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Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Written by Alternate Historian

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 'Tommy Rich' by Guest Historian Chris Oakley
Guest Historian Guest Historian Chris Oakley says, in this thread we explore an alternative career for Tommy Rich. If you're interested in viewing samples of my other work why not visit the Changing the Times web site.


February 28

Masked Canadian

On this day in 1983, the NWA world tag team titles were declared vacant after Bad News Allen walked out on Rick Rude following a heated argument between the Enforcers teammmates over which one of them was to blame for the team's loss in a non-title match against Barry Windham & Rick Steamboat.

That same night, Roddy Piper won the NWA world heavyweight championship from Ric Flair.

Masked Canadian - Roddy Piper
Roddy Piper


April 25

On this day in 1982, Rick Steamboat, in a bid to thwart the Enforcers' agenda, joined forces with former NWA world champion Ric Flair, second-generation wrestler Barry Windham, and Scottish brawler Roddy Piper to form the Four Horsemen.

US Champion
US Champion - Rick Steamboat
Rick Steamboat


July 20

On this day in 1982, former NWA world champion Harley Race defeated One Man Gang at an NWA live show in Springfield, Massachusetts to win the NWA United States singles title; Race clinched the victory when he ducked a chair shot aimed at him by Bret Hart and the chair hit Gang square in the face.

 - One Man Gang
One Man Gang


June 21

On this day in 1981, NWA world heavyweight champion Tommy Rich fought ex-champion Harley Race to a double countout in the main event of a televised card in Atlanta.

Shortly after the match, Rich was confronted by another former NWA champion, Terry Funk; the two exchanged harsh words before getting into a full-fledged brawl that had to be broken up by arena security.

Wildfire
Wildfire - Tommy Rich
Tommy Rich


June 28
Wildfire

On this day in 1981, Tommy Rich was attacked by Terry Funk during an interview segment for the NWA's weekly TV show; the injuries Rich sustained in that attack would put the NWA world champion out of action for almost two weeks.

Wildfire - Tommy Rich
Tommy Rich


July 12

On, this day in 1981, Terry Funk accepted Tommy Rich's challenge to a no-holds-barred match for the NWA world heavyweight title on August 15th in Charlotte, North Carolina. The no time limit, no DQ bout was to be the main event of a special televised card billed by NWA promoters as 'the Great American Bash'.

 - Terry Funk
Terry Funk


August 15

On this day in 1981, Tommy Rich defeated Terry Funk in the main event of the inaugural Great American Bash to retain the NWA world heavyweight title; Rich, displaying a degree of ferocity that astonished even the most jaded observers of the ring scene, mauled Funk so severely in the 45-minute-long bout that the Texan had to be carried out of the ring on a stretcher when the match ended.

 - Terry Funk
Terry Funk


September 17

On this day in 1981, 'Nature Boy' Ric Flair beat Tommy Rich at a live NWA card in Charleston, South Carolina to win his first NWA world title. However, the new champion had little time to celebrate; moments after the match ended Rich, driven to a psychotic rage by bitterness over the defeat and by the stress of his war with Terry Funk, went ballistic and attacked Flair with a trash can, touching off a post-match brawl that ended only with the intervention of arena security.

Nature Boy
Nature Boy - Ric Flair
Ric Flair


March 5
Nature Boy

On this day in 1982, Tommy Rich defeated Ric Flair in Baltimore to win his second NWA world heavyweight title.

Rich then proceeded to confirm widespread suspicions that his attitude had changed for the worse by denouncing the fans as 'losers', 'scum', and 'not fit to clean sidewalks' in a vicious post-match harangue.

Nature Boy - Ric Flair
Ric Flair


March 22

On this day in 1982, two-time NWA world heavyweight champion Tommy Rich hired Louisville native Jim Cornette as his manager.

Cornette would later become notorious among NWA fans for using the tennis racket he always carried with him to give Rich an unfair advantage against his opponents.

Manager
Manager - Jim Cornette
Jim Cornette


April 10
Manager

On this day in 1982, Jim Cornette announced the formation of the Enforcers, a stable whose goals were to keep the NWA world title around Tommy Rich's waist and enable Cornette to dominate the NWA.

The group consisted of 468-pound bruiser George Gray, better known as 'The One Man Gang'; former World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental champion Ken Patera; Detroit brawler George 'The Animal' Steele; and a rising Canadian superstar named Bret Hart.

