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[1985-10-11-Houston Wrestling] Ric Flair vs Butch Reed

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This was a pretty great match with really cool small moments to go along with big moments. Early on Flair put over Reed's strength. In a really cool moment early on Flair would go after Reed's leg not once, but twice. Each time Reed would rag doll Flair in a headlock to stop the attempt. Reed would use the headlock as a weapon through out. Reed also used the bear hug that Flair sold big. Speaking of selling. I've never seen anyone sell Flair's chops the way Reed did and really put them over. Reed would get chopped and seemed so annoyed he'd go after Flair. You need to see what I'm talking about. Both guys really turned this into something special. 4*

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One of my favorite things in wrestling is when I organically find myself in a very good match. This happens more with Ric Flair than any other wrestler to me. Early on with the chinlock stuff, it was interesting but table setting. This paid off big dividends though as the ending stretch with the chop battle relying on Reed giving Flair some awesome punches, Flair finally mounting some offense and going after the leg, and Reed making his big comeback was all really well done. The finish was typical BS where right at the 20 minutes mark, the referee bails to the floor and we get a DQ when Flair was about to get beat, but this was a really good heavyweight title defense with Reed looking strong as hell and Flair looking real resourceful. ***1/2

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NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair vs Butch Reed - Mid-South 10/11/85

 

Better than their 60 minute extended squash, but I just this was a very good routine Ric Flair match. I don't think these two have much in the way of chemistry at all. The beginning told a much more interesting story with Flair facing Reed's power in the form of headlock and bearhug, he was trying to get other Reed's skin using the chop. We see Reed get frustrated and wanting to haul off and punch him. The ref reminds him it is illegal. So when he finally gets sick of these stinging chops and punches him in the face it means something. I thought this was a good use of the bearhug. Reed showed a lot more frustration at not being able to put Flair away. Flair was being more of a nuisance in this match like he normally is. Flair hits a kneecrusher and gets the figure-4 so he already feels more competitive in this match. Reed reverses the pressure and leaves Flair hobbling. I thought the finish stretch was a hodgepodge of Flair spots that did not make all that much sense. We get the sunset flip, bridge into the backslide and the sleeper. Yeah they are all hot nearfalls, but they feel forced. Ref gets bumped. Flair gets hit with Reed's shouldertackle, which is his big bomb and Flair just kinda shrugs it off so that he can get press slammed. Reed applies the figure-4 so that when the ref calls off the match you don't know if it for the ref bump or for Flair giving up, which is a neat finish. This was entertaining and the body of the match was much more competitive and interesting, but the finish was all over the place. ***1/2

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To me the sad part about the Flair-Reed Mid-South series is that I JUST them, but couldn't tell you if it was the long one or the short one, or if I actually saw both. LOL

I saw the buildup on TV and PWI really put over Reed at the time for this feud...BUT

Absolutely no chemistry. You know it's bad when Ric is calling it, has classics with guys with no skill, but this series just stinks. I keep hearing Butch Reed is a hidden gem and a good worker, but he hardly gets off his feet and shows movement, like, say, Ron Simmons, who is more stiff and sloppy, but still more mobile. I would have thought with this being an NWA World Title shot in 1985, when both men were still in their peaks, that I would have been pleasantly surprised, like when I watch a Dick Slater or Murdoch from the same time period and place.

Really not sure why one would rate this as good or great, which is what 3.5 to 4 means.

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