Forty years ago today - - May 7, 1976.
There was no hotter feud in Mid-Atlantic Wrestling at this time than Ric Flair vs. Rufus R. Jones. The "Nature Boy" vs. "The Freight Train."
Ric jokes a lot today on his podcast about wrestling Rufus when Ric was NWA world champion, and the crowds being less than excited for those one hour draws in Kansas City. That was in the mid-1980s and Bob Geigel would bring Ric to town and there was no angle other than the fact Rufus was named #1 contender for the world title. And let's face it - - Rufus didn't have much credibility in those days as a number one contender for the world title. There was very little heat on those matches in the mid-1980s.
But in 1976, Ric Flair and his cousins jumped Rufus on television and put a chauffeur's cap on his head in a racially charged angle that couldn't happen today. But it was a different era then and promoters and wrestlers often used race to draw houses. Flair and Rufus feuded over the Mid-Atlantic TV title, and Rufus R. Jones was over like rover and one of the top babyfaces in the territory. Rufus, the Andersons, and Flair all took this angle to the bank.
And it was white hot heat.
(Get a little taste of this feud from a famous 6-man tag match in Richmond that resulted in David Chappell missing his prom! The card above was the followup to the show discussed in Chappell's article.)