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Peachy King: Ric Flair’s first Georgia appearance as NWA World champion

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A few days after dethroning Dusty Rhodes for the NWA World title (in Kansas City of all places), Ric Flair preened in front of the Georgia Championship Wrestling cameras at the WTBS Studio in Atlanta carrying the fruits of his labor: the vaunted Ten Pounds of Gold. But before the nation’s expanding cable TV audience could feast their eyes on the new titlist, the show opened with Tommy Rich accepting his award and plaque as the area’s Most Popular Wrestler as voted by “thousands and thousands and thousands” of fans. (I wonder if Rich took Solie’s advice and hung the plaque in his living room for all to see.) While fellow babyfaces Michael Hayes and Steve O (who would shoot to fame later as part of MTV’s “Jackass” crew) were good sports about Wildfire’s overwhelming popularity, Mr. Wrestling II was not too thrilled (or maybe he was just fed up with being incessantly referred to by Rich as “Rasslin’ II”). While II ended on a gracious note, this appears to be the subtle start of an angle that was later scratched (and eventually done by the masked Johnny Walker in Mid-South, with Magnum TA playing the young student role).

Waiting to be introduced, Flair was rightfully insulted. When Solie finally called the champ over to the podium, the Nature Boy humbly discussed his title win and raised some legitimate questions as to the monetary value of Rich’s honor. (However, I hear that eventually Rich did in fact successfully exchange the award for a cup of coffee in downtown Atlanta.)

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