Brett Mix’s- “Nature Boy” Ric Flair: The Definitive Collection Review:
“I will NEVER RETIRE!” -“Nature Boy” Ric Flair
Disc 1 Documentary:
I thought this part was done very well. Obviously with a star like Ric Flair there not going to half ass a documentary that takes up a disc of his second 3 disc set. It does cover the basics.
A lot of truths and a few things stretched a bit perhaps but either way it gives you a better understanding about what kind of a guy he was and how he got there which ultimately is the purpose of a documentary. I really thought we could of done without the 5 minute Plane Crash story again and they could of just mentioned it happened because we’ve all heard it before but it’s still a significant and interesting story.
A pretty nice blend of rare/old promo’s mixed with rare old segments, pictures and fitting music mixed in with greats like Dory Funk, Bockwinkel and mostly Harley Race’s commentary made it awesome as they dived into the life of the Nature Boy Ric Flair.
Flair himself even spoke mostly but that was a given and I like how they covered how many different promotions he was in as the NWA Champion and how just ANYBODY couldn’t be the NWA Champion in that time. You were the NWA Champion then you were THE MAN pretty much and that is why and how Ric Flair pretty much got that name, He got his credibility with all of his reigns and he backed them up with classic matches and entertaining promo`s everywhere he went, to every territory or country!
A great way to show how busy he was when his daughter said she only got to see him 7-10 days a year. He was wrestling 6 nights a week defending his title in amazing match night after night and that is why no one has had the career he has had with that type of LENGTH and Quality, he travelled ALL Over the place. Austin, HBK, Edge, Cena and HHH talk about his influence which is great to see.
I also liked the map feature where they showed the globe and then it went place to place in a line to show JUST how many places he had to go. Documentary starts to really pick up where they start talking about the famous Starrcade 1983 match a Flare for the Gold with Harley Race. This is where Flair got his title back from Harley Race in the Starrcade 83 Cage match and this was the first match on Flair`s first set. It doesen`t age well but it remains a significant match today and they clipped it very well in this one with Solie`s commentary and music with the crowd`s roar that makes it appear better in this set then it did in the original obviously when they just show the greatest moments.
This was the defining moment in Flair`s career to this point winning his second NW
A title and a bloodied Flair said it was the greatest night of his life even to that point. Flair said it launched his career for sure because he beat a 7 time legend of a champion in Race and this time he ran with the gold in a big way.
The limo stories when he was young were funny of course as he made his gimmick real which is obviossly the best way to portray anything. Live your gimmick. I liked how he came up with `WOOOOOOOOOOOOO` as the fans loved it and I can`t think of anyone who doesen`t “WOOOOOO“ to be honest even if they don`t like Wrestling.
Space Mountain of course one of the more awesome appeals Flair had with the ladies and I liked the stuff they showed from those days with some of the ladies. His natural charisma and energy went with his character pretty perfectly and that`s why he was one of the most charismatic personalities in the history of Professional Wrestling as well as one of the best mic workers ever. “MY SHOES!!! Cost more then your house!!!“ of course is a classic line that shows just how materialistic The Nature Boy was and how he had to have a new ring, glasses, shoes, suits, limo`s, vehicles, to truly style and profile thus enhancing his image.
He spent a lot of money and MADE a lot of money (and blew a lot of money hence him wrestling in TNA nearing 2011) and got there from not much so anybody can respect that even if they don`t like him or the character he was playing`s, if you can even tellthe difference.
Some of the stuff in this documentary has been seen before either in his first set or the Horsemen set, or this is the third time you`re seeing it but either way most of it is great so I can`t complain very much.
We don`t need everyone and there Grandma saying “He`s the greatest of all time“ to get the point across and if you think you do you probably just need to convince yourself he is then. To me he is third but that`s just my own opinion and I will say that NO one had the career he did though as that`s not really up for debate.
I LOVED how they showed extremely rare footage of Flair going to small territories just to defend his NWA Title against there top dog in a small pond even if they didn`t deserve to be in the same ring as them. They also talked about his cardio conditioning and how he was the 60 minute man putting on lengthy quality matches almost every night of the week. I LOVE how they touched on the Horsemen with Tully and Arn but we`ve seen a ton of that already but it is certainly deserved. Also I liked some of the head to head promo`s and moments from a forgotten legend like Magnum TA and Ric Flair together. I`m in no way knocking Flair`s legendary feuds with some of the industries all time greats and maybe it`s because I JUST watched Flair`s “Ultimate Collection“ but I thought they covered Rhodes and Horsemen`s interaction enough already.
Still, like most of the old promo`s shown in the documentary before that you`ve already seen these were high quality segments, promo`s or match clips they were showing so it`s not very much of a BAD thing at all. It was great when they had Jim Ross talking about Flair`s great matches more specifically in the late 1980`s because he called most of them and that was his prime. Those were some of the greatest matches in the history of not only his career but all of Wrestling and defines Flair`s historic career. Botton line.
The bouts with Steamboat, sting, Funk, Rhodes, Luger in those years are so awesome and that doesen`t even fo it justice. I loved how they covered the sting match in Clash of the Champions that is included on THIS documentary. That match in 1988 vs Sting in the original Clash got a 7.0 rating back in the day head to head on free Cable with Wrestlemania 4 which is a huge accomplishment. Savage of course was carrying the WWF from a quality stand point while Flair was in the NWA from a quality stand point at the very same time. Of course they covered the Steamboat-Flair classics that eveyone considers to be the greatest matches due to the unbelievable chemistry between the two. It worked so well because as they said here, once again that Steamboat is the ultimate good guy and Flair was the ultimate bad guy and that chemistry between good and evil translated into the ring with there wrestling styles perfectly mixing with one another. Flair says he just watched the Steamboat-Flair match at Wrestlewar 89 for the first time in it`s entirety just a month ago with his wife. That`s unbelievable if true, pretty crazy and mind blowing I couldn`t even get past that. Austin in a shoot interview said he never watches his stuff because he`s SEEN enough of it over time so I guess some legendary performers would just rather not go back to it but we`ve all gotta believe some of these guys LOVE to go back and watch there best work. (Foley, Bret and Rock have been quoted as saying they enjoy doing that for instance) After Steamboat of course since The Funk rivalry started the night of Wrestlewar 89 they covered the Funk-Flair rivalry. The I Quit match in paticular was the main point of that feud despite them putting on a numerous ammount of classic matches over time. The Flair-Funk match was such a classic because it was light years ahead of its time and it had great crowd psychology mixed with hardcore innovative stuff and JR called it timeless which it was.
From Lou Thesz on they talk about how prestigious the NWA title was and how it usually was held by the best worker in the business which is true and I`m glad Flair rightfully acknowledges Vince and the WWF was a much bigger company because of money and marketing at the time. They talked about next a great deal of politics and backstage stuff between the Crockett`s and Turner`s and McMahon`s of the Wrestling world and how the business was changing heading into the 1990`s. Flair talked about not jobbing to Luger and wanting to put the title on Sting since that was the plan but the new ownership wanted different. Flair then had a `Fu** Off“with the new ownership and he headed North with the NWA title and claimed to be the REAL World`s Champion in the Federation. They talked a great deal about how Hogan-Flair was the ideal feud and how it never came to be at Mania and they showed how Flair won the Rumble in 1992. Good stuff there.
UNFORGIVABLE how they completely ignore his feud with Savage at Wrestlemania 8 not only on the match listing on this set (as it`s a **** and a half match) but they ignored it in the documentary as well. I should come to expect that by now from the WWE but it`s still an outrage every time I see it these days especially here when it looks like they`re going to dive into that then don`t. They just jumped right from his Rumble win to heading back to WCW.
No putting the title on the Hitman mentioned, no putting the title on Savage mentioned, nothing. Brutal.
They did touch on Hogan`s great deal in WCW though….as if that was needed. Flair helped bring Hogan in though so it was relevant and they did square off at Bash at The Beach 1994. That helped WCW get kick started in a big way but they didn`t really take off till the nWo angle and there mix of great talent in 1996 as everyone already knows but great hands like Austin and Steamboat and Pillman and Liger and Whindam and others helped carry them in the early 90`s. Flair noticed the difference in both big promotions, and it`s good to see they finally mention Randy Savage in WCW beating him a few times but that in a way makes me even more upset because if they`re going to do that they might as well have shown the greatness from 1992. Oh well, can`t have it all and it`s something you`ve gotta deal with sometimes. Ali was the judge, Mr. T was the ref in a Cage match beteween Hogan and Flair at Halloween Havoc 1994 in the WCW in a retirement match. Flair eventually returned because Hogan didn`t have anyone to work with and then they talked about HBK and HHH re-storing his confidence because of how he lost it in the mid-90`s on due to the politics in WCW in that time frame.
I liked them touching on the Flair-Bischoff rivalry which was a real life deal. I don`t know if I fully believe Flair when he says that the Hogan`s and Savage`s, Halls and Nash`s all wanted the WWF to die and he didn`t and they were ungrateful for wanting that. I`m sure if Flair was in his prime then and being treated good he`d want the competition to be gone or even if the others did want that I`m sure it wasn`t in the same context Flair is putting it. Nothing is ever fully Black or White in this business but that`s just how they have to make it seem in some documentaries because there always going to be biased even if just a little bit. Loved them talking about the closing of WCW and his coming back to the WWF and then his feud again with McMahon in 2002. He didn`t like who he was at that time which is why he says he wasn`t on his “A“ game in the ring or on the mic in the first few months of that run but then it started to turn around at Mania time with The Undertaker. Undertaker wanted to Wrestle Flair at Mania and Flair realized it was a big deal and it turned out to be a great one to say the least and that as Triple H stated got the ball rolling again. Flair then had some good-great matches in that year with Jericho and a good one with a burned out Austin in 2002 just before his walkout.
They show clips of some of the matches in the next few years with Carlito, Edge, MVP, Angle, etc. People felt it was an honor to wrestle him at any age and that`s just the proper treatment for legends. I really like how Austin himself talked about his match with him and how he had so much fun and he called him the best entertainer ever. I remember in 2003 I went online and there was a rumor and it said that Triple H and Flair wanted to try and re-create a Four Horsemen like Stable. I thought it sounded interesting and then it came to life when they molded Dave Batista and Randy Orton into future main eventers. The DVD covered a great deal on this pretty well! Everyone remembers this time on Raw and they did a wonderful job, all of them and I think Trips`s role of getting HHH back in that heel stable form helped him re-build his confidence. Not only doing that but to BUILD other careers like Tista and Orton had to have felt good. The hug between Orton and Flair at the end of there pretty good match in a Cage at Taboo Tuesday 04 was a GREAT moment for sure even if Orton`s face run was beyond a FLOP.