Manager - Jim Cornette
Jim Cornette


April 17

On this day in 1982, NWA newcomer Arn Anderson became the first victim of the Enforcers' campaign to rule the federation, getting ambushed in a parking lot attack just before he was scheduled to wrestle fellow newcomer Brad Armstrong.

NWA Newcomer
NWA Newcomer - Arna Anderson
Arna Anderson


April 20
WWF Champion

On this day in 1982, World Wrestling Federation CEO Vincent K. McMahon, seeing the success the NWA had enjoyed with its Great American Bash pay-per-view event the year before, announced that the WWF would hold its own PPV card in August at Boston Garden.

The show, to be known as 'Summerslam', would feature as its main event a title defense by then-WWF world heavyweight champion Bob Backlund against an opponent to be named later.

WWF Champion - Bob Backlund
Bob Backlund


April 21

On this day in 1982, former NWA United States champion Rick Steamboat was subjected to a three-on-one assault by the Enforcers after a match against Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine in Tampa, Florida.

After the ambush, which left Steamboat nearly unconscious, a jubilant Jim Cornette arrogantly boast that a similar fate or worse was in store for anyone who dared oppose his stable's plans.

US Champion
US Champion - Rick Steamboat
Rick Steamboat


May 5
Texan Roughneck

On this day in 1982, a leading US wrestling magazine printed an article concerning Terry Funk's eight-month-long absence from the NWA following his defeat by Tommy Rich at the first Great American Bash. The article's main headline posed the question 'Has Funk Lost The Will To Fight?' and quoted an anonymous source in Funk's camp as hinting the Texan roughneck might retire.

Texan Roughneck - Terry Funk
Terry Funk


May 18

On this day in 1982, One Man Gang defeated Wahoo McDaniel at an NWA card in Hilton Head, South Carolina to with the NWA United States singles championship.

Gang was a last-minute substitute for McDaniel's originally scheduled opponent, Harley Race, after Race was put out of action by Gang's Enforcer teammate Bret Hart in a locker room ambush.

 - One Man Gang
One Man Gang


June 12
Wildfire

On this day in 1982, Four Horsemen charter member Ric Flair and his manager J.J. Dillon challenged Enforcers members Tommy Rich, Ken Patera, and Bret Hart to a six-man tag team match at the following week's NWA TV taping against Flair, Barry Windham, and a mystery partner whose identity would be revealed later.

Jim Cornette immediately accepted the challenge, not realizing the mystery partner was Rich's former archnemesis Terry Funk.

Wildfire - Tommy Rich
Tommy Rich


June 19

On this day in 1982, the team of Ric Flair, Barry Windham, and Terry Funk defeated Tommy Rich, Ken Patera, and Bret Hart in the main event of an NWA TV card in Huntsville, Alabama.

After the match Flair and Rich got in a knock-down drag-out brawl which would set the stage for an NWA world title match between the two rivals at the second annual Great American Bash.

Wildfire
Wildfire - Tommy Rich
Tommy Rich


July 3
Nature Boy

On this day in 1982, Ric Flair beat NWA world champion Tommy Rich in the main event at an NWA televised card in Boca Raton, Florida; as a result of an altercation between Flair's and Rich's respective managers near the timekeeper's table during the match, a stipulation was added to the main event at the second Great American Bash which said that if Flair won his upcoming steel cage bout, J.J. Dillon would get five minutes alone in the ring with Jim Cornette.

Nature Boy - Ric Flair
Ric Flair


July 13

On this day in 1982, the World Wrestling Federation announced that former Iranian Olympic amateur wrestler Khosrow Vasori, a.k.a. the Iron Sheik, would be WWF world champion Bob Backlund's opponent in the main event at Summerslam.

WWF Champion
WWF Champion - Bob Backlund
Bob Backlund


June 26
Wildfire

On this day in 1982, Turner Broadcasting's flagship station in Atlanta, WTBS, aired the series premiere of NWA World Championship Wrestling, a weekly cable show aimed at boosting the National Wrestling Alliance's TV profile.

The main event for WCW's debut was an NWA United States singles title rematch between champion Harley Race and former champ One Man Gang which Race won by disqualification when Bret Hart threw a beer cup at the referee.

Wildfire - Tommy Rich
Tommy Rich

On the undercard Terry Funk battled Ken Patera to a double countout; Rick Steamboat and Roddy Piper defeated Michael 'PS' Hayes and Terry Gordy(collectively known as the Fabulous Freebirds) to win the NWA world tag team titles; and George 'The Animal' Steele won the NWA television championship from Jimmy Valiant.



