Brett Mix’s Ric Flair and The Four Horsemen DVD Review:
“Diamonds are forever…..and SO ARE THE HORSEMEN!”
This is the story of the greatest faction in the history of Professional Wrestling.
The nWo might be the most significant for drawing in fans, D-X might have been the most entertaining for fans (the HHH one in the Atttitude Era), The Hart Foundation in 1997 might have had the best crop of talent and was my personal favourite in Pillman, Owen, The Bulldog, The Anvil and The Hitman Bret Hart but there is only one Four Horsemen the original Stable that all dressed, talked, and acted like each other and were there for one another.
They got results.
They talked about the Anderson tag-teams, Hunter and Austin talk about the love for how they took a body part out and isolated that area. HHH called them the bad ass backbone of the group.
In the mid 1980’s this one stable formed in the NWA when Arn Anderson known as Double A just popped out there hasn’t been a a group of four guys this powerful since the Bible times when there was the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The original Horsemen consisted of Arn and Ole Anderson, Tully Blanchard with his original manager James J Dillon and of course the leader of the stable the usual NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion, the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair.
These guys sticked together, they rode together, they slept Horsemen living, they breathed it, felt it and that’s why people believed it so much because they all lived it and then ran wild on the NWA they went from small crowds to big crowds and that’s the impact the 4 Horsemen had on Pro-Wrestling or more specifically the NWA and for future Wrestling and stables. The four fingers out became a trademark for fans who showed up at live events with signs to the fans in the crowd holding up four fingers and it was one of the first things in the business where you used a hand signal as the wrestlers did it in the ring, during taped segments, during promo’s in the Crockett studio’s.
Being a Horsemen meant you had to be successful and the cream of the crop as Anderson said. They all dressed similar and they were the first group to do that and the way they carried themselves were very professional as nobody could touch them by the way they dressed, and all there material possesions with Women, Vehicles, Jewlery and people became envious of them and it worked so well. There manager Dillon said whenever you see them together you’re seeing something special and you believed it. That’s what the first 20-30 minutes of this Documentary covered very well.
The Horsemen did what they wanted when they wanted to do it and people like Steve Austin, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Teddy Long among others said during commentary which was extra special because that’s what the likes of Austin, HBK and HHH said about themselves in future days. Sound familiar? “I do what I want when I want son.” -Steve Austin “The Heartbreak Kid lies down for absolutelyyy nooooboddddy” -Shawn Michaels “I am The Game and I do what I want, when I want to do it.” -Triple H (etc) Or there are more examples for Triple H like that in the D-X days.
There was a great intimidation factor from all four guys even Ole Anderson had great mic time and he could intimidate you with his promo’s even if many considered him the weakest of the four guys and that is why they were so powerful because every member had prestige.
It also did a good job at looking at Magnum TA who like I said in Flair’s Definitive Review was one of the most underrated Babyfaces of ALL TIME. Ric Flair and Magnum TA’s feud was legendary and Magnum TA’s career was cut short due to a car accident.
Loved how they covered the feud with Dusty Rhodes just how the other two Flair DVD’s did as it was an important corner stone in the years of 1985-1986 because the Horsemen were convinced the American Dream was dead yet he’d keep coming back and Steve Austin growing up watched this and thought of Rhodes as an influence because as he says he he always knew he was going to come back. They compared the Rhodes and Flair rivalry as big of one as the Yankees and Red Sox. Micheal Hayes the former WCCW Freebird says that it will go time as one of the greatest rivalries of all time and I’d have to agree as they were complete opposites. Rhodes was the overweight every man who didn’t have the wealth and cockiness the Nature Boy did, he had confidence and belief in himself rather. They showed a lot of promo’s between the two guys which displayed there charisma very well and they talked about the magic when they got together as there was definately a lot of natural chemistry.
This DVD also did a wonderful job at capturing the members of the Horsemen over time not only in the NWA but followed through into the WCW with the likes of Pillman, Benoit and Malenko for example. More on that later but I thought that was a great part of the Documentary’s features and there were many.
Arn Anderson has typically been poked fun at or talked about a lot in regards to this DVD because he pretty much or DOES for that matter STAY IN KAYFABE during the entire duration of the documentary as he is such an old school type of guy.
Regardless it’s funny, there’s nothing wrong with it and if anything it just adds to the DVD as Double A is one of the most all around underrated talents of all time. He continues to talk about the Dusty Rhodes rivalry and how they took him to the parking lot and commited that “criminal act” and people thought it was serious but the Horsemen just wanted to send a message that you don’t mess with them. Everywhere they went people noticed. Heads would turn and in those territories in those times it just clicked and drew money. Like the Ric Flair DVD they talked about how they travelled ALL over the place and how there was a buzz in the cities about The Horsemen coming to town. I liked how they mentioned they were like Rockstars whereever they went together and most of all how they were all friends. They hung out on the rare day off and had respect for one another, one of them weren’t selfish and that’s why it worked so well because they all had that mutual respect for each other and this went on for awhile.