Oh here`s somebody they decicde to include and touch on. Mick Foley. Nice. After the a*shole comments Flair said about Bret, Savage and Foley (Which ironically happen to be 3 of my favourite 4 wrestlers ever outside of Austin) it was good they made something out of the real life tension between them. Flair even proves his ignorance by stating he never read any of Foley`s wonderful books but just HEARD he took shots at him so he wanted to do something back. Okay… but they had good matches at and at Summerslam there best one together. Finally the Flair-HHH rivalry and Flair-Michaels one closes out this DVD documentary appropriately cemented by what his legacy ultimately is and that is one of the best wrestlers of all time.
Ric Flair might be overrated if only a little bit in certain ways but this set shows that you can`t get all that upset about it when they show why he deserves a ton of credit over time. A ton of tributes have been done for him and rightfully so but his amazing career his summed up very well here in a GREAT documentary. Flair of course gets teary eyes as he is a very emotional guy as seen at almost every Hall of Fame and he is pretty honest at the end about his family and what kind of a guy he was which is a great touch. Honesty in documentaries is quite often the best part about them, the more honesty involved the better the documentary is going to come across quite obvioussly. His rightful place in the Hall of Fame is the best way to close this chapter and Flair`s choice of HHH to induct Flair was a great one for him even though many feel it should of been perhaps Rhodes or Anderson. That meant the world to Triple H and rightfully so and the video package they made between Flair and Michaels at WM 24 is awesome it even went into my favourites on Youtube! So it must be special. Considering the rap “I`m Bo Yo“ did as well I don`t think that`s to much of an honor after all….
I just loved the showdown of Michaels and Flair at Mania but this DVD did a better job at capturing that moment with awesome music that is chill worthy. “My game plan….to be the man!“ The match went better then everyone probably expected and it was one of the all time Wrestlemania moments even though it is kind of tarnished now that he came back to work for TNA.
Flair`s legacy will still live on forever in all of the memories of every wrestling fan and both of his DVD`s as well as the Horsemen one is a great way to remember him.
Great documentary for sure and legacy…
Disc 2 Matches:
1) “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (c) vs Jack Brisco in a Non-Title match -Mid Atlantic Championship Wrestling 8-18-82
The NWA World Champion Ric Flair right here on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling going one on one with fellow class of 08 Hall of Famer Jack Brisco.
I like this choice to start Disc 2 because it’s an old school match with a Brisco brother that deserves to be watched and it’s very, very good for its time. This match wasn’t scheduled and it took place after Flair had some interactions with Wahoo MacDaniel. Brisco then challenged Flair and the two went head to head in front of not many people.
Slower paces usually are the mold for older matches but not this one, at least not in the beginning. I loved how these two went toe to toe with quick moves from the start. A tie up and the two went ropes to ropes countering each other’s moves, Flair hopping over Brisco as he ducked unter Naitch and the two continued to go back and forth in the early stages and no one really slowed the pace down and this is 1982 so that was a refreshing sight to see. Jack Brisco then eventually did about 5 minutes in when he targetted Flair’s left arm and drove his knee into the arm while he had it down flat on the canvas. Flair just slapped on Brisco’s back while he held the arm bar in and stomped on the canvas to aggresively lock it in harder. Somehow Flair managed to chop his way out of that short predicament though and as the two irish whip each other Flair looks like he might get in the offense but Brisco gives him an irish whip and goes back into the arm bar. WOW a short arm-scissors by an extremely neat sequence where the two guys roll over each other continuing to counter the others small package and this whole time Flair’s in an armbar by Brisco. Amazing, I’m sure this move was ahead of its time although I’m not certain as I didn’t watch Wrestling in THESE years.
Flair though while in the armbar for a good length of time never was dominated as he even had Brisco on his back despite his arm being held by Jack. The two went toe to toe after the arm bar sequence was over then Brisco got the better of Flair there as well with a hard right hand. Flair then got his leg worked on for a bit as Brisco was methodically taking apart Flair limb for limb. After a cross body off the ropes Brisco got a near fall and then the two brawled some more and finally Flair got the upperhand in some offense. Hit a nice pile driver with a “SMART” camera angle from the back for those times obvioussly. Brisco kicks out of the piledriver then Flair hits him with some chops followed by an irish whip to the ropes and am elbow to the head. Flair then goes for a suplex but Brisco counters and stands up behind him and hits a sleeper hold on Flair to which the crowd applauds. Flair hits a suplex on Brisco but just maybe a little bit to late as he clearly wanted one BEFORE the sleeper hold as that counter by Brisco moments earlier was NOT in his game plan.
The Nature Boy goes for the figure four and makes Brisco scream in all kinds of pain but Brisco counters back with a leg hold and Flair reaches for the ropes. Brisco goes back to the offense by targetting the left side of Flair once again and attacks his leg. Flair gets picked up by Brisco from the top rope and scoop slammed up there and Brisco goes to execute a figure four of his own but the two go for the most impressive sequence of the ENTIRE match here.
It’s so golden in this Climax here as the two roll over each other with small packages and pinning attempts, kick outs occur and then Flair hits a sidehead lock takedown and while pinning Brisco he bridges out in amazing power with a lot of strength although it took awhile, and Brisco rolled up Flair and actually got the win!
Obviously this match wasn’t for the gold but the fans still popped. This was during Flair’s first run as champion where in the documentary he said he felt the NWA didn’t have full confidence in him at that point. Wahoo MacDaniel came back to help out Brisco after Flair attacked him after the match. Flair also got on the mic and said “Brisco! Nobody gets away with this!” then ran off with his belt.
This was a good little match here, could of lasted longer but for a match under 10 minutes was done very well and I assume it was far ahead of its time and it never dragged. wasn’t exactly superb psychology but the pace was good and some of the roll-up sequences were off the charts good. Still not enough quality for a high rating but very well done overall.
2) “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (c) vs Kerry Von Erich for the NWA Championship in a 2 out of 3 Falls Match -World Class Championship Wrestling 8-24-82
The NWA assigns Alfred Neely to officiate the match.
Just 6 days after the last match in a different territory in a different match this time in the WCCW against one of there biggest icons and one of the biggest legends in Wrestling history….Kerry Von Erich of the Von Erich dynasty.
This WCCW 2 out of 3 falls match was for Flair’s NWA title in Von Erich’s backyard so it should be very interesting and I’ve never seen it before. I’m expecting good things here! They said this could be in front of a record crowd in this arena during the match but the lighting is bad so you can’t really see the audience very well but that doesen’t bother me, I’m more focused on seeing the two legends duke it out in a 2 out of 3 falls match! Should be golden actually…..willing to bet it goes to the third and final fall, and there is a sixty minute time limit here.
The first fall began and Kerry had Flair cornered as the Champion was still rather young (Flair) and didn’t want to take any chances early against a motivated and energetic looking Kerry Von Erich once again IN HIS OWN BACKYARD.
Kerry tried to tie up with Flair but he backed off then did his cocky strut even in 1982, he was the Champion after all. Flair backs Von Erich now into a corner but gets backed off by the official, and after a tie up Flair hits Kerry with a side headlock take down but Kerry counters with a head sciccors. Kerry Von Erich learned from his father Fritz a great deal how to wrestle as shown in the wonderul WCCW Triumph and Tragedy DVD released late last year. It doesen’t take Flair long to counter Von Erich’s headscissors, about 20 seconds but it also didn’t take long for him to be found right back in that same position, about 5-7 seconds. Flair held onto the ropes with his legs and Kerry was forced to let it go.
Flair in heel fashion wanted the ref to count faster the next time he was in a hold by Kerry which was quite funny and the fans booed. Flair tried to push his way out of a bad predicament but found himself in a tough heaclock by Von Erich. He shifts this submission back and forth between a light one and full one for a matter of time until Flair tries to get out of it and then the two have a test of strength to which Kerry Von Erich WINS and the fans erupt. He pulls on Flair’s left arm and holds an arm bar. Ever since his first headlock to the pace to this one has been extremely slow but they’re likely just setting the tone for this 2 out of 3 falls match so all is not bad. Flair counters this arm bar with a test of strength of his own and back in this day that’s all that was needed to get the crowd going. Kerry got the best of Flair for about the 8th time in a row in another battle of strength and we are 5 minutes into the 60 time limit 2 out of 3 falls match.
Flair grabs Kerry’s arm but Kerry reverses it with a take down back into the arm bar and once again the crowd just goes apesh*t for there boy Kerry Von Erich. The two then tie up again and when Kerry comes off the ropes he hits him with a shoulder block further showing his great strength.
One spot I found funny was when Flair was jumped over Von Erich who jumped and then came off the ropes again it was a sloppy looking pick up by Von Erich but it might have been Flair’s fault as he fell in mid-air before Von Erich even had a chance to grab his legs. He went for a near fall and the two rolled over each other countering each other’s near falls in Brisco-Flair like fashion but no dice. Flair for the first time in the match gets some offense in on Kerry Von Erich with some blows here and there but nothing overly significant and the crowd all of the sudden gets into the match BIG time when Kerry Von Erich viciously attacks Ric Flair after he holds onto the ropes while beating on him.
The two continue to slow the pace down by eying each other down and then proceeding to circle around one another. Von Erich slapped on yet another sleeper but Flair sent him to the ropes and Von Erich took him down with a side headlock takedown followed by a near fall which the fans erupted on because they thought it was over but it was only 2. Von Erich then went back into the sleeper for probably the 11th time in the match but like I said it’s been solid wrestling so you can’t complain and the crowd was very lively for this match due to the babyface maintaining the pace to this match that has now reached the 10 minute mark.
Von Erich continues his sleeper hold and comes off with another shoulder blockk to display his power and wear down the Champion and then he missed the arm drag take down and Flair got to take advantage on Kerry for a bit who went to the outside. The two get back in the ring and it’s like modern day Gladiators going at it in the Colliseum as the fans go apeshit when Kerry hits some right hands to Flair. Kerry could get the crowd going with anybody to his credit including his famous match in the late 80’s in the WCCW with Jerry The King Lawler. After the brief brawling Flair got a chinlock slapped in on Kerry Von Erich but even with Ric Flair who moved it into a headlock applying a submission for the first time in the entire match the crowd was still not only entirely behind Kerry Von Erich but they didn’t stop screaming.
