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[1985-12-28-NWA-World Championship Wrestling] Ric Flair vs Ronnie Garvin

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NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair vs Ronnie Garvin - WCW 12/28/85

 

This match is like one big mark out moment for me. This is one of my all-time favorite matches and that's with only having seen like the first 3/4s on Youtube. I only got my hands on the full thing and LORD HAVE MERCY!!! This may be the best TV match I have ever seen.

 

Flair and Garvin just absolutely wail on each other for 15 minutes. There is no better sound than sound of flesh on flesh. The skirmishes they have are simply awesome. They just beat the living shit out of each other. Flair is so busy trying to go chop for chop with him he forgets to beg off until late in the match! Some highlights I had not noticed before was Flair screaming "watch those tights damnit" so he could sneak in a closed fist. I love that moment when Flair incensed grabs two tuffs of Garvin's hair only to have Garvin grab his giant honker and smack around a bit. Flair likes to say "All Man". This match proves he is All Fucking Man! Flair was on fire on promos on 12/21 & 12/28. "I'm high on just being Ric Flair" and bemoaning the hardships of being a modern day sex symbol was killing me. Pete on Parv's Fair for Flair is so right, this is not Flair being dragged out of his comfort zone. This is Flair in his natural state just pounding the shit out of each other. If you watch Fair's strikes (his elbows and sledges) they are very reminiscent of his former tag partner, Greg Valentine. Carolina boys love this level of brutality and physicality. He just did not always have the opponents to execute those matches. Garvin's chops on the floor are just YIKES! I love them choking each other in this match both just to survive. There is literally never one dull moment. It is all an action, stand up sprint between those two badasses. If you don't believe in the awesomeness of Ron Garvin, watch this match. It is what made me a believer. Garvin reverses a suplex and lunges on top of him, but Flair is in the ropes. Some Flair-isms do stop seep in late in the match, but most of them fit in this all out war. Kneecrusher! Flair exclaims "Now tough guy go to school!" Garvin shoves hard. What follows is just fucking incredible! Garvin loses his mind and basically tries to kill Flair. He grabs any part of Flair's face and throat and open hand slaps huim. Flair two hands around Garvin's throat! I LOVE PRO WRESTLING! David Crockett and I are marking out together 30 year apart. HANDS OF STONE! Foot on ropes! MUTHAFUCKA! Flair crotches him on top rope and Flair looks exhausted from this war. He chucks the ref and here comes the American Dream. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! He applies the Figure-4 and the Andersons hit the ring and they look to re-injure Dusty's leg.

Amazing, brutal, rompin stompin match! So glad to finally see the whole thing in all its glory! One of the stiffest match you will ever see! Hot Damn! ****1/2

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What an absolutely incredible match. We can throw out platitudes, but what television matches are in the same stratosphere? Definitely feels like an all-timer in that department. I also think this is among the most audible matches ever. Listening to those chops and the stiff offense in a studio setting was just incredible. Not sure how many other matches where you could rely on the audio that strongly.

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Considering the praise it gets, let's try "Most overrated studio match ever". This was fun for what it was but was totally goofy and amounted to zilch. I'll never get how Garvin gets so much praise. I guess doing a thousand open hand slaps passes for great work. Yeah, it's stiff. And so ? Exchanges at first are nice. Then Ron injures his left arm on the outside post, which doesn't mean much since he's right handed. This will be forgotten pretty quickly anyway. Tons of slaps. A bunch of headbutts. Hey, if you do five fucking heabutts in a row and don't KO your opponent, that's piss poor use of a spot. And people give Kurt Angle hard time, like this kind of shit is any better… Ron does some random no-selling comebacks. Flair and him brawling is goofy, with usual Flair delayed bumps, Garvin's punches that aren't that great, the selling doesn't carry any sense of exhaustion either. Then it ends up in a giant schmozz. I wouldn't even call that match *good*. Fun stiff-fest. Okay.

 

And before any pissant gets on me with "you want more MOVEZ LOL" bullshit, on the same TV show, Ole Anderson and Magnum TA beat the shit out of each other for 15/20 minutes in a match that actually had less "highspots" (I believe one dropkick and an axhandle from the second rope from Magnum), was all about punches and body shots exchanges and trying to punish each others arms if you could. It had nice transitions, excellent selling on both part, it looked like a real struggle and a fight (as opposed to a stiff chop exchange wankery). The more I see Ole, the more I think he's a completely overlooked and forgotten great (which is odd considering how minimalistic and to the core is was). The more I see Garvin, the more I think he's been ridiculously overrated in the last few years.

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I'd somehow never seen this. I've seen Flair v Garvin as a pairing enough times that it's not exactly fresh anymore, but I was looking forward to this after watching the build up on TV. The previous week as Garvin was doing a post-match interview at the booth, Flair came out doing his usual bit about being the world's heavyweight wrestling champion and that Garvin should know better than to interrupt his interview time (even though it was Flair who interrupted Garvin's). Flair talked up Jim Crockett as being the best wrestling promoter in the world but questioned how great the SuperStation Championship Challenge Series really could be when the world champ wasn't wrestling on TV. Garvin said he'd be up the challenge if Flair really wanted one and so Flair said he'd buy the full hour next week just to beat up Garvin on TV. Then earlier in this show Flair came out in his robe, talking about all the women who want to be with him, saying he's so high on being Ric Flair every day that he might just keep doing this for another twenty years (boy he wasn't kidding, was he?). He's in high spirits and loving life as Jim Crockett Promotions heads into the year 1986, with him as the heavyweight champion of the world. Then we get to this at the end of the show, and what a way to close out the year. I thought it fucking ruled.

My favourite Flair is the one who gets pissed off and surly. The one who knows his title's in jeopardy and will fight to keep it. The one who's beyond begging off and ready to scrap with whoever he's up against. Sometimes we'll get brief glimpses of it during those longer title defences where he rolls into town and wrestles the local babyface. Sometimes he'll abuse Ricky Morton and punch him in his broken nose. Sometimes him and Terry Funk will tear each other to ribbons. This was about 90% that Flair and it felt as much like a fight as anything he was ever in. There were a few moments where they'd set up a rope-running spot by grabbing a headlock, Flair took his upside down turnbuckle bump and once he did in fact beg for mercy as he backed into the corner...but for the most part they tore strips off each other. It had a bit of Garvin working a keylock early and there was a little Flair arm work that was inconsequential...but for the most part they lit each other up. Flair was agitated from the start and every strike exchange felt violent; not just the chops and punches but the parts where they were rolling around on the mat clawing at each other's face or tearing hair out. Garvin was throwing some awesome heabutts, Flair threw his knees to the gut, Garvin bit him in the forehead, Flair dropped his shin on Garvin's face. Flair's mounted strikes were great, the way he had his whole weight high across Garvin's chest as he pelted him with these nasty little rabbit punches. At one point Garvin just wrapped his hands around Flair's throat and dragged him to the mat, then slapped him really hard across the face. It was gritty and uncooperative and they never gave each other a second's peace. When Flair shouts that it's time to go to school it doesn't feel like his usual shit-talking. He's had enough of Garvin and now we get to see why he's the world champ. Too often that Flair - the one who looks every bit The Man he says he is on a microphone - will make only fleeting appearances, and it's a shame because he's exceptional when he's beating the brakes off someone. Towards the end he never bothered trying to set up the string of babyface nearfalls, never bothered having Garvin put him in his own figure-four, never bothered getting slammed off the top. They just stuck to the brawling and it was all the better for it. Great little fight. 

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