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SmartMark15

[1985-09-02-CWF-Battle of the Belts] Ric Flair vs Wahoo McDaniel

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A classic Flair title defense match. Wahoo makes for a great larger man with heavy hands to combat Flair. Their strikes looked great and they told simple great stories for each fall. First fall almost entirely as Wahoo's shine and setting up the efficiency of the Sleeper as his finisher. Second fall was all about Flair cheating his way back on top by using the ringposts and the ropes. The final fall was short and sweet, a classic Flair dirty win to end a very fun and engaging 50 minutes or so of action. I really enjoyed this.

 

****1/4

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NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair vs Wahoo McDaniel - CWF Battle of the Belts 9/2/85

First Fall: If you wanna watch a great individual Flair carryjob performance watch this match. He takes a very old and limited Wahoo McDaniel and creates magic through his selling. There is a top wristlock battle in the beginning but then it is exactly what you would expect a chopfest. Flair is taking bumps, running over cover and selling his face like his life is dependent on it. He gets an eyepoke and starts working in on Wahoo, but Fonzie catches him using the ropes on a pin attempt. Eventually Wahoo chops him back down. Wahoo, Flair takes a ridiculous bump into the front row. Wahoo has a nice drop toehold. He works the leg and Flair is just hollering like he is in the worst pain imaginable. Flair tries his best to fight fire with fire, but Wahoo just keeps chopping him down. Flair eventually gets him to the outside where he drives the arm into the steel post. This gives Flair his first advantage. Thus far they have established Wahoo has a lethal chop and Flair needed some outside help to gain control. Flair works the arm really well. Nice tight armbars and wristlocks. He uses the ropes liberally and even uses some finger manipulation pulling on the pinky. I love Wahoo's desperation headbutt to break Flair's control. Flair sells this shot so well. He goes back to the arm, but Wahoo chops him down with his free arm. Wahoo goes tenaciously for the pin but cant keep Flair down. Flair looks to be in trouble and does not have an answer for Wahoo's standup game. He tries to create movement coming off the ropes but gets caught in the sleeper. WATCH FLAIR SELL THIS SLEEPER! So, so, so good. I love his fingertips were just brushing the ropes as he was fading. He gets counted down to three to give Wahoo the first fall. Flair through selling has created a compelling match out of a dude who pretty much can only chop. 

Second Fall: Flair tries to come out roaring, but Wahoo is fighting back. Wahoo ducks a chop and blisters Flair with his own. Wahoo goes for a side headlock and then slips into a sleeper and Flair desperately gets the ropes before it is fully applied. He powders. He trips Wahoo up from ringside. He pulls him over time to work on the leg. Flair knows down 1-0 and with the sleeper almost applied again that he needs to get his ass in gear. Great legwork from Flair and he applies the Figure-4. There is a cut and he is trying to apply it again, but nothing doing so he goes to his other offense: elbow drop, kneedrop, suplex, but Wahoo keeps getting his shoulderblade like an inch off the canvas. Flair is getting pissed. Here come the chop battles again. Fonzie gets bumped on a shouldertackle. Flair hits a short knee that may have been below the belt. He throws Wahoo head first into the steel post twice busting him open. A kneedrop on the open wound and Flair ties the match back up. Great Flair performance here. Back against the wall, he turns up the heat and gives one of his better control performances. Relatively brutal way for him to pick up a fall. Yes, cheap because he needed the post, but more violent than a cheap schoolboy with his feet on the ropes. I really liked the Flair vs Wahoo match that is from a month prior but that one was like 20 minutes or so from Mid-South. I am really impressed that they have been able to keep my attention now for 38 minutes.  

Third Fall: Given Flair now has it tied and they are late into the time limit, I expected him to wrestle more conservatively but he opts for the good offense is the best defense strategy and pays for it. He goes for a suplex right out the gate, but instead is blocked and suplexed. He tries to go back to the outside, which has been his best friend: hurt Wahoo's arm, leg and head using the outside. However, this time Flair is busted open against the post. Wahoo does his Wardance and chops Flair. It looks like Flair has squandered all his advantage from the second fall. SLEEPER! This is how Wahoo won the first fall. Flair is fading...can he get the ropes...fading...he kicks off the ropes...he lands on top of Wahoo...1-2-3! Wahoo didnt let go! Flair retains. 

Way better than it had any right of being. Flair is The Man! ****1/4

 

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