My god what an atmosphere and this match is amazing already for that alone. Flair tells one person in the crowd “KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT BROTHER!” while he has the headlock on Von Erich here in the first fall which is around the thirteen mark by this point. Flair chops the hell out of Von Erich on the side ropes over and over until he finally gets a right hand back by Kerry and then he for the fifth time in the match hits Flair with a shoulder block, off the ropes again he recieves an elbow by Von Erich but he only gets a 2. Flair gives Kerry a scoop slam as the pace picks up and the action goes back and forth but misses an elbow drop to the canvas because von Erich moved out of the way! What action!
The place pops like crazy when Kerry reverses a go-behind by Flair into a go behind followed by an Abdominal Stretch that strains the mid-secgtion out of Flair. Kerry Von Erich looking for the first victory in the first fall by submission here. Kerry then locks in the claw onto the side of Flair and the crowd just acted like the Cowboys won the SuperBowl! What a fucking pop for a single move, just wow! Flair then portrays his dirtiest player in the game character perfectly by giving him a thumb to the eye followed by a back suplex of his own moments later. Flair didn’t dominate the pace for long as Von Erich gave him a drop kick and then sent him to the ropes and missed a drop kick because Flair hung on in intelligent fashion. You don’t get to becoming the NWA Champion by having a low IQ obvioussly and Flair then with Kerry down on the mat scooped him up and dropped him on the top rope to even this bout up.
This is getting good and the crowd has literally not shut up during the entire duration. Flair hit a knee drop across Kerry’s head at the 18 minute mark here but Kerry kicked out. The crowd is just waiting to get behind Kerry again but that moment has yet to come on and Flair hits a piledriver. Flair then gets Kerry Von Erich set for another one but he reverses it into a back body drop and “Von Erich” turns it around as the announcer says and Flair missed a right hand and Von Erich locks the claw on Flair’s head but Flair got out of it as Kerry didn’t have it set in very well. Flair chops Kerry back into the corner followed by another one and another one. Right hands and chops into the corner on Von Erich followed by a choke hold to Von Erich. The ref go hit by Von Erich after Flair ducked and then Von Erich capitalized by going apeshit on Flair with the ref down. VOn Erich hit a crossbody but there was no ref. Some guy that looks like he’s a 70’s pornstar with a funny mustache comes out to be the unofficial ref and we hit the 20 minute mark with Von Erich slapping a sleeper on Flair as if that’s supposed to be something we haven’t already seen a hundred times already during this bout.
Kerry Von Erich has it locked in well as Flair gets down to his back as he is tires as all hell. The bell rings ans Kerry Von Erich has won the first fall it looks like. All of the sudden there is some controversy as the refs talk it over just over the 20 minute mark. No matter what they decide this has been a classic and intense fall, that’s for sure. It looks as if the refs have decided Kerry Von Erich has been DQ`d of the first fall for knocking out the original referee by accident and Flair now has won the first fall as the fans boo.
They don`t just boo they give a `WE WILL RIOT` type boo, ahh the good old days of Kayfabe in all its glory, gotta love the passionate crowds from the 1980`s you just wont see anymore. The first fall goes to Ric Flair and people think Von Erich was robbed as he hit the ref by accident just over twenty minutes to give the Champion the 1-0 lead in this best 2 out of 3 falls championship bout.
The second fall begins with Von Erich going nuts on Flair with a series of right hands followed by an irish whip to the turnbuckle and a huge sleeperhold (One Flair passed out to last time) and the broadcaster says twice in one minute but this time Flair breaks Von Erich`s lethal sleeperhold by throwing him to the outside despite being IN the sleeper hold.
Von Erich from the outside grabs Flair`s leg and slams it against the ring apron. Von Erich then leaps over and Flair hits him with his leg to the head followed by another chop once he stood up. With Kerry down Flair stomped away on him in the corner and then viciously like a dog held a choke hold on him. On pure emotion Von Erich got up again and took it to Flair by flipping him upside down after throwing him to the corner again. (Something he`d do a lot in the Steamboat classics as you all know) Kerry jammed his knee then into his opponents knees and now both the Champion and challneger are on there ass in the middle of the ring. Flair gets up first and works on the right leg of Kerry Von Erich.
I for some reason am pretty sure Flair is going to lose this fall somehow and then Flair will win the third. Whether I`m right or not is irrelevant as this match has been one hell of a ride as I imagined it might have been.
Flair then puts Kerry`s left leg beside the middle rope and Flair wont let up as he goes after the knee and untapes his kneepad and drives his knee into his knee yet again setting him up for the inevitable figure four leg lock by the Champion. Smart wrestling also because it wears down the size of the big Kerry Von Erich. Five minutes gone in the second fall, 26 minutes into the match in total here with Ric Flair in the 1-0 lead by DQ for his NWA title against Von Erich here. The broadcaster wonders how much the ref is going to allow before he calls a DQ against Ric Flair for driving that knee into Von Erich`s like that. It didn`t take long for Von Erich to get put in the figure four after that as you would have expected the Nature Boy to do given the nature (no pun intended) of his recent strategic wrestling.
Flair has it locked in for a good while in the middle of the ring and the crowd is legitimately nervous. Flar then screams as Von Erich rolls over and reverses it and Von Erich sells his knee injury well by hopping and limping after finally breaking the one minute of torture by the Heavyweight Champion of the world. Von Erich then out of desperation and out of no where slaps on his Claw on Ric Flair`s head as the crowd goes wild! He has this on for about a minute as well as it goes back and forth and Flair is busted wide open with Von Erich`s CLAW. Flair goes down to his knees here as Flair out of his OWN desperation tries to attack anyway he can by striking the knee area of Kerry Von Erich while Von continues to maintain that dangerous Claw on the head of Ric Flair and he has him so far down everyone gets out of there seat. His shoulders to the ground 1…2..STILL not enough for three but it`s no problem because he has the claw locked in still and the fans cheer. At 31 minutes into the match and 11 minutes into the 2nd fall Von Erich does get a 3 count with Flair on his back after the claw and it`s all tied up at 1 a piece.
The third and final fall now as we enter the 32nd minute of a 60 minute time limit match. A bloodied Ric Flair is in the corner and Kerry Von Erich backs up and then goes relentlessly at the head with right hands just as he started the 2nd fall. Flair then gets a full throttle rush of energy and hits Kerry with some right ahnds of his own! Flair smacks away on Von Erich but in Texas Tornado like fashion he does a spin-around followed by a right hand the guy. The crowd continues to stay extremely loud as Von Erich hits a huge blow to the head of Flair and that`ll do it. That`s enough to get yourself DQ`d in 1982 but still keep Von Erich looking strong at 33 minutes Flair retained the NWA title by 2-1 as both of his decisions were Kerry killing his own chances. (And ultimately his own life but I didn`t mean for there to be a literal connection there)
This great match-turned into a bloody war and it was a great ride the whole time as Kerry Von Erich dominated about 22 of the 33 minutes and that`s PROBABLY why the crowd was as lous as they were throughout the entire duration. A very fun match overall with smart wrestling, great pacing and a great crowd. Oh and the two performers involved in this match had a great deal of chemistry with one another as well which didn`t hurt things. A Classic encounter that I`m glad I got to see here on this DVD set but the ending could have been better. Don`t get me wrong I understand why things ended the way they did and it fits the STORY but with the way the first half of the match went for a half an hour, lets say if this reached the 45 minute mark then we could be looking at a five star match perhaps!
But we didn`t and the Von Erich sleeper did get out of hand at times which hurt some parts of the first and second (mostly first) falls. Enough time wasn`t given to the third fall which kind of hurt the climax but they picked an appropriate time for Flair to blade and what not. A lot of Mayhem after the match with Father Fritz Von Erich coming out to raise the hand of his son Kerry and still make him look strong. They left the arena as heroes despite not getting Flair`s title and after a performance like this I can`t see why the NWA didn`t have full confidence in Flair by this point but if they didn`t before I imagine they must have been starting to now hence the following 1983 programs with Race. I believe this match could of been a legitimate turning point in Flair`s career and it was excellent!
3) “Nature Boy” Ric Flair vs Harley Race (c) for the NWA Championship -Mid Atlantic Championship Wrestling 8-31-83
Race was the Champion going in defending it againt Flair here in what should be a good match, I`ve never seen this one either and I`m wondering if it`ll have the same slow pace the Starrcade match had. HeadButt by Race off the side-ropes, and it looks much better then the ones he does when the guy is down on the ring. Race drops the knee down to perfection which Naitch and Triple H often duplicate. Harley Race the Champion hit a neck braker and it`s all Race early and he went for one of those goofy looking Headbutt`s again but Flair moves and then got back in control as he hit some chops to Race. Flair Wooooo`s and gets the crowd into the match and he hits a knee across the head of Race. Flair hit some more offensive moves to Race and already the pace to this match is significantly better then the one in the Cage match that`s widely considered a big time classic although just as I say this Flair slaps a headlock on Race and holds it for a good minute to slow it right back down but luckily things are happening during this headlock.
Flair went for FOUR, yeah, FOUR near falls with the headlock locked in on the Champion Harley Race. Flair now trying to suck all the life out of Race here and has him well grounded but Race hits a vertical suplex on Flair out of desperation after a good two minutes of Flair holding a heaclock on him. Race missed an elbow yet again (to miss a move) and Flair got an elbow to Race`s head after bouncing off the ropes followed by a scoop slam a near fall. Race then drives his forearm into the gut of Flair and he sceams in pain and then Race drops the knee across the eyes of Flair. Harley Race`s offense is definately different but I`ll never take anything away from the man as he`s a big time legend in this business. Big time legend. Race then while attempting to give Flair a piledriver gets hit with a back body drop by The Nature Boy and the fans cheer. Flair then drives his forearm into the gut of Race and follows that up with a right hand to Harley as he comes off the ropes and hits another press slam followed by an abdominal stretch to the Champion. Lets see if Ric Flair holds this move as long as he held the sleeper hold. Despite those two submission holds held by the Challenger and babyface in this championship match this match needs to be seriously applied for its fast pace compared to the other one. Race gets out of the abdominal stretch after about 35 seconds and then starts to hit some impact moves including an elbow and clothesline on Flair off of the ropes and of course another knee to the face of Flair, his jaw this time around. Race does thast very well and he is one of the best natural heels of all time as you genuienly felt he was out there to kill the other guy and had that natural “it`s easy to boo you“ appeal that not just everybody had. Flair though got up and sent Race into the corner and he went flying into the corner. He then ran off the ropes and Race caught a boot to the face. Wow, a lot of feet to the face in this match. Flair in control now slaps on an armbar then kicks Race in the abdomen. Flair with abdominal stretch now.
