Thursday, May 10, 2018

Race snares Flair in the Indian Deathlock at Toronto's "Night of Champions"

NWA Champion Harley Race applies the Indian Deathlock to Ric Flair in Toronto.

Exhibition Stadium - - Toronto, Ontario - - July 10, 1983
Attendance 20,000 (Toronto attendance record at that time)

As you watch the summer of 1983 episodes of "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" on the WWE Network, it is easy to forget how hot this brand of wrestling was far north of the traditional Mid-Atlantic territory. Wrestling was on fire (as it often was) in Toronto, Ontario and the Tunney's working relationship with Jim Crockett Promotions led to a huge card at Toronto's Exhibition Stadium in July of 1983. Details of the card are below.

The photo above is interesting to me because it shows Harley Race applying the Indian Deathlock to Ric Flair. Race was currently in his seventh reign as NWA world champion, which was a record at that point in time. But when he began his second title reign six years earlier, he used this very same hold in this very same city to defeat Terry Funk.

As a young fan in the mid-1970s, the only wrestler I had ever seen use that hold was "Number One" Paul Jones. It was his signature finisher. Seeing Race win with it was surprising, but what would be even more surprising to me was that I don't think I ever saw him use it again! And then this photo shows up with Race using the same hold in the same city where Race beat Funk with it in 1977. To quote Yogi Berra, it was like a deja vu all over again.

Maybe it only works for him North of the border.

Race would lose the NWA title back to Ric Flair later that same year at Starrcade '83 in Greensboro, North Carolina. The exciting working relationship between Tunney and Crockett would end around the same time as well, as Jack Tunney made a deal with Vince McMahon Jr. to book only WWF talent into Toronto late that same year.

Results from the Toronto Night of Champions
  • NWA World Championship: Harley Race defeated Ric Flair by DQ to retain title
  • Canadian Championship: Angelo Mosca defeated One Man Gang
  • U.S. Championship: Greg Valentine and Wahoo McDaniel double count-out
  • TV Championship: Great Kabuki defeated Jimmy Valiant
  • World Tag Championship: Steamboat/Youngblood defeated  Funk Jr./Jake Roberts
  • Women's World Championship: Fabulous Moolah defeated Princess Victoria
  • Johnny Weaver/Mike Rotundo defeated Alec Girard/Tim Gerrard
  • Sgt. Jacques Goulet/Kelly Kiniski defeated Bob Marcus/Joe Marcus
  • Nick DeCarlo/Billy Ryan defeated The Executioner/Mike Armstrong 

(Thanks to Andrew Calvert of the Maple Leaf Wrestling website.)