St. Louis #15 Page #2 

5.  Rick Martel vs. Cowboy Bob Orton (no result)  - This match is interesting for a few reasons - neither would "hang around" St. Louis. Rick Martel would go on to much more fame in the AWA and Cowboy Bob Orton would make a real name for himself in the WWF. The fact that these two big names were essentially upper-midcarders at this event speaks to the talent depth as late as summer 1983.

 

6.  Special Attraction: Hulk Hogan, David Von Erich, and Dick the Bruiser d. Baron Von Raschke, Black Jack Mulligan, and Crusher Blackwell - WOW! is all I can say about this one. Five of the names involved were among my all time favorites. Hogan at this time is six months away from fueling the WWF rocket ship of national expansion. David Von Erich is tragically not long for this life. Dick the Bruiser is getting long in the tooth but can still wow the fans as a brawler and huge St. Louis fan favorite. And, oh yes, to round it out, two of the masters of the clawhold and most vicious heels in our sport, Baron Von Raschke and Blackjack Mulligan (traveling with his son Barry Windham, I suppose). This match may have been the last time Hulk Hogan ever appeared below Ric Flair on a professional wrestling card!  To put it in perspective, at this time (1983), Hogan was relatively unknown, while Flair was well known around the USA and the world.

 

7.  The Main Event: "For the World Heavyweight Championship as recognized by the National Wrestling Alliance. Two out of three falls with a one hour time limit. Two minute rest period between falls."

 

Harley Race (NWA World Champion) d. Ric Flair (Missouri State Champion)

 

As mentioned before, Race was in the midst of his peacemaking/caretaker reign with the belt - this reign would run from 6/10/83 to the 11/24/83 Starrcade. Ric Flair was holding the Missouri Title in a reign that would extend until dropping the belt to David Von Erich in September 1983. Again, speaking to the depth of talent in St. Louis, how many regions had Ric Flair hold their local title for three months? Flair had won the Missouri Title in a special one-night tournament on July 15, 1983, defeating David Von Erich in the finals. This match was classic old-school NWA, 2/3 falls, one hour time limit. I probably saw Ric Flair vs. Harley Race 8-10 times in person over the years, and those two never got old. A fantastic combination of brawling, workrate, actual wrestling moves, signature spots (Flair flops, Harley Race diving headbutt) and juicing (both Flair and Race). Harley by this time was over as a face in St. Louis, especially versus Flair.

 

So by the end of the night, the faces had largely won. (another ingredient of old school booking - in the end, the face always wins!) Flair would stay in the area another few months, and Hogan, David Von Erich, and Bruiser continued to wow the fans in St. Louis.

 

Within a year, with WWF expansion, it would be all but over. But on this night, the SLWC and NWA were still strong.

 

Some last tidbits of information from July 1983:

 

      Ticket prices were $4-$5-$6-$7-$8. What a bargain by today's standards!

      In the standard plug for WATC "at 11 on 11" the host was Mark Matthew and the ring announcer was Lord Alfred Hayes. Honestly, I don't really remember this phase of WATC. Must have been towards the end. I will post a question on the message board.

 

Thanks for stopping by the site and reading this month's article. Questions, comments, and suggestions for future articles are always welcome in the St. Louis section of the message board. 

 

NEXT MONTH:

 

Kiel Auditorium - 1971 Card Results

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