Only three times in this bout has the pace been slowed down and each time Flair has been in control which is a good thing for crowd involvment anyway. Race eventually fights out of it and gives headbutt to Flair which he sells quite well and then Flair swings back with a chop and down goes Race. Race then sent into the turnbuckle and he bounces off of it quite hillariously and Flair gives him a headlock. Flair knows Race is more powerful then him as most guys Flair got in the ring with generally were in this era but he tried to wear them down with these golds and he did a good job until Race resorted to heel tactics by getting out of the sleeper hold. He then in typical Harley Race rashion slammed his knees to the face of Flair but it didn`t phase the challenger long as he goes back on the top rope but it doesen`t work like always as the Champion, Race catches him and slams him down to the canvas. While Race goes for his 10 second, ridiculous standing headbutt Flair drvies a right hand into his injured abdomen and then went for the figure four but Race wasn`t messing around and quickly got out of that predicament. Race then drives Flair into the mat with a great power slam but Flair kicks out. This has been a GREAT back and forth action and back and forth is the KEY point here.
Race drives that head again into Flair`s head and you have to wonder how much more Flair can take due to all the head shots he`s taken in this match. Pretty crazy even if a little repetitive it fits the story. Race throws Flair to the outside of the ring on the concrete as I guess they had no mats in 1983 and Flair back body dropped Race onto the concrete and the fand go wild. There`s pylonds outside all four ring posts which is pretty funny as that is supposed to be a barricade for the fans to stay behind with a tiny piece of rope attatched that goes in a square outside of the ring.
Flair then suplexes Race back inside the ring from the outside while Race stood on the ring apron. He hit a power slam as he held the Champ in the air for a good 5-10 seconds before hitting the suplex-slam. Flair then went for the figure four leg lock but Race with his good leg kicked Flair into the corner and he hit his head on the turnbuckle. FLAIR THEN goes for a PEDIGREE of sorts, No, it`s the set up to one but he flipped him back and hit a slam to Race following up on his injured abdomen-back with good inring psychology rather then driving him head-stomach first into the ring canvas in pedigree fashion. Race sitting on his ass Trips Flair to the outside bottom of the ring apron near the bottom rope and from his own ass delivers those head butts. He then walks out of the ring and drives an elbow into the chest of Ric Flair. He throws him out of the ring then breaks the count. He then on the outside goes for his standing headbutt but Flair moves and he drives his own head into the concrete!
Flair then grabs Harley Race`s head and delivers quick right hands and the fans go wild. Race though drives his strong-big head into the abdomen of Ric Flair and righ whips Flair into the turnbuckle to which he flips over and jumps off the top of the other after running on the apron from coast to coast but after jumping caught a knee in mid-air from Race. Race then goes up to the turnbuckle`s middle rope and hits his head on the canvas as Flair has moved out of the way again!
How many times has that happened now! Wow and ouch. Both guys will likely have mega headaches after this one in all honesty and Flair then gave Race a knee slam followed by a figure four leg lock until Cowboy Bob Orton came out and took apart Ric Flair. He hit him with a piledriver and Harley Race is laughing his ass off at him and is pointing. Roddy Piper came out with Wahoo for the save but it was a little late as Flair had already took one hell of a beating and Flair won by DQ but not the title. Flair would eventually get the title at a later date as you all know at Starrcade 1983 in a Flare for the Gold in the cage match. Well this one was BETTER then that match in my books. In my last Flair DVD review I gave that memorable cage match a ** 1/2 rating. (In my defense I`ve seen that “classic rated anywhere from ** and I s*it you not to *****) Truely one of the more debatable matches over time that hasn`t aged very well and I`m split in the middle for reasons given in THAT review already for THAT match. This one deserves a fairly better rating although it wasn`t as significant to either man`s career or Professional Wrestling which is why this is on the 2nd Disc and not the first. But this is a wonderful edition this time around and a wonderful ADDITION to this set. Great flow, GREAT back and forth contest!
4) “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Ole Anderson vs “American Dream“ Dusty Rhodes, Magnum TA and Manny Fernandez in a 6 man Tag Team Match -World Wide Wrestling 12-15-85
Now we fast forward a couple of years and Flair is the man in the NWA as back as a heel and leader of the Four Horsemen. He and other Horsemen members the Anderson brothers are going against 3 of the top babyfaces in the NWA in Manny Fernandez, Dusty Rhodes and the often underrated and legendary Magnum TA that not many know about due to his career being cut short. This one should be fun as the crowd is energetic from the get go and six man tags from the mid 1980`s rarely dissapoint as they`ll always feature fast action and these guys are all tremendous workers to say the very least! What a time this was two weeks before Christmas in 1985 in the NWA the glory days or prime of Pro-Wrestling was just about be upon us and here we see a great tag team attraction on this DVD set, should be awesome to see this one here. Not only great days in the NWA but a lot of good storylines, promo`s segments, betrayals and matches among other things made these the glory days. These two teams LEGITIMATELY hated each other and the crowd was as loud as ever for this World Wide Wrestling attraction here!
Dusty had so much charisma that even his simple hand movements made the crowd go in an uproar. The next mega star in the NWA was no doubt going to be Magnum TA and that`s why it`s great they included a match with him in it. If it wasn`t for the accident he would of been one of the best ever as he had the size, the in ring talent, the character and the determination and in ring charm mixed in with mic skills, the total package and looked extremely quick for his size and promosing, his psychology was even great and was very over with the crowd which is why it`s such a shame to see him never talked about. One of the most underrated wrestlers of all time and like other things not even up for debate on that one. Arn Anderson and Manny Fernandez began this match in quick fashion which got this crowd from red hot to white hot! Manny Fernandez is also a goaltender in the NHL for the Boston Bruins as a side note.
ANYWAYS, The babyfaces knock of the heels to start the match which pisses off the Horsemen. Fernandez did a good job at making sure the heel opponents on the other end wanted no part of the face team. Flair was hilarious in the corner aiding Arn Anderson to make sure he was alright. Ole Anderson now was in the ring with Manny and the two lock up after testing strength with one another. God, it`s so awesome seeing this old school shit again. It`s AWESOME seeing Magnum TA tagged back in as he takes Flair down after a series of irish whips with a nicely applied and powerful arm drag take down. They go to a commercial during the match which sucks but it comes back and Flair is all of the sudden working on Magnum TA by this point which means he got back in the advantage somehow. Either way the action still went back and forth for the most part between Magnum TA and Ric Flair as the two exchanged moves with each other back and forth. Arn got a great deal of work in this tag match as well and whenever he was in the ring the action was non-stop and Manny Fernandez really impressed the hell out of me during this bout with how quick he wrestled, I forgot how good of a talent he could be at times.
Fernandez got put to the corner by The Nature Boy who hits his billions of chops and then sent him to the ropes to which he ducked and then came back at Flair as Fernandez hits a cross body followed by a back body drop to Flair.
Arn gets tagged in luckily for the Horsemen and he beats on Fernandez and locks on a rear chin lock. He eventually got out of it and now Fernandez is working on the newly tagged in Ole Anderson who was like the PON of the Horsemen. The two slug it out and the crowd is going wild as most mid 80`s NWA crowds did at the best of times with the top end of talent in 6 man tag matches. Ole works on Fernandez for awhile until the Nature Boy takes over from there. He hits a snapshot vertical suplex to Manny while Magnum and Dusty try to come to save him but it`s the Horsemen in full control right now and Arn Anderson tagged back in sent Manny to the ropes but he hopped over him and caught him with an elbow. Every single member of both teams got in the ring and started to brawl with one another at that point on and the fans went wild as all hell broke loose from this point on with Magnum TA and Flair battling on the outside among everyone else as Dusty got his hands on Flair.
Arn Anderson grabbed a chair and hit Fernandez in the head with a chair from the outside of the ring while Manny`s head was outside of the ropes.
The finish sucked as the bell rings when everyone is attacking everyone and it`s obvioussly a DQ finish. Flair attempted to hit Dusty`s leg but Magnum TA came to the rescue.
I heard someone else complain on a site about how they should of included more FLAIR material on this DVD and I`d have to agree. WHY not put Flair vs Savage from WM 8 or Flair vs Luger on the DVD over this match since this should be on the Horsemen one or it`d be a better suitable selection for that one anyway as said somewhere else. You all know I`m the big Savage mark but even you`d agree with that I`m sure.
In saying all that this match isn`t bad at all, despite the bad finish and not a lot of story telling there was hot tags, fast action, great wrestling, good feuds, and a hot crowd.
Pretty good for sure, for a short tag match!
I loved this match and I know many people who think this match is five stars and without a doubt the best match on this entire DVD set. Well let me tell you a little bit about this match before we get started on the review.
This match took place the night of Wrestlemania 4. It scored a 7.0 overall rating on TBS which was huge considering the WWF`s Trump Plaza `Randy Savage` show drew a great buyrate as well but Pro-Wrestling was big in this month in 1988 so it`s to be expected. Flair and Sting went out there on free Cable and put on a 45 minute clinic for the title and it ended in a draw.
Either way people regard this as one of both men`s greatest matches ever and it`s covered so well in the documentary section of this DVD set, and I even spoke briefly in my documentary review about it. The crowd like all Flair matches on this DVD set (perhaps outside of the Brisco one) were going crazy or bannanas as the late Gorilla Monsoon would say as this big time match was about to get underway. Flair was entering his Prime and it`s safe to say so was the Stinger and that is why many regard this to be such a classic. Another reason is the gruelling pace for the entire 45 minutes. Is there slow minutes….perhaps, but what 45 minute plus match doesen`t have a slow minute here or two for a little bit of the time, it`s just simply not possible for humans to do but we`ll see how these guys do it and both of there cardiovascular conditioning at this point had to have been in tip top shape as they were both in great SHAPE themselves and entering there prime you`d imagine them to be in just that spot especially participating in lengthy matches such as these. Anyways the match got underway and Flair the Champion here at the original Clash of the Champions circled around the ring for a bit while Sting the native of California was in the other corner destined to defeat The Nature Boy who at this point was already a 5 time NWA Heavyweight Champion of the world. Flair ties up Sting and sends him down and then he gets up quickly as Flair backs off and Sting tells the ref he pulled his hair. These two had quite the rivalry and they do a little bit more of a staredown as this match was about to be long but about to be good and that`s the absolute truth and I have a hard time believing there was anyone out there that didn`t think that was going to happen. Sting won the first test of strength between the two men here on TBS in the NWA for the title. Flair very cautious here circling around Sting not wanting to tie up and make the wrong move since he`s been outdone to this point and his title is on the line in such a big match situation.
