Double Shot Feb 20 1983: NWA Champ Ric Flair

   There were quite a few double-shots during the Mid-Atlantic affiliation, an afternoon card in the Carolinas and an evening card in Toronto. This one in Feb 1983 had both main event participants wrestling in both cities.

Flair was keeping a schedule that would have killed mere mortals, and on this day he brought along some company. I assume they had a private flight lined up out of Greensboro to land in Toronto, forego customs, and hop in a waiting van straight to MLG arriving after the card had already started. You will note the length of the openers at the Gardens, to give the main guys time to arrive. 

Roddy Piper was scheduled but missed both cards. Up here Piper was said to be stuck in Puerto Rico. I remember reading years later in his book, or perhaps Flair's book, that it was indeed the case.

Terry Funk joined the others to take Piper's spot, the first time Terry had been back since he lost the title here to Harley Race in Feb 1977. In Toronto Flair was a huge fan favorite so if Funk hadn't been able to make the trip who would have faced Flair? His Greensboro partner Valentine would have been a natural pick but he didn't make the trip. They couldn't split the Slaughter Kernodle tag team (as the tag series was a hot feud) so maybe Ray Stevens. 

Others that may have been in the hat, had they been drawing names... Maybe Leo Burke, who had some title shots at NWA champs (not here) and Tony Parisi who had faced Jack Brisco here, in 1974. Longshots include Nick DeCarlo who had once faced Flair on TV before his title run, or Johnny Weaver no stranger to title shots in his day as was Bobby Bass, though neither here. 

With the absence of Piper it made for an uncomfortable evening. Fans, upon arriving at MLG and picking up the program for the evening- featuring Piper on the cover- would soon hear Norm Kimber announcing that Piper wouldn't be appearing. This was the second time in recent times a program cover star had missed the show. Austin Idol missed his cover about a year earlier and never returned. As it was they had Funk to fill in on this night. While the fans were initially disappointed, he and Flair put on a exciting bout with Flair getting the pin on the former champ. 

As for Piper, he did return, making it back to Toronto in March to face Flair for the title, It was said he had to post a $15,000 appearance bond. On that same card (Mar 27) Steamboat and Youngblood finally beat Slaughter and Kernodle in a title bout to claim the NWA tag titles - which they had already won in Greensboro 2 weeks earlier. That's for another post. 

2/20/83 Greensboro,NC 3PM Matinee
NWA Tag Titles: Sgt. Slaughter/Pvt. Kernodle W Terry Funk/Dory Funk, Jr
Ricky Steamboat/Jay Youngblood W Ric Flair/Greg Valentine
Jimmy Valiant W One Man Gang
Dick Slater W Jerry Brisco (subs for Roddy Piper)
Jack Brisco W Paul Jones
Dizzy Hogan/Larry Lane W Ricky Harris/Bill White
Larry Lane W Ricky Morton

2/20/83 Toronto,ON 730PM Evening
NWA Title: Ric Flair WP Terry Funk (subs for Roddy Piper)
Ricky Steamboat/Jay Youngblood W Sgt Slaughter/Don Kernodle
Salvatore Bellomo WDQ Ray Stevens
Leo Burke DCOR Tony Parisi
Destroyer W Terry Kay
Johnny Weaver WP Bobby Bass
Nick DeCarlo/Rudy Kay D Pvt Nelson/Tim Gerrard

Greensboro got a Jimmy Valiant vs One Man Gang which would have gone over well here. Valiant a pre Hulk Hogan type at this time, incredibly popular in Toronto. They brought that feud here later but in a tag bout. Valiant teamed with Parisi, Gang with his manager Sir Oliver Humperdink. 

They got the better card. Flair & Valentine as a team again (!) AND against Steamboat & Youngblood, and the Funk bros, and the Briscos. Pretty good afternoon in Greensboro.