wrestling / TV Reports

411’s WWE Rivals Report: Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes

May 12, 2024 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
Dusty Rhodes Ric Flair Great American Bash 1986 Image Credit: NWA

-A&E decided to put both episode 4 and episode 5 of this season up tonight. For some reason they dropped Episode 5: Rollins vs. HHH at 8 PM and this episode (4: Flair vs. Rhodes) at 9 PM. I decided to go in chronological order and tackle Flair/Rhodes first. I should be able to get HHH/Rollins up sometime by 1 AM hopefully. Shout-out to my friend, Kent, who will loves this episode. Let’s get to it!

-Gabriel Iglesias is at the table with Kofi Kingston, Natalya, X-Pac, and JBL. Where’s Cody? JBL notes that Flair and Rhodes were on a different level. Great old school footage! JBL says that if you put Dusty/Flair together in any arena, you will sell out the building.

-Pac says he grew up in Florida and there was nobody bigger than Dusty Rhodes. Hulk Hogan says he used to skip school to drive down and see Dusty wrestle. He fell in love with him them and he was pissed if Dusty wasn’t on TV. Dave Zirin says at the time it was Stallone and Arnold and everyone saw them as ideal with their sculpted bodies, and then you had Dusty. He looked like the every man, and people could relate to him. Prichard notes that Dusty was an entertainer first and a wrestler second.

-Dusty says he was strict on how he wanted to stay true to his character. Flair calls him Mr. Charisma and says that Dusty was his hero from day one. Dusty was a star when Flair started training in wrestling and it helped suck him in. Flair would drive the car for Dusty and Dick Murdoch. They made Flair shave his head and he was around 300 lbs at the time. JBL and Pac bring up the deal where Flair wanted to be Rambling Ricky Rhodes.

-Some sweet footage from 2014 with Flair and Dusty recalling the Ricky Rhodes story and Dusty gave him the advice that it was better to be the first Ric Flair.

-It seems all of us watching WWE, a juggernaut, may have missed a territory called the NWA that had Flair dominating in The Carolinas and Dusty in Florida. Dusty wins the NWA World Title and he says that it was the realest thing her ever did.

-Sept 17, 1981: Ric Flair wins his first NWA World Title as he takes the Title from Dusty. Ric says that it wasn’t done right as they threw it together in Kansas City and nobody knew them there. Dusty didn’t want to lose and Flair says he didn’t blame him. He feels it would have been bigger and better in Florida.

-Jim Crockett called Dusty and asked for a supercard and that ends up being Starrcade 83, which predated WrestleMania.


-Michelle Rubio, Dusty’s wife, says he always wanted to get involved behind the scenes. Cody says his dad was an idea man. Steamboat goes over that Dusty had the pencil and determined who won and who lost. Flair calls Dusty a genius as we get back to Starrcade. Dusty came up with the name Starrcade as he understood the big event better than anyone. Dusty says Starrcade is his movie and he got his biggest payday just for coming up with the name.

-Thanksgiving 1983: Starrcade! Waltman says his family ate dinner early, then drove to Orlando to watch the show on a closed circuit. He notes there were about 10,000 people in his arena in Orlando. The Main Event sees Ric Flair get crowned properly as he beats Harley Race for the NWA Title and it’s his second reign. Flair says it was big deal and that’s what launched his career. Dusty congratulates Flair after the match, but tells him they will see each other down the road.

-Flair was now the man and we get all the classic Flair one liners and promos. “My shoes cost more than your house.” Classic! Flair says he spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep up with the gimmick. DDP says every guy with testosterone wanted to be Ric Flair.

-Dusty knew it was going to be easy to get a story between the two just based on his character and the one Flair had.


-Flair says he was the best wrestler alive, and he knew it. Dusty says that Flair was great and needed a babyface, “and there I was.” The classic footage is enough to make this show worth a watch. You can tell the talking heads are fans as they are close to marking out just talking about these two.

-Big E talks about how important interviews are and we get a back and forth between Flair and Rhodes. Cody notes the idea was to talk people into the building to buy tickets and together they were magic.