August 8

On this day in 1982, Boston Garden hosted the WWF's first annual Summerslam PPV supercard. In the main event, the Iron Sheik shocked the crowd by beating Bob Backlund by submssion to win the WWF world heavyweight title.

WWF Champion
WWF Champion - Bob Backlund
Bob Backlund

On the undercard, former American Wrestling Association main eventer Terry "Hulk" Hogan, who'd briefly been under contract to the WWF two years earlier before switching to the AWA, made his triumphant WWF return with a victory over "Cowboy" Bob Orton; then-WWF tag team champions Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito battled veterans Rocky Johnson and Pedro Morales to a double countout; Andre "The Giant" Roussimoff won a 25-man battle royal; and Sylvester "Junkyard Dog" Ritter beat "Magnificent" Don Muraco to win the WWF Intercontinental championship.



August 14
Wildfire

On this day in 1982, the Omni in Atlanta hosted the NWA's second annual Great American Bash.

In the main event, Ric Flair defeated Tommy Rich in a long, bloody steel cage match to regain the NWA world heavyweight championship. In the undercard, Barry Windham and Terry Funk beat Ivan and Nikita Koloff in a tournament final to become the first NWA United States tag team champions and Jimmy Valiant regained the NWA television title from George 'The Animal' Steele.

Wildfire - Tommy Rich
Tommy Rich

Following the Steele-Valiant match a bitter argument erupted between Steele and Bret Hart, who Steele blamed for his defeat after Hart mistimed a chair shot. It took the intervention of Jim Cornette to keep the argument from escalating into a full-fledged brawl.



August 16

On this day in 1982, Minnesota native Rick Rude and former Stampede Wrestling brawler Allen Coage (a.k.a. Bad News Allen) were introduced on NWA World Championship Wrestling by Jim Cornette as the newest members of the Enforcers; Cornette said he was grooming Rude and Allen to take the NWA United States tag team titles from Barry Windham and Terry Funk.

Manager
Manager - Jim Cornette
Jim Cornette


August 20

On this day in 1982, Jimmy Valiant beat NWA television champion George 'The Animal' Steele in a non-title bout at an NWA live card in Waycross, Georgia and thereby earned a rematch with Steele for the belt at the NWA's next PPV event, Starrcade '82.

 - Jimmy Valiant
Jimmy Valiant


August 23

On this day in 1982, the WWF premiered its own Monday cable TV show, Monday Night Raw, to compete with World Championship Wrestling in the 8-10PM time slot; airing on the USA Network, Raw would be in competition with WCW for ratings supremacy for nearly two decades.

The main event on Raw's debut broadcast was a WWF Intercontinental title match between Junkyard Dog and second-generation star Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine which Dog won by disqualification when Valentine's then-manager Johnny Valiant got caught trying to hand Valentine a pair of brass knuckes.

Monday Night
Monday Night - Raw
Raw


August 28
Nature Boy

On this day in 1982, Ric Flair defended his NWA world championship against Tommy Rich in a best 2-of-3 falls match at an NWA televised card in Orlando, Florida; Flair won the third and deciding fall to retain the title.

After the match a visibly infuriated Rich berated his Enforcers teammate Bret Hart for not coming to his aid, to which Hart responded by making an obscene gesture at Rich.

Nature Boy - Ric Flair
Ric Flair


October 10

On this day in 1982, Bob Backlund regained the WWF world title from the Iron Sheik by winning a steel cage match at the Philadelphia Spectrum; in a risky move that would have fans talking about for years to come, Backlund clinched the victory by hitting Sheik with a death-defying splash from the top of the cage.

WWF Champion
WWF Champion - Bob Backlund
Bob Backlund


September 18

On this day in 1982, the NWA held its Starrcade '82 PPV telecast at the Scope in Norfolk, Virginia. In the main event NWA world champion Ric Flair retained his title with a victory over "Outlaw" Ron Bass; what truly made the night memorable, however, was that it saw Bret Hart get kicked out of the Enforcers by Jim Cornette after mistimed interference by Hart enabled Jimmy Valiant to regain the NWA TV title from George 'The Animal' Steele.

 - Jimmy Valiant
Jimmy Valiant

Following the Steele-Valiant match, the ex-TV champion joined his fellow Enforcers and Cornette in a vicious beatdown of Hart that left the Canadian grappler seriously battered...and vowing to crush Cornette's stable once and for all.