Then came the first big problem in the group when Ole Anderson turned. Ole Anderson punched Dillon and Flair and Tully then attacked Ole, and LMFAO @ Arn calling him an evil son of a bitch in all seriousness. Gotta love Arn in Kayfabe during this Documentary. Lex Luger then took his spot and they pointed out as he kind of fit but not really. He wasn’t great on the mic at all but had a great physique and if given the right opponent could work a match quite well especially in the NWA. (Not so much in the WWF) With Luger now as a memeber they discussed further about the Warams games and how unique it was.
Tully Blanchard was the most hated in the group and he even got the fans to dress like them, that’s a true mark of the significance of the stable. He was legitamately over as a heel and he talked about his teaming with Arn and how they never cheated but did so through manipulation and never broke there morals but still could generate heat and that added a new dynamic that was pretty much 2nd nature to them. Tully was the speed and the flash and the set up and Arn was the smasher which was why they were the perfect mix and one of the best tag teams ever. Anderson says the rare chemistry between them was almost like osmosis it was pretty much telepathic, he also points out when they first won the tag titles it was a big mark for him even though he was already a TV Champion.
They made the other guy look better and that’s ultimately what a tag team is all about and should drive to do. There was a competitive nature with all of the Horsemen and that was “Who could have the best match” and that pushed each Horsemen member to become an even better wrestler then they ever were. Ross talked about how they wanted the new member Luger to be like Hogan but it never worked. Barry Windham was another guy that was teaming with Luger and then in Jacksonville in 1989 he turned on Luger and he had a mean streak that he showed when becoming a Horsemen. This added credibility to that stable as Windham had it all with size, speed, agility, mic skills and most importantly brilliant condiditioning and wrestling skills. Like I said in the Flair DVD reviews Flair had trouble even keeping up with Barry at times. Windham was a great Horsemen and you believed it when looking at him and I even remember these days greatly. The four guys in the stable were now taken extremely serious now with Arn, Tully, Flair and Windham with Dillon as the manager. They said (Flair specifically) that they should have never lost the war with Vince at that time because they had a better talent pool then the WWF and they did but they didn’t have the marketting and the money Vince had. It’s true.
The NWA had a much better talent pool wrestling wise then the WWF then they just didn’t handle the talent as well as Vince did in the Hogan-Savage days of the late 80’s. Flair said that they made a living of making people better and just to work with them would be such a great honor so that’s true. Windham said a lot of politics and bullshit outside the ring drove him crazy because of all the jealousy and Arn talked a little bit about the pressure put on them by Crockett among others.
Flair admits Tully and Arn were as good as him and that’s why they were successful as they were and they got screwed with there pay day as they only made half of what some other workers made. Tully talked about his payday for Great American Bash 1988 being 1, 000 dollars while the manager Dillon got 3, 000 dollars so he was hot. Tully got pissed off and he told Crockett his feelings and he says he shouldn’t have and Tully decided to leave and Arn went with him. Arn and Tully both headed to the WWF and became the Brain Busters a very good tag team in the Federation. This was when things turned around. Turner bought Crockett promotions in 1988, they came WCW not long after that and they were being run by some owners that didn’t understand the business very well and Flair says that was the end of the Horsemen without Tully and Arn and the new direction. Very interesting stuff as it kind of explains the turnaround. Flair’s first experience with Turner was when he first experienced the politics and calls Jim Herd an embarassment to the Wrestling Business because he worked at a Pizza Hut and knew nothing about Wrestling as he also says in the Definitive Collection. They then went on to talk about how they tried to make Kendal Windham the next Arn or Tully but it didn’t work despite him being a decent worker as he was Barry’s brother but it just didn’t click, not even as well as Luger did. JJ Dillon then left the Horsemen and a lot of people said that was the beginning of the end. They then hired other members and it just didn’t click or work as effectively as the other members of the Horsemen and Flair was the only corner stone of the group.
