Sunday, July 20, 2014

WWE, NWA, Dusty Rhodes, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, Mick Foley, Terry Funk, Classy Freddie Blassie, Mil Mascaras, Filmfax

Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat

N.W.A. Mid-Atlantic Wrestling

Richard Blood (Ricky Steamboat) was once a talented young wrestler but that all changed once he was bartered for in a trade arranged by famed wrestling promoters Jim Crockett and Jim Barnett.
Once Ric Flair met Steamboat in the Mid-Atlantic wrestling territory he had a ingenious plan, he knew exactly what to do to make Steamboat and himself a pair of wrestling headliners, this was in 1977, before Flair's numerous title reigns and the classic World title match between Flair and Steamboat, that some fans have called" The Greatest Wrestling Match Of All Time".

Steamboat's first appearance on Mid-Atlantic Wrestling TV established the fued that Flair and Steamboat continued on for, basically, their entire active wrestling careers. Flair was cleanly pinned by Steamboat for Flair's coveted Mid-Atlantic TV title in the middle of the ring.

Flair recognized Steamboat's potential as a headlining wrestling attraction and World Champion, so with consent from George Scott, Flair and Steamboat began fueding and exchanging the U.S. title in some headlining matches in the Mid-Atlantic area.

Wanting to elevate their fued to a new level and further advance their wrestling careers, Flair offered up his newly won, from Steamboat of course, coveted U.S. title belt in a match against Steamboat live on TV in 1978. Flair reacted violently to Steamboat's positive reply to his challenge, rubbing Steamboat's face on the ring mat and upon throwing Steamboat out of the ring, proceeded to rub little Ricky's face on the concrete studio floor. 
Calling Ricky a " pretty boy" Flair then scraped the gold plate of his title belt into Steamboat's face and eye.

Steamboat got a genuine dose of wrestling reality after the match. World Champion Harley Race proceeded to rub some hardware store bought sandpaper on Ricky's face to make it appear bruised and battered. After cutting Ricky's face with the sandpaper Race poured iodine into the wounds and further rubbed sandpaper across the scars. All this came about after a brief discussion with Race, Wahoo McDaniel and Flair in which Race wanted to actually punch Steamboat in the face to cause an actual cut, the proposal was turned down and the "variety pack" sandpaper was used instead. Steamboat's face was still discolored 6 months after the cuts healed.

Even after all that a final creative angle by Flair put the fued over with the fans and established a "Flair vs. Steamboat" wrestling match as a must have match if you wanted to sell out your arena on any given night on any wrestling card around the world.

Flair pulled up in a limo to the Mid-Atlantic wrestling TV studios for a scheduled interview in 1978. Dressed to the nine's, toting a beautiful girl on each arm, Flair purposely berated Steamboat on live TV. Steamboat angrily appeared on set and proceded to slap Flair in the face and drag him into the ring by his suit and tie. After continually beating on Flair the fans shouted in disbelief as Steamboat proceeded to tear Flair's entire suit off piece by piece.

Flair and Steamboat went back out on the road to continue their hot fued. 
Wanting to give the fans the best possible wrestling match they could, the 2 combatants often wrestled 60 minute matches, to sold out, standing room only, young, rabid Mid-Atlantic wrestling fans. These matches established and solidfied Steamboat and Flair as World Champion caliber wrestlers. 
This is exactly what Flair had in mind when he first laid eyes on a young, talented Richard Blood way back in 1977. Check out the "WrestleWar 1989" NWA World title match to witness the magic Flair and Steamboat had in the ring, live and in color on the WWE's "The Ultimate Ric Flair Collection".

The "Nature Boy" Ric Flair's Performance at Wrestlemania 8

Ric Flair is the Greatest World Heavyweight Wrestling Title Holder of All Time

The memorable '92 Wrestlemania World Title match that featured the Champion Flair vs. the Challenger Savage at the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana was attended by 62,167 rabid rasslin' fans.
The match was expertly promoted by mixing up a unique blend of fantasy and reality that made all the hype believable and had the fans chomping at the bit to see this match. Ric made some very public comments regarding Randy Savage's manager (and wife at the time) Miss Elizabeth, one of the WWF's most beloved superstars of the 80's wrestling boom. Ric suggested that Liz was secretly attracted to the "Nature Boy". Upon hearing of this Savage was enraged and foaming at the mouth to get a piece of the "Nature Boy" in the squared circle.

Ric Flair was, and will always be, a master of promoting his upcoming matches no matter who he wrestled against, he always knows exactly what to say to get under his opponents skin. His loud, arrogant persona led to some great over-the-top promos and legendary bad-guy performances in the ring. Ric's bad guy persona reaked of all that was bad in corporate America, dressed to the nines in 3 piece business suits and speaking down to the fans and his opponents made Ric a unique and interesting bad-guy. His long blond hair, in sharp contrast to Hogans shiny bald head, added to his sex appeal. A pre-match interview had Ric promising all the fans in the arena a nude pic of Liz appearing on the big-screen after he defeated Savage.