October 14

On this day in 1982, George 'The Animal' Steele, feeling that his NWA career had stagnated, asked for and was given unconditional release from his NWA contract.

The ex-NWA television champion soon joined the AWA, where he would form a highly successful tag team with B. Brian Blair.

The Animal
The Animal - George Steele
George Steele


October 16
Mr. Saito

On this day in 1982, Rocky Johnson & Pedro Morales finally won the WWF world tag team belts from Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito at a WWF live card in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Mr. Saito  - Pedro Morales
Pedro Morales


October 11

On this day in 1981, Ken Patera defeated Harley Race in a match televised on World Championship Wrestling to win the NWA United States singles title; on that same WCW broadcast Rick Rude & Bad News Allen beat Wahoo McDaniel & Brad Armstrong to become the #1 contenders for the NWA world tag team championship.

 - Ken Patera
Ken Patera


October 25
Bret Hart

On this day in 1982, NWA World Championship Wrestling broadcast a three-hour special edition titled 'Halloween Havoc'.

In the main event, Bret Hart-- now dubbed 'the Hit Man' because of his relentlessly aggressive ring style --ended Tommy Rich's NWA reign of terror by defeating him in a 'loser- leaves-town' match under whose stipulations Rich was contractually obligated to leave the organization; on the undercard the Fabulous Freebirds beat Terry Funk & Barry Windham to win the NWA United States tag team titles.

Bret Hart - Hit Man
Hit Man


October 28
Wildfire

On this day in 1982, former two-time NWA world heavyweight champion Tommy Rich joined the WWF.

Wildfire - Tommy Rich
Tommy Rich


November 6

On this day in 1982, Tommy Rich, now dubbing himself 'Psycho', appeared at his first WWF live card; he defeated Antiguan grappler S.D. 'Special Delivery' Jones on the undercard of a matinee at the Igloo in Pittsburgh.

Wildfire
Wildfire - Tommy Rich
Tommy Rich


November 15
Wildfire

On this day in 1982, Tommy Rich made his first WWF TV appearance, beating Ivan Putski in a bout aired on Monday Night Raw.

Wildfire - Tommy Rich
Tommy Rich


November 26

On this day in 1982, the WWF aired its second major PPV event, the Survivor Series, from Madison Square Garden in New York City.

In the main event Bob Backlund defeated Nikolai Volkoff to retain the WWF world heavyweight title; on the undercard, Intercontinental champion Junkyard Dog won by disqualificaiton over Adrian Adonis, Terry 'Hulk' Hogan beat Mr. Saito, 'Psycho' Tommy Rich defeated Tony Garea, and 'Magnificent' Don Muraco & 'Cowboy' Bob Orton won the WWF tag team titles from Rocky Johnson & Pedro Morales.

 - WWF
WWF


December 12
US Champion

On this day in 1982, the NWA held its first-ever Clash of the Champions PPV super-card, broadcast from the Summit in Houston. The main event saw the Horsemen lose one of their charter members as Roddy Piper turned on Rick Steamboat after Piper & Steamboat lost the NWA world tag team titles to Rick Rude and Bad News Allen; a frustrated Piper, blaming Steamboat for the loss, assault his tag partner with the timekeeper's bell and tried to fracture his skull.

US Champion - Rick Steamboat
Rick Steamboat


December 6

On this day in 1982, Monday Night Raw debuted a new interview segment, 'The Psycho Ward', which featured Tommy Rich holding court on a set made up to resemble an insane asylum; the fact that Rich had his own segment after being with the WWF just over a month was a testament to his swiftly rising status in the WWF.

Jimmy Snuka
Jimmy Snuka - Superfly
Superfly

The inaugural edition of 'Psycho Ward' also solidified Rich's reputation as one of the WWF's most despised rulebreakers--he attacked Polynesian high-flyer Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka with a coconut after repeated by mocking Snuka's heritage.



December 20
Psycho

On this day in 1982, 'Psycho' Tommy Rich got an unexpected and unwanted early Christmas present when WWF world champion Bob Backlund confronted him during his interview with Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine on that night's edition of 'The Psycho Ward' on Monday Night Raw.

On the spot Rich challenged Backlund to a title match at the WWF's next scheduled PPV broadcast, the Royal Rumble; the champion, eager to put Rich in his place once and for all, immediately accepted the challenge.