Next was how they talked about how Flair-Steamboat was a good way to not forget about the Horsemen but just kind of move past that for now. Slowly faded and then the angles became about Flair and Steamboat and why the hell not? They were putting on legendary matches. Tully talks about snorting some Coke and how he was going to go back to WCW but WCW found out about his problems and didn’t let him back while Arn went back and then Flair and Anderson were back together which was a great moment but no Tully. They tried to re-form the Horsemen entering 1990 and Arn and Flair knew those instances only come along every now and then so they ran with the idea of the Horsemen. Tully Blanchard felt he tied the group together so it was never really the same. Sting was then converted to become a Horsemen with Ole, Arn and Flair as the new 4th man as The new Horsemen. Classic moment when Arn puts his hand up and four fingers and Sting nodded. People talked about how Sting didn’t need the Horsemen and the Horsemen didn’t need Sting and that’s true. It didn’t last long and at Clash of the Champions 1990 Flair turned on Sting and kicked him out of the group which set up more Sting-Flair stuff and Sting was the Ultimate Warrior of the NWA-WCW but 10 times more talented as said by Flair and a good guy on top of it. They talked about how Flair was used poorly as the Black Scorpion and Windham was now with Arn, Flair and now Sid Vicious. Here comes another big guy with a lot of charisma but he was selfish and had poor mic skills, not the best in ring worker either as we see a clip of how he almost kills Brian Pillman. Flair calls it embarassing to describe Sid Vicious as a member of the Horsemen and says “Please put this on the DVD. ”
Flair at this time left the WCW as he went to the WWF for that 2 year time and Windham was pissed because this was his chance to win the title and it was going to happen but it never came to be and that made Windham mad obvioussly when Flair had his fallout with Herd as I’ve covered before. They eventually went with a new generation approach in the WWF so Flair went back to WCW in 1993 and in May of 1993 with new managment he was happy but the new member of the Horsemen this time with Flair and the Anderson’s was Paul Roma. The fans booed and Triple H talks about how he was the jobber from the WWF. Flair says it made them look bad but Paul Roma said that Ric Flair wishes he could have been him. Paul Roma thinks he didn’t fit with the Horsemen and even he’ll admit that. Roma had harsh comments about Anderson and Flair which made this DVD Documentary AWESOME!
He says Flair was a 97 year old who goofed around too much while Anderson was fat. Roma was then bashed by Anderson, Long, Flair, and everyone else.
They talked about then in text how Arn Anderson and Sic Vicious got into a fight in a hotel in 1993 (October) that put them both in the hospital and Anderson recieved 20 stab wounds. Roma says he thinks they got into a fight over Ego’s. That short lived Horsemen broke up once again and then two years later Anderson took on Flair at Fall Brawl 1995 in a very emotional classic match. These two were the longest members and arguably the two leaders of the Horsemen throughout the entire 80’s and 90’s so this match had a good build and it actually payed off with a good match and it’s on this DVD so I’ll get to review that which is a good thing. Anderson said the feud was so emotional that he went out and puked in a trash can after his promo and that’s how real it felt. Even though the match worked well they knew the money was better when they were together and they got Brian Pillman as a partner.
All you need to know here was that Pillman joined Arn and Flair as a new member of the Horsemen as the three all attacked Sting. The Horsemen were off and running again with them three in October of 1995. Soon there will be four said Arn and it was Chris Benoit. Chris Benoit obvioussly the best wrestler of all time in my books. Chris Benoit is all business all the time and he is a MONSTER. That’s what Arn says. Wow, well he wouldn’t be the last person to call him that, that’s for sure.
The new Horsemen were together wwith Pillman, Benoit, Flair, Anderson and Steve McMicheal even played a bit of a part. Mongo then turned on Green to help Flair win and joined the Horsemen with Woman and Debra. He didn’t have the best Wrestling skills but had a great personality which fit the Stable.
Benoit says Nancy and Elizabeth knew how to party and brought looks and credibility to the stable.
Jeff Jarrett in January of 1997 wanted to be a Horsemen and they showed clips of Jarrett asking Flair to be a Horsemen. At Superbrawl 97 he had to beat Mongo and Benoit to become one and then he hit McMicheal with a briefcase and got the three count and Jarrett became a Horsemen. Managment had a big part in Jarrett wanting to become a Horsemen and Ric and Arn didn’t want him in but since there was problems between Ric and managment they might have did this to intentionally get to him. Austin and Bischoff agree that Jeff Jarrett wasn’t Horsemen material.
The next part was pretty emotional in the year of 1997 and talked about his injuries with his neck that cause paralysis in his left hand and he had to have surgery and forced him to retire in August of 1997 on Nitro. He got a good ovation and the likes of Flair, Mongo, Benoit and Hennig clapped along with the fans and Mean Gene showed him respect on his way out and Flair got emotional in the ring of course. Arn did as well and he was an honest guy with both great mic and ring skills and Anderson gave his farewell speech. Anderson gave his spot to Hennig in the Horsemen. Hennig was a great addition and joined the Horsemen. It didn’t work out well though because he turned on him at Fall Brawl and went to the nWo and Benoit talked a little bit about how this new version of the Horsemen feuded with the nWo.
The nWo then mocked the Horsemen in a very controversial promo with Nash and Syxx immitating Flair and Anderson and people were pissed off in real life and in the arena on screen. Bischoff even admits he wish he didn’t do that looking back as he is a good guy and that added fuel to the fire between the already existing conflict between Bischoff and Flair. They then talk more about the Flair-Bischoff thing that I touched on in the other Definitive Review.