Ric's technical skill in the ring was honed to a razor sharp edge in the NWA where he beat all the top guys winning their version of the Heavyweight Title several times, now he was in the WWF holding their version of the World Title going up against 1 of the best wrestlers the WWF had to offer in the grandest wrestling event of all time, Vince McMahon's Wrestlemania.

Against Savage, Ric gave as good as he got, willing to take all the punishment Savage dished out, Ric delivered his knife edge chops taunting Savage to hit him even harder, the sound of Ric's chops echoed throughout the Hoosier Dome the entire match. After being busted open by Savage, Ric attempted to pin Savage after using a foreign object, which Savage recovered from. As you may or may not already know the climax had Savage holding the World Title pinning Flair by holding his tights to keep him down.

After the match ended a pier 6 brawl ensued between Flair and Savage, which involved Curt Henning, Miss Elizabeth, several referees and quite a few ring attendees. Flair managed to steal a kiss from Liz during the melee' which further enraged Savage, who could barely stand up as a result of Flair's perfectly executed signature move the figure four leglock which Flair slapped on Savage during the match.

Ric's popularity was peaking during his run in the WWF, he could wrestle, talk and was an expert at in-ring and out-of-the-ring psychology. This match, along with his win at the previous Royal Rumble defined his career in the WWF and set up his return to WCW, WWE and his current stint at TNA.

Diamonds are forever and so is Ric Flair! WOOO!!!

Here's a recent WWE mag that compares WWE wrestlers to super-heroes inside...
I can't see John Cena as Captain America but I think CM Punk would make an awesome Nightwing.

1 of the greatest masked wrestlers of all time, Mil Mascaras is still starring in feature films. Mil was recently featured on the cover of Filmfax magazine. If you've never read this magazine it's great if you're into retro-pop culture no matter who's on the cover.

Ah...Dusty Rhodes, one of the best wrestler's of all time...starring in his own 3 disc set...great action!
Dusty bled, 99.99% of the time when he wrestled. Dusty vs. Race or Flair is a must see for any true wrestling fan.

Of course Ric Flair has, not 1, but 2 3-DVD collections, here's the 1st one from 2003.

Dusty Reflections Of An American Dream is a great wrestling book that also contains a forward by the late great George Steinbrenner. After Gorgeous George and before Hulk Hogan, Dusty Rhodes was wrestling's greatest and most popular attraction, his matches with Superstar Billy Graham from Madison Square Garden are legendary. Dusty sold out arenas all over the world.

After the WWF "yellow finger" era started in the 80's, the very heated fued between Dusty and Ric Flair in the NWA was the only feud that mattered! Forget about Hogan vs. whomever...Dusty vs. Flair was "the" must see match in the 80's.

Legends Of Wrestling WWE "Classy" Freddie Blassie's wrestling book, "Listen, You Pencil Neck Geeks" has got to be 1 of the most entertaining of all the post-kayfabe wrestling books I've ever read. Blatantly honest Blassie holds nothing back, it also sheds alot of light on the beginnings of the wrestling business as we know it today. Read the back cover and you'll see what I mean. This book also explains the meaning of the word "kay-fabe" in Chapter 1. This book was released in 2003 right after Freddie passed away and it's a great tribute to a true wrestling legend.

Terry Funk's 2005 wrestling bio book is called "More Than Just Hardcore". Terry Funk is a former NWA World Champion who is credited for started the whole hardcore wrestling boom of the 90's with Ric Flair. Their series of violent matches from 1989 are well remebered for violence and brutality. It all started with Terry pile-driving Ric Flair through a ringside table. This brutal incident occurred right after a NWA title match between Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat that many hardcore wrestling fans call "The Greatest Wrestling Match Of All Time". I would have to agree.

Here's the cover of Ric Flair's wrestling book, To Be The Man, which I snapped up as soon as it hit the book store shelves in 2004.

The cover of Mick Foley's 2001 wrestling book, Foley Is Good, speaks for itself.
Ric Flair's comments aimed at Mick Foley in his book and Mick's comments on Ric in his books, have led to quite a few memorable I Quit matches between the 2 competitors.

Raw Is War classic WWF game ad.
In tribute to Yokozuna, Luna Vachon & Owen Hart.

Hell In A Cell DVD set ad.

I've always been a wrestling fan. I used to watch Mid-Atlantic Wrestling back in the early 80's, and the seed was securely planted after I went to a few NWA live events at the old Aud. I saw Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, Jimmy Snuka, Greg Valentine, Blackjack Mulligan etc. etc. in thier pre-WWF days... "Live and in color" "In pulic if you will". I've always been curious on the how's and why's of the "toughest sport in the world". The book covers that are in this particular blog posting are books that I have bought and read and they shed light on the inner workings of the sport of professional wrestling. All of the books shatter kayfabe and reveal every aspect of the sport in and out of the ring. "Nature Boy" Ric Flair is my fave wrestler and I've never been a big fan of the WWF "Hulk Hogan" watered down family-friendly product. Pop in a WWE DVD of an old school cage match featuring Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair and you can't get much better than that.

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