DATELINE: FEB 9, 1983 – THE CONVENTION CENTER – MIAMI, FL
The Midnight Rider defeats Ric Flair to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
The not-so-unsolved mystery was that the masked winner was actually Dusty Rhodes, who was forced to don the hood after he lost a lights-out, cage match to Kevin Sullivan. The stipulation of the match was that the loser must leave the state of Florida for sixty days.
When presented the belt by NWA President Bob Geigel, the Midnight Rider was asked to remove his mask to reveal his true identity. The Rider/Dusty refused, knowing he would have violated his suspension and been banned for life from the NWA.
So, although victorious, The Rider was immediately stripped of the title, and it was returned to Ric Flair.
cover photo credit: Pro Wrestling Illustrated
Footage of the match that caused the ‘birth’ of the Midnight Rider:
DUSTY RHODES VS. KEVIN SULLIVAN | LOSER-LEAVES-TOWN MATCH
CHRISTMAS DAY, 1982