September 16, 2008
Alexander Settee

The Ultimate Ric Flair Collection - Original Release Date: November 18, 2003

There’s no “documentary” or anything here, like they usually do. There are several different sections which begin with Flair talking about a particular opponent, or time in his life with lots of great footage included, and it builds up to showing one particular match (or in the case of Steamboat, two). Also included in each section are some great extras that typically consist of the buildup and interviews for each match.

Harley Race and The NWA Championship

NWA World Title, Cage Match: Harley Race vs. Ric Flair (Starrcade 1983, November 24, 1983, Greensboro, NC, Greensboro Coliseum, Announcers: Gordon Solie & Bob Caudle)

Gene Kiniski is the special referee for this match. They stare each other down prior to the bell, which finally rings, and we’re underway. Clean break off a lockup. Flair gets a side headlock, but Race escapes. Another lockup sees Race get a cheapshot on the break, but Flair fires back and grabs a side headlock. To the ropes again and Race catches him with a knee. Lockup again, and this time Flair gets the cheapshot and snapmares Race over into a rear chinlock. Race gets to his feet and sends Flair off the ropes. High knee hits, but he misses dropping the headbutt. Flair chops and gets a side headlock takedown, pinning him for 1 in the process. Race, in turn, rolls Flair over for 1 and Flair switches to a front facelock. He rolls back on top for 2, but Race escapes and nails a suplex. Incidentally, if anyone has ever wondered why Gordon Solie pronounces it “soo-play”, it’s because the word has French origins, and in French, “plex” makes the sound “play”, so Solie, and the few others who pronounce it that way are correct, while everyone else is wrong. “Soo-plex” is the anglicized version of the word. That suplex gets 1 for Race. He misses an elbow and Flair tries a bodyslam, but can’t get it with Race falling on top for 2. He drops a knee and holds it on the throat, but Kiniski pulls him off. The head is rammed to the buckle as Race is working over the previously injured neck of Flair. He drops a knee again, and then hits a piledriver. No cover yet, as he drops an elbow first and then only gets 2. Swinging neckbreaker gets 2, and he follows that up with more knees to the neck. He rams Flair to the cage and nails a powerslam for 2. Flair tries to fire back but Race stops him with a headbutt, then drops another while Flair is down. Flair is sent to the cage a couple more times and is now busted open. Race works him over in the corner, but Kiniski is pulling him off again. This gives Flair the chance to come back with some chops and elbows, but Race stops him again with the headbutt. Corner whip is reversed and Race hits the buckle. Flair rams him to the cage then gets a snapmare and drops a knee. Race has been busted open as well. Flair puts the boots to him and gets a piledriver for 2. He wrenches the neck and follows up with a double underhook suplex for 2. Chop leads to Race being sent to the cage twice, and now Kiniski is getting in Flair’s face. Back off already Gene, it’s a freakin’ cage match. Race comes back with a headbutt and grates Flair on the fence. Flair is thrown to the cage again, but comes back with some kicks and knocks Race down for 2. Back suplex sets up the figure four, and he hooks it. Race fights and is finally able to turn it to where they get tangled in the ropes. Race is up and tries a suplex, but Flair falls on top for 2. Race drops a headbutt and then goes to the 2nd rope and drops another one from there for 2 following a delay in going for the cover. Suplex gets 2, followed by dropping a knee and ramming Flair to the cage again. Kiniski is still getting in the way, and pulls Race right back. Flair blocks a suplex attempt and gets one of his own. He misses an elbow and Race gets up to grab a side headlock. Kiniski gets knocked down in the melee following which Flair fights out, goes up and connects with a flying bodypress for the 3 count at 23:50. The finish looked kinda botched as I think Race was supposed to trip over Kiniski on the bodypress, but Kiniski was out of position. Terrible refereeing job aside, this was a great, violent classic between two guys that you really believe to hate each other. ****1/2

Extras: 1) Race puts a $25,000 bounty on Flair’s head. 2) Bob Orton and Dick Slater attack Flair and collect the bounty. 3) Flair announces he’s retiring. 4) Flair changes his mind, returning to attack Slater and Orton with a baseball bat. Also includes a great intense promo regarding his comeback. 5) NWA press conference announcing Starrcade 83. 6) Several pre and post-match interviews from the event itself.

Dusty Rhodes: Talking The Talk

NWA World Title Match: Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes (Starrcade 1985, November 28, 1985, Atlanta, GA, The Omni, Announcers: Tony Schiavone & Bob Caudle)