Flair is being challenged by Sting to do another test of strength with the arms in the air and Sting CLEARLY overpowers Flair in one of the biggest ways imaginable but SOMEHOW, SOME WAY flair gets a Chop but sting takes him down with an arm drag take down followed by a quick drop kick and Flair goes to the outside for a breather. The fans go wild as the Challenger and babyface (favourite) sting is in control in the early going of this marathon match that is highly regarded as one of the all time greats and people were outraged it was not included in the original Flair DVD but the length is my guess for the reason it wasn`t as they included the lengthy Whindam match on that one while they gave the 1994 Clash that I gave *** 1 out of 4 for that set.
Back in the ring now and the two tie up again and the pacing and story telling to this point has been a thing of beauty because it`s not slow and it`s giving the guys a breather and there comes a fast sequence with the two dodging the others ducks as they irish whip each other four times and then sting body slams Flair over and over to a huge crowd responce followed by a side headlocktake down and a near fall.
Sting then grabs Flair`s head and holds on a sleeper. This has been a wonderful match to this point as said. Simple scream from Sting while holding the sleeper gets the crowd going and Flair rights out of it and hits him with a shoulder block and then goes back into the sleeper hold.
They talk about how important momentum is in matches like this and while that`s true the pace in matches like this always seem to give both guys a chance to perform there own offensive moves.
Hiptosses weren`t exactly a strong point in this match to say the least as pointed out many times in the DVD thread by poster KeepItFresh. Flair does a flip seemingly on his own without Sting even doing much of the work but it doesen`t hold the match very far back for me although it is one of the weaker points of the match. Inbetween those quick moments of Flair fighting out of a headlock he`d just end up going back into that sleeper by Sting after a series of shoulder blocks, and hip tosses.
Flair tried everything in his power to get out of the holds by Sting but he just couldn`t. One instance where Flair went down to the canvas and just seemed to hug the mat but Sting bounced off the ropes and smartly read Ric`s gameplan and slapped the sleeper back on rather then hopping over Flair who was down on the mat. Sting got Flair in the corner and went for the punches and hit them followed by another weak hiptoss and a dropkick that doesen`t hit Flair fully. Flair tossed Sting to the outside of the ring but Sting came right back in and Flair begged for mercy with his hands in the air like only he can and Ric Flair got forced back into a corner where Sting hit punches to the cranium 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 , 10 and then as Flair flops down to the ma Sting slaps on a sleeper and Flair SOMEHOW had enough ability to roll Sting over for a near fall twice.
Jim Ross says it`s gotta be annoying to turn from a headlock to having your shoulders on the mat by a beaten up Ric Flair. Flair then speared Sting in the mid-section and now for one of the first time Sting is recieving some punishment as Sting gives Flair some chops to the sternum area and Sting fights back as the crowd goes wild. The Stinger picks up Flair and slams him from 6 feet in the air down to the mat. Sting irish whips Flair to the ropes and picks him up with a bear hug to wear down the back of Flair. Flair already had a bad back from the crash and after a powerslam he goes to the bearhug showing good inring psychology by Sting to target that body part of Flair as he screams in pain.
Ross points out how the lower back has got to be in a lot of pain right now as bear hug is locked in and Sting`s finishing move is the Scorpion Deathlock WHICH ALSO applies pressure to the lower back because it`s a Boston Crab like hold as pointed out by JR. So again good in ring strategic wrestling by The Stinger. Sting continues his bear hug as they go to the 15 minute mark and 30 minutes remain in the time limit. Sting scores some near falls and then ran towards Flair but sting hit himself in the corner and just as it looked like Flair would go on the offense Sting fought back. Sting cornered him as Flair again begged for him to quit but Flair hits an atomic drop to Sting out of desperation! Ric Flair finally hits a move on The Stinger who had a ton of momentum but Flair is in a lot from the whole match already but Ric Flair eventually gets up and elbows Sting on the ring apron then sends him into the steel gaurd railing twice on the outside area. Flair gets back in the ring to break the count irish whips Sting hard into the turnbuckle and he flies hard into the pad and falls down. Flair then stands up and smiles while some of the crowd `Woooo`s` as this is a great environment in this arena.
Such a tremendous atmoshphere for a Classic Wrestling encounter. Flair then picks Sting up and picks up his head and throws him over his shoulder and then drops the knee to Sting`s face. Flair with a chin lock to sting and Flair looks vicious. They put over how Flair is the dirtiest player in the game as he looks like he is ripping on Sting`s face after the reverse chinlock. Sting was trying to shake loose from Flair but he threw him again to the outside as the Champion is building some momentum for the first time nearing the half-way point of the match as 24 minutes remain in the 45 minute time limit.
Flair once again sends Sting to the steel railing for the third time in the match and then holds Sting`s head down on the rail to choke him furhter and Flair gets back in the ring.
Sting follows him back in but Sting chops Flair in the corner but Sting was able to get a shot in back and the crowd goes absolutely insane when Sting uses all of his power and adrenaline to get back in the match.
Sting flexes his muscles and takes it to Flair on the outside as everyone is screaming. Then Flair gets the best of Sting when The Stinger went for a high risk move and took the wrong chance. He goes for a clothesline on the outside but Flair ducks and he ends up clotheslining the steel ring post and the crowd then goes quiet as they react to every spot of this match perfectly. Flair then goes to work on that injured arm inside the ring. Sting`s left arm is in a wrist lock but Sting is overpowering this hold and he nips up and fights back to Ric Flair as the crowd goes crazy again. Good solid pace to this match with a lot of reversals over time and Sting scores a near fall after a clothesline to Flair. Sting then screams to the audience and they scream back and he has Flair on the outside ring apron and he suplexes him to the inside with a standing vertical suplex. The crowd is going INSANE as he goes for the Scorpion DEATHLOCK! Flair is fortunately close to the ropes as there is 20 minutes left in the time limit.
Sting`s finishing move was nearly locked in but Flair got to the ropes as quickly as he could and JJ Dillon the Horsemen Manager from a Cage in the sky (An NWA original idea) looked on relief. Sting methodically balanced out his attack to make sure he made no more mistakes in this huge chance to get the NWA Championship and wanted to make up for his earlier errors in the match where he clotheslined the ring post for example. Sting hit a crossbody from the top and got a near fall and then Flair targetted Stingers knee. A knee drop which is his gameplan as he tries to eventually set up for his figure four leglock at some point and after some chops he hits him with another knee move that devistates the Stinger. Flair shows no mercy and Sting rolls to the outside but breaks the count and comes back to the ring apron. Flair doesent worry about being DQd because he is the champion and that is the kind of champion he was yet I liked how they showed Ric Flair try and WIN the match rather then try and get himself counted out or what have you. 15 Minutes in the time limit as Flair hits another knee drop followed by stretching the leg out of sting and Flair went for the figure four leg lock, and its locked in well!
I love how in this match both men built up there finishing moves quite well throughout the entire duration and the crowd has not shut up as the match is thirty minutes old, one of the best atmospheres in any big time match ever.
Flair while having the figure four in Woos as he uses the ropes for leverage as the Ref doesent see it as he is to busy asking Sting if he will give up. Sting then shows his power while even in the Figure 4 leg lock and slaps his chest like A gorilla and the fans go wild he then turns over and reverses it into a modified death lock of sorts and the ref then asking Flair if he gives up as he did damage to Flairs right leg as Flair screams OH GOD in pain. Flair then up at the same time as Sting goes for the knee one more time as Sting can barely stand and he limps. Flair then outside on the ring apron has Sting as he tries to suplex him to outside of the ring but the ref doesen?t allow it and Sting reverses it and Sting suplexes Flair instead back INSIDE the ring and back onto the mat. Sting then drives both knees into the face of Flair as it looks like the challenger might put up a legit challenge to get Flair?s gold here. This time is flying by as the pace to this match is excellent at the 10 minute time limit mark, 35 minutes into the match and Sting slaps on an abdominal stretch as Flair is screaming in pain as the challenger is back in control.
Flair then gets out and hits a hip toss followed by an elbow but Sting moves out of the way.
Sting gets up and Flair chops Sting. Flair goes to the outside of the ring and while he was about to jump off Sting hits him int he abdomen and like always Sting slams him from the top rope but only gets a 2 count. Ross said BAW GAWD as he cant believe this bad boy keeps going. Sting then drags Flair on the mat to the corner of the ring and slams his knee into the ring post. Sting goes for a FIGURE 4 LEGLOCK in the MIDDLE OF THE RING!
The fans go crazy as JR points out the possibility of Sting beating Flair for his OWN NWA title with his OWN move and how embarassing it would be. As Flair is in a tremendous amount of pain his back goes to the mat a couple of times as Sting scores nearfalls while Flair is in the figure four. Sting holds it for about a minute until Flair can finally reach the bottom rope. Great pacing to this long match, that is for sure. Sting hits a hiptoss to Flair and once again it is not of the best variety (that move) but still effective as it gets Flair in the bottom of the corner and he drives the knee to the neck of Flair. Sting then puts Flairs bottom knee on the bottom rope and drives his knee into it. Sting whips Flair to the outside buckle as he flips over the top rope as Sting had a lot of Velocity in his throw and Flair was outside the match near the judges as Sting smacks Flairs head into a table. Flair then being absolutely dominated by Sting gets a spear in followed by a sunset flip from outside of the ring to inside from the ring apron but sting punches him then rakes the back of Flair. 5 minutes to go.
40 minutes into this epic war for the NWA title and Flair begs for mercy on his knees.
Flair is in the corer and Sting for the fifth time in the match does the punch spot from the top of the ropes and then Flair gets hit with a clothesline and Flair looks to be out as the count goes 1…2..but Flair luckily gets his foot on the ropes to break the count. Sting then dives to the corner to hit Flair but he hits the post a little and at the same time as splashing the buckle goes over the top rope to the outside down to the concrete. JJ Dillon smiling from the cage above as The Stinger is in pain and gets back in the ring with Flair as 3 minutes remain in this classic bout that is 42 minutes old.
Flair chops Sting and Sting punches back and Sting hits Flair with a shoulder block, goes to the ropes again and Flair gets a sleeperhold on Sting. He gets out quickly by kicking off the corner post for leverageand then from the outside of the apron hits a sunset flip of his own and the crowd is going INSANE as they announce 2 minutes left and then comes a series of nearfalls after near falls. After the failed sunset flip by Sting, Flair drops down and gets a 2 count, then Sting rolls him up and gets a 2 as the crowd goes apeshit.
