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WCCW- January 11, 1985
by erick von erich

WWE 24/7's World Class flashback jumps out of order this month. As part of the "Forever Flair" tribute, we're given this 1985 episode, which features Ric Flair defending the NWA title against Terry Gordy. That's cool and all, but I has hoping they'd show the Kevin Von Erich- Flair bout from April 1983. No biggie, since this is a fun episode.

The show opens with the World Class DRUMS and an opening animation. A satellite circles the globe and zaps what appears to be Montana, which triggers a few World Class highlights to pop out. Bill Mercer welcomes us to the show, and runs down the card. We can see that they have a new ring skirt in the Sportatorium (and by "new", I mean: "one we haven't seen in the 82/83 episodes"). But with so much going on in World Class Championship Rasslin', let's get down to ringside for...

Match 1: Buck "Rock n' Roll" Zumhofe vs. Kelly Kiniski
Heh...I know Buck had his problems (including a prison term), but he's one of my guilty pleasures. I'd freak out if he ever teamed with Bugsy McGraw. I've even enjoyed his stuff on ESPN Classic's AWA re-runs from 1990. To the match, as ring announcer Marc Lowrance informs us that World Class is the only wrestling show seen around the globe. Mercer tells us that Buck has a new boombox, since the Pretty Young Things (Norvel Austin and Sweet Brown Sugar) destroyed his last one. We also hear about Kiniski's lineage, being the son of former Canadian great Gene Kiniksi....and they both have the same haircut!

As they test each other with basic holds, Buck jumps around and starts firing up the crowd by rolling out of an arm-wringer. Buck takes him to the canvas with a step-over toehold, which Kiniski coutners by turning into a monkeyflip. Buck starts targetting the arm and works a hammerlock to the mat. After some criss-cross rope action (which'll make ya' JUMP-JUMP), Kelly kicks Buck in the tummy and drops him on the ropes. Whip, clothesline and an elbowdrop from Kelly scores 2. A chinlock happens. Mercer suddenly refers to Kelly as "the young man from Minnesota". Oops. Kelly thumps on Buck some more, until Buck makes a comeback with a skullcracker. Buck is fired up, so he hops outside the ring and turns on the boombox!! Awesome! I had forgotten he used to do that...what a great spot! But Buck runs back in, right into a backbreaker from Kelly. That's enough for Kelly to score the 3 count pin. He actually gets a mild pop. "Time of match: 8:20". The last two minutes were entertaining. An okay preliminary match, but it would've been nice to see Kiniski work in more offense.

Match 2: Terry Daniels vs. "Crippler" Rip Oliver
Both are World Class newcomers, but Oliver's been around about a month longer. Daniels is decked out in full Marine Corps dress blues (or the 1987 Gung-Ho figure for those who follow my GI Joe ramblings). Mercer tells us that he was the first man to ever joing the "Cobra Corps", but the name "Sgt. Slaughter" isn't mentioned. They trade wristlocks, until Daniels fires off with two armdrags, a dropkick...and a chinlock. Criss-cross time (jump-jump!) as Daniels is tossed out to the floor. Oliver suplexes him back in and begins working the left shoulder. Daniels fights back for a bit, but Oliver halts any momentum by coming off the second rope with a double axe-handle. Oliver whips him to the ropes and catches him in a shoulderbreaker for the 3 count pin. "Time of match: 3:11"

A Very Special Studio Interview with Billy Haynes and Sunshine
Mercer hosts, in the World Class studio. Haynes is very softspoken as he mentions why he changed his name to "Billy Haynes" from "Billy JACK Haynes". It's out of respect for his ailing father, who is in the hospital with diabetes and other problems. He was never close with his dad, but declares that he'll use his real name of "Billy Haynes" for the rest of his career. Nice thought...too bad it didn't last. Mercer aks about his association with Sunshine. She's not his manager, but she has a nice stash of video tapes of all the "rasslers" in World Class, which has has helped Haynes immensely.

