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[1985-02-13-Polynesian Pacific Pro Wrestling] Ric Flair vs Kerry Von Erich

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While this is a pretty good match, I will be happy if I never watched it again. This kind of match/style puts me to sleep more often than not. The usual great Flair character work helps keep it entertaining along the way. ***

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This is nobody's fault, but I am almost 100% certain that the correct date for this match is 2/13/85.   I believe 10/12 was the airdate on Polynesian Pro.   Ric Flair was scheduled to face Wahoo McDaniel in Jacksonville FL on October 12th.   We know that Flair was in Houston on the 11th and Tokyo on the 19th.

 

Polynesian Pacific @ Honolulu, HI - Blaisdell Arena - February 13, 1985
NWA World Champion Ric Flair fought Kerry Von Erich to a 60-minute time-limit draw; Von Erich was attempting to pin Flair by using the claw at the time of the bell...(.***This is the same finish as the supposed 10/12 match***)

10/12/85 Jacksonville, FL @ Coliseum 
Cocoa Samoa vs. Jack Hart
The Grappler vs. Hector Guerrero
Buddy Landell vs. Terry Taylor
Mike Graham vs. Rick Rude
Dusty Rhodes, Magnum TA & Ron Bass vs. Arn Anderson, Ole Anderson & Tully Blanchard
NWA World Champion Ric Flair vs. Wahoo McDaniel in a steel cage match

 

10/09 Raleigh, NC Magnum T.A. beat Ric Flair by DQ

10/10 Norfolk, VA Magnum T.A. beat Ric Flair by DQ

10/11 Houston, TX Ric Flair beat Bruce Reed by DQ

10/12 Nashville, TN Ric Flair vs. Jim Duggan

10/12 Honolulu, HI Ric Flair draw Kerry Von Erich(60:00)

10/13 Asheville, NC Magnum T.A. beat Ric Flair by DQ

10/13 Charlotte, NC Magnum T.A. beat Ric Flair by DQ

10/19 Tokyo, Japan Ric Flair draw Jumbo Tsuruta(15:00)

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NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair vs Kerry Von Erich - Hawaii 2/13/85

Flair vs Kerry is probably my favorite US feud of all time. I have never seen these two have a bad match. This match does have a bit of rep and at the same time is overlooked because it happens in Hawaii as opposed to one of the major territories of the time. The contenders in my opinion for the greatest Flair vs Kerry match is the WCCW August 1982 match and the Watt Mid-South match from April of 1985. I have seen this before as it has been on Youtube for a long time. It is currently in five parts please let me know if there is a more complete version out there but I suspect because this is filmed for TV there will just be chunks that we will never have. 

Pretty routine Flair vs Kerry opening. I have to say I really liked how Flair incorporated amateur wrestling into his matches in 1985. You see the same work with Terry Taylor in 1985. Kerry is able to escape when Flair tries to ride with him, but when Kerry takes Flair down Flair cant escape and is forced to get the ropes. Then he gets pissed and loses a shoving war. It is little stuff like that that make Flair so good. He is so petty that he gets upset after being shown up one time. Kerry looks like a million bucks with his fists cocked and ready to go. From there we get some top wristlock tests of strength that Kerry wins. Kerry works an armbar and a double wristlock as Flair hollers and tries to maneuver out, but to no avail. Kerry moves into the side headlock. They cut a tremendous pace for a sixty minute Broadway. Flair tries crowding in the corner. He seems to make some in roads with his heavy hands. Anyone who has watch a lot of vintage Flair knows he likes to hurl his opponent to the outside. This has the double effect of making his opponent take a nasty fall to the concrete and give himself some time to recuperate. Here we see Kerry land on his feet and immediately jump back in the ring. Flair tries to take the offense right to Kerry but in all the commotion ends up in a beautiful Military Press Slam and now it is Flair with powder. I love that symmetry. There is some really good stand up exchanges here and Kerry does get an early nearfall off a discus punch. Kerry works a front chancery and it is very entertaining with Flair struggling hard against it and them both doing interesting work. We get to around the halfway mark according to the announcers (who are probably an unreliable source) when Kerry misses a dropkick and maybe pulls a muscle in his abdomen. Flair goes to work punting the challenger. Kerry is on point here with his selling really good. If you love crazed Flair, this is good stuff. After getting his ass kicked, he has snapped and is just straight choking Kerry by throttling his throat.  

