Starrcade '83: A Flare For The Gold

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While many observers and fans look at WrestleMania as the first televised "big event" and the innovator of the "supershow" that isn't really the case. Less than two years prior, the NWA, in particular, the Mid-Atlantic region launched their own major event. Thanksgiving night was a huge night for wrestling in the territory days and proved to be the perfect platform for Jim Crockett Promotions "the granddaddy of them all" Starrcade. Not just available to ticket buyers the event was shown on closed-circuit television throughout the region. The event was such a huge success, traffic was backed up for miles going to the Greensboro Coliseum. The main attraction of the show was a young Ric Flair challenging legendary 7-time World Champion Harley Race in a steel cage. While Flair had initially won the title in 1981 from Dusty Rhodes it didn't quite launch Flair as planned. This feud was set up and (and succeeded) in making a Flair a superstar and beginning his rise as one fo the true legends in the business. Leading up to the match, Race put on a $10,000 bounty on Flair with both Dick Slater and Bob Orton. Jr. turning on Flair and eventually working together to give a Flair a double piledriver in a famous angle. Flair would return the following month during a Slater/Orton tag team match, running off the duo with a baseball bat while wearing a neck brace. With a great story leading into the bout Flair took home the belt in front of a sold-out crowd of over 15,000 fans in one wrestling's all-time greatest "passing of the torch" moments.

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by Mike Parker