Lockup sees them back to the corner where a slugfest breaks out and Dusty knocks Flair down. He hits some elbows and Flair takes a walk. Back in, Flair gets some chops, but Dusty elbows him again. Dusty comes off the ropes and nails a shoulderblock. Again off the ropes and he nails an elbow this time. Flair walks again to regroup. They trade hammerlock, and Dusty takes advantage and puts Flair down. Flair hits him in the leg and goes to work with punches and chops. Snapmare and Flair drops a knee for 1. He kicks the ankle, previously broken by the Horsemen, and Dusty sells it big, rolling out of the ring and limping. Back in, Dusty gets some elbows to the head, and he stomps Flair’s ankle. Now he drops an elbow on the leg and holds a leglock. Flair rakes the eyes to get out and tries a suplex, but can’t get it and Dusty reverses to his own. Back to the leg lock until Flair escapes and fires Dusty off the ropes. Dusty shoulderblocks him down, then comes off again and is caught in a sleeper by Flair. Dusty runs him to the buckle to escape that, and follows up by ramming Flair’s leg to the post. They trade chops until Dusty gets a snapmare, but misses an elbow. Flair goes up, but is caught and slammed off. Dusty tries a figure four, but Flair kicks him off. Now Flair goes for the figure four, but Dusty kicks him away, then he tries again with the same result. Dusty fights back and whips Flair to the corner for the Flair Flip, but Flair falls outside. Dusty posts him and rams his head to the rail. In the ring, Tommy Young takes an accidental shot, but it stuns him long enough that he doesn’t see Flair throw Dusty over the top, which would be a DQ. Dusty gets back in and is met with a top rope bodypress by Flair for 2. Dusty knocks him back with punches and elbows, then mounts him for more punches in the corner leading to a Flair Flop. Corner whip sets up another Flair Flip, and this time he makes it up top, but gets caught. Flair avoids a kick and Dusty hits the ropes with the injured foot. Flair hammers the leg and hooks the figure four. He gets a couple of 2 counts as Dusty fights it. Flair has been busted open, although I missed what it was from. Dusty eventually turns it over, but Flair makes the ropes to break. Dusty fights up and sends Flair off the ropes, nailing a clothesline for 2. Young is bumped again, this time to the outside, and then has Flair thrown right on top of him. Flair is back in, and gets the figure four, but there’s no ref. He lets go as Arn Anderson hits the ring. Dusty recovers to beat up Arn and toss him, only to get caught from behind by Ole Anderson. A new ref hits the ring and Flair gets a 2 count. Right after that, Dusty gets a small package for 3 to win the NWA Title at 21:50. But what’s a Dusty match without a Dusty Finish? Everyone goes home thinking they’ve seen Rhodes win the belt, but it would later be announced that Flair was given the belt back. Apparently Tommy Young saw the interference after all and ruled it a disqualification before the new ref came in. Oh well, still a pretty good match. ***

Extras: 1) Horsemen break Dusty’s ankle. 2) Promos from both sides about the attack. 3) Tommy Young promo explaining the finish of the match. 4) Promos from both sides about the result.

Barry Windham: Keeping up with The Champ

NWA World Title Match: Ric Flair vs. Barry Windham (NWA Worldwide Wrestling, January 20, 1987, Fayetteville, NC, Announcers: Tony Schiavone & Dusty Rhodes)

This is a pretty famous, and relatively rare (compared to the rest of the collection) match that took up an entire episode of Worldwide. Windham is half of the US Tag Team Champions with Ron Garvin if that matters to anyone. They shake hands to start and lock up with Flair getting a side headlock takedown. They do a series of hold/counterhold reversals ending with Flair backing him to the corner for a break. Crowd is solidly behind Windham. Windham gets a side headlock, but is backed to the corner and chopped. Corner whip is reversed and Windham gets a hiptoss, followed by a slam, and then takes him down again with a side headlock for 2. Flair gets some shots in to escape and comes off the ropes with a shoulderblock. He comes off again, but Windham gets a drop toe hold, then a headlock. They break on the ropes and Flair shoves Windham, but gets nailed. Lockup again and Flair cheapshots him on the break, but Windham fires back. Hiptoss and dropkick lead to Flair bailing out. Back in, Flair gets a waistlock takedown, but Windham escapes and grabs a headlock. Flair rolls him up for 1, but Windham maintains the hold. Flair sends him off the ropes and gets a shoulder block, and then catches him in a stungun. Commercial break time. We come back with Windham holding a headscissors. Flair rolls to the ropes for a break, but Windham takes him right back down with a side headlock. Flair rolls him up for 1. Windham sends him off the ropes and nails a shoulderblock. He charges at Flair, but Flair avoids it and tosses him. Flair rams him to the rail a couple of times, and then runs him to the post shoulder first. Back in the ring, Flair starts working the arm and hooks an armbar. Windham fires back, but Flair takes him back down with a drop toe hold and goes back to the armbar. Flair gets several pin attempts off of that, but Windham always manages to escape. Slugfest is won by Windham, and he mounts Flair in the corner, but Flair knees his way out. They slug away again until Flair scoops the legs and gets 2 with his feet on the ropes. Windham whips him to the corner and Flair goes over the top and out. They fight outside to lead to our next commercial. We return with Flair in control in the ring, dropping a knee. He elbows Windham over the top, and then tries to suplex him back in, but Windham slips over top and give Flair a good shot for 2. Side headlock by Windham, but Flair back suplexes out and hooks the figure four. He grabs the ropes for leverage, and gets away with it for awhile before Tommy Young catches him and breaks it. Figure four is tried again, but this time Windham gets a small package for 1. Flair tosses him outside. Windham sunsets flips back in for 2. Flair sends him off the ropes and hooks a sleeper, but Windham is able to slip out. He goes to the 2nd rope and comes off with a clothesline on Flair for 2 as Flair makes the ropes. Windham slams Flair, but Flair gets the knees up on a splash attempt. Flair tries a suplex, but Windham reverses and hits his own. Up top, but he misses an elbow, followed by Flair missing a kneedrop. Windham knocks him outside and stomps the leg. In the ring, Windham hooks a figure four, getting a couple of 2 counts as Flair fights it. Flair makes the ropes for the break, but Windham keeps on him as we go to one more commercial break. We return with Flair chopping Windham in the corner. Flair sends him off the ropes and tries a hiptoss, but can’t get it. Windham hooks an abdominal stretch as the ring announcer tells us that there are five minutes left in the time limit. Flair is now able to toss Windham over to break the hold, right into the ref who goes down. Windham goes up top and hits a dropkick. Delayed 2 count as the ref was recovering. Flair catches him with a knee and tries an Irish whip, but it gets reversed and Windham hooks a sleeper. Flair hits a back suplex to get out. Corner whip is reversed and Flair does the Flair Flip, getting as far as hitting the bodypress, but Windham rolls through and gets 2. Flair is sent off the ropes and gets shoulder blocked. Off the ropes again and Windham gets the sleeper again. Flair gets out but gets rolled up for 2. Windham does the corner mount for punches and then pins him for 2. Slugfest leads to Flair whipping him to the corner, but Windham comes out with a clothesline. Flair goes to the apron, but gets suplexed in, and Windham drops a knee for 2. Windham tries a backslide for 2. Flair goes up and gets slammed off, then Windham sets up and hits a powerslam for 2 as the crowd is super hot for every near fall. Irish whip and lariat get another 2 as the time limit expires at 30:45. Finish looks bad as the ring announcer counts down 3…2…1 just as Barry goes for the for the final pin and there’s a several second delay before the bell, not to mention that the ref obviously holds up his count at 2 as well. But that little issue aside, this was another awesome match with all action and many hot near falls. ****3/4

