Written by: Tom Hopkins
Well, I was watching some old WWF Wrestling Challenges from 1993 until I got this DVD. I immediately put that tape away and popped THIS into my DVD player. I have been looking forward to this DVD since CHRISTMAS so it’s nice to get it for my birthday and thankfully, I am able to review it. Well, maybe the people reading this aren’t thankful I reviewed it, but then you’re here, so I don’t know. Anyway, let’s go to the review!!
The DVD is seperated into two parts, the matches section and the bonus sections. You get the matches by simply pressing play and they play the 3 matches in a row with Flair’s thoughts on the fued/person beforehand. You have to go to the chapters page where each of the three fueds are listed seperately, and clicking on one opens up a huge menu of extras, like interview/events/angles leading up to the match and sometimes fall out from the match. Simply awesome (a word I’ll repeat a few times) stuff here. I can’t wait to see it all.
We start with a nice Ric Flair video montage.
Ric Flair interview where Flair talks about winning the title in 1981. He says it was such a great honor being the most recognized champion.
We go to the famous double pin spot from 1983 on Harley Race where Harley Race won the title back from Flair. Flair goes on to say Race was the toughest opponent he’s ever had. We then go to clips announcing the NWA Title match at Starrcade ’83, the first Starrcade, a Flair for the Gold. Ric says that this gave him an opportunity in the business and really let him show people who he was.
-Ric Flair vs. Harley Race(c) for the NWA Title from Starrcade 1983 (11/24/83)-
Ric Flair gets an enormous pop as he enters the arena. It should be mentioned that this is a cage match. Gene Kiniski is the special guess referee. Gene makes sure that no one has any illegal objects on them and talks to the boys before ringing the bell. We circle to start and head to a lock up which is broken clean. We go to another lockup and Flair takes down Race into a side-headlock which Race turns to a pin combination. Flair breaks the hold and they do a stand-off. They lock up again and Race takes Flair to the ropes and hits an elbow an Flair quickly responds with a pair of chops. Flair works the side-headlock but Race makes the ropes and Flair has to break. Race cheapshots Flair with a knee to the gut. Kiniski talks to Race about that as Flair gets up. They lock-up and Flair then takes Race to the ropes and knees him then snapmares him over into a chinlock. He works a side headlock which Race breaks by whipping Flair to the ropes and hitting a high knee. Race misses a headbutt and Flair chops Race and covers but doesn’t get a count. Flair works a side headlock on the mat which Race tries to turn into a pinning combination. Race turns himself around and Flair changes to a reverse headlock. Flair brings Race off the mat, while still holding the headlock and Race reverses to a suplex. He covers but gets a one. Race misses an elbow drop and Flair goes for a bodyslam, but Race falls on him for two. Race drops a knee to Flair’s face and then drives the knee into Flair’s throat near the ropes. Kiniski pulls Race off of Flair, however. Race rams Flair’s head into the turnbuckle then rabbit bunches Flair in the back of the head. Race again goes to the knee and drives it into Flair’s throat. Race then hits a piledriver and Flair sells like a champ. Race drops an elbow and covers for a two. Race continues to work over Flair and hits connects with a swinging neckbreaker which gets a two. Race works over Flair until he lets Flair get up. Once up, Race sends Flair face first into the cage. A running shoulder slam by Race gets another two count. Flair hits Race in the midsection and the fans go crazy for that one. Flair continues to fight back until a headbutt by Race knocks Flair down. He drops his head onto Flair and lets Flair get up. Again, he throws Flair face-first into the cage. Once more into the cage and Flair is busted open now. Race works on the open wound and there’s blood on the ringside camera. Race brings Flair into the corner but won’t lay off of Flair. Kiniski pulls Race and holds him allowing Flair to punch Race in the face. Flair brings Race to the other corner and same thing happens where Kiniski pulls Flair off and holds him though while he’s holding him Race punches him. Race tries to send Flair to the turnbuckles but Flair reverses and Race goes through the ropes and hits the cage. Flair sends him to the cage again and Race is busted open. He drops a knee and then hits a piledriver for two. Flair hits a double-underhook suplex which also gets a two. Flair chops Race and introduces his face into the cage, again. Flair again sends him to the cage, and hits the pole of the cage! Kiniski yells at Flair for such non-wrestling maneuvers which allows Race to headbutt Flair in the groin to take over. Race grinds Flair’s face into the cage as Kiniski tries to pull him off. Shit, Kiniski is so annoying this match. Race sends Flair into the cage and Flair gets up just trying to hit anything. Race calmly headbutts him down. Flair gets up and tries to punch him but Kiniski grabs his fist allowing Race to knock him over. Flair is a wildman though just kicking Race right in the gut and knocks him over for a two count. He drops an elbow then gets on top of Race and just pummels him until Kiniski pulls him off. Flair hits a belly to back suplex and goes for the figure four right in the middle of the ring. Race tries to turn Flair over and he does, reversing the hold, but Flair makes the ropes to break the hold. Race headbutts Flair and tries for a suplex but his leg goes out on him and Flair falls on top for a two count. Headbutt by Race sends Flair down and Race goes to the second rope and drops a headbutt. He covers a few seconds later but only gets a two. Race picks him up and this time he hits the vertical suplex which gets a two. Race goes and punches Flair in the face, then drops a knee. Race drives Flair into the cage and falls between the ropes and the cage. Race chokes Flair with his foot and using the ropes as leverage. Kiniski, however, pulls Race’s hair to get him to stop the choking. Race goes for a suplex but Flair reverses. He tries for an elbow but that misses. Race takes over with a side headlock but Flair pushes him off and Race’s head hits Kiniski, knocking him out. Flair goes off the ropes and tries to cross body Race but they trip over Kiniski and the spot looks blown. Flair punches Race and goes to the top rope and hits a crossbody onto Race, again tripping over Kiniski, but Flair covers and gets the three count and the title at 23:46. Great match. *****. The Kiniski shit was annoying but a great match with a great build and it didn’t feel like 20 minutes at all. Flair celebrates after the match, and Mrs. Flair even makes it ringside. Flair picks up a mic and delivers a speech. Flair says it’s the greatest night of his life. Man that is just AWESOME.