Since you’ve all heard the stories of Bischoff and Flair before there’s no real use getting into that part of the documentary but without Flair there was no Horsemen and that became apparent to everyone so it was over.
Anyways back in Horsemen territory they wanted Flair back.
Then what you can see on the Monday Night Wars the WCW I believe won this night with the competition with Raw. Anderson, Malenko and Benoit called out the 4th Horsemen Ric Flair and he was in tears in a truely emotional moment. Flair then said the memorable line to Bischoff…”Fire me! I’m already fired!” And proceeded to call him a Son of a Bitch to a huge pop!
One of Flair’s most emotional moments to this point in his career.
Everyone considers The 4 Horsmen either 1A or 1B for the best factions ever and to be honest I don’t know how they could be 1B.
This documentary is one of the best next to Pillman’s and the Rise and Fall of ECW and does a great job at capturing the era’s of all the different versions of the Horsemen told from the guys themselves. Also including the popular segments, rare promo’s among other things was just a great way to do the DVD’s documentary.
This DVD has some good matches on it but it’s worth the price for this excellent documentary alone, especially if you’re a fan of one of the Horsemen or all of them or if you just want to know the story of how everything came together.
This is a great documentary and I suggest buying the DVD!
The greatest faction of all time! The Original!
Disc 2 Matches:
1) “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Ole Anderson vs Pez Whatley, The Italion Stallion, and Rocky King in 6 Man Tag Action -National Wrestling Alliance 6-22-85
Here we go and we’re off to match one of the Horsemen set here on Disc 2 and it’s a seemingly mediocre 6 man tag from a rare NWA event in the Summer of 1985.
The Horsemen were very over at this time and perhaps that was the motvation to select this match.
Interesting to note that on the menu and on the manual in the DVD set it says Tully is Flair and Double A’s partner but it is actually Ole Anderson the brother of Arn so that is a slip up by whoever made the DVD.
These faces were just some examples of guys going at it with the Horsemen who didn’t perhaps deserve to be in the same ring with them talent wise. Double A did start the match nicely and he bumped well and sold some drop kicks as the match got kicked off to a high energy pace which got the crowd involved. Ole got tagged in and started to brawl with Whatley but he kept taking it to him and they wanted to get these underdog faces over early which was pretty evident given the booking of the match. It sure got the crowd jacked for it, that’s for sure. Naitch then comes in as the Anderson’s have no luck with Whatley but Naitch gets a shoulder block followed by an arm drag take down and all three members of the Horsemen get in trouble now as Whatley has took it to all three and the fans (for all who is there are going wild.)
That was a pretty strong point to this match how the underdog faces dominated early so you legitimately thought they MIGHT have a chance in this match and soon the action got so lit up that all hell broke loose and all six men battled each other in the ring and the refs could do very little about it. Arn and Flair contributed to this match well as they had natural chemistry as did Ole and Arn as all of the Horsemen were over. The World’s Champion Ric Flair then took it to the faces as did Ole when tagged in with a half boston crab. Tony Schiavone put over Magnum TA even though he was out of action (What else is new?) and that brings back memories, I say it all the time and I’ll say it again Magnum was one of the best ever that never got a chance kind of like Windham in the late 80’s.
Arn worked on The Stallion’s leg and I thought Ole got tagged in and continued to work on the Italion Stallion’s leg perfectly applying that half boston crab. They did unfortunately go to a commercial break but when they come back Rocky King is getting HIS right leg worked on by the Nature Boy. Ole tagged in and more leg work from team heel to team face as the pace went from that very fast pace in the beginning to a methodical wearing down, ruthless pace by the agressive Horsemen which showed how well they worked as a unit so that is another reason why I like this choice to include this match already. There were STILL moments in this one where the Horsemen weren’t ALWAYS in control other then the beginning like when King kept moving out of the way after Flair’s elbow drops and then he took it to each Horsemen member but then the other members would come in the ring and all six men would begin to brawl. Pretty entertaining match so far.
The biggest strength for the 4 Horsemen in this one was definately there strategic gameplan. The leg work was unbelievable and it was a unique addition to the set because it showed the unity of the team and how each guy was out there for the other guy on that team and that’s what it was all about. All for one and one for all was the Horsemen motto and the quick and frequent, relevant tags further proved that point and it’s shown ALL match long even if they’re not dominating the legs of King and others the whole match which they basically were. And finally after ALL THAT leg work on King Flair puts Rocky in the figure four and the ref rings the bell as the Horsmen pick up the solid victory in about 10 minutes in a fast paced 6 man tag in the early stages but a methodical, psychological, team work victory by the Horsemen for the next 6-7 minutes which ultimately lead to there inevitable victory. Good match to throw on the disc to show how well they worked as a team here and it never dragged! After the match Flair and the horsemen got in the face of the man himself Magnum TA on the outside.
