The SmarK Rant For The Ultimate Ric Flair Collection – Disc Three

The SmarK Rant for the Ultimate Ric Flair Collection – Disc Three

– Okay, last one, as Flair heads north for the first time since his rookie days and immediately steals the show.

– We start with Flair debuting on Prime Time Wrestling, and Flair gives his side of the split with Jim Herd. Herd wanted him to cut his hair and change his image. So one day he told Flair to drop everything and fly to some city and lose the title to Lex Luger, and then later Barry Windham. Flair refused and they asked for the belt back, but Flair wanted his $25,000 back, so Herd told him to keep the belt. Vince’s take on it: “Bring the belt too.”

– Royal Rumble 1992: This was for the vacant WWF World title, which was vacated by Jack Tunney when Hogan cheated against Undertaker at the Tuesday In Texas PPV. And Bobby Heenan is on color commentary, and truly reached his peak with this match. #1 is British Bulldog, and #2 is Ted Dibiase. Sherri Martell was still managing him, a couple of weeks before switching to Shawn Michaels. Bulldog attacks to start, but runs into an elbow, and Dibiase chops him in the corner. Clothesline and Dibiase stomps him, and gets a suplex. Gutwrench suplex and fistdrop and he gets another suplex, but can’t toss Bulldog. He turns his back and ends up the first guy out, after only 1:20. #3 is of course Ric Flair, and Bobby has a coronary. Bulldog shoves him down to counteract the strutting, and gets a press-slam, but chooses to slam him instead of dumping him on the floor. Flair comes back and whips him into the corner, but Bulldog clotheslines him. Flair tries going low, but Bulldog clotheslines him again and tries to dump him, with no luck. Jerry Sags is #4 as Bulldog slugs away in the corner, and he helps Flair out with a double-team. They work Bulldog over, but he clotheslines both of them and tries to toss Sags. He hangs on, but Bulldog dropkicks him off the apron and out at 5:26. So it’s Bulldog and Flair again, and they slug it out in the corner, into a Bulldog powerslam, as Haku is #5. He lays out Bulldog, as expected, and then he turns on Flair, who comes back with chops. Flair rolls out of the ring to avoid any further niceties, as Haku piledrives Bulldog, and then he comes from behind and rakes the eyes. Funny how Haku’s whole image would change a few months later when he jumped to WCW. Haku works Flair over in the corner, but Smith dumps him at 8:00. Shawn Michaels is #6 in his first big appearance as a single. He too goes right after Flair and wins a slugfest, then backdrops him out of the corner and superkicks him. He goes for Bulldog next, but gets press-slammed and clotheslined. He lands on the apron, but pulls himself back in and gets jumped by Flair. They fight on the ropes, but Shawn pokes him in the eye and slugs away. Bulldog sends him into the corner and crotches him on the top rope, and Flair tries to toss him again, with no luck, as Tito Santana is #7. He too goes right for Flair and tries to put him out over the top, but Michaels saves. Flair hits Santana with a backdrop suplex as Bulldog fights with Shawn, but Flair saves with a low blow. He tries to toss him, but Santana saves and Bulldog hangs on. Flying forearm for Flair, and Barbarian is #8. Gorilla’s ominous “Barbarian doesn’t like Flair” to goad Bobby on is pretty funny. Barbarian tries to dump Bulldog, and Flair helps, but he’s not going anywhere. Flair goes for Tito instead and loses a slugfest, and then lets Shawn go after him. People fight on the ropes and Kerry Von Erich is #9, nearing the end of his career. That’s two former World champions in the match already. He goes right after Flair and slugs him into a Flair