Ross screams we are talkin inches here, we are talkin inches from having a new heavyweight champion of the world! Flair gets hit with a cross body by Sting and a near fall as he then slaps his chest as the crowd screams and there is 45 seconds left in ther time limit.
Sting hits the Stinger Splash in the corner and then goes for the Scorpion Deathlock with 30 seconds remaining and he holds it in as the crowd goes wild.
Flair looks like he might submit with 10 seconds left but doesent and the time limit eventually expires.
Sting doesent win the title as it goes to a draw so Flair retains as the classic match is over.
Flair never gave up to his credit which made him look like a Strong Champion while Sting looked like strong challenger for controlling the pace of the match.
The Judges decide on the draw as Flair keeps the belt and Dillon is as happy as ever and Sting is pissed! The crowd boos but they arent to upset as they know they just witnessed a classic encounter.
The biggest strength of this match is the endurance, feud and inring psychology of this match mixed in with the crowd and how well worked the match was. Yes it had it`s minor flaws but not enough to take anything away from it being one of the all time greats and for my money by far the best Sting-Flair match of all time.
Most people regard this as one of the greatest shows of all time for good reason.
Most people have the famous I QUIT match between Funk and Flair at five stars while I have it at **** and a half as it was a truely incredible, innovative-ahead of its time classic match!
This one is always second fiddle to that match here at the Bash but it is definately a classic in its own right! I have infact seen this match before just like the Sting one at Clash of the Champions and I remember how good this one was so I definately want to see it again!
Here we go……
There is two rings in this match as there was a lot of events like this in the late 80s in the NWA. Funk is crazy as batshit and is outside of the ring looking for something to hit Naitch with and Naitch jumped off the apron and met Funk with a double axe handle on the ouside. Funk is the heel here and Flair is the face and I think an underrated aspect of this DVD set is that they jump from Flair being a hated villian to a babyface back and forth so well because of the time inbetween most of the matches on this set.
Funk who was an indredible worker and top 10 all time chopped the hell out of Flair and Funk who is middle aged and crazy got slapped back by Flair. These two like the I quit match did not take long for the action to go to the outside as Funk sent Flair into the corner ring post. Funk stomped away on the face of Flair as Flair grabs on Funks foot in an act of desperation. Funk grabs Flair by the hair and then suplexes him from outside to inside the ring with a vertical suplex that twisted the neck of Flair. Funk only scored the two as Flair lifted his left shoulder off the canvas. Flair is a 6 time Champion at this point and as mentioned the babyface going into this bout and he rolls out of the ring as Funk is in the drivers seat during this match. Ross ponders if Funk is going for the injury or the victory in this match and I loved how they played it as if it it was something that was so hard to tell. Both guys went crashing down to the floor as Flair went for a suplex onto the floor to Funk but missed and then a chopping war came about on the mat on the outside of the ring. Both guys pulling out all stops for the NWA title as the chopping war continues as both guys rake the eyes. Great stuff! Both back in the ring now and Funk grabs Flair as he sets up for that same pildriver he went for the night he turned heel at Wrestlewar 89 after Flairs five star match with Steamboat. Flair counters it and the fans go wild as he hits a back body drop to Funk in the ring to the outside as Funk one of the all time legends in the business is on the outside. Funks dad Dory wrestled from 1939 to 1973 and then some other match past that time and he is without a doubt a top 10 LEGEND not wrestler but a top 10 LEGEND in the entire idustry which is a huge accomplishment.
Flair then has a piledriver positioned for Funk and he drops to his ass and hits it! Flair gets some revenge as the fans go wild as Terry Funks neck was dove to the mat and they point out it had to have felt good. So good infact he did it again! Wow.
Funk barely kicking out of his lateral press and those piledrivers and now Flair goes for the Figure Four which he beat Rhodes and Race with as JR points out. Flair looks like He will make Funk tap out but Gary Hart from outside the ring (may he rest in peace) handed Funk an Iron which was his last resort to hitting Flair in the head with it to break the figure four. Flair blades and Funk levels him back and forth with right hands. Funk then goes for the piledrvier and hits it! Both guys now have hit it a combined three piledrivers in this match and it should be it but Flairs foot was on the rope, Funk pushes the ref as he doesent count the three. You have to love funk! Funk goes to the outside and removes the mat and you have to assume he is going to try and pile drive a bloodied Flair on the concrete as Funk is a sadistic psycho! Gotta love it!
Funk goes for it on the concrete floor and Flair who is all bloody from that iron shot hits a back body drop to Funk but luckily for him the poor bastard lands on a mat. Funk has suffered enough physical punishment in his life he doesent need a concrete back spot surely. Flair is losing a ton of blood and the pace to this match is almost as good as the I Quit match if not better in parts. Back in the ring Funk hits a knee braker to Ric Flair. Funk then grabs him by the head and hits a side neck braker to the Nature Boy. Ric Flair gets ANOTHER neck braker by Terry Funk. Pretty amazing since Flairs neck was in bad shape before with the piledriver to the table in the storyline and then again in this match not to mention all the blood he has lost. Flair relentlessly gets jammed away by Funk who shows no mercy as a Sadistic heel hitting right hands to the bloody skull of Naitch and looks to become the new NWA Champion. Flair then somehow battles back with a strong right hand that sends Funk to the outside and the fans go wild for Ric Flair. Funk gets sent face first into the post by Flair as JR call these two Gladiators going for the NWA title in a physical match he has never seen quite like this.
Funk in the corner and Flair hitting him right non stop right hands and now Funk is bloodied fron the ring post shot earlier. Vengeance played a huge role in this match. The richest prize in all of wrestling is on the line here as Funka and Flair go toe to toe in a bloody war, Flair misses the knee into the buckle and Funk goes for a spinning toe hold then an attempted version of the figure four but Flair reverses into a Figure Four but Funk hits an inside cradle after another reverse, then Flair rolls over and gets the three count on Funk! Flair retains the title in an amazing bloody war after reversal after reversal, small package after small package. Flair retains the title in a Classic test of endurance and Strength.
An all out war even after the match takes place here as Sting among others battle it out with Funks allies and they battle to the outside and we get some nice footage on this DVD set of all the aftermatch of this match, which was a bloody classic in every sense of the word. These were the days. Great addition to this DVD Set!
Few matches had the same kind of intensity this one had. It was physical, bloody and an all out war that never and I mean never slowed down at all. Could have had a few more minutes but at the pace they went it is completely understandable why they did not.
Quality over Quantity ALWAYS matters and this match is the perfect example of that rule.
Best match of the DVD.
Disc 3 Matches:
7) “Nature Boy” Ric Flair vs “Rowdy” Roddy Piper @ Madison Sqaure Garden -WWF 10-28-91
When Flair first came to the WWF he brought along with him the NWA World Title which is covered in the documentary and if you still are unaware of why that happened then you can find out why anywhere else on the net, this is not really the time and place to go into that.
When he first came to the federation they put him in a feud with Roddy Piper. Vince probably saw it as a natural fit due to Piper and Flair having a background together in the NWA, infact Flair was the guy to induct Piper into the Hall of Fame in 2005. Flair and Piper also happen to be two of the best mic workers and most charismatic wrestlers of all time.
This match happened in the backyard of the Federation in Madison Square Garden and was pretty humerous at times as expected when you have two personalities like this going head to head. This is the first WWF match on the disc, and 1 of only 3 on the entire set. (for the WWE*)
When Finkel announced him as th real worlds champion and Flair came in he got a standing ovation as you could really feel this is special with how decorated he was. Lord Alfred Hayes and Gorilla did broadcasting for this one (May they both rest in peace) Piper was a man on a mission as Gorilla said.
As Monsoon says you could feel the tension as Flair got right in the kisser of Piper. Flair then got a clean break in the corner and Woooood as did MSG. Roddy Piper is a top 50 talent of all time and in the ring you never knew what you were going to get but he always is interesting and that is for certain. Piper is the man and says COME ON FLAIR lets go but this one starts off very slow not with holds but with a stare down.
THEY look to the side and let the crowd feel the electricity so to speak and the atmosphere build up before they get a solid pace to it. Good sequence (finally) wrestling wise where both guys display there speed bouncing off the ropes and Piper hits Flair with a shoulder block. Monsoon said it best when he said both men were extremely cautious and wanted to take there time and make the most of it. Flair hit a punishing blow on Piper with chops but the Hot Rod battled right back and the fans went crazy as he hit a spinning round house right! The right hand by the Hot Rod sends Flair to the outside and Flair is being chased ans MSG is going crazy!
Piper drives Ric Flair into the gaurd rail as the action was onto the floor as the intensity has surely been built up. Some good wrestling once they get back in as the two guys countered each others moves but Hod Rod ended that exchange as well with another round house right. Flair plays the coward to perfection like he has already many times on this DVD Set.
HEENAN is the best manager of all time and him at ringside made the match better. This match wasnt really about telling a story with strategic wrestling this was more of a battle between two guys that had a hate for each other and a history. The pacing was great and a series of near falls in the middle of the match was just great. Piper did a wonderful job of bridging out of Flair and his pinnint attempts with inside cradles and small packages.
Both guys went to the outside of the ring again and Flair chopped Piper a couple of times then goes back to break the count. The Hot Rod gets back on the apron and pounds away on Flair from the outside. He comes back in the ring with a ton of enthusiasm (as I am more then sure you could imagine) and really gives it to Flair inside the ring. Flair is outside the ring and flops to the mat as Heenan tries to help him. Once The Hot Rod threatened to meet Flair outside of the ring he said time-out on his knees back in the ring.
Piper makes a mistake by turning his back on Ric Flair with the ref down and he curled him up but Piper countered and scored a near fall of his own but no ref. A new ref came in and Piper only got a 2 this time around as the pace has picked up considerably here. Hayes calls this a Titanic struggle and it is definitely turning into a great match. Piper irish whips Flair into the corner and he flips over the buckle and then hits him with a clothesline. Flair hit a desperation move and Piper kicked out. Flair got himself in trouble when he got in a sleeper by Piper which was his fortay at the time but Flair hit a counter suplex to buy himself some time. Flair climbs the ropes but Piper slams him from the top to the canvas of course as that move barely ever, if ever works for Ric Flair. Both guys slugging it out in the middle of the ring now with the fans going wild and a side russian leg sweep by Piper works well.
