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September 12, 2009
â€“ Jeff Richards
The Rutherford County Rumble has come and gone. So have the days of thousands of North Carolinians paying $50.00 and more to see
"Nature Boy" Ric Flair, as evidenced by a dwindling crowd in Rutherfordton last evening (Saturday Sept 12th).
Flair, unfortunately, has played out his welcome in the small Cleveland, Gaston and Rutherford counties where his autograph retirement
tour has stopped. Big crowds have welcomed the 20-time world heavyweight champion on prior nights; however, Rutherfordton's RS
Central High School crowd was one-fifth the size of a similar card held eight months ago in Easley, SC.
Having surpassed the 60-year old mark, Flair still smiles and signs autographs, graciously poses for photographs with adoring fans,
and idly chats with son Reid at autograph tables. But he looks bored, unless a pretty young thing walks up and coyly requests a personal
photo op with the Living Legend.
Flair is on the books for at least two more NWA Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling (MACW) cards this year. After that, it is too soon to
tell if we will see "Naitch" back home at a NWA-sponsored card.
His appearance in Rutherfordton included a two-minute promo where he mentioned Buff Bagwell, Ricky Morton, promoter Rikki Nelson
and rising superstar Ricky Steamboat Jr. Flair told the spectators in attendance they were "the greatest fans in the world" and thanked us
all for our support throughout the years.
1. In a battle of former MACW Hardcore champions, Chris Hamrick once again won over Donnie Dollar$ in 13:27 of a 15:00 time limit
Hamrick, dressed down for the show in anticipation of late summer heat, was announced as being from Rutherford County. Maybe
Hamrick has been working too many indy shows, as his red tank top and red tights did not seem very professional. Dollar$, sporting a
less IRS-look nowadays, was laughing in the corner after being chopped (slapped) in the corner buckles. One thing you must say about
Ham: he keeps himself in good agile condition. Hamrick got up immediately after an awkward landing from a Asai moonsault. His
springboard somersault quebrada moments earlier showed off the former ECW Original's flexibility as well. A sudden superkick of
Dollar$ even fooled often-used MACW announcer Dan Parris at ringside, as this was not the planned finish. A BIG Yakuza kick by Dollar$
was one of the youngster's main moves of the
evening. In the end, it was Hamrick finishing off his repeat foe with the legdrop off the top.
2. Krissy Vaine captured the vacant MACW Ladies Title by defeating her trainee Jayme Jameson in 12:54 of a passable match
The title was last held by Leilani Kei, who never defended the title again after the year 2000. Vaine came out as a babyface but quietly
turned minutes into the title match. The current member of Team Blondage 2.0 needs to work on her collar-and-elbow lockups, as Vaine
botched three straight attempts (former MACW referee Mark Henderson could teach her a thing or two). Jameson looks lost when Vaine
is not in close proximity to her. Her comeback on Vaine consisted of a shoulderblock and two spears. A cruddy sunset flip out of the
corner netted Vaine the win.
3. Ricky Morton of the Rock 'n' Roll Express surprised 10-year veteran Andru Bane with a rollup in 8:22
MACW has missed the boat on Bane, who has been booked wrongly for years. With his look, Bane needs to be more of a monster. Even
a manager could help with his maturing. Morton begged for vocal help from the audience, who sounded like they were chanting "Drunk
and old." Sadly, Bane bumped constantly for the junior heavyweight. Morton tugged on Bane's tights and secured the schoolboy for the
fall of the match. Bane's butt crack showed for quite some time following the referee's decision.
Bagwell came out to kickstart the 30:00 intermission by posing in the ring and around ringside with money-paying audience members
4. Nelson retained the NWA MACW Jr. Heavyweight Title in controversial fashion by fending off the challenge of "The Dragon"'s son,
This was one of those finishes where I was glad I have retired and not made to look like a fool. Per the norm, Nelson had the ring
announcer declare this bout was for the NWA WORLD Jr. Heavyeight Title (news to Mike Quackenbush, I'm sure). Both workers were
wearing red trunks with black trim. Steamer throws a nice dropkick at times. He certainly looks more polished than previous NWA
appearances in Charlotte and Winston-Salem. However, Steamboat needs to get with his dad on how to throw a loud-sounding chop. A
crash-and-burn spot through the ropes to the steel ringpost started the heat on Steamboat. The sophomore youngster connected with a
stiff monkey flip and hit the flying cross bodyblock off the top turnbuckle, but promoter Nelson kicked out. Steamboat then hit a chop off the
top to apparently end Nelson's junior title reign. It was not meant to be, though, as Nelson draped his leg over the bottom strand "after"
referee Scotty Piper counted the "three." Confused, Piper allowed the match to continue. Seconds later, Nelson had hit a nut shot and
small-packaged a dazed Steamboat for the title retention in 14:15.
5. MACW Heavyweight Champion Buff "The Stuff" Bagwell pinned MACW Hardcore Champion Beautiful Bobby Eaton in 7:37 of a
lackluster title defense
Only Bagwell's belt was on the line. Eaton now weighs 241 lbs and moves very slowly. Sweating profusely, Eaton looked like he was
wrestling in super-slow motion. The Midnight Express alum kept calling for the two same spots. Eaton also has not seen the sun since
1995, it seems, as a tanning booth could do his body good. A double arm DDT, with Bagwell's knee coming up almost like a GTS, was
Eaton's undoing and sent the fans home happy.
NOTES: Ticket prices were $50 (which included a front row ringside seat and an autographed 8x10 photo of Flair), $20 for second row
ringside and back, and $12 for general admission....My head count was unusually low, as I tabulated 435 seats filled. Ringside was full,
but large gaps in the general admission bleachers prompted me to "go low"....In attendance but not working the show was ex-MACW
headliner J.W. Boss and indy workers Myric Moore, Doc Feelgood and James McHone....A flyer for next Saturday's C.W.S. show featuring
Demolition Ax was placed on all parked cars....The Rutherford County Sheriff's Department was the beneficiary of this sold show, which
may have broke even according to Nelson and
MACW's reported attendance of 600+.