Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Star is Born

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling (June 18, 1977)

A star is born. And with it, wrestling's greatest rivalry takes flight.

by David Chappell

On an episode of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling that aired around the area on June 11, 1977, Flair once again confronted Steamboat while he was being interviewed. This time Steamboat reacted physically, hitting Ric with a thrust to the head. Flair hit the floor, and according to those at ringside, was "knocked out cold." Flair returned at the end of the program, incensed, demanding a television match with Steamboat and putting up his Mid-Atlantic TV Title. Steamboat immediately accepted, and the match that forever changed the wrestling world was set for the next week, airing around the area on June 18, 1977. 

The match between Flair and Steamboat, while historic looking back, was not one that many people gave Steamboat much of a chance of winning. Greg Valentine provided commentary for the match, and told all that were watching that Steamboat was hopelessly overmatched. But as the match wore on, it became clear that this was not going to be a cakewalk for Ric Flair. Ultimately, Steamboat caught Flair with a double thrust off of the top rope and caught Ric for a quick pin! The crowd in the WRAL studios was delirious, and even a post match attack on Steamboat by Flair and Valentine could not diminish what the youngster from Hawaii had accomplished. He was a champion after only a couple of months in the area, and had knocked off the biggest star in the promotion. But this would merely be the first battle in a VERY long war between these two combatants!