With the incredibly unlucky bad timing that seems to just follow these
folks around, the second season of "WCW Classics" begins the same time as
WWF Invasion - Sunday 22 July at 8PM Eastern on Turner South. Perhaps,
however, the audiences for Invasion and Classics don't have much of an
As you might be surprised to learn, I don't get Turner South despite living in the *southern* part of the Bay Area of California! Fortunately, there are still a few people at Turner who believe I have relevance...or, probably more accurately, know that I'm a sucker for a free tape - at ANY rate, I got my mits on one of the review copies of this very special one hour...special, so here's what you'll be able to see if you tune in on Sunday...
"WCW Classics" Opening - man, there can only be one WCW logo, know what I mean?
DUSTY RHODES comes to us from what looks like the Power Plant - man turn the lighst on in that place! Tonight, they've been to the "special" vault and, indeed, there's a special match to show tonight - Dusty Rhodes vs. Ric Flair for the World's Heavyweight title - what's special about it, according to the Dream, is that the Dream WINS the title (oh MAN he gave away the ending). Before he gets too far, the familiar strains fire up and THE MAN barges in. He's had to endure a season of Rhodes and enough's enough - he hopped on the Lear Jet and came on over - for a lifetime, Rhodes has taken credit for *his* world championships - tonight, it's gonna change - Flair threatens to come off the ropes, but Rhodes puts his elbow up and Flair pulls short. Flair brings a seven foot guy as backup (Emory Hale?) - tonight, if they're gonna show Rhodes vs. Flair for the world heavyweight championship, then first they'll play two of HIS ("handmade") tapes! Rhodes tells his eye candy KIM to get some monitors and a couple chairs. Flair tries to go off the ropes again after Dust asks where he's been. "I've been all kinds of places, you know that - the nuthouse included! ... You cannot continuously beat Ric Flair! That's not the name of the game!" Kim smooths out Rhodes shoulder, after a quick buss - "if there's ANYTHING else that you need, you just let me know." Flair is apoplectic. "You're killin' the Nature Boy's gimmick again! That's a lot better than Baby Doll!" "Ooh! Go ahead and kiss some o' that!" Flair puts up his dukes as they take their stools...will the bodyguard be gone when we come back?
Interview excerpt, August 1985: "Boy, listen to the women in this audience! All of 'em wantin' to know - wooo when can Space Mountain be mine for a night? ... I want twenty thousand people, and I want Dusty Rhodes! Head up! Now I don't care if it's Philadelphia, or Baltimore Marlyland - wooo and Baltimore's gonna cook tonight, daddy - I don't care where it is - when you people out there... that lay down your hard earned money wooo that Ric Flair has so much of, I mean look at me, I'm all Rolex' watchin', alligator shoes, custom made clothes - fellas - I got money to burn!" Oh yeah, Tony Schiavone holds the mic.
When we come back, Rhodes and Flair are alone in the ring with two stools and a monitor. Who's on Flair's first reel?
DUSTY RHODES v. BARRY WINDHAM (with James J. Dillon) - Rhodes and Flair talk over all the commentary - Rhodes likes doing play-by-play for himself a lot more than for Windham - this match is from July, 1988 - Referee is Tommy Young, Windham is in the Horsemen - "WOW! I knocked a goober right out tha top o' his head!" Cuts aplenty - HOLY COW it's *still* impressive to see Windham get Rhodes (who is a...let's say "hefty" gentleman) up and off his feet into the BIG bodyslam. Windham puts it on his head. Rhodes asks how come so many people "left ya" over the years - Flair says some of them had wives who got in the way. Rhodes says he didn't answer the question. How'd he get here? Flair said he called up Ted Turner - he knows Dusty Rhodes is up for an Emmy, he wants to be on his show. Rhodes with the elbow (Rhodes: "Oh! There he goes - up in the air - oh!! 230 pounds! American Dream..." and I'm laughing so hard at "230 pounds" that I missed the rest) but of course, Young is STILL out from his bump something like a half hour earlier in the match. Here comes RONNIE GARVIN - OHHHHH he just turned on him with a Hand of Stone! Dillon rolls Young back into the ring, to find Rhodes in a claw...arm falls once, arm falls twice, Young decides to count a pinfall just to be sure (we saw about 5:00) Rhodes reminds Flair that later, we'll see him lose the title - Flair says "I don't remember that happening." Flair is sweating like Albert Finney in "Broadcast News"
Interview segment from November, 1983: "And Ric Flair, you don't wanna be comin' out talkin' 'bout me, you need to be talkin' 'bout everybody else - you don't wanna be TALKIN' 'bout the American Dream! Now you been for weeks not sayin' nothin' about Dusty Rhodes, that's fine. I been able to drive my cars - MY Mercedes, MY Rolls Royces - my maids come in regularly every morning, jack. You don't wanna be talkin' about me on this SuperStation - when you do, you gon' be gittin' yo'self in a mess, and that mess is at the wrong address, because it belongs to Dusty Rhodes, the American Dream, and by the way - I heard him tellin' all these ladies out here about Space Mountain - well I've talked to a few of 'em and I heard that they HAVE rode Space Mountain, but the RIDE...ain't too long, daddy, you understand what I'm sayin'?"
