September 16, 1983 - Madison Square Garden - New York, NY

The Soul Patrol (Tony Atlas and Rocky Johnson) defeated Johnny Rodz and Spike Huber when Atlas made Rodz submit to the Bearhug in 0:02:16.
Rating: * 3/4

Soul Patrol are not happy that they're no longer the World Tag team champions, and they took it out on team of Spike Huber & Johnny Rodz. Rodz was riding high after his "monumental victory" as he is calling it over Strike Force last month, completely ignoring the fact that there was a lot of outside interference involved in getting that victory. He would not be getting a second victory in a row though as Tony Atlas & Rocky Johnson smoked him & Huber en route to a quick and decisive victory.

Ricky Steamboat pinned Don Muraco with the Flying Crossbody Press in 0:15:15.
Rating: **** 1/2

No back story of a major feud in this one, but what a hell of a match we ended up getting when Ricky Steamboat locked horns with Don Muraco! Sometimes when two wrestlers lock up, something just clicks, and that's exactly what we had here. From the opening bell, the action was off the charts. There was no moment in this match where there was a lull, and by the end of it, even the packed house in the Garden seemed exhausted. Muraco proved that even though he is primarily a power wrestler, he can keep up with the smaller, more agile competitors of GCW. Muraco almost had victory locked up when he hoisted Steamboat up in position for the Tombstone, but victory slipped right through his hands when Steamboat went through the move, landed on his feet, and caught the Magnificent One under the chin with a savate kick. Steamboat ascended the ropes, flew through the air with the greatest of ease with his Flying Crossbody Press, and picked up a tremendous win. Both men received a rousing ovation for their efforts, and rightfully so. What a match!

Andre the Giant bodyslammed King Kong Bundy in 0:04:10.
Rating: DUD

Two giants who claim they can't be bodyslammed, only one man that could be crowned the winner. Andre the Giant & King Kong Bundy have been brawling up and down the east coast since Andre made his debut, and though for a wrestling purist the matches have been hard to watch, as someone who enjoys colossal clashes, this has been entertaining. Still, going into this, one had to question whether either of these men could really be bodyslammed. No one has ever been able to come close to date. Bundy's plan was to go for it early, attacking Andre as soon as he stepped into the ring and going for the early slam. Bundy got Andre up on one foot, but was unable to hoist him up before Andre cut him off with a forearm to the back. Andre pounded away at Bundy and dominated him in a way we haven't seen before, before going for the bodyslam. Bundy blocked the first attempt, but Andre overpowered him on the second, scooped him up, and dropped him to the mat to win the match! Andre celebrated in the ring while Bobby Heenan vowed that this wasn't over by a long shot.

A loud-mouthed Tully Blanchard bites off more than he can chew.

Tully Blanchard came out next, wrestling gear on, and a cocky grin on his face. Blanchard reminded everyone of how he wiped the mat with Mike Rotundo at the last show, proving that he is the true future of GCW. Blanchard continued by saying that his confidence had never been higher and that he was certain he could beat any wrestler in the world right now, but unfortunately, he had not been given a match. Well if he was looking for competition, he got it, as the flapping of his gums got his challenge answered by the returning STAN HANSEN! The roof nearly blew off the place as the Lariat came to the ring. Blanchard predictably started backpedaling, but Hansen couldn't have cared less as he popped Blanchard in the jaw with a right hand. Referee Danny Davis slid in the ring, called for the bell, and we had an impromptu match on our hands!

Stan Hansen pinned Tully Blanchard with the Lariat in 0:03:31.
Rating: ** 1/2

Stan Hansen is back, and back with a vengeance! Any questions about his broken hand were put to rest early on as he used it to punch Blanchard repeatedly in the face before catching him in a huge suplex. Hansen is back at 100%, and that is bad news for GCW. Blanchard never had a chance to get out of the blocks as Hansen controlled the match from bell to bell, almost taking his head off with the Lariat to get the emphatic win. Hansen grabbed the microphone after the match and said only one sentence: "Dusty Rhodes, you're DEAD!" I don't know if I'd want to be in the shoes of the World champion right now.

