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Notes on Ric Flair, ECW, and vintage Hulk Hogan angle

It's official: Ric Flair is the biggest thing to come out of North Carolina. NASCAR and college basketball aren't even close.

At least that's the opinion of hockey fans at Tuesday night's Washington Capitals-Carolina Hurricanes game in D.C.

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During my weekly wrestling segment yesterday afternoon on WNST 1570 AM, sports talk show host Nestor Aparicio, who attended that hockey game, related the following story about Flair.

Since Carolina was in town, this poll question was posed on the video screen: What is North Carolina most known for? The choices were NASCAR, college basketball or Ric Flair. Voting was done by text messaging.

Aparicio said that as soon as Flair appeared on the screen, 10,000 people in the arena yelled, "Wooo!" Flair won the contest with 82 percent of the vote.

Take that Dale Earnhardt Jr., Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski.

***

Thoughts on Tuesday's episode of ECW: The six-man tag match that saw Jack Swagger, John Morrison and The Miz defeat Christian, Finlay and Tommy Dreamer was a solid TV main event. I really like the rivalry that is developing between Swagger and Christian. I'll say it again: I hope these two get a spot on the WrestleMania 25 card. With Swagger obviously on the fast track, I can't imagine that he wouldn't be there, and Christian would be his logical opponent. …

As much as I liked that six-man, I have to admit that the highlight of the show for me was the Alicia Fox-Natalya match. Fox, who supposedly was terrible in the ring when she was in the Florida developmental territory, has now had two matches on WWE television and I think they both have been decent, especially this one against Natalya. …

I was a little surprised on Tuesday night that Kane beat the Boogeyman so quickly and decisively. I'm not a fan of the character, so I was actually happy to see Boogey get squashed, but I didn't expect it since WWE seemed to value him as a novelty act. Well, apparently not, as WWE announced yesterday that Boogeyman was released. …

There's no question that Morrison and Miz are getting the job done in the ring, but the next Dirt Sheet segment that is actually funny will be the first.

***

Hulk Hogan is featured on WWE 24/7 this month, and I caught a classic clip from 1981 of Hogan interrupting an interview between Vince McMahon and Tony Atlas. Hogan was starting to make a name for himself as a heel at that time, while Atlas was one of the top babyfaces in the business. Atlas and Hogan probably had the two best physiques in wrestling, so it was a natural rivalry.

A few things that struck me about the Hogan-Atlas confrontation:

– Hogan cut a race-baiting promo on Atlas, which, unfortunately, was common in that era. He did the standard "shine my shoes" remark and kept referring to Atlas as "boy." What I found interesting after watching the clip again on YouTube is that Hogan calling Atlas a "brown clown" was edited out of the WWE 24/7 version. Was that really any more offensive than the other slurs?

– Atlas cut the kind of humble babyface promo that was the norm back in those days, but it would get him booed out of the building in 2009.

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– McMahon seemed to have a real man-crush on Atlas. "Look at that chest!" McMahon said breathlessly after he coaxed Atlas into posing. In retrospect, McMahon's infatuation with Atlas' physique was a foreshadowing of his penchant for wrestlers with sculpted bodies.

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