Flair begins a King of Mountain sequence. This is a heavy Flair heat segment. Just big, thunderous shots. The apron work is really good. The ref breaks it up and this affords Kerry the opportunity to shouldertackle and go for the Sunset Flip, good hope spot. Kerry lands some punches, but Flair fights through it. Flair is desperate and goes off the ropes and Kerry applies the IRON CLAW to the stomach. Flair should not have given his man that much space. An assuredly fatal mistake if he had not raked the eyes. Kerry sells this so well. This is why wrestling in the 1980s is so good because the eye rake feels like such a big deal. He uses it to escape certain defeat and Kerry sells by writhing in pain. Flair goes to the sleeper, but cant finish his man off. Of course, Kerry applies his own sleeper. Flair sells the sleeper so well fading right next to the ropes with his fingertips grazing the ropes. Kerry goes for the big Kevin-esque splash but eats knees. Flair hits a nice short knee as a follow up to the midsection, but Kerry re-applies the sleeper. This time Flair hits a back suplex and both men are out. Flair misses his Flair Flip in the corner and comes crashing back to the mat. That was gnarly. The second time Kerry whips him he clear the top turnbuckle but tumbles to the floor also gnarly. Flair staggered re-enters the ring and Kerry applies the IRON CLAW~! TO THE HEAD! Wait! He does not have it fully applied. Flair short knee and chops Kerry down. 

Flair goes for his patented kneedrop but Kerry moves and Flair hurts his knee on the move. FIGURE-4! I love the announcer marking out saying he has never seen this before. Either he is a great liar or he is never watched a Flair match before. Kerry is relentless getting the hold twice, but on the second time Flair rakes the eyes. This time Flair is too hurt to press his advantage.

IRON CLAW TO THE KNEE!!! Ok, I am marking out for that too, Dunbar!

Kerry drags Flair to the post and wraps his knee around the post. This is excellent! Kerry is working the leg, but misses an elbow drop to the knee. Then he misses a kneedrop to the head. Kerry sells this like death. The next two minutes is incredible. They do a great job selling their respective knee injuries as Flair starts to mount his comeback while hobbling. I like how Flair just moves a step back and lets Kerry miss a dropkick before nailing a PILEDRIVER for two! Back from the commercial, they stop selling the knee injuries, which bums me out, but they are still selling attrition and exhaustion. Kerry gets a series of nearfalls as hope spots as Flair is working on him heavy. Kerry gets Flair up for a big suplex, but only gets two. Here comes the Grand Finale, Flair ballshot, Flair press slam off the top, big bump over the top rope by Flair off a standing dropkick, Flair Flip -> IRON CLAW which popped me huge! The last two minutes of the clock is spent wondering if Flair can last in the Claw and of course he can, but boy oh boy did Kerry come oh so close to recapturing the NWA Championship.

Definitely up there with the two other classic Flair/Kerry matches I mentioned. Some really great selling by both men, top notch all the way around. Very exciting, breezy ~40 minutes that we see. The majority of the match was Kerry and you dont think of Kerry as someone with a lot of offense to fill this amount of time, but he does a great job mixing in some big nearfalls and the Claw teases. Flair is a master of just making these long matches thrilling and really putting over his opponent. I think missing as much of the match as we do I cant give it the full five and I think I would put the World Class match over it, but this has some really thrilling moments and it is highly recommended. ****3/4

 

 

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