When we come back, they've toweled off Flair and now it's time for his second reel.
THE MAN v. NIKITA KOLOFF (with Ivan Koloff) - Flair arrives in Charlotte's Chopper Nine - they don't make entrances like THAT any more. Flair gives Rhodes his due for creating great "themes" like the Great American Bash - then laughs at his use of Rhodes' red carpet. This *is* from the Great American Bash, June 1985, outdoors and your Special Referee is David Crockett, who never trusted Flair, says Rhodes. "I know! LOOKIT that crowd it's SOLD OUT! Who's the world champion there?" Rhodes says Flair conned twenty or thirty thousand people into cheering him here. "They were HORSEMANITES! You brought that monster all the way from Poland - he's not even RUSSIAN, he's from POLAND." Man, I don't care WHERE he was from - Koloff was a MONSTER, y'all. Rhodes puts over the title here. Rhodes asks how Flair would let Crockett ref this match if they weren't getting along - they must bees in ca...hoots." At one point, a fan actually enters the ring. "Now lemme tell you what this is - this is real life police - this is real life cops - this is a fan that got overexuberant, and ...and jumped in, right here in this match, that actually happened...and you see, the battle continues." "And this is real blood - he's beatin' on me again - why did I bring this? This is bringing back some bad memories. He's an awesome athlete. Flair flip, running the apron to the top, Koloff trying to catch Flair in a powerslam, but he ends up with Flair's crotch to his head AND falling backwards, tripping over Ivan in the process. Flair manages to barely avoid landing ON his head on the way down. Flair: "Look at Billy Apter right there - don't he wish it was like this again?" Rhodes: "OHH Bionic elbow! Wasn't bionic, was it?" Flair is bleeding all over the place. Crockett with the fast count 1, 2, 3...after pulling Flair's arm off the top rope - hmmm. (about 3:30) You can hear the PA announcer ask the fans to stay clear of the ring - Rhodes proclaims "cahootin' goin' on." Nikita to the top as Ivan holds him in the back suplex position - Nikita with the top-rope clothesline to finish it. Flair: "Don't play that, let's leave it on a high note!" Rhodes: "How's this now - THAT'S a high note - 'hi, how you - I'm Nikita Koloff, you ain't.'" When we come back, the match you've been waiting for - Flair vs. Rhodes - and if Flair's still here... "in the end, my ol' duke gets up - champion - be right back."
