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Found 455 results

  1. Grimmas

    Bret Hart vs Ric Flair

    The classic debate should be the first thread.
  2. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair vs Jerry Lawler - Memphis Wrestling 8/14/82 "You are not trying to put on any country jive on me" - Ric Flair, one of my favorite lines from the classic promos surrounding this match. Flair takes some time out of his busy schedule (Orlando the previous night against Dusty, Ohio for GCW against Dicky Slater that night, and the classic Kerry Von Erich match in Dallas the next night) to show this podunk, redneck town what big time pro wrestling looks like. Jerry Lawler, the master of persuasion, sees the champion's hubris as opportunity to exploit to wrangle a championship match on TV when Flair was scheduled to wrestle a jabroni. Flair actually does agree to a 10 minute TV match with the NWA World Championship on the line. This is an all-time great TV angle and everybody should watch it. I actually mentioned the schedule on purpose because it explains the match to a degree. When in seven days, you have to wrestle wrestlers as different as big bumping Harley Race, charismatic Dusty Rhodes, power wrestling Kerry Von Erich and technical wrestler Jack Brisco, party all night long with pretty women across the country, do 500 free squats a day, you don't have much time to come up with a totally unique match for every wrestler, brutha, Unfortunately, Lawler did get the short end of the stick in terms of match layout. It is clear when it came for the big time championship defenses against the Von Erichs, Flair made each match unique, but he simply did not have the time to do this for everyone. Instead what he did was bring one helluva template and 110% effort to every match. The big Flair vs Lawler match did not materialize, but if I was watching that on TV I would be hooked. Now having seen a ton of Flair especially recently, I could call the spots ahead of time, but we have to be cognizant that people in Mempho were not getting Dallas TV so this was not a real issue. This is one who is working smart not unnecessarily hard and taking a template that works. Now if I am Lawler, I would be disappointed that I was the proverbial broomstick in this match. He was stuck doing the hammerlock switches, working a headlock, and doing the sleeper reversal out of the suplex. I think his lack of effort showed selling for Flair, I may be reading too much in this, but I would imagine it was either because it was TV thus did not want to give too much away or he was not happy with Flair, which I swear I read. I have noticed this in some other matches, Lawler does deadfish on people. He just lets the moves happen to him rather than struggling. When Flair is on against Von Erichs, Flair is always struggling and forcing the Von Erichs to overcome his shortcuts. It is not too bad with Lawler because he does sell well, but in this match he was just taking moves and doing none. He barely flinched when the figure-4 was slapped on. The cool thing was we got to see a Ric Flair offense showcase, which seems rare, so we get the delayed vertical and the gutwrench. The ten minute time limit expires while Flair has him in the figure-4 and since he could submit him, Flair wants him for 5 more minutes to really show this punk up. Flair has not watch many Lawler matches and here comes that comeback. Flair tucks tail and takes the championship with him and is counted out to set up the Mid-South Coliseum match that was never to be. The match layout is basic Flair: babyface shine with babyface besting Flair on the mat, Flair kicking some ass and then guitar solo portion of the match where Flair lets you hit your 2-3 big spots before the finish. Your mileage will vary based on how much you like the layout. I love it and Flair's offense so I enjoyed the match even if it was not OMFG FLAIR VS LAWLER!!!! The post-match angle is straight cash money with Flair putting out a bounty on Lawler's head and delegating it to Jimmy Hart. Between this and Kerry Von Erich, Flair, you deserved what was coming to you pal in 1983 with Harley Race. Watch it for the angle and promos, the match is still pretty good. ***
  3. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair vs Kevin Von Erich - WCCW 4/1/83 It is always Kerry, Kerry, Kerry and David, David, David, what about Kevin Von Erich!!! Kevin is an aggressive offensive dynamo. He is not going to take any shit and quite frankly does not give a shit. He is going to punch and claw his way through any situation. He does not wait for Flair to cheat, he just attacks. I love it! Kevin Von Erich does not believe in clean breaks. He believes in winning goddamnit! I love that spunky, high energy babyface of the 80s and Kevin was probably the best because he had the cool moves, he laid his shit in and he had the aggression. Kevin is telling Flair to put up his dukes early and is totally crowding the Nature Boy. I