Saturday, June 23, 2018

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling show featuring Flair vs. South now on WWE Network

by Dick Bourne
from the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

The WWE Network recently uploaded a couple dozen episodes of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling from 1984 and 1985. One of those episodes is the 6/22/85 show from the famed Shelby Recreation Center, site of many Crockett TV tapings over those years.

On that show, Ric Flair wrestled George South in a nice little match that not only showcased Flair in the babyface champion role he played on in our area, but also South as the up and coming young talent that all of the big stars liked working with on TV.

Over the years, Flair has talked about how much he enjoyed working with George in those TV matches. And he was always unselfish with South, letting Mr. No. 1 have a little offense in those matches, including this one in 1985 where George got to go full-heel on the NWA champion.

The match itself can be seen on YouTube:

This match has several little things about it that make it special to me:

  • It's Flair vs. South, always a good TV match-up and one of several memorable TV matches the two would have over the years (including the time Flair told South, "Today, you're Ricky Steamboat.")
  • Bob Caudle and Johnny Weaver were doing commentary, and they were a favorite broadcast pairing of mine during that time. Johnny even sings "Turn Out the Lights, The Party's Over" at the end of the match.
  • Tommy Young is the referee, my (and many other's) favorite ref of all time. 
  • It's a rare TV match with Flair as a babyface NWA World Champion.
  • Always a hot crowd in the Shelby Rec Center!
There are several signature moments for Flair in the match, but my favorite is one he would often do during those years, particularly when wrestling as the good-guy, where he would shout out "Now we go to school!" and then apply the figure-four leglock for the victory. In this match he adds a nice little touch: as he spins into the move, he stops for a brief second to give the ringside camera a thumbs up, and then locks in the hold. South submits moments later.

Finally, a funny moment to finish it off:

After Flair's win, Tommy Young hands Flair the "ten pounds of gold" and Flair walks over and offers his hand to South, still prone on the mat. George, staying true to the bad-guy role he had thoroughly enjoyed playing in this match, waves off Flair in disgust and roles over away from him.

George laughs about that to this day. "What was I thinking," he said to me once when we watched this match together.
Check out that complete show on the WWE Network. The match is above is from YouTube and not from the WWE-owned footage.

If you have never tried the network, they still have a 30-day free trial. There are well over 100 complete programs in the years 1981-1985 available now, and many more reportedly to be added soon. Plus there is lots World Class, Mid-South, and other territorial wrestling action from the 1980s to enjoy.

If you already have the WWE Network, the direct link to the show is here:
Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling 6.22.85 (Shelby NC)

Also on the show film footage of Tully Blanchard burning Dusty Rhodes' eye, Omni footage of Nikita Koloff challenging Ric Flair.  Plus in action: Arn Anderson, Sam Houston, the Russians, Buddy Landel, Ron Bass, and many others. And to cap it off, an interview from Florida with Chief Wahoo McDaniel, who was about to return to the area to come to the aid of Dusty Rhodes.

There is also a "World Championship Wrestling" show from WTBS in Atlanta that features another famous Ric Flair vs. George South match. You can read about it here.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Front Porch

Paw paw sure has lots of fun stuff in his toy chest!