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Apr 25 1982 was the last time 2 of the major world/fed titles were defended on the same card at Maple Leaf Gardens. This also marked the first time both the NWA & AWA titles shared the stage here.
We saw wrestlers from all three major groups of the time (NWA, WWWF/WWF, AWA) so we had several double title nights in the later years.
WWWF & NWA : Jul 1977 SBG vs Strongbow, Race vs SheikWWWF & AWA : Nov 1977 SBG vs Stasiak, Bockwinkel vs CarpentierWWWF & AWA : Dec 1977 SBG vs Strongbow, Bockwinkel vs CarpentierWWWF & AWA : May 1978 Backlund vs SBG, Bockwinkel vs BrunzellWWWF & AWA : Jun 1978 Backlund vs Patera, Bockwinkel vs Rufus JonesWWWF & AWA : Jul 1978 Backlund vs SBG, Bockwinkel vs MoscaWWWF & AWA : Sep 1978 Backlund vs Monsoon, Bockwinkel vs Andre
WWWF vs AWA : Mar 1979 Backlund vs Bockwinkel
NWA & AWA : Apr 1982 Flair vs Race, Bockwinkel vs Mosca
In Jan 1979 both the NWA & AWA titles were to be defended but Harley Race never made it in. They finally rectified that in Apr 1982 with NWA champ Ric Flair to take on Race while AWA champ Nick Bockwinkel was to face Canadian champ Angelo Mosca.
It was a busy day with many on the card appearing on an afternoon show in Buffalo which drew 10,000. By 8pm there were over 11,000 at MLG for the evening show.
The opener in Toronto was an unannounced bout that ended up being a jewel. Ray Stevens returned as a good guy and faced off against local veteran Tony Parisi. They shook hands at the bell and went on to have a great scientific bout with endless holds and counters. It ended in a draw and the crowd was especially appreciative for the great prelim action.
Next up was Johnny Weaver vs Private Nelson followed by the number one challenger to the Canadian Title -John Studd - vs Ron Ritchie. Studd flattened Ritchie quickly including a big slam on the ramp and it marked Ritchie's last appearance here.
Ivan Koloff & Don Kernodle teamed up to take on the fan favorites Jimmy Valiant & Porkchop Cash. As Norm Kimber was making the intros Valiant & Cash stormed the ring causing Norm to make an escape with the big boom box that had heralded Valiant's intro. Even with hazy memory.. most of the bout was exactly what I captured in that photo.
An Indian Strap bout was next with Jay Youngblood seeking revenge against Ninja who had sprayed his green mist in Youngblood's eyes at their previous meeting. Ninja again tried the mist but Youngblood turned and took it to the body, enabling him to take the advantage and drag his opponent to all 4 corners to secure the win. That's ref Terry Yorkston counting out 'two!'
AWA champ Bockwinkel soon made his way down the ramp with the fans united in a thunderous boo. His opponent was the reigning Canadian champ and area's top good guy Mosca. Big Ange got the best of the champ and was on the verge of winning the title when his archenemy John Studd ran in and helped Bockwinkel beat Mosca down. That led to a tag bout on the next card with Bockwinkel & Studd vs Mosca & Jake Roberts (who subbed for Blackjack Jr.) and marked Bockwinkel's last appearance in Toronto.
Though this was Bockwinkel's last title defense at MLG, he defended the following day vs Youngblood in Ottawa (attendance; 10,000). Note the ref in the ring with Bockwinkel above is Bill Alfonso who later found fame with the ECW. He stayed to ref the final bout too. Toronto favorite NWA champ Flair vs #1 challenger Race. Both were disqualified after an exciting bout. Flair covered in blood and some of the other wrestlers coming out to break up the post bout brawl. This fan left very happy with another great card at the Gardens!
Posted Apr 25 2022