Saturday, November 02, 2019

"Nature Boy" Ric Flair Makes Several Appearances for Georgia Championship Wrestling in 1977

by Dick Bourne and Mark Eastridge
Mid-Atlantic Gateway
Originally published in 2015

As we've discussed in 6 earlier installments in this series, full time wrestlers from both Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling and Georgia Championship Wrestling made appearances in each other's territories for one night special events. Augusta, GA was "ground zero" for this talent exchange for Georgia Championship Wrestling in the early part of 1977, but Atlanta was another hot spot, especially for the visiting "Nature Boy" Ric Flair.

In the second half of 1977, Ric Flair made nearly a dozen appearances in the state of Georgia, many of them on WTCG-TV channel 17 in Atlanta. WTCG would later become Superstation WTBS. He also wrestled on several big shows at the Atlanta City Auditorium and the Omni.

But first, back to Augusta's historic Bell Auditorium:

AUGUSTA, GA - 10/17/77
On October 17, Ric Flair and Rufus R. "Freight Train" Jones made the trip from the Mid-Atlantic territory for another in a long series of cards in Augusta, GA in 1977 that featured Mid-Atlantic talent. Flair defended the United States championship against Dick Slater. Rufus teamed up with Georgia star Tony Atlas to challenge Gene and Ole Anderson for the NWA world tag team championships which they had just regained in Atlanta three days earlier from Dusty Rhodes and Dick Slater.

Flair escaped from Augusta with the U.S. title in hand, but four days later he lost the title to Ricky Steamboat in Charleston, SC. The Andersons would also soon lose their tag titles again, this time to Flair and Greg Valentine just two weeks later in Greensboro.

Here is a list of Ric's Georgia appearances in the second half of 1977, many of them as the reigning United States Heavyweight Champion from Jim Crockett Promotions:

07/22 Atlanta, GA Ric Flair beat Sandy Scott
07/23 Atlanta, GA(TV) Ric Flair beat Randy Alls
09/02 Atlanta, GA U.S. Champion Ric Flair beat Steve Keirn
09/23 Atlanta, GA Tony Atlas beat U.S. Champion Ric Flair by DQ
09/24 Atlanta, GA(TV) U.S. Champion Ric Flair beat Ted Allen
10/17 Augusta, GA Dick Slater beat U.S. Champion Ric Flair by DQ
11/28 Augusta, GA Ric Flair vs. Dick Slater
11/30 Columbus, GA Ric Flair vs. Dick Slater
12/02 Atlanta, GA Dusty Rhodes beat Ric Flair by DQ
12/05 Augusta, GA Ric Flair vs. Dick Slater in a lumberjack grudge match
12/09 Atlanta, GA Dusty Rhodes beat Ric Flair

Take a look at all the posts in our series on the 1977 Mid-Atlantic/Georgia talent exchanges in our special directory here.

Coming next: A classic tag team clash between Mid-Atlantic and Georgia teams was set for Greensboro in late October 1977, but it never happened. Learn why in Part Eight - - coming soon!

Keeping up with blunders and bloopers in the newspaper ads, we might as well point out a few errors in the Augusta ad above.

Most are simple ones:
(1) Tommy RICK should be Tommy Rich who was just beginning to catch fire in Georgia.
(2) Stan HANSON is misspelled, it should be Hansen.
(3) And of course, there is the most often misspelled name of one of the greatest wrestlers of all time and it didn't matter if it was 1977 or 2007 (and it still occasionally happens today!) RICK Flair. (They did get it right in the result, though.)
(4) Lastly, there seemed to be some confusion over Mr. Kent's first name - Jim in the ad, Don in the result.

One other note: the Richard Blood in the opening match against Randy Savage was not Ricky Steamboat, it was Merced Solis, better known later as Tito Santana.

Originally published 11/2/15 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.