2) “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (c) vs Ricky Morton for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in a Steel Cage Match (OUTSIDE) -National Wrestling Alliance’s Great American Bash 7-05-86
This match took place outside and had no commentary with this disc. Unaware of the actual event had commentary although I’m sure it did but for some reason we don’t get any here.
It’s a cage match and Morton who is a tremendous worker is already inside the Cage and the fans close in on the outside are by the cage in anticipation of the match. Morton looks like a legitimate thread to Flair’s title here at the Great American Bash 1986 although Flair was indeed “THE MAN” here and about to enter his prime and already a mulit-time NWA Heavyweight Champion of the world. Flair got a ton of heat as leader of the Horsemen as he laded in a helicopter which was an awesome entrance as Morton looked on with a full face mask on.
This match is a pretty lengthy one but I remember it being very solid all around as the pace picked up as it goes on.
Should be good here on the re-watch!
We did get some alright action in the early going even if the two guys did pace themselves relatively slowly as I remembered. Morton climbed on top of the Champion Flair and gave him some blows and Morton also mat wrestled Flair and overtook him which scared off the Champion as the fans screamed and were insanely behind Ricky Morton. Flair was that hot in the business here, THAT over as a heel that he even tried to escape Morton’s attack by leaving the Cage but Morton brought him back in the ring and hit a back slide after Flair did a flop. Flair got in the ref’s face and he pushed him back. The two stared each other down some more and this is what I mean by the two TAKING there time but when the acion went it did go and Morton had the upperhand a lot early as pointed out so it made this match pretty fun in the early stages despite a little bit of patience needed to fully enjoy it.
Flair definately sold a lot of Morton’s punches quite well as he looked in a considerable amount of pain after each stinging blow to the face.
Like all Ric Flair matches he acts like a coward (When he’s heel anyway) as he does it so well and does get on the offense for a litte bit only for the challenger to take over yet again and the crowd go crazy. Same formula here in that cage match as you might imagine. Even after Flair’s quick attacks out of no where Morton would find a unique way to counter it into a backslide or roll-up pinning combination where he’d score a long 2 which added drama early before locking on a sleeper that slowed down the early pace a little bit.
The Nature Boy being the champion is only going to take a shit kicking for so long and I like the way he got back in control of this cage match with his dirty tricks and he proceeded to throw Morton into the side of the cage and the crowd could not wait till Morton turned the tables again if he ever could. Mortons mask came off curtisy of the Nature Boy and he was a bloody mess from all the shots by Naitch as he continued to chop him, strike that busted up head with solid right hands and trash talk like only Flair can! He is after all the dirtiest player in the game. He certainly knows how to bring that character out full force when in these types of violent matches especially in a Cage during the 1980s on big time shows.
This match is pretty awesome commentary or not.
The atmosphere and the wrestlers body language mixed in with verbal outburts and the crowd cheering or booring at the appropriate times made up for the lack of commentary. I thought both men did a very good throughout and this is one of those more rare-underrated Cage matches that are not spoken of all the time for whatever reason so I am definatley just glad it made the set. Flair really felt like THE MAN at this time and any time Moron hit Flair whether it of been with a cross body or whatever move the crowd popped like crazy.
Just an all out war when Flair put Morton in the figure four leg lock all bloodied up (Morton was) and while he used the ropes for leverage Morton pointed to the ref that Flair was cheating and the refs reaction was pretty priceless. Flair still controlled the bout after this by relentlessly driving those right hands to the cranium of the no injured Morton. It pretty much looked like he had nothing left in the tank at THAT point of the match after sustaining that kind of punishment followed with Flair chops. He did however SOMEHOW Save up enough energy to make Flair blade. He rubbed Slick Rics head into the cage and now both of them were bloody but Flait still remained in control for a moment until a Morton clothesline caught him and now all of the sudden this became a bloody war inside a cage and both guys were getting in there share of offense.
When you got Ricky Morton who looks like he has been to absolute hell and back all bloodies doing a cross body off the top to a bloodied and out of it Ric Flair it is a SPECIAL moment in a match. Morton had Flair down at one point and dropped a knee from the top of the turnbuckle but only got a 2 on that exchange.
Both men fatigued, bloody and it felt like an all out war with them both brawling in the middle of the ring with the fans screaming wildly in the background, old school, picture perfect greatness. Flair eventually won by using his feet on the ropes to cover up Morton late in the match to retain his title at GAB 86. A bloodied Flair left the area with his title just as he did so many times in the 1980s in general. Just another day at the office.
This is a fun war and I love it.
Not always paced well but still done very effectively and it was NOT unrealistic bringing Morton back into the game as it delivered a better climax but the ending could of been done a bit better as could have the booking at different times of the match.
Still though, this is A GREAT CAGE MATCH and was done very well.
