot Camp Match on October 3 at Madison Square Garden! Eadie agreed to the terms, and the match has been signed for the world's most famous arena.

The Can-Am Strongmen (Dino Bravo and Ken Patera) defeated Antonio Inoki and Jumbo Tsuruta when Bravo defeated Tsuruta by disqualification in 0:02:52.
Rating: ***
(Antonio Inoki and Jumbo Tsuruta retained the GCW World Tag Team Titles.)
[Rick Martel and Terry Taylor interfered against Dino Bravo.]

The Can-Am Strongmen got the title shot they felt they should have gotten weeks ago after losing to Antonio Inoki & Jumbo Tsuruta, but their tactics in getting the shot bit them on the backside. Dino Bravo & Ken Patera ruined the tag title match last month in which the Upstarts had the shot, prompting Inoki & Jumbo to get this match done. The Strongmen began cheating right from the opening bell, and the Upstarts weren't going to stand for it. After Bravo distracted referee Tommy Young so Patera could illegally choke Jumbo for the third time in the match, Rick Martel & Terry Taylor decided that enough was enough and confronted Patera about it. Patera responded from the apron by spitting at Martel, which did not sit well with the fiery Canadian. Martel pulled Patera off the apron and blasted him with a right hand. This got a huge pop from the crowd, but unfortunately, it also led to Inoki & Jumbo being disqualified. Officials broke up the fight in short order, but Bravo & Patera were livid that the Upstarts cost them the match and potentially the titles. A final battle between the Upstarts and the Can-Am Strongmen has been signed for October 3 in New York City.

Ricky Steamboat pinned Ivan Koloff after a flying sunset flip in 0:09:22.
Rating: ****
[Freddie Blassie interfered against Ricky Steamboat.]

Ricky Steamboat showed what kind of a standup guy he was over the last several months by aiding his friends, the Wild Samoans, in their battles against Lou Albano and the Moondogs. Steamboat got back into singles action here, but he had his toughest test to date as he took on the former World champion, Ivan Koloff. Koloff's power and experience advantage led to him dominating most of this match, but we learned a lot about Steamboat as a result. For lack of a better way of putting it, Steamboat can take an ass kicking and keep getting up for more. Freddie Blassie was getting impatient with Koloff's inability to put Steamboat away, and directed Koloff to put Steamboat on the turnbuckle to put him away. Koloff did, but he took too much time as Steamboat fought out of it, sending the Russian Bear crashing to the mat after an overhead chop. Steamboat came flying off with a sunset flip that caught Koloff off guard and got his shoulders pinned to the mat. A huge win for the career of Ricky Steamboat.

[NO HOLDS BARRED]: No-Countout-No-DQ-Match:
Larry Zbyszko pinned Luke Graham with the Crunch Time in 0:13:26.
Rating: ** 3/4

Larry Zbyszko goaded Luke Graham for months to get him to take him on in a fight. The Cruncher finally got his wish, but he got it in a no holds barred match. Luke Graham is the most decorated wrestler in GCW history when it comes to championships and is an all-time great, but injuries have slowed his in-ring career down considerably. In fact, it has been nearly 2 years since Graham has wrestled in a GCW ring. If this was a standard catch-as-catch-can match, the favorite would have to be Zbyszko. But with this being no holds barred, Graham could use everything at his disposal that made him one of the most ruthless and vicious wrestlers of all-time. Zbyszko's youth gave him the early edge, but Graham showed how crafty of a veteran he is by using every trick in the book to get on the offensive. When Graham was in control, he did all the little things to really make Zbyszko suffer - chokes, eye gouges, stiff shots. It didn't take long for Graham to open up a cut on the Cruncher's forehead. Graham was making Zbyszko suffer, and the crowd was loving it. The longer the match went on with Graham unable to put Zbyszko away, the more the ring rust showed on Graham and Zbyszko found openings to fight back. Ultimately, it would be a very low kick by Zbyszko that turned the tide. With Graham buckled over in pain, Zbyszko did some rooting around ringside and found a wooden loading pallet and put it in the ring. Zbyszko's intentions were to suplex Graham onto the pallet, but Graham blocked it with a suplex of his own. Graham readied the Thumb to the Throat, but Zbyszko narrowly ducked it. Zbyszko scooped Graham up and brought him down with the Crunch Time spinebuster slam, crashing Graham through the pallet! With Graham's history of back problems, there was no way he was kicking out of that as Zbyszko crawled over and got the pinfall. A valiant effort by the GCW legend, but Zbyszko showed exactly how tough he is.

Bob Backlund, Jimmy Snuka, Ric Flair and B. Brian Blair defeated The Texas Outlaws (Bobby Duncum, Dick Murdoch, Dusty Rhodes and Stan Hansen) when J. Snuka pinned Dusty Rhodes with the Superfly Splash in 0:11:45.
Rating: ***

It's a good thing that Ric Flair worked to get Bob Backlund & Jimmy Snuka on the same page, because the Texas Outlaws are four men strong and a cohesive unit. There has never been a group with such raw talent and ability as the grouping of Dusty Rhodes, Dick Murdoch, Stan Hansen, & Bobby Duncum. They already are in possession of the World & Intercontinental Titles, and we've learned that Duncum & Murdoch will take on Antonio Inoki & Jumbo Tsuruta in a non-title match at MSG.

Onto the match itself, the energy in the arena was electric as these 8 superstars clashed in this match. Backlund & Snuka were still very weary of each other, but as the match raged on, they realized that they'd need to rely on each other or their team was going to be in bad shape. You should have heard the crowd explode when Backlund tagged in Snuka, who came in a house of fire. As multi-man tag matches tend to go, at this point everything degenerated into a massive brawl until it ended up with Snuka and Rhodes in the ring. Rhodes slowed down Snuka's momentum with a rake of the face, but missed a charging elbow in the corner and hit nothing but turnbuckle. Snuka brought Rhodes down with a jumping headbutt before climbing to the top for the Superfly Splash. Before Snuka could jump, Stan Hansen got on the apron to stop him. The Lariat never got the chance though as Backlund pulled him down to the floor and cracked him in the face with a forearm smash! Backlund looked at Snuka and encouraged him to leap, which the Superfly did, crashing right down on top of Rhodes and getting the 1-2-3. Jimmy Snuka just pinned the World champion! The show came to an end with the fan favorites celebrating in the ring.

Card rating: ** 3/4

Match observations:

10/3/81 - MADISON SQUARE GARDEN - New York, NY

WORLD TITLE - Dusty Rhodes (c) vs. Jimmy Snuka
NON-TITLE - Stan Hansen (Intercontinental champion) vs. Bob Backlund
NON-TITLE - Antonio Inoki/Jumbo Tsuruta (World Tag Team champions) vs. Dick Murdoch/Bobby Duncum
BOOT CAMP MATCH - Bill Eadie vs. Sgt. Slaughter
The Upstarts vs. The Can-Am Strongmen

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