Extras: 1) Windham/Garvin promo on the Horsemen. 2) Flair promo in response. 3) Clips of the match from the previous week that sets up this match. 4) Dusty gives post-match analysis. 5) Flair’s post-match promo.

Ricky Steamboat: The Rivalry

NWA World Title Match, 2/3 Falls: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs. Ric Flair (Clash of the Champions VI, April 2, 1989, New Orleans, LA, Louisiana Superdome, Announcers: Jim Ross & Terry Funk)

First Fall: Lockup and Flair shoves him on the break, so Steamboat replies with a slap. Side headlock by Flair kicks off a fast paced reversal sequence that ends Flair making the ropes to break, so Steamboat slaps him again. Side headlock by Steamboat, reversed by Flair to a wristlock and he takes Steamboat down. Steamboat fights up and gets a takedown of his own. Flair makes the ropes and takes a walk. Back in, they lock up and Flair gets a side headlock. Steamboat sends him off the ropes and gets a shoulderblock, then comes off again, and Flair gets hiptoss. Steamboat takes him down with a side headlock and gets a 2 count. Flair rolls him over for 2, and gets the same result on a couple of subsequent tries. He makes it to his feet and sends Steamboat off the ropes, but gets dropped by a shoulderblock, and Steamboat is back to the headlock. Flair back his to the corner, gets a cheapshot and chops him. Steamboat comes back with chops of his own, followed by a hiptoss and flying headscissors. Dropkick and side headlock takedown for 2 follow that. He switches to a front facelock and starts hammering the neck. Snapmare and rear chinlock by Steamboat. Flair uses a cheapshot to escape this and they trade chops. Steamboat sends him off the ropes and gets a backdrop, followed by a dropkick for 2. Flair begs off and Steamboat doesn’t move in fast enough, so Flair kicks him. Irish whip, but Steamboat slides through the legs and gets a rollup for 2. Clothesline, and back to that side headlock, getting another 2 count off of it. Back to their feet, Steamboat chops him in the corner and Flair does the Flair Flop. Steamboat gets 2, and is back to the side headlock. Flair gets up and hits an inverted atomic drop to escape, but Steamboat just chops him back down for 2. Flair is fired off the ropes and Steamboat gets a shoulderblock for 2. Second try also gets 2, followed by a chop for another 2. Flair flops outside, and then tries to buy time by begging off back in the ring. Steamboat is on him this time and knocks him down for 1. Flair goes to the apron, but Steamboat suplexes him back in. Splash hits knees allowing Flair to take over. Snapmare and some stomps lead to a double underhook suplex. In a great series, Flair keeps holding him down and fighting with him getting no less than thirteen 2 counts from Tommy Young in the process. Steamboat finally escapes and kips up, so they trade chops. Steamboat gets a hiptoss out of the corner, but misses a dropkick. Figure four is tried, but Steamboat gets a small package for 2, followed by Flair reversing it for 3 to win the first fall at 19:35.