He throws a chair into the ring but Earl or Dave Hebner says NO. Piper punches Flair to the outside and Hebner takes the chair away and trips. Flair slides back in and rolls up Piper with his feet on the top rope for leverage and gets the 1…2…3. Flair wins an entertaining WWF style match in MSG over Piper in a Classic 80s match here and he does it by cheating. Piper then nailed the ref and Flair with a chair after the match as he was going insane.
Good match, pretty fun!
8 ) “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (c) vs Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat for the WCW Championship @ Spring Stampede -WCW 04-17-94
The lone Steamboat match on the set which is dissapointing because they have no doubt had thousands of mind blowing classics but I guess I am just glad this one got on the Flair Defenitive DVD.
My favourite Ric Flair match in history was NOT even put on either of his first two DVDs rather it was on the greatest of the 80s set and it was the Flair-Steamboat 5 star classic at Chi Town. Which was the Original and Best classic with Wrestlewar 89 just behind it for me but everyone has a different order in the Flair-Steamboat triology.
However outside of the triology there was that one other high profile PPV match that does not get proper recognition at times but certainly will now.
I am talking about Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboats classic WCW title match at Spring Stampede 1994. Both guys were a little older, the style and company were different, Flair was no longer in his prime and while those things did hurt the match this as an all time classic for what the two were still able to accomplish. I loved this addition to the DVD set!
Tony S and the Brain were the duo for this WCW PPV and he says the crowd is split with Flair and Steamboat. Flair was an 11 time Champion coming into this PPV match.
Steamboat and Flair circle around each other and I am ready for a classic match here and I know it is one so that is the good thing about going back to a great match.
Two of the greatest in ring workers with a ton of respect for each other and perhaps the best two wrestlers with chemistry in all of Wrestling history.
Flair and Steamboat with arm drags and go behinds, front face-locks, Steamboat pushed Flair to the ropes and the ref broke it up. They now go for a test of strength and Flair hits a side headlock takedown, Steamboat hits a head scissors just after. Flair and Steambat then look at each other after it is clear that one guy has yet to take full advantage of this match. Flair and Steamboat tie up again and Steamboat comes off the ropes hard with a shoulder block take down that hurts Flair. They tie up again and then mat wrestle with one another, good chain wrestling hammer locks, arm bars, quick go-behinds and reversals all that good stuff you would come to expect. Steamboat does NOT back down at ll here as he punches Flair and he takes offense to it. The fans OOOO and AWWWW and then there is a brief pause as the fans decide who there going for after he slapped Flair in the face. The two go to the ropes and hop over one another time and time again until Steamboat finally power slams him followed by a flying head scissors not once but twice, then a drop kick not once, but twice, and the second time it took him to the outside. Steamboat wanted to put him back in the ring because he could not win the title by countout, good in ring psychology as these guys were just Professionals for sure. Steamboat with all of that quick amazing offense on Flair that he goes to the outside for a quick breather.
This match has been awesome for sure to this point.
Back in the ring Flair has an arm bar and pulls Steamboats hair down but Steamboat kept nipping up and kept firing back. Flair tried to neutralize Steamer in the corner with chops but when Steamboat retaliated his were harder and Flair went down!
Heenan was funny (what else is new) cheering for Flair in this bout even though the allignment of both men was neutral. Flair then circles around the ring and Steamboat has not took his eyes off Flair. Another test of strength there and Steamboat wins and applies two side headlock take downs on Flair very crisp like and very effiecient. Flair is in a headlock and he is determined to get out, he eventually does but gets hit by a shoulder block and then when Flair goes down for Steamboat to hop over him he does not and just simply drops down to re-apply the headlock to Ric Flair. A spot we usually see in Sting-Flair matches. Heenan is beyond funny during this spot calling Anderson a leech among other things.
Steamboat with a couple of near falls during this headlock and even the 2 out of 3 falls match did NOT have this slow of a spot in this match. Another flaw that is worth pointing out is that none of the other Steamboat-Flair 1989 matches needed so many breaks after so many spots but I guess they both aged a lot in 5 years and there cardio is not what is used to be. Another flying head scissors by Steamboat which is applied very impressively. Flair then goes back into the headlock by The Dragon.
This side head lock is on for WAAAAAY too long and the should block is extremely predicatble each time after Flair gets out of a sleeper. Steamboat then with an UNPREDICTABLE move which was refreshing he rolled up Flair and only got a 2 count. Oh my god, Steamboat is back in the headlock on Flair mode. At least Flair had some near falls during it but this was extremely boring and they were definately building up there endurance and conditioning for the rest of the match but this one did NOT need to have this type of slow spot.
It is STILL locked in and if not for the commentating it would be much worse. Flair finally (3 years later) gets out of the sleeper and Steamboat counters back with a drop toe hold to Ric Flair. Then the dreaded headlock. I never rememebered he did it THIS much. Thankfully it ends in 10 seconds when Flair spears Steamboat in the corner and then after an irish whip he gets back body slammed. Flair then got up and chopped Steamboat who tried to send him for the ride again. Flair then punches Steamboat in the face with a right hand, an uppercut to the bridge of the nose. Flair then chopped Steamboat pulling out any heel like tactics he could (despite not being a full out heel) to try and retain the title. Steamboat was firmly planted in the middle of the ring right on the C in WCW in the middle of the canvas and Flair drops a knee to the head of Steamboat. 15 Minutes have gone by and we are in the halfway mark of this great contest.
The beginning half was much better then the second half of the first 15 minutes which was headlock city but the two guys should be well conditioned now to keep the pace up. Repeatedly the 2 count came so that is a very good start for some excitement in the 2nd part of this match. A million near falls as the ref was probably getting extremely tired but the crowd as extremely dead.
A chopping war from there on and Steamboat gets the better of Flair as he says NO DONT and Ricky then irish whips flair to the ropes and flair comes back with cross body over the top rope and Nick Patrick says the match is going to continue. Nice counter move by Flair springing off the ropes at Spring Stampede to try and defend his honor and title against his best rival in the ring ever in Ricky Steamboat. While on the outside of the ring Steamboat back body dropped Flair on the ground. Steamboat hops on the outside going for Flair but he moves at the last second and caught his stomach on the guard rail after running by Commisioner of WCW, and legenerday WWE Hall of Famer Nick Bockwinkel at ringside. Back in the ring Flair gets suplexed off the middle turnbuckle high in the air from Steamboat but he only gets a two count. Steamboat continues to hit the punishment on Ric Flair while he goes head first into the canvas and Flair only breaks the count by his foot on the rope. Flair tosses Steamboat out of the ring by showing his excellent endurance and then Steamboat caught the leg and went for the figure four on Flair as the crowd erupts. Heenan and Schivaone put it over as it would be incredible if Flair lost to this move. Heenan screams for Flair to get to the ropes.
Just before this Heenan said this in a small text of dialogue.
Tony S: We could be here all night do you have anything to do Bobby….
Heenan: Oh I have lots to do but you dont know her.
And Tony just ignored that.
Flair is the master of the move and knows how to get out of his own finishing move more then others. Flair tried to suplex Steamboat but falls down due to the punishment given to his leg already considering the figure four. Steamboat hits a backslide and at the VERY last second Flair kicked out. Steamboat rolls up Flair and only gets a 2 count once again. This match is insane and had it not been for that slow part before it would be an all around classics. A little too many chops and near falls for my liking though if I can be honest.
I love Flairs flop to the runway at the 25 minute mark when Steamboat hits him with the chops. He actually chopped Flair back into the ring! Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat are both outside the ring and Flair is limping on the outside still selling the leg while Steamboat is on the outside in a bit of pain and he gets encouraged to get back in the ring by a young black kid and Heenan says….yeah you are gonna be a lot of help pal!
Steamboat has a ton of endurance from those sleepers early on in the match and hit a cross body from the top but JUST a 2 count. Flair climbing to the top and gets caught by Steamboat and slammed down. Steamboat then flies off the top but misses and Flair has a chance now since Steamboat hit his knee! Flair goes for the figure for but Steamboat is blocking the move in this terrificly paced climax.
The Figure Four now perfectly locked in as Steamboat is taking a lot of pain to which he can take because he had been dominating most of the match.
Steamboat gets to the ropes and Flair breaks just at the 4 count. The fans WOOOOO as Flair attacks Steamboats knee again and goes for the 2nd figure four but Steamboat with a quick rolll-up! Near fall and then a backslide, near fall! What action, drama and excitement as the 30 minute mark has passed and the two have been chopping at each other. Steamboat at the top of the ropes is punching away at Flair and at the VERY top rope hits a vertical superplex and Flairs bad back smacks the middle of the canvas. Heenan stresses that just a finger now would be enough to put Flair away here. 1…2… Flair kicked out! This match is incredible and I only wich it was like this throughout the whole time.
Steamboat with yet another roll-up but the match keeps going, then a near fall and then Steamboat locks in the double chicken wing, a move Flair beat him with five years ago. Steambot lands on Flair while the chicken wing is locked on at 32 minutes and Steamboat thinks he has won the title as he got the three count.
Bockwinkel went in the ring to talk to the refs and they decided both guys shoulders were on the mat.
Still considered a Classic and the 4th best Flair-Steamboat match even though Flair retained the title in kind of a dumb fashion that SOME people might have liked at the time but for today it becomes repeitive.
Tremendous Wrestling as expected with these two.
This is how the voting at that PPV went down.
Voting: Steel cage match 83% Submission Match 13%, Regular Match 4%
I could have swore that everyone was going to pick the regular match! OMG, that’s what I VOTED!!!
Yeah anyways obvioussly eveyone knew it was going to be a Cage match.
Okay…… The IC Title is on the line but in the pre-match package of this event I remember HHH was saying it’s a piece of shit. He’s saying that Flair being IC Champion was worthless.
YAY WWE, lets just bash every title while we’re at it. I have an idea. Lets make TWO WORLD titles, hell three…oh wait….
Anyways besides that being ridiculous, this match was ridiculous as well. But in a good way, there’s no way Flair should of had that kind of endurance at this age but he did. Gotta give Naitch the credit he deserves for that one. He set the pace well, they both did. Working together for that long should of been able to help both guys. Flair sold very often and bladed early. Him yelling “JESUS CHRIIIIST” when Triple H hits him is hysterical but also added realism to the physical, and very violent war. Of course in a Cage match with Flair you expect him to come and fight back. However the climax was much more then a back and forth battle, it was a WAR in every sense of the word! Lets go Flair chants filled up the arena as Triple H tried to teach his idol at one time a lesson about know when to hang them up. Trips played this part very well. Pure hatred, Pro-Wrestling at it’s finest from a story telling point of view. I think this match is better then the Survivor Series encounter although its close, that Last Man Standing match would be in the *** 3 of 4 – **** star range. Definately a battle that went back and forth with similar methodical paces and it was just so excellently done.