DUSTY RHODES v. THE MAN for the World Heavyweight Championship - We take a look at Rhodes' limbering up and boppin' to...is that "Holding Out for a Hero" playing? Flair: "That's the first time they ever had smoke right there, brother!" Flair's entrance is equally...sedate. We cut to the ring, where Rhodes is doin' the strut. Rhodes proclaims himself the "archest-enemy of all time" Flair ever had while asking him what goes through his mind before a match like this. Flair relates the story of "a guy" telling him before this very match "kid, it's just like walkin' into Caeser's Palace the first time." Rhodes knows who it is, but they don't tell me - too inside for me since I wasn't watching this show back in November, 1985 - my loss. Lockup, Rhodes pushes him to the corner, Flair switches - no clean break, elbow by Flair, chop, slap by Rhodes, chop by Flair, slap by Rhodes, Rhodes coming out with left jabs "how ya feelin' now, TELL me how ya feelin', call your mama!" Flair tries to sneak one in - Rhodes pops the elbow, and throws an uppercute. Flair says he's enjoying watching this. "As much as I dislike you at this point in my life, I'm lookin' at two of the great attractions of all-time." Rhodes asks why he's going outside, if he's in the best shape of his life. Flair says he wrestled in Tokyo the night before, so you can't blame him for taking a powder. Besides, four hundred women in the front row were screaming his name! Flair back in - "COME ON!" - Rhodes says you can't explain what it's like to be the challenger in this situation. Big staredow...Rhodes won't go for it. Flair with a side headlock...chain wrestling around, but Rhodes reverses the hammerlock to one of his own. Flair goes kayfabe talking about what he's thinking here - if he loses here, he goes behind Harley Race, Jack Brisco, Bob Orton Jr, Roddy Piper, Magnum TA and Barry Windham in line for the title. Rhodes takes the hammerlock to the mat and Flair screams in pain. "IF you lose? You DO lose!" Flair goes for the bad boot, which causes Rhodes to pull back. Knuckle lock - no. Flair with a knee, chop, uppercut, chop, right, right hand, right ("I learned that from Dirty Dick Murdoch, man." Dusty is flabbergasted.) Snapmares him over - here comes the big knee. "You'll be bleedin' shortly!" Back to his feet - arm wringer by Flair - and kicks the bad leg. Rhodes rolls outside. Rhodes turns our attention to his boots. We check out Rhodes' boots, which are different - the left boot has a "built-in cast" from "when the Horsemen broke" it. Flair feels good seeing himself kick the bad leg. Rhodes: "Let's git this right - you come in 100%, I come in OFF A BROKEN LEG AND END UP KICKIN' YO ASS LATER ON IN THE PROGRAM." Flair: "We have NOT seen that happen as of yet!" A lot of time's passed with Rhodes on the outside. Flair pushes away Tommy Young and tries to get better as Rhodes is on the apron - block, right, elbow to the back of the neck! Elbow! Elbow! ELBOW! Flair falls to the mat - Rhodes pulls a leg under the rope - and STOMPS on it! Flair: "What the fans just saw you do was break EVERY rule in the record book right there, ya bent me over the rope, ya punched me in the mouth four times, you just held the ropes, my foot outside the apron and pounded my ankle - who is the dirtiest player in the game in this match, you or me?" As Rhodes starts to work the leg, we take an ad break.
When we come back, Flair turns his back and says he won't turn back until he's on top - he claims Rhodes has had Kim "edit" this tape. Rhodes reminds him he's not his "guest host," and not even his "guest." Back to the match as Flair tries to reverses with a body scissors and headlock - but Rhodes is up and he's got the right leg - Flair is begging but the crowd wants it - Rhodes looks to and fro - and drops the elbow on the knee! Before he can go BACK to the leg, though, Flair rakes the eyes. "Mr. Shortcut himself!" Flair turns around to watch. Flair going for a suplex - can't heft him over, though - Rhodes blocks...and hits a suplex of his own! Elbowdrop on the leg...and back to work. Flair: "Now you might think that's 230 jumpin' on my leg right there, but that's more than 230 right there." "I know it is - it's 230 - it's 230 plus about 70 - or 80." They compare scars. Rhodes trying to break Flair's leg, and "Flair rubbin' that ol' arm across my cauliflower ear, but I ain't gonna let that stop me. I'm gonna put a lotta pressure on that footses." Flair: "I'm crossfacin' the HELL outta you, brother!" Rhodes back to his feet, Flair chops, Rhodes with a slap, off the ropes with a BIG shoudlerblock! "POWER MOVE! OH DOWN YOU GO - DOWN