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[1989-03-18-NWA-Landover, MD] Ricky Steamboat vs Ric Flair


Superstar Sleeze
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NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ricky Steamboat vs Ric Flair - NWA/WCW 3/18/1989

Two of the all-time great silent movie actors do battle here. What I love about this match is it as shot I believe as a fan cam and the only noise is ambient crowd noise. Occasionally, you can hear a Flair howl or chop, but other than that there are no sound effects. Yet what you watch on the screen is so engrossing. You can see how big each man's motions are. These are two larger than life characters.

First 20 Minutes: I love how these guys take their time. The shine is 10 minutes and so much fun. I loved Steamboat slapping the taste out of Flair's mouth in the corner. How they lingered in that staredown! Flair is so great at throwing so much at his opponents in the early going only to thwarted at every pass. He really makes the babyface earn the shine. He gives us so many different looks that sets up so much great Steamboat offense. He was really into begging off which was creating some openings with the point of the boot to the midsection. Steamboat would sell that like he been shot in the chest, but then he would fire off the chops and send the Nature Boy packing. I thought the real transition was pedestrian. It was a simple kneelift to the midsection. It was only saved by the fact that was something Flair had kicked twice before. Flair was great at crowding and controlling Steamboat's positioning by constantly moving him into corner. I loved the early figure-4! We dont get it often, but Flair worked the leg like a son of a gun and throw in some liberal Hiro Mastuda cheating and some big time Steamboat selling and you have a recipe for an awesome heat segment. Flair never let up on the knee, really great work here. Best part was Steamboat was rallying goes for a headlock, but Flair turns it into a kneecrusher. Flair would keep quashing those rallies by attacking the knee and eventually applying another figure-4. He would hit his patented kneedrop, but when he went for a second one he missed! Ooooooooooooooo drama! 

Last Half: Well everyone and his mother knows that Flair was going into the Figure-4 after that spot. Not to be outdone, Flair gives a ***** selling performance in the figure-4. He is so loud you can actually hear him holler. He was really great here. Steamboat vigorously attacks the leg with elbows and then another figure-4. He goes for his splash and eats knees. This levels the playing field for the finish run. Lots of Flair gaga down the stretch: shoving Tommy Young, press slam off the top, Flair Flips, Flair crossbody off the top lands! I actually liked the beginning better because Flair focused on leg work is not something we get to see a lot and I loved how well Steamboat was selling. I enjoy this, but this is something we have all seen before. It is all the usual spots. The only new spot is a spot that would be used to great effect at the Clash rematch which is the Double Chickenwing. Something weird happens towards the end it looks Steamboat wins via a top rope crossbody but Young kinda just stops counting and even Steamboat seems confused. He really kicks some Flair ass and Flair really goes into selling overdrive. Flair gets caught with his feet on the ropes before Steamboat rolls him for the win. This is a master class in taking your time and letting things breathe before really running away with it at the end. When they have at least two ***** in the same year, pretty much everything will be a step down, but this is still great and a great look into what an average house show was (how cool would it have been to be there for this!) ****1/2

 

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  • GSR changed the title to [1989-03-18-NWA-Landover, MD] Ricky Steamboat vs Ric Flair
  • 5 months later...
Crazy hot match with a fast pace. I love that they make big deal of Flair trying to pin Steamboat with the leg on the ropes during the opening minute, really struggling over such a basic pin. We get a great staredown and a lengthy Steamboat shine with Flair bumping big and both guys as always lacing eachother up with chops. Flair taking over with a simple kick to the mid section was a little easy, but salvaged by the fact he also reversed Steamboats succesful comeback combination. The one problem with the Flair/Steamboat series is that Steamboat never seems to make it a point to sell the leg work. He will go crazy while in the Figure and that rules, but afterwards..? It really could factor into things more specifically given he uses lots of flying offense. Flairs selling wasn't exactly high end either, but atleast he acknowledged all those elbow drops. The rest of this was their usual mix of great spots, with a sense of awesome struggle. Loved the hard fought test of strength near the end.
 
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  • 1 year later...

It's crazy to think what other great matches that these two had that have been lost to time. It's a godsend that someone filmed this, as it shows that these two go full on regardless if it's a PPV, TV show or just a live event. The chops here look just as hard as the ones they do during the Chi-Town Rumble match. This was worked slower than their last match, opening the match with some house show stalling. I thought Steamboat's selling was great, he wobbles all over the place and Flair's work is clearly having an effect on him. There's a lot of borrowed spots from Chi-Town. Steamboat having a comeback that solely consisted of dropping elbows onto to Flair's leg was a neat spot that paid off from all the leg work that Flair had been doing to Steamboat. The finish wasn't as perfectly executed at their last match, but you can't win them all. 

★★★★½

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