Junkyard Dog defeated Nick Bockwinkel by disqualification in 0:04:07.
Rating: *
(Nick Bockwinkel retained the GCW Intercontinental Title.)
[King Kong Bundy interfered against Junkyard Dog.]

Junkyard Dog made a big impact with his debut in Hartford, confronting Intercontinental champion Nick Bockwinkel about the lack of class he has had in his title defenses so far since becoming the Intercontinental champion. Normally a wrestler making his GCW debut wouldn't be granted a title shot, but after JYD cracked Bockwinkel with a headbutt last month, the champ insisted that this match be signed. JYD is one of the better brawlers you will see, and his charisma in the ring is second to none. What he lacks in skill, he can make up for by getting the crowd so solidly behind him that it throws his opposition of their game. That was what was happening here as it didn't take long for JYD to get the crowd going crazy. The Dog had Bockwinkel on wobbly legs after a series of headbutts, and may have been close to finishing this one off when KING KONG BUNDY hit him in the back with a clothesline, putting an abrupt halt to this match. Bundy was still steaming from behind bodyslammed earlier in the night, and he took in out on JYD, punching away at his ribs in the corner. Bockwinkel held JYD open for Bundy, but when Bundy ran in, JYD moved and the monster crashed into the IC champ, sending him flying in between the ropes and to the floor! JYD then hit Bundy in the back with a jumping knee, sending Bundy out to the floor as well as the crowd went nuts! JYD danced in the ring as Heenan and his men went to the back licking their wounds.

Bob Backlund pinned Mike Rotundo after a fisherman suplex in 0:09:12.
Rating: ** 1/2

Bob Backlund was in a foul mood after his big loss to Ricky Steamboat in the I Quit match in Hartford. He's been through a lot of brutal matches in recent months, and his body is showing it. Still, he is fueled often by his unhinged state, and he used that against Mike Rotundo. This was a great test for Rotundo to get a good idea of where he stands. He did quite well for himself, showcasing a lot of what he can do in a big match situation. However, he's just not on Backlund's level yet, and Backlund hooked him in a fisherman suplex for the 1-2-3.

The Texas Outlaws (Bobby Duncum and Dick Murdoch) defeated Strike Force (Rick Martel and Tito Santana) when Duncum pinned T. Santana after hitting him with a foreign object in 0:14:47.
Rating: *** 1/2
(The Texas Outlaws retained the GCW World Tag Team Titles.)

Strike Force have been going back and forth with the Texas Outlaws for months, and with Rick Martel & Tito Santana each having good performances in singles matches with World champion Dusty Rhodes. They were granted a World Tag Team Title shot in lieu of everything they've done this year, and they were hoping to not let it go to waste. This is not Bobby Duncum & Dick Murdoch's first rodeo (pun intended) and with just regaining the titles, they were going to stop at nothing to ensure that they kept the titles. Duncum & Murdoch had a lot of trouble in this match dealing with the speed of Strike Force. That, and when it comes to tandem offense, Strike Force is much more proficient. But what Duncum & Murdoch have is a tough as nails attitude and a willing to break any rules they can and intimidate whoever necessary to get what they want, and what they wanted is to retain the titles. They were able to accomplish this in a way they have won matches so many times in the past, and that's with Duncum smashing someone in the face with the cowbell. Santana was the unfortunate recipient of the metal to his face, letting the Outlaws win the match and keep the gold. They quickly bailed from the ring when Martel ran in, but mission accomplished. The Outlaws are still the champions for now, but Strike Force will be back, mark my words.

The Rock 'N Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) and Jimmy Snuka defeated Larry Zbyszko, Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik when R. Morton pinned Zbyszko after a swinging neckbreaker in 0:11:40.
Rating: ** 3/4
[Freddie Blassie interfered against Ricky Morton.]
(Dino Bravo no-showed.)