Flop, and hits Shawn with a discus punch that Shawn sells with an equal number of spins. Bulldog slingshots Shawn into the corner and tries to slam him out, but Shawn goes to the eyes to save himself. Meanwhile, Von Erich pounds on Flair and Repo Man is #10. He goes after Shawn while Bulldog remains tangled with Flair and Tito takes on Barbarian. Bulldog & Kerry team up on Shawn, and then Flair & Barbarian lay in chops on Kerry. This is about the point where you need some eliminations to speed things up. Greg Valentine is #11, and I don’t forsee him cleaning house. He goes for Flair and they sadly ignore all the history between them, as they exchange chops and Flair loses. If this was in the post-Attitude world, JR would go nuts spewing history. Everyone pairs off and Kerry slugs Shawn over the top, but he hangs on. Flair and Valentine are exchanging some nasty chops in the corner while Kerry & Bulldog try to unhook Shawn’s foot and get rid of him. Nikolai Volkoff is #12, and he goes for Hammer and then settles for Barbarian. Well, no point in overshooting. Flair and Hammer go back to chopping the shit out of each other, but Bulldog interrupts. Too many people in here – there hasn’t been an elimination since Sags. Valentine puts Flair in the figure-four, as Repo dumps Volkoff at 21:28. Big Bossman is #13, and of course he goes right for Flair and then just beats the crap out of everyone as Valentine gets tossed at 22:33. Bossman tries to get rid of Shawn, but he hangs on. Repo Man saves and gets tossed for his troubles at 22:59. Now there’s a natural feud they never thought of for whatever reason. The car thief v. the prison guard! Flair backdrops Davey out at 23:38, followed by Kerry at 23:50. Things are thinned out a bit as Tito & Shawn eliminate each other at 24:07. Hercules is #14, and guess who he goes right for. Flair and Barbarian share a moment, and then Flair turns on him, because he’s Flair. Barbarian press-slams him while Hercules pounds on Bossman, but Herc dumps Barbarian at 25:15, and Flair dumps him in turn at 25:18. Bossman seems to be next, but he hangs on and hits Flair with a lariat. Spinkick and he charges, but misses and hits the floor at 25:55. Bobby wants the match stopped right now. Roddy Piper is #15 and that’s not good for Flair. He slugs away in the corner and backdrops him, then hits him with a high knee and they brawl outside. Back in, Piper slugs away and gets the EYE POKE OF DOOM and a clothesline, then goes OLD SCHOOL with an airplane spin. Sleeper, which seems a bit counterproductive in a match where you need to get guys over the top, but luckily for Flair, Jake Roberts is #16. He sits back and lets Piper finish Flair, and then attacks him from behind and slugs him into the corner. Jake was the hottest heel in the promotion at this point, which was a little sad because his personal life was falling apart. Jake then turns on Flair and goes for the DDT, but Piper breaks it up. Flair puts Roberts in the figure-four and is free to use the ropes, but Piper kicks on both of them. Heenan rapid changes of heart are hilarious. Jake tries to dump Piper as Hacksaw Duggan is #17. He goes for Flair and clotheslines him out of the corner, then pounds away on him. He goes for Roberts next, but Piper attacks him from behind and they tussle briefly before Flair walks in and gets mixed up with Piper. Roberts gives Duggan an atomic drop to shut him up, as Piper exchanges chops with Flair. If this was 1985 this would be a ****1/2 tag match, easily. IRS is #18 as Flair tries to get Duggan out, but IRS saves and goes after Duggan. Piper is on the brink from Roberts and Flair, but Duggan saves. IRS & Flair double-team Piper, while Duggan handles Roberts