Second Fall: Lockup sees Flair get a side headlock. He gets sent off the ropes and caught in a slam. Steamboat goes up and comes off with a chop for 2. Front facelock, but Flair back suplexes out of it. He drops a knee, but misses a second one and Steamboat goes to work on it, dropping an elbow on it about fifteen times. Steamboat hooks a figure four, getting a few two counts in the hold before Flair is finally able to make the ropes. He drags Flair back and tries it again, but Flair kicks him off. Steamboat is able to hook a Boston crab, but Flair fights his way to the ropes on that one as well. They trade shots until Flair takes him down with a side headlock. Steamboat reverses to a headscissors. Flair floats over on top and gets a couple of 2 counts before Steamboat bridges out of it. Steamboat gets a backslide for 2. Flair bails and pulls Steamboat out with him. He rams the Dragon to the rail. Steamboat gets suplexed back in for 2 and Flair hooks an abdominal stretch. That doesn’t last long and Flair then gets a rollup for 2. Just like before he keeps trying for the pin, at least 10 more times, mostly with his feet on the ropes, but Steamboat just keeps kicking out. Flair tries a back suplex, but Steamboat flips out and gets a rollup for 2. Steamboat gets a single leg takedown and jumps on top for 2. He sends Flair off the ropes, but puts his head down and gets caught with a kick. Flair gets 2 from that, and again on a second try. Flair goes up, but Steamboat catches him and nails a superplex. Some shots to the neck and back setup a double chicken wing to which Flair submits at 34:13 to even that match at one fall each. That move got no reaction at all when it was applied, and the fans seemed more surprised than anything that it got a submission.

Third Fall: Back from commercial, the fall is underway as Flair clips the leg. Steamboat comes back and chops him down for 2. Corner whip and backdrop by Steamboat, but Flair fires back until Steamboat grabs a side headlock. Flair lifts him and drops him on the knee. Figure four is hooked, but Steamboat makes the ropes quickly. Flair keeps on the leg, but Steamboat comes back and whips him to the corner for a Flair Flip and catches him with a clothesline on the apron. Flair begs off, but is then able to scoop the legs and get his feet on the ropes for 2. He tries a few more times, but Steamboat keeps kicking out. Steamboat is up and charges at Flair, but Flair gets the boot up. He drops a knee and whips him to the corner, but Steamboat reverses and tries to follow him in with a dropkick, but misses and gets his feet hooked. Flair is all over the knee again, dragging Steamboat to the middle and hammering it. Figure four again and Steamboat fights hard. A few 2 counts for Flair until Steamboat finally rolls it over to the ropes. Flair keeps on the leg, but Steamboat comes back with chops and another corner whip leading to another try at the Flair Flip, but this time the bodypress hits and gets a 2.5 count. Steamboat tries a slam, but Flair falls on top for 2. Flair misses an elbow in the corner so Steamboat chops him and goes up for a bodypress which gets 2. Flair is up first and sends Steamboat outside, but Steamboat sunset flips back in for 2. Flair sends him off the ropes and gets shoulderblocked. Steamboat off again, and this time Flair gets a sleeper. The arm drops twice, but Steamboat recovers and runs Flair to the buckle. Flair falls outside. They both take awhile to recover, but Flair gets more shots to the knee until Steamboat gets an ensiguiri for 2. Flair goes up and misses a splash. He still keeps on Steamboat, ramming him to the mat a couple of times and nailing some chops. Steamboat comes back and nails a clothesline, and then mounts for punches in the corner. Flair atomic drops out of that, but doesn’t get all of it and Steamboat nails a clothesline for 2 as Flair makes the ropes. Irish whip, but Steamboat puts the head down and Flair elbows him. Back suplex, and Flair goes up, but is caught and thrown off. Steamboat gets the chicken wing again, but this time falls back and pins Flair’s shoulders for 3 to retain the Title at 54:29. That was just an amazing match, with tons of action, no slow periods, spots that built to each other, and a good finish that was actually a pleasant surprise given that the match has Broadway written all over it. ***** Flair got his foot under the ropes though, so we need a rematch.

Extras: 1) Steamboat returns on World Championship Wrestling to pin Flair in a tag match. 2) Steamboat workout (includes a rookie Dustin Rhodes) on World Championship Wrestling. 3) Confrontation at Clash V.

NWA World Title Match: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs. Ric Flair (Wrestle War 1989, May 7, 1989, Nashville, TN, Municipal Auditorium, Announcers: Jim Ross & Bob Caudle)