think Flair the master of the corner in setting up a transition is really thrown off by Kevin not giving him a clean break. Their brawl out of the corner is a great heated exchange. Kevin also adds dropkicks and flying headscissors to make him a dual threat. Kevin was definitely the best brawler of the family. Flair punches Kevin right in the face and Kevin yelps "I think my nose is broke!" Flair is in the ropes and Kevin calls for the Claw. The other brothers would be dissuaded not Kein who applies and yanks Flair out! Flair desperately gets out only to be put in a sleeper, he rakes the eyes. Great selling by Kevin! We get our first Flair press slammed off the top rope. On a kick out, Kevin lands on Bronco and when he moves Flair elbows the ref. Flair sends Kevin over the top and they do a great job teasing the countout. Flair works in his high impact blow like that nasty elbow. In the middle of a backbreaker, Kevin just punches Flair in the side of the head. This is a fight! Kevin kicks him legs up, but Flair has it scouted. Kevin starts teeing off on Flair. I love when the Von Erichs grab Flair by his mane and just start going off. Kevin runs through the ref. Kevin sends Flair over the top, but that is not the right side because the ref ain't over there so Flair gets him to toss him over the other side. Back in, Kevin hits a tremendous reverse crossbody. 1-2-3! THE CROWD GOES WILD! I am so confused and excited at the same time! Of course, Bronco reverses the decision since he saw Kevin dump Flair over the top. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! That is just cruel to do that with your fanbase. I hate, hate, hate those finishes. I am usually very open minded when it comes to a finish if a DQ or countout sets something up that is a good finish. This is cruel and stupid. Great match otherwise, I am so, so, so looking forward to more Kevin Von Erich. Everything he does is perpetual struggle. Him and Flair could have some Flair vs Garvin level encounters if they really let them go. I love the dynamic with Kerry being able to wrestle that long championship style while Kevin wrestles these high energy sprints. Flair is of course a master of it all. The finish brings the match down, but the work beforehand was World Class! ****1/4
  4. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair vs Kerry Von Erich - Christmas Star Wars 12/25/82 Steel Cage match, Michael Hayes Special Guest Referee They had two different gimmicks to establish in this match plus they needed to get Kerry's revenge in, needed to have a championship style match and run the one of the biggest angles in the history of pro wrestling. I think that was the biggest hindrance to this match was they were trying to accomplish so much in one match. With three lesser men, this would have been a clusterfuck. In the hands of Flair, Kerry and Hayes, they still manage to present an excellent match even if it is at the level of the first Kerry vs Flair bout. Unlike David, Kerry does not have to worry about disqualifications and he goes after Flair's leg immediately in retribution. Flair establishes he has nowhere to run due to the cage. Something I have noticed in watching five Flair vs Von Erich matches already is that he does not take many walks to break rhythm. He does beg off or back into a corner, but is not powdering as much as I remember from him. He definitely fight back more at this point with more hair pulls, tight-pulling and eye-raking to set up his chops and short knees. The other gimmick gets established early and often that is even if there is no disqualifications, Michael Hayes will not let one wrestler beat the other senseless in the match to the point where they can defend himself. So Hayes is very forceful in pulling the men off. This is a more logical and better approach than the fucking Kinski performance a year later. Hayes was introduced to the territory in mid-October as a friend of the Von Erich, but he has been even in actions. Kerry Von Erich grabs the sleeper and a huge pop happens because they remember that was the move that should have won him the first fall. Flair becomes incensed at getting his ass kicked, but Kerry is looking CLAW. They did a good job establishing the cage as nowhere for Flair to hide, they did not tease going into the cage. Regardless, when Kerry sends Flair head first into the cage and grates his forehead it gets a huge pop. This is Flair in his element bleeding and hollering. The verbal selling here is just top notch. Hayes throws Kerry off, but he still signals for The Claw and the crowd is pumped! Flair goes to his best weapon kicking Kerry in his bad leg and he takes Kerry to school. Kerry is pushing Flair off as a last ditch effort and throws him into the cage. It is around this time that it feels haphazard. They want to get Kerry's revenge in on Flair because he is not going to win the title tonight, but at least he will get his licks in. Yet, Flair is still trying to work in a championship