-Starrcade 84: Dusty vs. Flair! 1 Million Dollar Match! DDP says it was like it was real and what was real was the egos both men had. They were two alpha males who thought they were the biggest stars in the business. The Table says it didn’t feel like they were cutting promos and instead you believed every word they said was real.

-Dusty notes the fans loved what he was selling. Everyone was convinced Dusty was going to win The NWA Title that night. He gets his head split open and the ref (Joe Frazier) stops the match. Things then cooled down a bit between the two as Flair turned face and he started teaming with Dusty. I’m sure that worked out well for Dusty.


-Sept 85: Flair gets attacked by The Russians after a cage match. Dusty makes the save, but The Andersons hit the ring and attack Dusty. Flair locks the cage and the soon to be Horsemen, break Dusty’s leg. Flair notes it took an hour to get out of the ring as the crowd rioted. Iglesias says he thought he was watching a crime.

-The Four Horsemen are born! We get a rundown of the group and the dynamic where they made sure Flair’s Title was protected. Flair calls them the Greatest Faction that ever existed. We see the Horsemen beating up Dusty as he is walking around on crutches. That leads to the iconic Hard Times promo and it’s still awesome!

-We discuss Dynasty and Dallas on TV and how it went against the working-class people that felt their voices weren’t heard. They had Dusty as their hero and wanted him to become NWA Champion again.

-Starrcade 85: Dusty/Flair II! Terry Taylor says that Flair and Dusty were real rivals as both wanted the top spot. Flair says there was no pressure as Dusty was the best face and he was the best heel. The ref gets bumped and here are the Horsemen. No matter as Dusty gets the small package for the flash pin for the World Title, but it’s a Dusty Finish and the Title is returned to Flair as Tommy Young called for a DQ from The Horsemen.

-They note that Dusty is booking this stuff and the finishes were set for the fans to want to see them continue the rivalry. We see The Horsemen following Dusty in his car and attacking him in the parking lot with a baseball bat. Dusty had to fight The Horsemen as much as he had to fight Flair.

-Commercials! Including one for AEW Dynamite.

– WWF had Rock and Wrestling, while NWA had Country Music. Dusty’s next idea was The Great American Bash Tour where Flair defended the World Title each night and kept escaping with the World Title. Pac: “Nobody got beat up better than Ric Flair.” On the 12th night of the tour, Flair and Dusty face off in Greensboro inside a steel cage. Cody says it was one of the longest chases in wrestling history.

-July 26, 1986: Nearly five years after losing the Title to Flair, Dusty Rhodes finally cashes in and rewards all the fans that had been following his chase as he beats Ric Flair. Oh, I guess spoilers as we go to commercial first.


-Next week it’s ROCK/HOGAN! YES!

-The fans were primed for a Title change and they finally get rewarded as this time the small package gets the win and with no Horsemen or ref bump, the decision stands. Cody notes the reaction from the fans is because they were in on the chase with Dusty.

-JBL and Waltman say that was Dusty’s moment to put a button his career. We jump ahead many years as Flair is in Evolution and mentors Batista and Orton. Meanwhile, Dusty teaches promo class in NXT and become a beloved father figure to nearly all the NXT kids, including Ric Flair’s daughter, Charlotte. Flair says it was an honor for Charlotte and for him to have Dusty work with her. She talks about the belief Dusty had in her. Kofi puts over how huge it was to have Dusty believe in you.

-The legacy of Dusty and Flair continues today with their children: Cody and Charlotte (obviously no mention of Dustin).

-March 2007: Dusty gets inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and Cody’s induction speech was a sign that the kid had something.

-March 2008: Ric Flair goes into the Hall of Fame with a tear in his eye. Flair puts over Dusty in his induction speech and it’s just cool seeing the two of them together, knowing that is the only way we can see them together today.

-Dusty says if their rivalry isn’t the biggest in the industry, he doesn’t know what would be? I love Dream so I won’t answer that question because at the end of the day it’s all opinion as far as what you feel qualifies as “biggest.”

-It’s Flair/Dusty, so it’s great and the footage was all I needed out of this one. No real new ground covered as we have heard all the stories by now between the various multiple DVD releases, Hall of Fame speeches, and what-not. This was just fun to watch. Rollins/HHH next! Thanks for reading!

article topics :

WWE Rivals, Robert Leighty Jr.