Clean break off a lockup starts us off. Steamboat then gets an armdrag. Lockup again into a side headlock and Flair gets sent off the ropes and shoulderblocked. Next Steamboat gets a hiptoss followed by another armdrag. Next lockup sees Flair get a cheapshot on the break and some chops, but Steamboat fires back with some of his own. Corner whip and backdrop by Steamboat and Flair takes a walk. Back in, Flair gets a side headlock, which Steamboat counters to a wristlock and takes him down. Steamboat keeps working on the arm. Flair is sent off the ropes and Steamboat gets a shoulderblock, followed by another armdrag into the armbar. Flair is up and gets a drop toe hold to escape, but Steamboat gets around him and applies a hammerlock. Flair gets up and chops, then whips Steamboat of f the ropes. Steamboat slides through the legs, then trips Flair and goes back to the hammerlock, then the armbar. Flair pulls the hair to back Steamboat to the corner and forearms him on the break. They trade shots and Flair Flops off a chop. Back to the arm for Steamboat, until Flair gets a fireman’s carry to escape and puts Steamboat on the turnbuckle. Steamboat comes over the top from there and gets a hiptoss followed by dropkicking Flair outside. Back in, Flair’s Irish whip is reversed and Steamboat gets another armdrag, and is back on the arm once more. Flair is up and sends him off the ropes and gets shoulderblocked. Steamboat is off the ropes again, but this time gets hiptossed, although Flair misses an elbow. Steamboat is back to the armdrag and armbar. The announcers note that he’ll be looking to set up the chicken wing that worked at the Clash. Flair is up and they trade shots. Flair comes off the ropes and nails a shoulderblock, then tosses him. Back in, Steamboat takes advantage with punches and whips Flair to the corner where he gets hooked in the Tree of Woe. Flair gets out of that, but is shoulderblocked down. Flair is up and tosses him, then joins him outside and chops Steamboat over the rail. Steamboat recovers and fires back as they get back in the ring and he comes off the top with a chop. Corner whip, and Flair Flips, but is caught with a clothesline on the apron, and Steamboat gets him back in and goes to the armbar. Off the ropes, shoulderblock by Flair. Steamboat is up and charges, but misses and goes flying outside. Flair elbows him outside and gets him back in. He drops a knee and holds it on the throat. Flair gets a back suplex for a close 2.5. He then keeps trying for the pin multiple times, but Steamboat keeps surviving. Kneedrop sets up a double underhook suplex which gets 2. He drops an elbow for another 2 count. Irish whip and Steamboat duck, but Flair catches him coming back off with a stungun. Steamboat has his leg under the ropes on the cover attempt, so no count. Flair gets him outside and suplexes him on the floor, and then suplexes him back in from the apron, but Steamboat slips over top and gets a rollup for 2. Flair regains control by raking the eyes, but can’t suplex Steamboat, who lifts him and places him on the top turnbuckle. Superplex hits and Steamboat hooks the chickenwing, to a much better reaction than at the Clash because the fans now buy it as a finish, but Flair hooks the ropes with his leg and forces a break. Steamboat goes up and comes off with a chop. He goes up again, but this time Flair hits the ropes and knocks him to the floor. Steamboat sells the knee, and Flair is all over it. He suplexes Steamboat in and hooks the figure four. Steamboat fights it and makes the ropes, but Flair keeps on him. Steamboat soon fights back with chops and gets an ensiguiri. Bodyslam, but Flair rolls through to a small package for 3 to win the NWA Title for the sixth time at 31:31. Flair claims to be flattered that people think of this as the greatest match of all time, but then adds that he and Steamboat had plenty of better ones on house shows during this time period. That’s a scary thought should it be true. *****

Extras: 1) Multiple promos explaining the need for a rematch after Clash VI. 2) Pre-match promo from Flair.

Terry Funk: Hardcore

I Quit Match: Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk (w/Gary Hart) (Clash of the Champions IX, November 15, 1989, Troy, NY, Announcers: Jim Ross & Gordon Solie)

Just to clarify, Flair is the World Champion here, but this is a non-title match. Funk offers to let Flair quit before the match even starts. Lockup leads to Flair chopping Funk right over the top and out. Back in, Flair controls again with chops and Funk bails. Flair chases and they fight outside. Back in, Flair gets a shoulderblock and chokes away. Funk goes to the eyes and controls with chops and a headbutt. Funk tosses him outside and rams him to the rail. He then hits Flair with the mic. Back in the ring, Funk controls with punches in the corner, but Flair won’t quit, and he atomic drops Funk out of the corner. Irish whip, but Flair lowers the head and Funk gets a neckbreaker, and then slaps Flair. Back outside again where Flair gets some chops and rams Funk to the rail a couple of times, and shoves down Hart. Funk won’t quit. Flair now gets distracted by Hart and attacked from behind. Neckbreaker again, and he sets up a piledriver, first giving Flair a chance to quit. Flair won’t so Funk executes the move. He drops a leg and rams him to the mat before tossing him back outside. Second piledriver on the floor, followed by hitting him with the mic again. Briefly back in the ring before heading out again where Flair is slammed on a table. Flair fights back and rams Funk to the table, and then whips Funk into it. Hart gets involved again, so Flair nails him too. Next he crotches Funk on the rail and puts him back in the ring. Flair drops a knee followed by an inverted atomic drop. He starts working over the leg. Funk bails, but Flair chases and gets him back up. He suplexes Funk back in the ring and tries a figure four, but Funk kicks him off. Flair goes to the apron, and Funk tries to suplex him back in, but Flair reverses and suplexes Funk out to the apron as well. More work on the leg as Funk misses with wild swings. Figure four is now hooked. Funks fights it valiantly but is finally forced to quit at 18:46. Funk had promised that if Flair could make him quit he would shake Flair’s hand, and indeed he does just that. Very good intense, and violent match, although it really needed some blood. ****

Extras: 1) Flair announces he will be back for revenge on Funk. 2) The controversial plastic bag angle. 3) Promos building up the match. 4) Pre-match interviews from both sides.