GOES FLAIR! DOWN" Flair: "OW! WOOO! What happened right there? I done - OUTSMARTED you, brother! I put a sleeper hold on you right now, and if I remember correctly, this match is over in about forty seconds...so you all watch this carefully." Rhodes actually drops down and Flair hits the top turnbuckle on his way down. Flair complains about an unseen "low blow." Rhodes outside - WRAPPING the leg around the post. "Man I'm lookin' sweet!" Elbow on the leg. Rhodes back in the ring - stomping on the leg. Flair sneaks in an uppercut as Rhodes tries to come in - chop, chop - Rhodes back with a chop, chop, chop, chop! "I wore mah arm out!" Snapmares him over. "Tommy John's elbow right there." But the elbowdrop MISSES! "Now there's your good friend Tommy Young refereein' the match." Flair says although Young was a good friend, when he and Rhodes battled, Young knew - he was "scared to do anything except call it right down the middle." Rhodes laughs about Flair bringing his own referee to his matches - "lotta hostile territories out there." Flair climbing to the top - ohh, that NEVER WORKS - Rhodes over - and tossing him halfway across the ring! RHODES wants the figure four! Flair kicks him away - and Rhodes hurts his leg again on the way down. Flair says they've wrestled about thirty minutes here...I have it about twelve, but that'd probably be thirty in 1985 minutes, yo. Flair with a chop - grabbing the bad leg - and FIGURE FOUR NOOOOOO Rhodes kicks HIM off! Rhodes: "Lookit Tommy runnin' and askin' ya 'hey Ric do ya need a Coke or something, you need a drink?'" Again Ric tries the figure four - again, Rhodes kicks him away. Flair stomps on the bad leg again - THAT works. Flair pulls Rhodes to his feet - bad leg over the second rope - "and the referee's sayin' - LOOK! - pat ya on the back and sayin' 'that's okay!'" but Rhodes with the slap, slap, slap, BIG headbutt! "Rocked me a little bit too - I'm a little bit dizzy." Trying to pull him out but Ric holds on - slap, right by Flair, slap by Rhodes, into the corner, FLAIR FLIP and he hits the floor! Rhodes is out after him...
We cut to Flair and Rhodes talking about what's going on (instead of watching Flair take to the blade, I'm guessing) - Flair says that Rhodes should have been disqualified then and there for posting him, but we don't see said posting. "Well, you got posted because you were headed that way, and I was trying to throw you over there towards that rail, and your momentum was staggered enough that you went in there. This insight you can't get anywhere." Young's count continues....but we'll have to wait through this ad break to see if he makes it. Rhodes promises that when we come back, "the TOWER OF POWER TOO SWEET TO BE SOUR" gets his hand raised!
When we come back, Rhodes promises the "coupe de grass." Flair: "Stop talkin' French on your show!" When we come back, Flair is bleeding (NO!) and they're back in the ring - open-handed slap by Rhodes - kick by Flair - and tosses him over the top rope, but we get no DQ (apparently it was missed by Young...who must have been bumped during the break) - instead Rhodes tumbles onto Flair from the top - Young is slow there - 1, 2, NO! Flair pulls Rhodes back up - off the ropes, but Rhodes lands "Iblockyourpunchyoudon'tblockmine" - then mounts and wails away with rights. "You're cheatin' again!" "Hurt mah knuckles." Rhodes asks what he's feeling here. "I'm starting to get mad at you here." BIONIC ELBOW! Rhodes marks out hard for his elbow. Elbow, elbow, Rhodes to the second rope - Ten Punch Count Along - Flair is counting his stitches. Oops, only seven punches. FLAIR FLOP! "WHOA he's mad now." "Look at you, you're cocky - not even breathing hard are you?" Left, left, Ric's swing misses, Rhodes left, left, left, right, left, flippy flippy POW and "FLAIR'S DOWN! FLAIR'S DOWN!" Flair says they're obviously editing here. "I'm waitin' on yo' offense!" "I'm fixin' to get mad - I don't remember what point I get mad, but I'm STARTIN' to get mad." Whip into the opposite corner - FLAIR FLIP! Flair runs to the adjacent buckle and takes flight - "OH! I caughtya in the belly-welly, I gotcha squirmin' over there now - OHHH!" Rhodes tries a kick but ends up using his bad leg to kick the buckle as Flair skips aside. Rhodes clutches his leg. "There you go, fans - that's a stupid move. Everybody watchin' this KNOWS that was a stupid move by me." "You were trying to use my head as a field goal!" Flair predicts swift victory in about thirty seconds. Leg across the bottom rope - big buttdrop. "COME ON!" "You hear me there?" "Yeah, I here you squawlin' and bawlin'." Flair off the ropes - big