We head into the Dusty Rhodes segment of the tape. “Diamond’s are forever, and so is Ric Flair.” Flair talks about working with Rhodes and basically talks Dusty up. Great footage with great classic lines by Dusty and Flair. This shit is awesome!
-Ric Flair(c) vs. Dusty Rhodes for the NWA Title from Starrcade 1985 (11/28/85)-
Flair gets tremendous heel heat here. HHH would kill for that kind of heat. Dusty starts by strutting around and I almost lose my lunch looking at that blotch on Dusty’s stomach. They lock up and Flair brings Dusty into the corner and they start slapping away until Dusty nails Flair with punches sending him down which causes Flair to bail. Flair come back quickly with chops to Dusty but Dusty comes back with punches of his own. Flair sends Dusty to the ropes then leapfrogs him, only to have Dusty deliver the elbow to Flair’s head. Again, Flair bails. Flair comes back in and they lockup one more. Flair hits the hammerlock which is promptly reversed by Rhodes. Flair is brought to the mat but makes the ropes, causing Dusty to release the hold. Flair goes in and chops Dusty some in the corner and punches Dusty square in the face. Snapmare takes Dusty down and Flair follows by dropping his knee into Dusty’s face. They gets a one count. Flair then just kicks Dusty on the previously broken ankle causing Dusty to bail. Dusty finally makes it to the apron and pounds on Flair with big elbows to the back. He then stomps on Flair’s leg and starts working the leg over. This match is really slow compared to the match before. Too much resting on Dusty’s part. Flair tries for a suplex but can’t since his leg isn’t strong enough. Dusty reverses it and continues working on the leg. Flair grabs a headlock though but Dusty breaks it by sending Flair to the ropes and knocks Flair over with a shoulderblock. Flair gets up quickly though and grabs a sleeper. Dusty breaks it by sending Flair to the corner, and then sends Flair’s leg into the steel pole a few times. He works over the leg more but misses and elbow drop allowing Flair to get up and limp over to the ropes. The climps to the top rope and everyone can guess what happens next. Dusty goes for the figure four but Flair kicks Dusty off of him, injuring Dusty’s ankle again. Flair tries for the figure four but Dusty kicks him off, he tries again and same thing, so Flair boots him in the face. He sends him to the corner and Dusty starts fighting back. A headbutt later and it’s Flair in the corner. Dusty sends Flair to the opposite turnbuckle and Flair does his infamous flop, ending up on the outside. Dusty follows and sends Flair’s head into the steel ringpost followed by the barricade at ringside. Flair tries to get back into the ring but is caught on the apron and elbowed by Dusty. He manages to finally get inside and sends Dusty outside. Dusty is quickly up and goes to the top rope. Flair tries to toss him off the top but he can’t and Dusty falls on top for two. Dusty knocks Flair down and gets on top of him and punches him. Another couple of elbows and Dusty gets on the second rope to pound on Flair even more. Flair does another trademark, walking out of the corner and falling down. It should be mentioned that Flair is bleeding now. Dusty continues pounding away and Flair backs off begging for Dusty to stop. Dusty doesn’t and sends Flair to the turnbuckles where Flair flops over and onto the apron and runs to the other turnbuckle, jumping to the top and trying for a double axehandle which Dusty counters with a punch to the gut. Flair winds up seated in the corner and Dusty runs to kick him but misses and hits his ankle into the lower turnbuckle, hurting his ankle again. Flair starts working over Dusty’s ankle and then applies the figure four. Dusty manages to reverse the hold so Flair has to release the hold. Flair comes back with viscious chops which Dusty no sells. He comes back with multiple elbows and follows with a clothesline that knocks Flair down. He goes for the cover but Flair kicks out, and as he kicks out, pushes Dusty onto the referee. The referee is groggy. Flair dives at Dusty but Dusty ducks and Flair runs into the referee who stumbles out of the ring. Dusty hits the figure four but there’s no ref. The Andersons come in to attack Dusty and Dusty goes down. Flair covers but Dusty kicks out at two. Flair goes for a bodyslam but Dusty reverses it into a small cradle for the win at 22:06. The match never really seemed to click for whatever reason. ***.