Extras Not Related to any Particular Match

Three additional segments recycled from Confidential are included here. One is about the 1975 plane crash that broke Flair’s back and almost ended his career. The second is a brief history of the Four Horsemen. And finally, more about the Horsemen as they describe “A Day in the Life of The Horsemen”.

The “Nature Boy” Heads North

1992 Royal Rumble Match (Royal Rumble 1992, January 19, 1992, Albany, NY, Knickerbocker Arena, Announcers: Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan)

WWF Title is vacant, and goes to the winner. Hogan and Undertaker, for being involved in the match that resulted in the vacancy have been allowed to pick from numbers 20-30. This is, by far, the best Rumble field in history, with an unmatched before or since number of guys having a legit shot at winning. British Bulldog gets #1, while Ted Dibiase is #2. Dibiase takes it right to him, nailing several suplexes before tossing him, but Bulldog holds on, comes back and clotheslines Dibiase out right off the bat. #3 is, of course, the man of the hour, Ric Flair. Bulldog overpowers him and gets a big press slam, but can’t get him out. Nasty Boy Sags is #4 and he goes for Bulldog. He and Flair double team for awhile, but Bulldog comes back with a double clothesline and gets rid of Sags. #5 is Haku who goes after Bulldog, but then establishes the every man for himself thing by going after Flair as well, much to the horror of Heenan. Bulldog is able to come back and toss Haku just as a freshly heel-turned Shawn Michaels is in at #6. He and Flair go at it and who’d have thought they would have Flair’s retirement match sixteen years later. Tito Santana is #7 as we’re finally allowing the ring to fill. #8 is the Barbarian, who goes after Bulldog. Kerry Von Erich is #9, and he goes for Flair, but the announcers can’t bring up their history together so it’s not quite as meaningful. Repo Man is #10, and Greg Valentine is #11 (more unacknowledged history with Flair) as we’re really starting to go awhile without an elimination. Shawn is putting on a great performance, going over, but not out at least 7 or 8 times by now. Nikolai Volkoff is #12. Valentine actually puts Flair in the figure four which gets a big reaction. Volkoff is gone quickly courtesy of Repo Man to give us our first elimination since Haku. Big Boss Man is #13 and he nails everyone. Valentine is tossed by Repo, who himself is soon eliminated by the Boss Man. Flair backdrops the Bulldog out, and gets Von Erich right after. Shawn and Tito eliminate each other just as the horn sounds making it six eliminations in that one segment. Hercules is #14. Flair has seemingly made an alliance with the Barbarian, but turns on him right away. Barbarian gets a press slam and goes to put Flair out, but Hercules comes from behind and tosses Barbarian, followed by Boss Man clotheslining Herc out. That leaves Flair and Boss Man one on one. Boss Man charges, but Flair is able to avoid it and Boss Man goes flying out leaving Flair alone. Roddy Piper is #15 and the look on Flair’s face is just priceless. Piper just beats him from pillar to post in a great segment, culminating in a sleeper hold. Jake Roberts is #16 and he just sits back until Piper turns his back and Jake attacks. Jake helps Flair up… and nails the short clothesline. DDT is set up, but Piper makes the save, which has Heenan singing Piper’s praises for all of five seconds until Piper goes after Flair again. Hacksaw Jim Duggan is #17, and he goes for Flair as well. IRS is #18, and Superfly Snuka is #19 so we can fill the ring up again. Undertaker is #20, which is actually the lowest number he was eligible for. He gets rid of Snuka immediately, and then chokes Flair. Savage is #21 in the middle of a white hot angle with Jake Roberts, so Jake hides until Savage gets clobbered by Undertaker. Now Jake attacks, but Savage soon turns that tide and hits a knee to the back to eliminate Roberts. Savage is seemingly out too, jumping over the top after Jake, in what may have been a legitimate mistake, but the announcers cover for him, and he’s allowed back in. Berzerker is in at #22, followed by Virgil at #23, Col. Mustafa at #24, and Rick Martel at #25 as we line up bodies for the big names yet to come. Savage gets rid of Mustafa. Hulk Hogan is #26 and he’s a house afire. He briefly gets caught and double teamed, but soon enough clotheslines Undertaker out, followed right after by backdropping Berzerker out as well. Virgil and Duggan go out together. Skinner is #27. Sgt. Slaughter is #28 and soon after Skinner is eliminated by Martel. Sid Justice is #29, and #30 is the Warlord to complete the field. Finalists (in order of entry): Flair, Piper, IRS, Savage, Martel, Hogan, Slaughter, Sid, and Warlord. Hogan and Flair fight on the floor where Flair takes a suplex. Slaughter is our next elimination as Sid whips him to the corner and he takes his patented bump over and out. Piper pulls IRS over by the tie to get rid of him. Hogan and Sid double team and toss Warlord. The only guy left with no shot whatsoever is Martel, and that’s a great ratio. Martel, sure enough, is gone next, along with Piper when Sid shoves them both out. Final four are left, and anyone could take it. Savage is next out as Flair nails Sid from behind while he holds Savage on the ropes. Hogan works over Flair and whips him to the corner where the Flair Flip fails, but Hogan knocks him over the top anyways. As he tries to kick Flair out, Sid comes form behind and tosses Hogan. Hogan, Sportsman of the Year and role model to children everywhere grabs Sid’s arm allowing Flair to come from behind and toss Sid giving him the win and the WWF Title at 62:06. Flair’s time in, starting from the horn that sounded on his entrance was 60:17. A great performance by Flair, as well as several others, great buildup, great commentary, and legitimate intrigue into who would win make this by far the best Rumble ever. *****