in the corner. Jimmy Snuka is #19, and he wants Flair, too. He gets a headbutt and a double-chop, and Duggan pounds away and then turns his attention to Roberts, but can’t get him out. Piper lays into Flair with chops and tries to toss him, but no go. Roberts tries, same result. And Undertaker is #20, so expect some deadwood to be cleared. Snuka at 37:12 to be exact, which makes for a rather lengthy 12 minutes between eliminations. He chokes Flair out in the corner and then goes after IRS, but Flair saves. Randy Savage is finally in at #21, and he wants Jake, but the Snake is living up to his name and hiding. Savage gets waylayed by Undertaker, so Roberts chooses to come back in, but Savage hits him with an elbow and goes up for the axehandle. High knee puts Roberts out at 39:31, and Savage seemingly eliminates himself to keep beating on him, but he would keep competing. Jake’s buddy Undertaker rolls out and pulls Savage off and sends him back in. Meanwhile, Piper is back after Flair, and Duggan pounds on Undertaker, with little effect. Flair stomps on Savage in the corner and goes low on Undertaker, which has no effect. Dead man don’t have gonads, apparently. Berzerker is #22, but Duggan gives him an atomic drop right away. Undertaker chokes out Piper in the corner and Flair goes after Savage and tries to suplex him out, but Savage suplexes Flair back in instead. Funny spot as Undertaker chokes out Flair and Piper joins in, only to have Undertaker choke HIM out, too. Virgil is #23, so look out everyone! His first victim is um no one, actually, as he gets beat on by the midcard jobber brigade and choked out by Undertaker. UT tries to get rid of Flair next, but he hangs on. Col Mustafa (Iron Sheik) is #24. I’m almost happy to see Hogan coming up so he can get rid of some of these losers. Things slow down a lot with too many people in the ring, one of the only points in the mach where it does slow down. Piper hammers on Flair and Rick Martel is #25. He goes for Virgil, but Flair jumps him with a chop. Martel slugs away and tries to take him out, but IRS saves. Mustafa gets dumped in a melee at 48:50, which makes 9:00 between eliminations. That’s two very lengthy segments with additions and no subtractions. Finally, Hogan is #26, so kiss about half of these guys goodbye. He goes for Undertaker and Flair but gets ganged on by the heels. UT is gone at 50:58 via a clothesline. Berzerker at 51:07. Virgil & Duggan eliminate each other at 51:28. Flair pokes Hogan in the eyes as Skinner is #27. Well, that’ll swing the pendulum the other way. He goes for Piper as Hogan tries to slam Flair out, but IRS saves. Skinner is out at 54:20 as Sgt. Slaughter is #28. Flair takes over the all-time record at this point, although they had the gall to take it away the very next year, letting Bob Backlund break it. Spite, gotta love it. Everyone is kind of bunched up on the ropes and Sid is #29, and now there’s some impressive star power in there as we near the end. He attacks IRS instead of Flair, but can’t get him over. Flair & IRS work Hogan over, but Sid gets his hands on Flair and pounds away. Warlord is the last guy in at #30. Flair goes up and gets slammed off by Hogan. At this point, back in 1992, no one watching had any real clue who was gonna win, which was a rarity for these things back then. Hogan and Flair brawl out and Flair gets suplexed on the floor, as Sid sends Sarge out at 58:58 via his trademark bump. Back in, Hogan hits Flair with the big boot. Piper pulls IRS out by the tie at 59:51. Had to see that coming at some point. Martel goes after Piper while Hogan & Sid team up and dump Warlord at 60:01. Sid dumps both Martel & Piper at 60:39, and we’re down to the final four.