style and perpetual motion. Again, trying to accomplish too much. Flair finally applies the figure-4 and when it is reversed we get some really classic Flair selling. He is so great at selling the struggle and then upon reversing it, just wow! Kerry Von Erich is just beating Flair senseless now and it does not look like the champ has a chance to survive. Hayes is trying to keep thing somewhat safe by pulling Kerry off. CLAW! Flair drapes his leg over the rope and Hayes pulls him off to big BOOOS! That was lame. One thing to keep Flair safe another to force a rope break. While Hayes and Kerry get into it, Flair hits a high knee sending Kerry into Hayes. Flair and Hayes go at it and Hayes decks Flair. Kerry won't take the pin and Hayes pulls him by the hair on top of Flair, but Kerry won't take it. Again Flair gets a high knee that makes it seem like Kerry shoved Hayes out of the cage. So the "Guardian of the Gate" (TM HHH), Freebird Terry Gordy has had enough of Kerry's shit and blasts him with the steel cage door! With that shot the Freebirds vs Von Erichs begins! Flair covers Kerry and Hayes comes back in counts a quick three even though Kerry had kicked out. The match actually continues, which I think is all for the better because we get some amazing staggering Kerry selling. You really get a sense of how much Kerry is hurt. I am not sure you would get the same feeling if it was Kerry knocked out, Flair pin and then Von Erich brothers swear revenge. Here you get to see Kerry's injury plus how sadistic Flair is in this situation. I love Kerry flailing around in the cage trying to get away from Flair and try to mount a comeback, but he is just too injured. Kerry is able to get a last resort Discus Punch, but he collapses and David Manning has not choice, but to call it. The announcer is worried about a concussion and the Von Erich brothers are worried and pissed. It was a great finish to keep Kerry looking strong and really show how much the Freebirds cost him the match. The world famous angle and the finish stretch ensures this match's place in history. There is never a boring moment in this match, but early on there is just too many things going on for this to be considered on the level of the first Flair vs Kerry match. I still think it was an excellent heated championship match. I have just slightly below the Flair/David match. ****1/2
  5. Sleeze goes back to the greatest decade this world has ever experienced, the 1980s, BABY! We start in style with the big profile championship match as Ric Flair defends against his strongest challenger of the first half of the decade, Kerry Von Erich. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair vs Kerry Von Erich August 15, 1982 Wrestling Star Wars Dallas, TX 2 Out Of Three Falls The below review is from my third viewing of one of my favorite matches of all times. It focuses mainly on the layout and Flair's performance and I agree with everything I wrote. However, on this viewing, I intentionally focused on the Modern Day Warrior. The common knock on men like Von Erich and Luger is that they are broomsticks that are plugged into the Flair formula and out pops a classic. It can't be further from the truth. I can understand you can be distracted by the glistening He-Man physique and that horseface, but if you watch as intently as Kerry laid one on that young girl at ringside then you will see Kerry was a phenomenal seller. Early on, Flair does his usual bridge escape out of a headscissors and watch Kerry's face, he flinches in pain. Or when he has a headscissors on Flair, he conveys the internal struggle not to ball up his fist and punch Flair to the audience. During the match, Flair is always struggling looking for an opening with short knees or chops and Kerry is great selling the immediate pain. He gives Flair these brief openings, but always fires back up. In the second fall, Kerry is just excelling at writhing in pain from Flair's leg work and really expressing how close he is to giving up. Now, Flair is no slouch as he is tremendous in his verbal selling especially when Kerry reverses the pressure. This entire match is a master class in selling by both men. Each man really is thinking shoot while they are working. They respond to each other and moments in the match in a real sporting manner. Each time, I discover new spots and elements that make it a better match. Such as during the abdominal stretch, Von Erich makes a point to exaggerate his gesture that he is looking to put on the Claw, which really whips the crowd into a frenzy. The crowd was nuclear for Kerry from the get-go and totally rabid at the prospect of him dethroning Ric Flair especially after defeating previous Champion Harley Race in a de facto No. 1 Contender’s match just months previous to this. Flair, as usual, is a cardio freak, but my favorite moment is how he slowly ramps up his heelishness. At first testing his strength and clearly being bested, he resorts to hair pulling to win an over