Extras: 1) Flair’s TV debut on Prime Time Wrestling. 2) Funeral Parlor Interview. 3) Flair attacks TV announcer Roddy Piper on Superstars (Vince gets nailed with a chair in the confrontation). 4) Interviewed by Heenan on Superstars. 5) Presented WWF belt by Jack Tunney plus post-match promo with Flair, Perfect, and Heenan.

Sting: Defining an Era

Title Unification Match: WCW World Champion Ric Flair vs. WCW International World Champion Sting (w/Sensual Sherri) (Clash of the Champions XXVII, June 23, 1994, Charleston, SC, Announcers: Tony Schiavone & Bobby Heenan)

Flair was having a great nostalgia run as babyface champ in 94 and things were looking up, but then they signed Hulk Hogan. Flair was immediately turned heel to setup the natural feud, and they also felt that they didn’t want to have two World Titles watering down the significance of Hogan’s inevitable win, so this match here is signed to unify the titles. Sherri has just recently arrived in WCW, looking for someone to manage, and has seemingly picked Sting here. Lockup and Sting just powers him down. Again, same result. Flair gets a wristlock, and yanks Sting down by the hair, but Sting kips up and escapes. Flair gets a hammerlock, but Sting reverses. Flair takes him down with a drop toe hold and they go into a series of reversals until they hit the ropes. Flair bails to regroup then comes back and they lockup. Sting gets a side headlock, but is sent off the ropes. He duck and catches Flair in a press slam. Flair is sent off the ropes and caught in a second press slam. He flops on the outside and starts jawing with the fans. In the ring, Sting gets a wristlock, but Flair goes to the eyes to take over. Chop is no-sold and Sting nails him with three clotheslines sending Flair over the top and outside again. Back in, Flair knees him on a lockup and goes for a chop but Sting no-sells again. Hiptoss by Sting, followed by a dropkick, but he misses a second one. Figure four is tried, but Sting gets a small package for 2. Flair shoves the ref and takes another walk. Back in, Sting fires away and whips Flair to the corner. Stinger Splash misses and Flair throws him out over the top. He chops Sting on the floor. Back in, he drops a knee twice and makes several attempts at the pin, getting 2 each time, even with his feet on the ropes. Back suplex sets up the figure four, but Sting kicks him off. Irish whip, and Sting ducks one elbow but is caught with a second try. Off the ropes again and Flair hooks a sleeper. Sting fights up and runs Flair to the buckle to escape. Sting takes him down and catapults Flair to the post. Suplex gets a 2 count. Corner whip leads to the Flair Flip, but Sting clotheslines him as he runs down the apron. Punches in the corner, but Flair atomic drops out, although that has no effect and Sting gets a clothesline for 2. He puts Flair on the top rope and nails a superplex. Splash from the top misses however and Flair gets a suplex, which Sting no-sells anyways. Sting gets a hiptoss and dropkick, followed by another press slam. He clotheslines Flair over the top and goes to dive out on to him, but Flair pulls Sherri in the way, and Sting crashed down on her. Sting, gentleman that he is, is completely distraught over this. Flair gets him in the ring, where Sting gets a backslide for 2. Sting goes to check on Sherri again and get rolled up from behind for 3 to make Flair the unified champion at 17:15. Sherri recovers and gets in the ring….. only to reveal that she and Flair were in cahoots all along. Double team beatdown is on until Hulk Hogan makes the save, but this ain’t his DVD, so who cares. Match wasn’t a classic or anything. I wish they had included Clash I, because that was much better, but they probably couldn’t fit it for time reasons. This match is decent, but not memorable at all. **1/2

Extras: 1) 1990 angle where Sting is turned on by the Horsemen. 2) Flair cuts a promo on Sting. 3) Sting pre-match promo with Gene Okerlund.

A Special Night In Greenville

This is just a short look as what some people thought at the time may have been his final big moment.

Extras: 1) Flair does an amateur style workout with some scrubs on MACW in 1982. Roddy Piper gets involved in this fun little angle. 2) Flair is presented with the PWI Wrestler of the Decade Award in 1989. 3) Flair’s promo from the final episode of Nitro in 2001. 4) The next two matches, which will get full reviews because they are not clipped. 5) The entire Raw roster pays tribute to Flair after the show goes off the air. Complete ceremony with Flair promo included.

