April 6, 2010
Matt Peddycord
The Powerdriver Review

NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair vs. Barry Windham – (NWA Worldwide, 1/24/87)
Taped 1/20/87 in Fayetteville, NC
From the Ultimate Ric Flair Collection DVD set. Tony and Dusty are on commentary. TV time limit remains. Windham takes Flair down with a shoulderblock to start. He tries to ground Flair with an armbar, but Flair fights up. Flair corners Windham and chops away, but Windham reverses the whip and hiptosses Flair across the ring. Windham cranks on a headlock that Flair cannot escape. He gets in the ropes and chops Windham, but that just serves to fire him up again. He hiptosses Flair out of the corner again and dropkicks him down. Flair takes a powder into the stands and takes as much time as he wants because he knows Windham will always break the count. Back in, Flair gets stuck in the headlock again. This time Flair escapes and hotshots Windham as we go to a commercial break. When we return, Windham has Flair in a headscissors. Flair rolls into the ropes, but gets taken back down into a headlock. He shoves off the headlock and dumps Windham out to send him into Flair’s own domain. Flair smashes Windham’s head on the guardrail and nearly chops him into the front row. He continues on and posts the shoulder to hopefully prevent the lariat. Back inside, Flair grabs the stepover armbar. VINTAGE ANDERSONS! Windham gets to his feet and threatens to use the fist, but Tommy Young holds him back and that allows Flair to ground Windham again. Now they go to the corner where Flair uses the fist, but the ref lets it fly. WHAT. Windham gets in a shot or two, but Flair trips him to the mat and tries to pin Windham with his foot on the rope. Tommy Young needs to look up. That gets a few nearfalls, but Windham is looking desperate. Flair corners Windham with chops, which gets Windham fired up again. He mounts Flair in the corner and unloads, leading to the Flair Flop. Windham wins a slugfest, but the Flair Corner Pin nearly beats him. Windham whips Flair into the corner where he runs shoulder-first into the top turnbuckle and falls out to the floor. They step away for another commercial break. AND WE’RE BACK! Flair hits the Rolling Knee Drop and back elbows Windham over the top to the floor. Back in, Windham flips out of a suplex and clotheslines Flair down with his non-Lariat arm for 1-2-NO! And just like that, Flair hits a back suplex and locks in the FIGURE-FOUR! Flair unapologetically grabs the TOP ROPE for MAXIMUM LEVERAGE~! Finally, Flair gets caught and has to release the hold. He tries again after a shinbreaker, but this time Windham reverses with an inside cradle for 1-2-NO! Flair dumps out Windham, but he pops right back up on the apron and delivers a sunset flip for 1-2-NO! Flair shuts Windham down with a sleeper, but Windham slips out and kicks Flair away. Windham delivers a flying clothesline for 1-2-NO! Flair gets his foot on the bottom rope. Windham goes for a splash and hits knees. He blocks a suplex by Flair and counters with one of his own. Windham tries a flying elbow drop, but Flair moves out of the way. Now Flair attempts the Rolling Knee Drop, but Windham sits up. Windham punches Flair over the top rope and stomps Flair’s knee up against the guardrail. Back inside, Flair begs off into the corner, but he’s getting the figure-four from Windham anyway. Flair makes the ropes and delivers an inverted atomic drop to slow down Windham as we go to another commercial break. After that’s over, we see Windham blocking a hiptoss into an ab stretch. Flair reverses with a hiptoss onto Tommy Young. Five minutes remain in the time limit. Flair dumps out Windham, but next thing you know he’s coming off the top giving Flair a missile dropkick. TOMMY YOUNG, GET OVER THERE! Cover, 1-2-NO! Windham grabs a sleeper, but Flair escapes with a back suplex. The Flair Corner Flip has him running down the apron to come off the top for a flying bodypress, but Windham rolls through for 1-2-NO! Windham catches Flair in the sleeper again and once they’re near the ropes, he O’CONNOR ROLLS Flair for 1-2-NO! Flair whips Windham into the corner, but Windham explodes out with a LARIAT! Flair rolls to the apron to avoid getting pinned, but Windham brings him in with a suplex. Knee drop gets two. Windham gets a backslide for two. Flair elbows Windham on the top of the head, but gets caught up top and slammed down. Powerslam by Windham gets 1-2-NO! 15 SECONDS LEFT! Windham sets up for the LARIAT and connects! Just as he makes the cover, the time limit expires and Flair retains the gold. (30:51 shown) Windham grabs the belt anyway, but he says he won’t take it with him until he pins Ric Flair’s shoulders to the mat. Its matches like these that Ric Flair was having all the time that made him the greatest of the ’80s that he was. As for Windham, it takes two to dance and besides Ricky Steamboat, no one took Flair to this type of level more times than he did. All this really needs is a finish. They would meet again at the Crockett Cup where Flair would ultimately get the better of Windham to end the rivalry until they picked it back up in 1993. ****¾

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