Match 3: Billy Haynes (w/Sunshine) vs. Sean Michaels
Yup, it's everybody's favorite douchebag, future Rocker and gloryhound, Shawn Michaels. Although Lowrance introduces him as "Sean Nickel" and Mercer refers to him as "Sean Michael". Toldja' I liked those two guys. As Mercer begins his match commentary, he mentions that Sean had simply asked the announcers to "just get his name right". Heh. The wrestlers shake hands, but after a headlock from Haynes, Michaels goes to the eyes. Michaels is whipped to the opposite turnbuckle, where he climbs to the top, moonsaults and lands on his feet. Michaels showboats and raises his arms in the air. Mistake. Haynes is right behind him to clamp on the full nelson and get the submission win. "Time of match: 1:20"

Haynes was supremely over at this time, as we'll see in the next segment. Sort of a quiet guy, but a complete monster in the ring. But as he was know to do, he walked away unexpectedly and burned some bridges in the process. Sunshine was left to scramble and soon recruited Hercules Hernandez (who also bailed quickly), then Scott Casey and Kabuki.

Match 4: NWA World Heavyweight Championship:
Ric Flair (c) vs. Terry Gordy

Gordy comes out to "Badstreet USA"! Mercer doesn't use the term "NWA" and calls the championship everything but. "World Wrestling Championship" seems to be the favorite term. After the combatants are introduced, Billy Haynes and Sunshine return to the ring. Haynes politely challenges the winner of the match; "if it's okay with you". Gordy agrees and shakes, but Flair declines. Instead, Flair gets the house mic and starts hitting on Sunshine! He's been checking her out for two years now... and if she gets one kiss from the Nature Boy she'll never think about any other man again. Sunshine agrees and lets Flair smooch her. While Flair gloats, Sunshine SLAPS him to a huge pop! She gets the mic and says; "you've got a long way to go!" Gotta' love Sunshine for that! Haynes and Sunshine leave to a large ovation. Classic segment, as it's a riot to see Flair get embarrassed for his womanizing ways.

Flair is still upset as the match starts, so he's easy pickings for Gordy's backdrop and press slam. Flair flops to the mat and Gordy gets a quick 2 count. Gordy follows up with a kneedrop, pounds away, flips him to the corner, then cinches a sleeper. Flair breaks by going to the eyes, chops away, and tosses Gordy outside. When he returns, Flair obliges with a snapmare, kneedrop, then begins working Gordy's side and left arm. Gordy suddenly no-sells, fights back and cranks an armbar into a chickenwing to the mat. Crowd begins chanting, as it sounds like "we want blood". If that's accurate, that's so tremendously EVIL! Gordy comes off the ropes with a shoulderblock, but misses a dive with his Oriental Spike. Flair tries chopping back, but Gordy hooks him in a small package for 2. Gordy then tries a backslide for another 2. Flair counters with a low-blow, then attempts a piledriver. Gordy reverses it and backdrops Flair. Flair is right back with a chop off the second rope, followed by a front facelock to the mat for a resthold.

A mild "go Terry, go" chant resonates, while Flair lands a piledriver for 2. He tries the toehold, but Gordy pulls him over for a 2 count. Flair misses a kneedrop, so Gordy senses his opportunity and clamps on the figure four! Flair makes the ropes for a break and begins begging Gordy off. Yeah, that doesn't work, as Gordy suplexes him and delivers another press-slam. Oriental Spike digs into Flair's throat, but he makes the ropes again. Gordy lifts him for a backdrop and pummels him some more. Flair reverses an irish whip attempt and follows him into the corner. Flair lifts Gordy into a belly-to-back suplex, lifts his shoulder, gets one foot on the ropes for leverage and successfully retains his belt with a 3 count victory. The lame double-pin attempt, but a good ending to this tilt. "Time of match: 14:12".

Why'd You Tape This??
It's cool to peek into World Class' "future" and see what's coming up. The main event really delivered and may have been one of Flair's final stops in Texas. Like all Flair matches, he doesn't have the devastating offense, but manages to cut some corners, get in some cheap shots, then apply the right holds at the right time. Gordy may have been one of the ugliest dudes in wrestling history, but he could definitely work a match. It's also interesting to note that the Sportatorium crowd was completely psyched for this show... one completely sans Von Erichs. This episode was a good way to spend 45 minutes.

Boom-da-da-da-boom, da-da-da-boom, da-da-da-boom

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