Professional wrestling consumed my life at the early age of 8. In fact, as far as I was concerned, the WWF was the only game in town. This idea that other wrestling promotions existed never dawned on me until a random Sunday afternoon of channel surfing. Fate brought me to TBS and I got my first taste of the National Wrestling Alliance.
Ric Flair was being interviewed by Jim Ross and had the big gold belt draped over his shoulder as he talked about his 6th title win over Ricky Steamboat. All of this was unfamiliar and ridiculously exciting.
Terry Funk, who was making his return to the promotion after filming movies with Sylvester Stallone, and Patrick Swayze, entered the ring and challenged Flair to a title match. Flair flat out told him he had a problem wrestling someone who was in Hollywood for five years and that he only wants the top ten ranked contenders. This made me wonder why WWF didn’t have a ranking system.
Funk was fuming over the insinuation he wasn’t good enough and quickly disguised his rejection with adulation before sucker punching the champ while shaking his hand. Flair was beaten in a manner that was more violent than anything I had seen on WWF TV. The finale caused my jaw to hit the floor as Flair was piledriven onto a table.
I was hooked, completely enthralled and couldn’t wait until Ric Flair got his revenge against that cheating Texan. Unfortunately, there was only one television set in the house. Sacrifices had to be made. Pro Wrestling Illustrated would be my only outlet for NWA news and results.
Years later, my parents surprised me with my own TV which was around the time Hulk Hogan debuted in WCW. I caught up on everything I missed through internet tape trading. In a way, it was surreal to watch after the fact, all of the wrestling goodness the NWA produced in the 1980s.
Here is a video of the encounter