Psycho - Tommy Rich
Tommy Rich


January 16

On this day in 1983, the WWF held its first annual Royal Rumble PPV special at the Rosemont Horizon near Chicago. In the main event, 'Psycho' Tommy Rich won the WWF world heavyweight championship from Bob Backlund using a modified sleeper hold Rich dubbed the Straitjacket; Backlund, seriously injured both physically and psychologically during this bout, left the WWF shortly after his defeat and wouldn't compete in the ring again for more than eight years.

WWF Champion
WWF Champion - Bob Backlund
Bob Backlund


January 31
Psycho

On this day in 1983, newly crowned WWF world heavyweight champion 'Psycho' Tommy Rich made his first title defense, beating Syracuse University alumnus Mike Rotundo in a bout televised on Monday Night Raw.

Psycho - Tommy Rich
Tommy Rich


February 7

On this day in 1983, 'Superfly' Jimmy Snuka confronted Tommy Rich during one of Rich's 'Psycho Ward' segments on Raw and challenged Rich to face him in a best 2-of-3 falls match on the following week's Raw to settle the score between them once and for all.

The match was officially booked the next day and made a WWF world title defense.

Jimmy Snuka
Jimmy Snuka - Superfly
Superfly


February 14
Jimmy Snuka

On this day in 1983, in a 2-out of-3 falls bout aptly nicknamed the "St. Valentine's Day Massacre", "Psycho" Tommy Rich defeated "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka to retain the WWF world heavyweight title.

But what truly made the night memorable was Rich's actions after the match was over: he piledrived Snuka twice on the concrete floor outside the ring and spat on him in front of horrified fans at ringside.

Jimmy Snuka - Superfly
Superfly


March 14

On this day in 1983, another WWF fan favorite, Bob Remus (a.k.a. Sgt. Slaughter), fell victim to the wrath of 'Psycho' Tommy Rich when the WWF world heavyweight champion attacked Remus prior to a match against the Iron Sheik and busted him open with a pair of brass knuckles.

Speaking for millions of angry WWF fans -- and many of Rich's previous ring foes -- Monday Night Raw commentator Gorilla Monsoon shouted in frustration: When is WWF President Jack Tunney gonna have the guts to stand up to this maniac?!! How many guys does Rich have to put in the hospital before someone finally does something about him?!!!

Sgt. Slaughter
Sgt. Slaughter - Bob Remus
Bob Remus


July 12
Greg Valentine

On this day in 1982, Ken Patera defeated Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine in a loser-leaves-town match on WCW; Valentine signed with the WWF the next day.

Greg Valentine - The Hammer
The Hammer


March 21

On this day in 1983, WWF world champion 'Psycho' Tommy Rich was told just before Monday Night Raw went on the air that there would be a special surprise guest appearing on 'The Psycho Ward'. To Rich's dismay, that surprise guest turned out to be the number one challenger for his title, Terry 'Hulk' Hogan; when Hogan came on the set he demanded a title match against Rich and promised he would avenge Rich's previous attacks on 'Superfly' Jimmy Snuka and Sgt. Slaughter.

 - Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan

That same night on NWA World Championship Wrestling, reigning NWA world champion Roddy Piper boasted in a live interview that he had driven Rick Steamboat out of the NWA forever--a boast that was quickly and emphatically proven wrong when Steamboat appeared midway through the interview and knocked Piper flat on his back with a flying dropkick. That dropkick was the prelude to a ferocious brawl between the two former tag team partners.



March 26
Triple H

On this day in 1983, 13-year-old New Hampshire native Paul Michael Levesque attended his first live WWF card; in the main event that evening Rocky Johnson & Pedro Morales beat Bob Orton and Don Muraco to regain the WWF tag team titles. Fifteen years later Levesque would himself be competing inthe WWF under the nickname 'Triple H'.

Triple H - Paul Michael Levesque
Paul Michael Levesque


March 28

On this day in 1983, Rick Steamboat defeated NWA world heavyweight champion Roddy Piper in a non-title match on WCW. The victory made Steamboat the number one contender for the belt and set up a title match between the two former tag team partners the following week.

 - Rick Steamboat
Rick Steamboat


March 31

On this day in 1983, the World Wrestling Federation announced that its next major pay-per-view event, Wrestlemania, at the Byrne Meadowlands Arena in New Jersey on the last Sunday in April. The main event was tentatively scheduled to put Terry "Hulk" Hogan against "Psycho" Tommy Rich for the WWF world heavyweight title.

 - Tommy Rich
Tommy Rich


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© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.