the top wristlock. Another thing, I love is that when Kerry has Flair in a head scissors in the beginning, they do not just lie on the mat. Flair is very broadly attempting to escape the hold, but cant. This does two things, it puts over Kerry’s strength and most importantly, keeps the audience engaged. Flair does a lot of things really well, but he is exceptional at keeping the audience engaged even during perfunctory matwork. The beginning is all about putting over Kerry’s strength. This is accomplished by holding multiple head-scissors, winning over the top wristlocks and a visually impressive arm wrench that Flair bumps wells, which the crowd pops loudly for. Flair gets some offense in the corner, which is Flair’s domain. Besides Vader, I do not think there is a wrestler that is better in the corner than Flair. Flair takes over with a knee-lift and begins taking shortcuts like the aforementioned hair pull. Off a missed elbow, they do a well-executed tussle for the ab stretch I brought up earlier. I love how they made each other work for it with Kerry ultimately winning. An eye-rake (Flair shortcuts) breaks it up, but Kerry hits two pretty impressive dropkicks. Flair’s next shortcut is to hold the rope down as Kerry crashes to the floor, which leads to Flair’s big flurry of offensive: dropping Kerry across the top rope, knee drop and piledriver. Kerry catches Flair with back body drop, but Flair blocks the corner. Flair pushes the ref, but as Kerry winds up for the discus punch he catches the ref in the head. Kerry puts on the sleeper, BUT THERE IS NO REF, here he comes and now the bell is ringing. KERRY WINS THE FIRST FALL!!! Right!?!?! Right!?!?!? The original referee disqualifies Kerry for the punch much to the dismay of the crowd and to relief of a visually exhausted and desperate Flair. I liked the finish to the first fall even if it was a clusterfuck because Kerry was clearly put over as more dominant than Flair. Flair’s escape with a DQ finish in the first fall allows for Kerry to once again be perceived as the underdog as he has the unenviable task to win two straight falls against The Man. Another great element is that all of Flair’s control segments were initiated by shortcuts thus always making Kerry look better in comparison. The second fall rules all and by itself would probably be one of my favorite matches of all time. Flair is still coughing from the sleeper hold and begs off immediately. Kerry and the crowd smell blood. Kerry slaps on the sleeper, but Flair makes use of the Bret leverage move to send Kerry crashing to the floor. Flair capitalizes this by wrenching Kerry’s leg across the apron. NOW WE GO TO SCHOOL!!! Flair is absolutely crazed during this control segment as he clearly a desperate champ doing anything to take down the physically superior Kerry Von Erich. Flair hits the shinbreaker to a physically diminished Von Erich side-headlock. After Flair works over the leg, it is time for the Figure-4 Leglock whipping the crowd into frenzy. Just minutes ago, they thought their hero had the first fall in the bag and now it looks he is about to lose two straight falls. WAIT!!! Kerry had reversed the pressure and now Flair scrambles for the ropes. Flair tries to go back to the knee, but Keryr blocks with the vaunted Von Erich Claw. Flair blades like a champ off the claw and eventually is pinned. Flair’s control segment was fuckin awesome and Kerry sold his knee like champ. Then when it came to the hit finish everyone erupted when the claw was slapped on just when it seemed like Flair had this one in the bag. Flair is drenched in sweat and blood and looking for a fight with the universal sign of “Put up your dukes”. A spirited two-minute intense brawl breaks out and the ref loses control of the match. At first, I was disappointed by the finish, but in retrospect it is a really good to put over the intense nature of the match and it would ultimately setup the Huge Christmas Day 1982 Cage match. The basic idea of the Flair formula was executed, which is to make your opponent look like a million bucks and keep the audience engaged. However, Flair was not always a chickenshit heel as he vacillated among begging off, desperation and crazed. There was an urgency to each fall. Kerry felt like he NEEDED to win the first one and came out hot, but was robbed. Kerry NEEDED to win the second one or he lost, but by the same token Flair felt he NEEDED to win based off Kerry’s stellar performance in the first fall. Kerry played his part well and definitely added more than just his Texas star power. He sold well and worked hard to keep up with Flair and sell the importance of the match. I LOVE this match because there is never a dull moment and the match builds perfectly on itself until the wild brawl at the end. Just a little too much bullshit in the first and last fall to go all the way, but damn this is going to be a hard match to beat in World Class. ****3/4
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