3) Tully Blanchard vs The American Dream Dusty Rhodes (c) in a First Blood Match for the TV CHampionship-National Wrestling Alliance’s Starrcade 11-27-1986
The first match on the set (and in awhile) that I have reviewed that DID NOT include Ric Flair. This was ok because any time you get to see Tully it is a good day. Tully was out there with JJ Dillon while the chrismatic dream had all the people on his side due to that unbelievable amount of energy he had. Dust had Tully written on the side of his face just above his left and right ear and it went across from the front side to the right side. They point out how Rhodes got a haircut to before the match. Tully with his pushing war with the official caused the ref to not see the Dream hit an elbow to the roof of JJ Dillion’s hea dwhne he got in his face. Then in one of the most hillarious blade jobs in history he lies there looking like he has a siezure for about 30 seconds and then rolls out of the ring in a pool of blood from Dusty’s elbow. Dear god that’s good stuff. I love how the beginning of this match focused on Blanchard staying tough despite Rhodes being hit intimidating bigself. Every time Tully went for an offensive move on Dusty Rhodes he’d put up the big elbow as if it was some kind of warning to Blanchard and he wouldn’t run away he’d just back off for a bit. When Blanchard finally DID get some offense in Rhodes quickly countered it with a trip. I always notice that about older 80’s matches in the NWA. It seems that whenever a heel can dominate at the beginning it can’t be for an extended period of time or else the crowd involvment gets sucked out where as in the WWF around this same time they didn’t really care. That’s probably why the NWA had better matches back then because they were paced better. Now this is not the example by any means of a match to say how the NWA had better matches then the WWF during 1986 but this is an example of a match where the babyface must maintain control of the pace in the early going as opposed to a full out heel slapping on a submission hold quieting down the crowd.
Fully understood this is the md 80’s and there FIRST BLOOD matches aren’t going to be Steve Austin vs Undertaker full out brutal, brawlfests on the outside but would it hurt the other of these two to even TRY and bust the other one open? Why would Rhodes attack Blanchard’s leg unless of course he wanted to wear him down first so it would then be easy to bust him open but still I didn’t see the point. OH WOW, it looks like Dusty might bust Tully open with a weapon! Imagine that, he actually has Dillon’s shoe but he says “Nope” and throws it to the outside. Oh Cool. He decided to hit Blanchard with his famous elbow that he hit Dillion with earlier that busted him open with. He does and Blanchard surely bleeds but there’s one problem, the official is down. Okay and then with the ref down cue the Dillion intereference. He hands Blanchard a roll of coins and he smacks it over the head of Rhodes and when the official got up he saw Dusty first and he goes nuts as they declare Blanchard the winner and the new TV Chamoion. OKAY at best for it’s time but even then it should be considered a dissapoint. You’ve got two great workers on a big time PPV in a title match with a gimmick at that, this was short as all hell about 5-10 minutes and we don’t even get consistent action through that time and the psychology is flawed throughout. Poor ending even if a little original for it’s time but I wont give this one to cruel of a rating.
It’s still a bad match all things considered.
We don’t get commentary here but it doesen’t matter for two reasons.
1) The crowd is going wild the entire time.
2) It’s the War Games.
Dusty Rhodes the obvious fan favourite begins 1988’s edition of the War Games with Double A- Arn Anderson. Two rings side by side here with a Hell in the Cage Surrounding both. Good solid work from those two overall with there time in the match together as the offense switched from guy to guy and when Rhodes went to drive Arn’s head into the cage he’d run off but not before being busted wide open. Good visual for a Classic War-Style match that’s appropriately named “The WAR GAMES.” Arn did get some shots on Dusty using the ropes for leverage while stomping on the big man followed by a choke hold.
Arn also busts open Rhodes with a screwdriver but Rhodes obvioussly got his turn with the toy himself. The countdown was on and the next person was Barry Windham. Another Horsemen and Rhodes went right after him with some solid right hands and the fans ate it right up. The American Dream even took it to both Anderson and Windham while both guys were up but groggy and of course they went nuts for that in attendance but it could only last for so long as Arn got Dusty from behind and then Windham and Anderson double teamed him. I love Barry’s claw to the skull.
Next in was Dr. Death Steve Williams who tackled down Windham and Anderson to save Rhodes who was all bloody and layed flat on the ground due to being dominated for a couple of minutes by that Arn and Barry tandem. “Dr. Death” Steve Williams went toe to toe with Arn Anderson back and forth while Barry Windham went toe to toe with Rhodes getting the better of him due to his punishment he had sustained. In next was none other then The Nature Boy himself and in one ring while Barry and Anderson were double teaming a poor and beaten Rhodes Williams and Flair were going one on one in the other. Good action throughout, never dull and always entertaining like most War Games matches. Anderson hit a nice looking DDT to Dr. Death and while Barry held up Rhodes Flair kicked him in the jewels and then laughed to the outside in Nature Boy style.