Final four: Hulk Hogan, Sid Justice, Randy Savage, Ric Flair. Savage gets dumped by a Flair high knee at 61:10. Hogan slugs away and Flair lands on the apron, as Hogan stomps him off, but Sid jumps and dumps Hulk at 61:33. Hogan whines and cries and then grabs Sid’s hand to pull him out, allowing Flair to dump him and win the WWF World title at 62:02. Flair retreats as Hogan and Sid do their little soap opera, but they cut away before the crowd turns on Hogan. This was the Rumble that set the standard for them all. *****

– Ric talks about Sting as they tease us with the 45-minute Clash match by showing the last minute of it.

– “Unification” match: Sting v. Ric Flair. From Clash 27. And don’t even get me started on the reasons behind this match. Sting was the International World champion and Flair was the actual WCW World champion, and just leave it at that. Flair goes for the arm to start, but Sting keeps kipping up. They trade hammerlocks and Sting shoves him down, so Flair bails to the ramp and regroups. Back in, Flair grabs a headlock, but Sting escapes and gets a press-slam. And hey, why not another one? Flair bails again and stops for a Flair Flop outside, and stalls. Back in, Flair goes to the eyes and tries a chop, but Sting is having none of that. He hiptosses Flair and follows with a trio of clotheslines, and Flair bails again. Way too much stalling thus far. Back in, Flair finally takes over with a cheapshot, but Sting no-sells and comes back with a hiptoss, only to whiff on a dropkick. Flair goes for the leg, but Sting comes back and Flair bails again. Flair decides to start chopping, but Sting fires back and misses the Stinger Splash. And NOW Flair takes over, dumping Sting behind the ref’s back and laying in the chops. Back in, Flair necksnaps him on the top rope and drops a knee. Another one gets two. Back to the chops, and a backdrop suplex, but Sting escapes the figure-four. Flair gets a back elbow and grabs a sleeper, but Sting fights out of it and sends Flair into the corner. Sting knocks him down and gets a sloppy slingshot into the corner, but Flair bails. Sting suplexes him back in for two. Flair Flip and Sting clotheslines him off the apron, then brings him in for another clothesline, which gets two. They go up and Sting brings him down with a superplex, but goes for a flying splash and misses. Flair gets a suplex, but Sting no-sells and hiptosses him out of the corner, into a dropkick and a press-slam. A clothesline puts Flair on the floor, so Flair slickly hides behind Sherri Martell, who was supposedly on Sting’s side that night. Sting follows with a pescado and wipes out Sherri as a result. No one ever said she was afraid to take a bump. Back in, Sting gets a backslide for two. Clothesline and he checks on Sherri, but Flair rolls him up for the pin at 17:11 to unify the belts. I gave this a really good rating back in like 1998, but they didn’t click at all here and Flair seemed really off his game. *** Flair & Sherri reveal their alliance and team up on Sting afterwards, but Hulk Hogan makes the save, which doesn’t get half the pop they were probably banking on.

– Finally, the Ric Flair celebration in Greenville, as Flair talks about how nice it was. And that’s it.

Bonus Materials:

Easter Egg right off the bat, as you can either highlight the WWE logo directly with your mouse on the computer, or select “Play” and hit left on your DVD player, then hit enter to get a promo from Flair from the 80s.

First up, the Royal Rumble section:

– Bobby Heenan and the Big Gold Belt annoys the staff of Prime Time Wrestling and gets them ready for the arrival of Ric Flair.

– Later in the show, Heenan finally introduces the REAL World’s champion, Ric Flair. He makes sure to have a red carpet ready for him.

– Flair makes an appearance on the Funeral Parlor. He offers the usual threats to Piper and Hogan and talks about how he’s been calling him out for 10 years with no answer. “While you were out in Hollywood making movies, Thunderlips, I was winning World titles!”

– Flair, on the way to the ring for a squash, stops to attack Piper at the commentary table, and the resulting brawl sees Vince McMahon take a chairshot from Piper, which would mark the first time he would get involved and take a bump on TV. Of course, it was a wooden chair, but it was a simpler time. This was a SUPER-hot angle at the time and really cemented Flair’s status as the top heel in the promotion.

– Another Flair interview, nothing much of note.

– Flair gives the post-match celebration with Heenan and Perfect after winning the Royal Rumble.

Next up, the Sting section:

– From 1989, Sting gets kicked out of the Four Horsemen by Flair and the Andersons. Weird to put that in this section, since it’s 5 years before the pertinent match, but I guess it adds to the history between them or something. Ole unceremoniously kicks him out of the group but offers him a chance to live if he cancels the match with Flair for the WrestleWar PPV. A freak injury would actually take care of that for him later that night and Lex Luger would take his place and work a ****1/2, 40-minute classic with Flair instead. The remaining Horsemen would do a six-man match against the supposed heel faction lead by Great Muta later in the night, which produced a surreal reaction from the fans where they turned Muta babyface by default because the Horsemen were now the strongest heels on the show.

– An interview with Flair from 1988, as he’s apparently reeking of sex appeal. Only Flair can pull off a line like that with a straight face. He hypes the Clash match with Sting and gets some funny innuendo about how Sting has only 15-year old girls for fans, and Flair’s fans are all legal and thus know what his REAL greatest attribute is.

– The pre-match interview at Clash 27, as Sting gives a bizarre interview about being a great white shark, complete with sound effects.

Finally, the Greenville section:

– Another Egg here, as selecting “Main” and then hitting right to highlight the beer can in Flair’s hand, and then hitting enter will unlock his Titantron video. It loops twice. There’s some cool old footage buried in there, actually.