“Rick” Flair vs. Pete Sanchez (March 1, 1976, New York, NY, Madison Square Garden, Announcer: Vince McMahon)

This is Flair’s WWWF debut, and one of only two matches he worked for the company prior to 1991. Vince’s commentary seems to be pretty drastically edited as we don’t even hear him until the four minute mark or so, and even then it just seems like bits and pieces. The lockup and maneuver to the ropes for a clean break. Sanchez gets an armdrag and Flair claims that his hair was pulled. Lockup again, and this time Flair cheapshots him on the break. Wristlock, reversed by Sanchez who then takes Flair down. Sanchez holds it until Flair is eventually able to escape, but then is able to take Flair down with another armdrag. He hold the armbar, eventually switching to a wristlock, but Flair gets up, and sends Sanchez off the ropes, but gets nailed with a shoulderblock and caught back in that armbar again. Flair is back to his feet and backs Sanchez to the ropes and then kicks him on the break. He works Sanchez over with some stomps, and then grabs a wristlock, taking Sanchez down by the hair. Now he grabs an armbar and drive the knee to the face. Sanchez escapes that, but Flair keeps control and goes to a wristlock. Sanchez eventually escapes this too, but Flair hammers him. Sanchez fights back with shots to the gut and Flair is now begging off. Kick attempt is caught by Sanchez who then takes Flair down. Flair works in an early Flair Flop, which seems to just confuse Sanchez. He rams Flair’s head to the mat, but Flair is up and catches him with a knee to regain control. He drops Sanchez on the ropes and nails a headbutt, followed by a slam. Elbow misses and Sanchez comes back with some punches. Corner whip and Flair hits shoulder first. Another corner whip sees a primitive attempt at the Flair Flip, but he gets hooked in the Tree of Woe instead. Sanchez stomps Flair until he gets out. Irish whip, but Sanchez puts the head down allowing Flair to kick him and drop a knee. Suplex gets the 3 count for Flair at 10:05. Slow, 70’s style prelim match which means dull city. ½*

World Heavyweight Title Match: Triple H vs. Ric Flair (Monday Night Raw, May 19, 2003, Greenville, SC, Bi-Lo Center, Announcers: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler)

The story here is that HHH, having had his ribs injured by Kevin Nash last night at Judgment Day is forced to defend the title. HHH insists that his buddy Flair will just lay down, but Flair has other ideas. They lock up and back to the corner where Flair goes to the eyes and chops away. Irish whip is reversed and HHH nails an elbow. He can’t get a suplex due to the injury, so Flair takes advantage and goes to work with some shots to the gut. Corner whip and HHH goes over the top and out. Flair suplexes him on the floor and hits a chop. Back in the ring he gets another suplex for 2. Irish whip is reversed and HHH gets a spinebuster, then punches away. Flair comes back and they trade chops. Corner whip by HHH leads to the Flair Flip and he comes off the top with a double axhandle. He attacks the knee and hooks the figure four. HHH fights it for awhile but finally makes the ropes to big boos. The crowd, if only for a moment, actually thought that Flair might win it. He stays on the leg, but HHH recovers and they trade blows. Flair is sent off the ropes and HHH gets a sleeper. They backup to the corner to break, and the ref is bumped. HHH gets the facebuster and grabs his belt. He misses the shot and Flair gets an eye rake followed by a low blow. He then nails HHH with the belt for a really close 2.9 count. The crowd bought that again. HHH kicks off a figure four attempt and tries a Pedigree, but Flair backdrops out of that. Flair sets up his own Pedigree, but HHH escapes that and does hit the move himself this time to get the pin to retain the title at 7:28. Good match, even if a bit short and they did a good job of making the crowd believe that Flair could pull it off. ** Also, we get the post match, which gives me a chuckle as I’m reminded that they were pushing Kevin Nash as a legit main event title threat in 2003, and even wasted a PPV Hell in a Cell match on his talentless ass. The real meat happens after the show goes off the air and all the wrestler pour out to pay tribute to Flair. A cool moment, no doubt about it as he breaks down and cuts an emotional promo. It’s basically the same deal as his retirement ceremony earlier this year, but on a slightly smaller scale.

Well, any kind of recommendation is probably a moot point. If you’re any sort of a Flair fan, I’m sure you have it already. If you’re a newer fan, and your exposure to Flair only consists of his WWE run since 2001, this is a real good introduction to his career, and will show you why he’s considered one of the greatest of all time, with many, but by no means all, of his greatest matches included. My only real complaint here: It’s too short. I understand the desire to keep it at three discs for commercial release purposes, but this barely scratches the surface of his career, and so much great stuff isn’t even touched upon. They could easily have done a ten (or more for that matter) disc set, and really gone into detail. That would have been cool, but even for what we have it’s an easy thumbs up, and gets my highest recommendation as it still stands up as one of the best compilation DVD sets the WWE has put out.

wordpress stats plugin