Jim Crockett's Worldwide Wrestling)

by Billy Ingram
with John Hitchcock and Steve Byrd

Pro-wrestling is more than just sport - wrestling historian John Hitchcock calls it "blue collar ballet, a soap opera for guys". To set up a good match, you have to weave a compelling story with characters people care about, and no one did it better than Worldwide Wrestling (syndicated) produced by Jim Crockett out of Charlotte, North Carolina.

As I write this, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair is on top as World Heavyweight Champion, just as he was back in 1985. "Flair trained in the AWA in Minneapolis, then came to Charlotte, North Carolina in 74." John Hitchcock tells us, "He survived a terrible plane crash October 4, 1975, a crash that ended the career of wrestling legend Johnny Valentine. Six months later, Ric Flair came back with a vengeance, he was and is considered to be the greatest wrestler of all time by many."

Along the way, Flair has made a few enemies and found himself the victim of some intense feuds and outrageous ambushes over the years. Believe it or not, he and "The Four Horsemen" were responsible for their share of dirty tricks against unsuspecting opponents, as well.

Ric Flair and "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes were long-time rivals, but during one brutal, fenced-in match in 1985, the Russian Nikita Koloff had the Nature Boy on the ropes and badly injured. Mighty Dusty bravely entered the ring to stop the slaughter and quickly vanquished the Russians, giving Ric Flair time to recuperate.

In a shocking display of Bizarro-world 'gratitude', Flair's teamates "The Four Horsemen" (the Anderson brothers, and Tully Blanchard) rush the ring and blindside Dusty as Ric Flair padlocks the entrance - then joins in the ruthless beating.

For the next few minutes, "The Four Horsemen" did as much damage as they could to the nearly unconscious Rhodes. Dusty's buddies looked on helplessly as he was beaten mercilessly by four opponents at once, in what must be one of the most craven attacks in wrestling history. Dusty Rhodes was carried out on a stretcher that night, the bones in his leg shattered.

Pro-wrestling has been popular TV entertainment since the Forties, gaining mass popularity in the mid-Eighties, a popularity that has yet to fully peak.

Tower of power, too sweet to be sour, man of the hour, funky like a monkey ridin' on the end of the lightnin' bolt, stardust himself - The American Dream, Dusty Rhodes!

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These incredible matches were broadcast in syndicated markets during the 1985 and 1986 seasons by Crockett Productions.



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Tully Blanchard had it all in 1985. He was a former (and future) US Heavyweight champion, he was rich, and when he searched the world over for the most desirable woman, he found her.

Her name was Baby Doll - a statuesque, blond bombshell that could be found faithfully by Tully's side through many close matches. But one unscheduled sparring in 1985 left even tough-guy Tully Blanchard reeling.

Tully was in the ring, finishing up a match (with Baby Doll on the side

cheering) when he suddenly found himself facing one of Dusty's allies, fearsome Magnum T.A.. Magnum (who entered the ring disguised as a cop) had poor Baby Doll handcuffed to the ropes and struggling helplessly as he delivered his devastating move on Tully - the 'Belly-To-Belly'. Tully talked about that humiliating moment in this clip.

Baby Doll dumped Tully after that match - shocking wrestling insiders when she ran straight into the arms of his rival, "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes.

You won't believe what happened next - Part two:
NWA Wrestling in the Eighties
It's Ric Flair vs everybody - and Jim Cornette against the world!!!



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