– “Rick” Flair v. Pete Sanchez. From March 1, 1976. This was Flair’s WWWF debut match. He would have been 25 at that point, if my math isn’t off. They lockup and Flair gives him a clean break, but Sanchez gets an armdrag. Flair slugs away on the ropes, but Sanchez takes him down with an arm wringer and works on the arm. Flair escapes and gets taken down with another armbar. Flair gives him a knee to the gut to escape and a sort of proto-Whoo (more of an “owwww” really) and goes to work on the arm himself. Vince suddenly starts doing commentary here. Flair holds an armbar on the mat, but Sanchez flips out of it. Flair stomps away but Sanchez makes the comeback and we get a Flair Flop. Sanchez starts stomping, but Flair comes back with some knees to the gut and hotshots him. He misses the elbowdrop and gets whipped into the corner (no Flip), and Sanchez does it again and this time Flair is in the Tree of Woe. He puts his head down on a whip, however, and Flair catches him with a knee and gets a delayed vertical suplex for the pin at 10:04. Well, it was no Flair-Steamboat, but for early Flair, not terrible or anything. *1/2

– Flair and jobbers Keith Larson & Ron Ritchie do some amateur wrestling in 1982 as a workout for Flair. Ritchie would later become a fairly big star in Stampede Wrestling. He quickly pins both guys with some amateur moves, and then taunts color man Roddy Piper, so Piper pops into the ring and he’s ready for action. Flair even takes the down position. Piper rides him down, but Flair goes to the ropes. Next, Flair wants to be up, but Piper escapes his takedown attempt. Another try, and this time Flair punts him in the ribs and it turns into a pro wrestling match. Piper gives him a neckbreaker and pins him. Piper talks shit, so Greg Valentine assists Flair with a beatdown and they rub his face in the cement.

– Next up, Bill Apter gives Ric Flair the “Wrestler of the Decade” award in 1989.

– From the final Nitro, Flair addresses the fans before his match with Sting.

– RAW World title: HHH v. Ric Flair. From the May 19 2003 RAW, this was Flair’s fake face turn as they spent the whole show building him up as a contender in Greenville, SC. HHH wants him to lay down, but Flair offers a handshake instead and then pulls it back. They fight over a lockup to start and HHH gives a clean break, but gives Flair a whoo, and you don’t do that. Flair chops away, but gets elbowed down. HHH goes for a suplex, but the ribs are hurt, so Flair whips him out of the ring and into the railing. They brawl outside and Flair suplexes him on the floor, and back in he gets another suplex for two. HHH comes back with a MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER and slugs away in the corner. Flair comes back with chops, but it’s a Flair Flip and he actually finishes the move, hitting a double axehandle. Flair slugs away and chops him down, then clips the leg and gets the figure-four. HHH makes the ropes, but Flair goes to the leg again and chops him in the corner. HHH grabs a sleeper, and the ref is bumped on Flair’s escape. HHH gets the facecrusher and grabs his belt, but misses on the swing and Flair goes to the eyes and then kicks him in the nuts. Beltshot gets two. Flair goes for another figure-four, but HHH reverses to a Pedigree attempt. Flair escapes that and goes for his own, but HHH gets the real one for the pin at 7:24, sucking the life out of the crowd. Pretty average effort from both guys. **1/2 We get the Nash stroll-in and Austin announcing HHH v. Nash for Bad Blood, and then the show goes off the air and we continue on, as everyone comes out from the back for the Ric Flair tribute, completely suprising him. The whole RAW roster, plus all the McMahons, come out to pay tribute, and HHH gives him the belt. Awwww. Flair gives a tearful speech to the crowd to end things.

The Bottom Line:

With an absolutely ungodly total of SIX ***** matches, this is clearly the single greatest compilation of wrestling available on the market, and the scary thing is that there’s STILL more available! It leaves off in 1992, and they didn’t even touch the epic Flair-Savage feud over Elizabeth, or the Flair-Vader retirement match, or the entire Flair-Hogan feud, or the later WCW years. Plus they skipped over the Lex Luger feud in 1988-90, and the first match with Sting. Given the sales, I think we can expect a volume 2, and it should rule equally.

What more can I say? Best DVD the WWE has ever put out, and they finally seem to have a grasp on what the audience WANTS. And I want MORE FLAIR!

Highest recommendation!

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