A last minute change was made to this 6-man tag team match before the show began. Dino Bravo had some issues with his work visa and did not receive proper clearance to be here, so as a last minute replacement, Larry Zbyszko was put in his place. Zbyszko is a bit of a lone wolf, so he didn't really want to be a part of this team. He does love to fight though, and he had plenty of opportunity to do that against Jimmy Snuka & The Rock 'N Roll Express. Later in the match though, Freddie Blassie started barking some orders to Zbyszko. The Cruncher didn't take too kindly to being told what to do, and he let Blassie knows this with a gesture I'd rather not mention right now. Blassie was flabbergasted, and showed his disapproval by telling Nikolai Volkoff & The Iron Sheik to head to the back with him. Zbyszko didn't care, because he is a bit crazy, and tried to fight Snuka, Morton, & Gibson by himself. He actually did quite well for himself, all things considered, before ultimately falling prey to a swinging neckbreaker from Morton. Journalists from PWI caught up with Zbyszko after the show, and he said Blassie would be hearing from him very soon.

Ric Flair made Dusty Rhodes submit to the Figure-Four Leglock in 0:23:50.
Rating: *****
(Ric Flair won the GCW World Title.)
[Masked Man interfered against Dusty Rhodes.]

Ric Flair has finally done it! The Nature Boy has been in GCW for over 5 years, and to this point, had never won a championship, which is shocking when you consider the skill that he has. He got off the snide in a huge way, defeating Dusty Rhodes for the World Title. The match itself was an instant classic. These two are no strangers to each other, having had a tremendous rivalry a couple of years back. This was a whole different ball game though as the most important championship in the world was up for grabs, and the two wrestled accordingly. The match went for almost 25 minutes, and in all honesty, it was one of the greatest matches I have ever witnessed. Rhodes was his normal cocky self, and he was dead set on beating the Nature Boy at his own game. Dusty was practically obsessed with making Flair tap out to the Figure-Four Leglock, and for awhile, it looked like this is where the match was going. Rhodes was absolutely criminal in what he was trying to do to Flair's leg. He got him in the hold at one point as the crowd rabidly begged the Nature Boy not to give up. We thought he had passed out from the pain, but he revived himself after his hand was raised and dropped twice, and he willed himself to get to the ropes. Rhodes couldn't believe it, but he was even more shocked when Flair was fighting back, stringing together a long series of offensive moves. Rhodes couldn't find a way to slow Flair down, and before he knew it, he was on his back and about to get put in the Figure-Four himself! Rhodes had the wherewithal to kick Flair off, but he accidentally sent the Nature Boy crashing into referee Dick Kroll, knocking the senior referee out. Flair was not in good shape either, having smacked his forehead on the back of Kroll's head and knocking himself woozy in the process. The Dream got to his feet and saw the situation, and got a sadistic smile on his face. Rhodes went to the floor and grabbed a chair and a sack of bad intentions. Rhodes got back in the ring and was primed to knock Flair's head off. He never got the chance though as a mysterious masked man jumped out of the crowd, kicked Rhodes in the gut, and whacked him with the chair! Rhodes went down like a ton of bricks, and when Flair came to, he had no idea what happened. He wasn't one to ask questions though as he put the Dream in the Figure-Four! The fans were on their feet anticipating a new champion, and Dick Kroll was back to his wits too. Rhodes didn't have the bearing enough to get out, and Kroll called for the bell! New World champion! Congratulations to the Nature Boy for capturing his first World Title. Not to take away from the moment, but one has to wonder what was up with that masked man. We've learned that Flair himself will address the situation on October 2 in Philadelphia.

Card rating: *** 1/4

Match observations:

10/2/83 - THE SPECTRUM - Philadelphia, PA

Junkyard Dog vs. King Kong Bundy

Only one match signed so far, but we will hear from our new World champion Ric Flair, and rumor has it that Dusty Rhodes will be there as well. Will we get some answers about this masked man?

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