Saturday, August 20, 2016

Dream Team: Flair and Valentine (Part 6)

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

(Before you jump into Part 6, get caught up in Parts: 1  2  3  4  5

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The early 1979 bouts were the last bouts ever featuring Ric Flair and Greg Valentine as a regular tag team. But it did not spell the end of Ric Flair and Greg Valentine attempting to team up, and even teaming up on several rare occasions in the future. Some very interesting interactions between Ric Flair and Greg Valentine were definitely looming down the road.

The first of those interactions occurred at the end of 1979, when Greg Valentine wanted to bring the “Dream Team” back to life! Upon returning to the Mid-Atlantic area in December of 1979 after a successful run in the WWWF, Greg yearned to team up with Ric Flair again and recapture past glory. But things had changed a lot between February and December of 1979, most of all, Flair had changed and had become a fan favorite. Valentine was still a rulebreaker when he returned, and was perplexed by Ric’s change of wrestling philosophy. The two had a memorable exchange on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television program that was taped on December 5, 1979.

This feature includes CLASSIC AUDIO from December 1979
at the bottom of this post.

In the first segment of the show, announcer Bob Caudle said to the viewing audience, “Here is Greg Valentine, who has returned to our area, just recently…Greg.” Valentine responded, “Yes, Bob, you know I’ve, since I’ve been back in the area, I’ve only been here maybe two or three days now. Before, when I left, a very good friend of mine by the name of Ric Flair…Flair and myself were very, very tight. Although when I left we had some hardships because we lost the World Titles…we actually never got pinned, but the NWA took it away, took the belts away from us, because we didn’t show up for a match, which wasn’t our fault.”

Valentine continued, “Now everybody says that Ric Flair won’t talk to me. And it’s true that I have seen the man in the last two or three days, and he hasn’t paid any attention to me. This might seem a little bit off text or off the wall, but I believe Ric Flair will talk to me. I believe Ric Flair will become my partner again, and I’d like to call him out here right now. You hear that, Ric? I want you to come out here and talk to me right now. Your old friend, Greg Valentine; remember me?”

Caudle interjected, “Greg, I was gonna say at times I thought you and Ric were just about as close as brothers, you were just about that close.” Greg replied, “Well of course, of course. We’ve done everything together. In fact, we were closer than brothers.”

Ric Flair then appeared on the set and told Caudle, “This is it brother…Greg and I were close friends. We did it all. We did everything there was to do in professional wrestling. Nobody ever beat us for the World belts; they were taken from us by the NWA as everybody knows. As far as I’m concerned, we left our partnership; we left the wrestling world together, on top. That’s the way I feel.”

Caudle pressed, “What about friendship, though?” Flair answered, “Friendship for me still exists. I think Greg’s a heckuva a guy. But I’ve asked Greg, he knows it, we’ve talked on the phone, I’ve told Greg that things have changed around here, that Ric Flair has changed a little bit…and he doesn’t seem to want to accept that.”

Valentine followed up telling Flair, “I want to ask you to be my partner again. Remember what we had together. We were an unbeatable combination! Nobody out there in that entire world, listen to me, nobody out there in that entire world could touch either one of us in the ring. We were the World Champions, and I’m asking you to forget what’s happened here in the last, I don’t know what’s happened, all I know is when I left and went to New York, when I went to Japan, we were pals, we were friends like always. I’m asking you to come back.”

Ric answered, “Let me explain this; I’ve put a lot of thought into this…I knew this day would come. But I’ve watched you on TV recently. I haven’t seen that you’re wrestling with guys that are friends of mine anymore. I see you with Raschke and Jones, I see you with Snuka and Stevens…and those guys just don’t buy it for me brother.” A perplexed Valentine barked out, “Wait a minute now, who are your friends?” Ric explained, “My friends are guys like Steamboat and Youngblood, even Mulligan and I are friends again! That’s right!”

Visibly shaken, Greg exclaimed, “Ric, I don’t understand that. We’ve rode along in the cars over miles and miles of road, airplanes and everything, you told me how much you HATED Mulligan, that you couldn’t stand Steamboat…that he was a little punk, how much you couldn’t stand Jay Youngblood, all these guys, now you’re tellin’ me they’re your friends? Man, somebody’s been brainwashing you or somethin’. I can’t understand it. I must have been gone too long…I can’t digest that Flair.”

The Nature Boy stood firm saying, “You don’t have to digest that. That’s the way it stands. I’m not asking you to digest anything. You just accept things, just like you accepted them before…if you can’t accept that, if you want to hang around with Snuka and Stevens, Raschke, Jones…you hang around them.”

Now upset, Greg lashed out, “Listen, I’m sorry I called you out here, and I’m sorry I even asked you. I can’t believe you…man, you have changed so much! I can’t believe it. You’ve really gone soft, haven’t you?”

Flair wasn’t pleased with the last comment and curtly responded, “Do I look like I’ve gone soft? Would you like me to show you how soft I’ve gone?” Valentine retorted, “Hey, you have gone soft! You don’t have to show me nothin’! I can see it. I look at your face right now; you haven’t even got any depth in your face, any character! Just think of all the money we can make together! All you’re thinking about right now is friendship. What is friendship in professional wrestling, it means absolutely nothing! This is a vicious sport that we are in; we’re in this sport to make money. Not to go out and sign autographs, and get glory…that’s all you’re thinkin’ about. I’m thinkin’ about money! And you better start thinkin’ about money Flair.”

Ric fired back quickly, “Hey, I got all the money I’ll ever need. You know that brother. I got all the money I’ll ever need. I got some friends now! I can hold my head high when I walk out! I’m not havin’ my car torn apart every night, people aren’t throwin’ rocks at me! They’re sayin', ‘Nature Boy, you’re all right.’” After Greg told Ric he was “soft” again, the Nature Boy had enough, telling Valentine and the viewing audience, “Hey, I’m gonna conclude this right now. Bob, you look real nice, David looks real nice, and you can stay lookin’ real nice if you stay outta my way.”

A red faced Valentine was livid, saying, “Mr. Flair, I got news for you. You walked away from me…you embarrassed me by walkin’ away. [Flair’s] so worried about what people are gonna think about him…he’s sickening! That’s all I can say for it, he made me sick out here. I’m so sick; I’m about ready to lose what I just ate for supper tonight! Flair, you disgust me! I tell you one thing; I’ve got some other wrestling friends around here that will come along with me. Men like Ray Stevens, men like Jimmy Snuka…these are men. I don’t need your kind anymore Flair!”

The unthinkable happened within a few weeks, with Ric and Greg actually wrestling against each other! But it wasn’t too long before Flair and Valentine moved on to other opponents, but Valentine never forgot the “slight” when Ric would not agree to team up with him again. Greg had a devious plan devised to get revenge against his former partner, and he would put that plan into action in May of 1980.

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Now, as an added bonus from the Gateway, relive this entire exchange between Ric Flair and Greg Valentine by listening to this rare audio direct from "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" in December of 1979. The video of this no longer exists, but the memories remain through the magic of Mid-Atlantic Gateway Radio!

Stay tuned for PART SEVEN!