Lex Luger in his blue trunks ran in the ring next and fans went absolutely wild. (Don’t ask me why) He of course took down Barry and then it always cracks me up how Flair begs not to be hit and then not only did Luger hit Flair but he put him in the torture rack. Good stuff as we move along and the ring is certainly starting to fill up quite nicely and while Flair drives Luger’s head into the cage in one ring, Rhodes is actually dishing out punishment to Anderson and Windham in the other as he’s finally found his legs after being dominated since the moment the third man Barry Windham entered the match.
In next was Tully Blanchard.
Blanchard went straight for Dr. Death Steve Williams to help out Barry Windham and he got a steel chair and Smacked Lex Luger with it a couple of times to help Ric Flair as he was being attacked by Luger in the corner. Nice outside view of the War Games by the camera with wonderful angles showing the crowd going absolutely crazy on the outside while showing the action taking place in the ring in both sides. Neither team really had an advantage by this point but there was a lot of double teaming going on in both rings, that’s for sure and it made for some nice compelling back and forth material. Anderson continued his DDTathon and this time hit Luger with a nice one as Flair standing right beside him nodded in approval. A now Bloodied Ric Flair beat on Luger in the corner now for a change of pace.
In next was Nikita Koloff and it was hilarious when Flair jumped him straight away but he got the better of almost everybody upon entering. The solid action in this 1988 War Games at the Great American Bash continued as both rings were nearly full of both teams absolutely beating the living hell out of each other.
Finally for team HEEL Dillon came in the match and he looks older then Al Wilson.
Despite being on the offense at the start in a double team sequence with Windham he got dominated in the corner by Koloff and the fans approped while Dr. Death Steve Williams kept grinding Flair’s head into the steel and most of the guys in this match had bladed by now. The only person to not have entered this match is Ellering for team BABYFACE as he’s be the final arrival in just a few moments. Submissions and brawling filled the rings and then the final man came out.
Ellering was LAST as the final man and everybody just kind of stood around and picked out there target as all competitors had now entered the rings. The Pace actually slowed down once everyone was in the fatigue was starting to set it no doubt from the all out WAR type of pace they had set themselves up with before everyone entered. Plus with so many people in the ring they weren’t really all relied on so heavily to carry the action due to there being so many people in the match.
In the end Dillion tappes out to Dusty’s modified leg lock, team BABYface walks out of the match bloodied and victorious. The Horsemen check on Dillion’s condition as he holds onto his sore knee.
Fun and well worked War Games match!
5) Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard (c) (W/JJ Dillon) vs Sting and Nikita Koloff for the World Tag Team Championship-National Wrestling Alliance’s Great American Bash 07-10-1988
This tag team attraction took place just 6 days before the War Game match.
Tully and Arn one of the best tag teams ever and going in as the defending champions took on one of the more underrated tag teams in Koloff and Sting from a Sold Out Baltimore Arena.
The two teams even from the get go set a magnificent pace with all out brawling that was full throttle action and even went to the outside.
When the pace FINALLY slowed down Koloff worked on Anderson’s arn and Tully looked on with the “Fu*k, Arn get up” type stare. These guys were awesome so it’s expected that they demand nothing from perfection from each other and that’s why they were so good because of those high expectations. Arn did get out and took it to Koloff but he ran towards Arn and he moved out of the way but Koloff still hit him and Tully with a clothesline after Blanchard ran in the ring out of desperation to attack Koloff and it didn’t work, the fans went wild!
Sting once tagged in applied more pressure to Anderson’s arm until Arn caught him with a knee to the ribs and then a sleeper but Sting sent him into the corner and before Arn could tag in Tully Sting went to work by dropping his leg on the sore arm of Anderson and applied a stanind armbar. HILARIOUS spot when Blanchard runs in the ring to protect his partner and co-champion Arn Anderson from Sting’s armbar he flips them both over the ropes. Once Tully gets tagged in the arm work doesen’t stop there and Sting hits some nice armdrag take downs. Koloff did the same to Blanchard when he was tagged in and actually locked on a solid looking abdominal stretch. Still, with all these holds the pace to this match was never slow.
Not even for an instant and that’s what made this tag team match such a good one.
Koloff and Sting with such a methodical approach to breaking down the soon to be Brain Busters and the fans were right behind them the entire time.
Great spot in this one saw Sting fly over the top onto Double A with a body press.
I remember this being the opening match to this event and this was a very solid opener to say the least. Arn and Tully when controlling used there size advanatage and power, Sting and Koloff used there speed and skill and despite Tully and Arn being dominated and being the champions they never gave in the entire match which showed how tough they were to beat! Unfortunately for the live crowd new champs weren’t crowned despite controlling the majority of the pace and The Horsemen team retained the titles when this tag bout went the fill twenty minutes to a time limit draw.
6) Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard (c) vs Lex Luger and Barry Windham for the NWA Tag Team Championship -National Wrestling Alliance’s clash of the Champions 07-10-1988
Tully and Windham start off and in typical NWA fashion the faces get the early advantage and the crowd approves, imagine that.