knee RIGHT to the broken leg. "When it turns on, when it come time to GO for the money, when it's money time, Nature Boy, you can turn it on." FIGURE FOUR!! Rhodes is feeling it - Flair is using the ropes - no, wait... "THERE YOU GO AGAIN! Do you realise that by the blink of an eye you've done turned me over and put a submission hold on me? WHERE is Kim?" Rhodes is embarrassed Flair actually managed to point out a real edit. "We on a timeframe here!" Young gets the break. Both men back up - Flair with a chop, chop, right, chop. But Rhodes is IMPERVIOUS to pain! Chop - no! Left by Rhodes, elbow, elbow, elbow! Into the ropes, Flair up and going behind, but Rhodes flies off the ropes with a clothesline! Cover - 1, 2, Flair kicks him out...and onto Young! Oh no! "Come on, Tommy, get in the game!" "Oh yeah, call him by his first name, not 'Mr. Ref' like me." Rhodes pulls Flair into Young, who I believe sails into the fifth row or so. "Crawlin' and bawlin' out on the floor." Rhodes wants the figure four again - Rhodes kicks him off, right by Rhodes. Going for it AGAIN, and AGAIN, Flair kicks off. BIONIC ELBOW! Rhodes FINALLY gets that figure four! Flair tells Rhodes he's broken every rule in the book of modern professional wrestling and another ref should have come out to break up this hold. But it's ARN ANDERSON come out to try to get it broken up... Rhodes with a right to the body - and a KICK to the head "with that loaded boot!" "THAT AIN'T NO LOADED BOOT YOU CRAZY MAN!" Here comes OLE ANDERSON with a high knee in the back...and takes off as quick as he come. Second ref in - 1, 2, NO! Flair going for a bodyslam - inside cradle by Rhodes!! 1, 2, 3!!!! Ladies and gentlemen, we have a NEW World Heavyweight Champion! (about 6:00 + about 7:00 + about 6:30) The locker room empties as they carry off Rhodes...
...but we quickly go to the locker room, where Tony Schiavone waits - Rhodes and Schiavone get a sparkling wine bath (much to Tony's dismay) - Tony proclaims this "a moment that is gonna live in wrestling history. Congratulations, it was a long ride back for this man, the American Dream Dusty Rhodes, and deservedly, enjoying this moment - Billy Jack Haynes is here, deservedly enjoying this moment. Dusty?" "Lemme tellya something - way back, when Dusty Rhodes said this is for the textile workers, auto workers, car workers, all the blue collar people across this country, this great land, the American Dream came back from the bottom, and is now World's Heavyweight Champion, and I'm gonna be that way for a long time! My man, Chief - we here, Daddy! Nobody can beat the people - NOBODY can beat the world! And NOBODY can beat the American Dream!"
Flair is a madman - "Kim has altered that tape! I will NEVER be here again!" Flair leaves the ring and rants and raves all the way back to his car - a camera follows him out in split-screen as Dusty makes his goodbyes.
Outside the Power Plant, the fifteen-time World Champ tells Dusty he can HAVE his Classics - he's outta here. His bodyguard pokes his head through the sunroof (ha) - and they drive off. Dusty and Kim Nielsen give a goodbye...and we're out.
Closing Credits - get excited, in this set of clips, Flair actually lands a top-rope double axehandle to Lex Luger! "Special Thanks" credit to Turnbuckle Entertainment - www.dustyrhodes.net.
"If you want more info on the Classics, check out WCWClassics.com!" They also list turnersouth.com as well - I wonder if either will tell us if WWF's got the tapes now - or how long this show's got under the AOL/Time Warner banner....
Show was just under 43 minutes - that'll make it an hour with ads.
Hey, unless you plan on spending a night in a bar with Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes, you'll get no better chance to experience two of the greats just sitting back and chewing the fat. You can tell that they had a blast making this episode, and it's infectious - this episode was a lot of fun to watch, too. I heartily recommend this episode to any fan of the old school...and any fan who would LIKE to become a fan of the old school. My fervent hope is that this type of programming won't die out even as we approach a point where all the available tapes fall under the same jurisdiction (so to speak).
This show is a great example of the kind of history that needs to be kept alive - and I hope we can ALL be exposed to it.
Of course, I don't believe that this is a "typical" WCW Classics episode, either - and that's too bad, because it *should* be. Still, if you have a friend in Georgia or the Carolinas, see if they'll make you some tapes - and make me a copy, too, while you're at it!