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/5 August 2000
WCW Classics


by Mike Regan



Dusty Rhodes has one thing to say to us. "Wuuuuuuhh." No, he's not in the throws of major stomach discomfort. He's just trying to do Ric Flair's trademark "Whoo!" Which can only mean it's time for an all-Ric Flair edition of "WCW Classics" (aired August 5, 2000).

It's an interesting show this week, as both matches are important firsts for this show. But the fun starts right away as Dusty takes credit for creating Starcade in 1983 (was Rhodes even working for Jim Crockett at the time?). He talks about the big main event for that card. World Champion Harley Race defending against Ric Flair, and that match will be our opener.

And that is one of our firsts for this show. They actually acknowledged a match being from a Starcade. Too bad this match is clipped all the way to hell.

From Starcade 1983; NWA World Title Cage Match:
Harley Race (champion) vs. Ric Flair (challenger); Special referee Gene Kiniski

We basically just get highlights and the ending from this match. Both men bleed; Flair heavily (although the match is so clipped down that we don't get to find out if Gordon Solie calls Flair's face a "crimson mask"). Race misses the diving headbutt (did he ever connect with that move?). Kiniski does a ref bump for no apparent reason. Flair goes for a cross-body off the top rope. Race trips over Kiniski, who counts the pin. Flair wins the title. The entire match was reduced to about two minutes.

Our main event is Flair battling Magnum T.A. from 1985. And this match marks two significant firsts for this program.

First off, it's the first match that has the familiar Georgia/World Championship Wrestling on TBS look. The match is held in the old Techwood studio that housed WCW for so many years. And it's the first match that features the announcing of the WCW team that I am most familiar with; Tony (doesn't suck yet) Schiavone and David (annoyingly hyper) Crockett.

Second, they actually show us the angle that sets up the match. Flair is giving an interview (wearing a suit) when Magnum T.A. confronts him. They get into an impromptu brawl, that Flair gets the better of. (Which is odd, because Flair never got the better of these encounters. Must be before Dusty got the book.) The next week, Flair is going on about Space Mountain (the '80s equivalent of the Big Valbowski). Magnum comes out and offers $1,000 for a match right then and there. Flair accepts, leading to:

Ric Flair vs. Magnum T.A. (match aired June 1985)

They start out exchanging holds, with Magnum coming out on top. Flair throws Magnum out of the ring, but he comes right back in. Flair finally takes control of the match as Ole and Arn Anderson come out. For the first time ever, Ole claims that Flair is his cousin, and this match suddenly becomes a lot more historically significant, which I'll get to at the end. Flair hits his trademark kneedrop, then a gutwrench suplex. Magnum has been busted open at some point. Flair applies an abdominal stretch, which makes Dusty suddenly appear on the screen to tell us it's time for an ad break.

When we come back, Magnum escapes the stretch and rolls up Flair for a two-count. Magnum whips Flair into the corner, causing a Flair-flip that sends him crashing to the floor. However, Flair regains control by snapping Magnum's neck against the top rope. Flair hits his elbowdrop, then throws Magnum out again. This time Flair follows out and sends Magnum shoulder first into the post. Back in the ring, Flair applies an armbar, with Ole pointing out that Flair is using the Anderson style of attack (picking a limb and destroying it). Schiavone starts counting down the time limit, which we (as cynical wrestling fans in the year 2000) know, automatically gives away the result of the match. Magnum reverses a whip into the corner. He gets a couple of two-counts, but hits nothing but knees on a splash attempt. They go to dueling backslides, which Magnum gets the better of for two. Magnum pulls out a press slam, but Flair ducks under a cross-body block. Flair goes up top, which even in 1985 never worked. Magnum applies a figure-four leglock, but Flair holds out long enough for time to expire.

And then, history. The Anderson's storm the ring to help Ric Flair destroy the upstart Magnum. And thus we see one of the early beatings administered by what would become the Four Horsemen (although the official stable wouldn't form until Flair betrayed Rhodes a couple months later, if my recollection of Horsemen history is correct). Dick Slater and Buzz Sawyer make the save (during a rare instance of them being babyfaces).

And that is our show. Next week's show will feature Nikita Koloff. The Turner South web-page should have the actual matches listed around Wednesday. Till then, feel free to let me know how I'm doing. The address should be just below this. Thanks for reading.

Mike Regan

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