Thankfully it changes up a bit when Arn Anderson comes in the ring to work on Lex Luger and then he tags in Tully to do the same but Windham intereferes and takes down both and all hell breaks loose pretty much. Absolute chaos and again the fan approves of the fast paced action.
Barry Windham went to work on Arn and Tully for a great length of time during this bout and the fans were behind Tully in full form as he was still a good guy here.
Ross called it best when he said it best when he called it a dramatic contest due to all the near falls, made it very interesting also the Windham bridge on Tully was a thing of beauty following all those near falls.
My god when the fans scream in these NWA tag matches during this time period it is SO LOUD, you need to see it to believe it.
When there going that apes*it for Lex Luger you know they are a great audience.
The Pace to this match was pretty awesome throughout if shorter then the one before it and Luger and Windham win when JJ Dillon accidentally hit his Horsmen with a chair on the apron.
JR Says a new era in tag team wrestling has begun!
VERY GOOD MATCH, Thanks mostly to Windham’s excellence.
7) “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair vs “Double A” Arn Anderson -WCW Fall Brawl 09-17-1995
As I said in the documentary Arn Anderson was emotional over this match that the guy actually puked before this match after a pre-match promo.
Anyways this is the only match of the 1990’s on this DVD and it’s an appropriate one to close out the set considering the Horsemen’s quality of matches after this not being anything overly significant other then some great work by the likes of Benoit.
A lot of deceased wrestlers in the crowd during this one, Big Bubba (Traylor aka Bossman), Eddie, Pillman, etc.
Flair and Arn strut a little bit when locking up and Slick Ric pulls it out for this one, I liked it how Heenen said they know everything about each other and that was a huge point as this was a dream match of sorts for many years and was pulled off in great fashion.
Truth be told the pace of this match (while it is a great match is pretty slow) both guys have aged since we last saw them on this set in the 80’s during there prime but they can still go and they proved that here but the pace is a little slower in the beginning with Flair’s timing being better then Arn’s for a bit and then Arn’s better then Flair’s and he did some nice arm work to Flair. Also, I really loved how the “Who is better then Who” came up as both guys didn’t want to say the other was better and it’s a lot closer then people think if you want to say Flair is much better. The Enforcer in Double A was the all around package and that question of who would win was translated in the ring into this match quite nicely.
Flair did his usual flip over the corner and then nicely pulled the top rope down as Arn charged at him on the ring apron and he flew over the ropes and despite Flair dominating that part and chopped the hell out of his running buddy, Arn did get his offense on Flair in this one as I elluded to earlier with the arm work and the back body drop to the ground and this personal war exploded on the outside, the inside, just a great, great match and Flair even suplexed Arn on the outside on the mat.
Just a great all around even battle with beautiful story telling to boot!
Both guys extremely fatigued even after a simple suplex because the match has taken a lot out of the two participants.
Loved how the climax was in the middle so it made it look extra special and Arn put his arm out to stop the figure four, Flair put his arm out to the ropes to stop the DDT, and in the end Pillman hit Flair and Arn got his DDT and the win.
Fantastic match to close the set!
Final Rating for Ric Flair and The Four Horsemen DVD = 7.5/10
This faction is the best of all time no doubt about it, so it’s appropriate they get a DVD just to themselves. I would of liked it if was called the Legacy of the 4 Horsemen rather then Ric Flair AND the 4 Horsemen but that’s another story, you’d think Flair’s other two 3 Disc Sets would be enough glory. At least in the 7 matches everyone didn’t involve Flair even though the ones that did were quite good. I enjoyed the rare segments and stories on the extras on both two discs and some of the matches were rare, some weren’t some were great, some were average. The biggest stength though of this DVD set is the documentary which runs over 2 hours long, is kept interesting, It is a compelling watch and gives you a FULL idea of what it was like to be a Horsemen, what was special about it and why, who joined and who left and it just captured the moments wonderfully. Like I said in the documentary section of this review is a brilliant watch, easy on the eyes and the two hours go by extremely fast. As far as documentaries go only Pillman and Rise and Fall of ECW seemed to entertain me as much as this one. Get this one for the Doc alone but the other stuff is great as well. I would suggest this DVD to all wrestling fans world wide!
Do people really still buy DVD’s? I thought it was a pretty common thing for people to just stream movies now, instead of getting an actual, physical movie.
7.5 is very high on my ranking system. I do not give a DVD of 8 or higher unless I feel it is really elite.
7.5?!? Are you nuts?
This set is one of my absolute favorites. I used to go to NWA shows with my dad when I was a kid, and everything pointed out about these guys in the documentary is very true. Awesome story, and brings back alot of fond memories. Great review man.
You’re definitely right about Magnum TA. The guy is one of my favorites.