Flair FINALLY won by escaping through the cage door at 23:45. Triple H did a lot of jobs (clean ones also in the year 2005 to Benoit, Batista, Flair, etc.) The looks on the fans faces watching this bloody war (especially a lady in the final minute in which they zoom in on) is priceless! Flair’s best match of the decade probably until this next match but this was 2nd best of the decade for him. Phenominal match that should blow you away! Gread addition to the Flair DVD!
Last match on the DVD set.
Good way to close this DVD I guess with his best match in the last decade and his retirement match…until he went to TNA.
This match review is the one I did at WM 24 as there is no real point of writing out another one but I did change the rating slightly after this re-watch and it is the 4th time
I have now seen the match.
Well here we are.
The most anticipated match review I’ve ever written by about 100 times when I did this one for WM 24 for certain readers wondering what I would rate it.
So hopefully some of you will read this review to the match before you skip down the page to either see or bash or praise or agree to my rating of the match. Either way even if you don’t I’m still going to write this the same way I’d right any other important match in one of my reviews and this was very important, and special, and that is an understatement to say the least.
This is by far one of THE MOST EMOTIONAL MATCHES I have ever seen in my entire life. I’m not even huge on both these guys but I have them both in my top 5 all around workers ever. I can recognize talent, I’m not an ignorant fan, I’ve followed this business for two decades. I watched some of Flair in his prime, I watched ALL of HBK’s career. I’m putting my personal bias towards both great performers aside here for this special classic. I don’t even have that much of a bias against them to begin with I just happen to believe too much is said about them and not enough is said about the three in my banner and Mick Foley, but that’s another story. This is about HBK and Ric Flair.
Lets start from the beginning.
The Video Package of the feud and highlighting Flair’s career was phenominal. A nice touch with his family in the front row and they basically covered 35 years in 3 plus minutes in that video, very impresive indeed. The WWE video team always has been maybe some of the best in the world at what they do, and it’s true.
Anyways, the stage is set and out walks HBK as he usually is at Mania in almost every one of his matches, a tweener. (think about it…it’s true.)
Then about a 15-20 second pause and we hear nothing but “WOOOO’s” as expected and out comes the Nature Boy lookin Sharp.
One of the greatest entrances I have ever seen with the music, the atmosphere, the robe, the emotion, the body language, the look on Flair’s face knowing this is his last match. The fireworks in the background, etc. It was all Picture Perfect.
Why not just get the flaws over with first?
The failed bridge. That could be because of selling but hey, the guys are almost 100 years old combined you couldn’t do everything perfect, and they played off it quite well with the pinning attempt but even Jim Ross acknowledges something might have gone wrong there, Michaels “didn’t get all of it” he says. But it’s fine like I say because the lead to this bridge was fantastic chain wrestling with the go behind into a hammerlock, followed by the reversal, the pin-attempt the roll over and then into the bridge. But Flair’s age showed here but hey, gotta give the guy credit. He did awesome here. This was his best match probably in well over a decade, maybe a decade in a half and that is simply unbelievable.
Another noticeable flaw was the knee to the groin of Flair which I thought was extremely fake, but once again they made up for it when immediately after HBK hits Flair with an upper cut and he pauses then does that hillarious drop to which the crowd responded to in laughter as always.
I always admired how when HBK does his kick up, knip up, nip up, whatever the hell it’s called, excuse my ignorance there as I’m not so high on Mr. Wrestlemania as others, so I’m not as educated with his arsenal. I always admire when he does that he STILL REMEMBERS to sell the body part which would make it difficult to pull a move like that off. In this instance he sells the Stomach/Rib/Kidney area where as in Bad Blood 2004, he sold the back that Hunter worked on all match, for about 4 hours.
Good psychology by Shawn Michaels, he truely does come out to play at this event and does now have the most impressive Resume at Mania, congrats Show Stopper.
The reason he sells that move is because of this spot early in the bout….
“Near the beginning of this well paced contest while Flair was out on the outside, Michaels in WM 21 fashion did his spring board moonsault off the middle rope to the table and crashed right through it in an insane HOLY SH*T Bump which looked like it would make any stomach explode, or break any ribs. Congrats to Michaels for this bump, the expression on his face afterwards says it all as JR says.” I’d agree with Ross.
Touching on that (Jim Ross)… this had to be a special match for JR to call, he got emotional at the end of the match which is why he paused for so long I imagine. Think about it. He got to call both of these guys in there primes (in the NWA and WWF), and if you were to ask him who he thinks the top 3 ever were he’d no doubt say Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin.
What a contest though.
The Chop fest was wonderful.
WOOOOOOOOOOOOO. (Flair Chops)
BOOOOOOOOOOOOO. (HBK chops)
WOOOOOOOOOOOOO. (Flair Chops)
BOOOOOOOOOOOOO. (HBK chops)
WOOOOOOOOOOOOO. (Flair Chops)
BOOOOOOOOOOOOO. (HBK chops)
Like I said HBK is seemingly always a tweener no matter what his allignment is at Mania. Look at it…..10-Ramon. 11-Diesel. 12-HBK. 13-Commentary. 14 (well Heel here but some liked him) 19-Jericho (the fans cheered Y2J as well) 20- (Fans mostly for Benoit) 21- (Fans mostly for Angle) 22 (well this might be the exception) 23 (tweener even though I was even going for him.) 24 (tweener-heel)
It just seems that way every Mania, on the list there I proved my point when you think back.
Back to the match though, the chain wrestling, the suplexes, the quick go behinds, reversals, near falls, roll up’s and when Flair sent HBK to the buckle and he goes over like that it’s all magic.
This bout’s biggest strength “In my opinion” is the fact that is started the Climax in the middle part of the match.
It’s a nice way of putting wrapping up a good match and making it great. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with this idea. It’s actually smart and should be done more, and actually is but you’d never see this often in the old days as finishing moves back then were nearly impossible to get out of.
Flair started the climax when he blocked HBK’s hesistant first Sweet Chin Music attempt and turned it into a figure four leg lock. HBK got out of it and the fans were pissed but he’d soon be back in it.
I loved how HBK’s chin music’s came out of no where in this match, the first two. The fact he kicked out was great also!
Made a classic great when they have the ending like this seemingly in the middle. Two other matches I can tell you that did this were Benoit vs Angle at RR 03 and Benoit/Angle vs Edge Rey at No Mercy 02. Both those bouts had the climax in the middle and they are both regarded borderline or official 5 star matches by most.
I viewed this contest twice before I wrote this review as I said and I actually enjoyed it more the second time not surprisingly. The two guys seemed to enjoy working this way together in this final match and it amazes me how they were able to maintain there composure in such a high profile match. That’s another reason this epic contest was so great!
A lot of roll ups by Flair in the end that had you legitimately thinking he might pull it off but deep down everyone knew he wouldn’t.
Which is OK, this was the proper send off, maybe the best in history for anyone.
I personally thing Steve Austin is the greatest talent of all time but anyone who says Ric Flair isn’t far off either. JR can say it all he wants, so can Michaels, so can HHH and so dan all of the fans but to me no one can ever touch Austin. But this isn’t about Austin. This is about Flair. One of the greatest ever in his final match on the best stage of then all with Mr. Wrestlemania.
Truly memorable. I don’t know if they’ll ever be another Mania moment like this one at the end. Savage and Liz at WM 7, Austin at 13 limping out to Austin chants, Benoit and Eddie.
Here’s THE OFFICIAL END.
After another kick, Flair is down and seemingly out.
Flair gets up and begs Shawn to hit him with one more to put him out because he knows his 58 year old body has nothing left in the tank.
HBK slowly in the corner pounds the canvas with his right boot…shakes his head then slowly does it again as the crowd boo’s and everyone stands up…and here it is folks.
This is the third one, and this will do it…..
The final blow to The Nature Boy after 35 years. Or so we thought.
HBK lips “I’m sorry…I LOVE YOU.” BAM! 1…2..3.
Perfect way to go out.
HBK wins the match and ends Flair’s amazing career and legacy at 20:35 after executing The Sweet Chin Music three times. Amazing.
As soon as he did this, He kissed Flair’s head who was already a bucket full of tears as expected. As were his kids at ringside and millions around the world.
A touching moment even though it would sort of had made more sense if Triple H had done it but oh well. HBK was still a huge Flair mark and big friend of his and it was pretty logical and the next best option in my estimation.
This was a great match! Truely historic and the inevitable Flair moment was great as we all knew it would be, great crowd, great moment. Great goodbye if it lasted.
He is in my top 4 ever all around, that list included Steve Austin, Randy Savage, him and Bret Hart.
Okay, I’m going to be honest here. I was BLOWN AWAY by this match. I’m not gonna lie. And I HATE THAT SAYING I’m not gonna lie, but I’m serious. I’m not going to lie. This was ten times better then I had ever imagined.
They told a good story but Flair pissed on this match after returning from retirement after the very fact that’s what this whole match was about.
Ric Flair is a whore.
Final Rating for Ric Flair -Definitive Collection- 7.5/10
This DVD set is a good one which I would suggest for hardcore wrestling fans, fans of old school wrestling or fans of Ric Flair. For everyone else it is close to a top 10-15 DVD of all time. There are 10 others for individual performers that have a better overall set then this one including the Nature Boy himself who has the 2nd best in my mind which got a 9.5 out of 10 rating from me just recently. No Savage love at WM 8, a lack of matches mainly that one and some repetitive material deduct 1.5 off it being a perfect 10 which I still have yet to give to a single DVD set. Another half deducted because some of the match choices are questionable like the six man tag, and the two matches that are available on DVDs like Taboo Tuesday and Wrestlemania 24 but I understand he wanted to throw in his best matches with his good friends. Overall a 7.5 is not a bad rating at all. You get a great documentary as I illustrated and you get 10 matches, most of them rare and great. Flair still is not done yet in my opinion as far as DVD goes, he could easily put out a pretty good 3 disc set still as could so many of the other greats. But I reccomend you pick this one up if you have the cash, I enjoyed it for sure! His matches vs Funk, Sting, Steamboat and Von Erich are enough to sell me. The Documentary a few promos among a few other matches are just icing on the cake, and overall this is a very good DVD.