The final match is the match against Barry Windham. Ric says that wrestling Barry is like putting on a glove, just so smooth. He says that wrestling him for an hour was easier than wrestling some guys for 10 minutes. This match is rather famous where the NWA gave these two a FULL HOUR on an episode of World Wide Wrestling in 87.
-Barry Windham vs. Ric Flair(c) for the NWA Title 01/20/87-
Lockup to start and Flair gets the headlock. Windham breaks it by sending Flair to the ropes and shoulderblocking him down. Flair lays stunned in the corner for a while then comes back side headlock which Flair turns into a hammerlock which Windham reverses which Flair reverses to a side headlock on the ground which Windham reverses to a hammerlock. They make it to their feet and Windham clamps on an arm-bar. Flair pushes Windham to the ropes to break the hold. They lock up and Windham hits the headlock but Flair again pushes Windham to the corner to break the hold. After he breaks, Flair chops away only to get sent to the corner and bounce off into an armdrag followed by a Windham bodyslam into a side headlock. Flair tries to punch his way out of it and chops Windham down, followed by a shoulderblock. Flair goes off the ropes again but is tripped up by Windham and Windham goes back to the headlock which Flair breaks by making the ropes. Flair chops Windham and Windham responds with a big right which knocks Flair down. Windham goes back to the headlock but again Flair pushes Windham to the turnbuckles so he has to break. Flair immediately chops Windham but Windham turns him around and pummels him, then just tosses him out of the corner. Windham follows up with a dropkick then he attacks Flair in the opposite corner. Flair wisely bails to regroup. Flair comes back to the ring and takes down Windham. Windham manages to ride his way out of it into a headlock. Flair breaks by sending Windham to the ropes but gets shoulderblocked down. Windham charges Flair only to get hotshotted across the top rope. We go to a quick commercial break and come back with Flair in a headscissors. Flair makes his way to the ropes to break but Windham immediately goes right back to the side headlock. Flair turns him over for a two count twice which causes to Windham to break the hold and instead gets on top and pummels Flair. Flair bounces off the ropes and gets shoulderblocked down but when he charges Flair, Flair sends him through the second ropes to the outside. Flair sends Windham to the steel barricade a few times and Windham looks dazed. Windham makes his way to the apron but Flair grabs his head and bounces it off the top rope, having him fall on the outside. Flair follows and sends him shoulder first into the steel ringpost. Windham again makes his way to the apron but Flair starts working the arm over using the top rope then brings Windham back inside where Flair hits an arm-bar. Windham makes it to his feet but Flair knocks him right down. Flair brings Windham to the corner and chops and punches away. Flair goes for the arm but Windham starts punching away. Wisely, Flair takes down Windham and starts working on the arm again. Flair drives him to the mat and pins hims about 7 times, USING THE ROPES but Windham keeps kicking out. Windham gets up and Flair works him over in the corner. Windham hits a big right hand and starts making a comeback. He goes to the corner and heads to the rope to pummel Flair’s face and afterward Flair walks forward and just drops. Windham lifts Flair up and Flair knees Windham in the stomach and tries to comeback but Windham quickly punches down Flair again. Flair is down in the corner so he knocks down Windham and pins him using the ropes for leverage but that only gets a two. Windham is pissed now and sends Flair to the turnbuckle and Flair ends up outside. Windham follows and we go to commercial. We return with Flair in control and Flair elbows Windham over the top rope to the outside. Flair tries to suplex Windham from the apron into the ring but Windham reverses and punches Flair down. A pin only gets a two however. Windham fights back and goes for a headlock. Flair reverses into a belly to back suplex and goes right for the figure four. Flair starts using the ropes for leverage as the referee counts down Windham’s shoulders. The ref finally realizes Flair was using the ropes so he has to break. Flair keeps working over the leg and goes for the figure four again only to have it reversed to a Windham small cradle for two. Windham tries to fight back but Flair sends him outside. Windham quickly headbutts Flair in the abdomen and sunset flips over the ropes for a two count. Flair recovers quicker and hits the sleeper hold. Windham drops out and knocks over Flair and heads to the second rope and hits a flying clothesline. Windham gets a two count before Flair’s foot gets the ropes. Windham body slams Flair but a splash off the ropes hits Flair’s knees. Flair goes to a suplex but Windham blocks and reverses into a suplex of his own. Windham goes to the top rope but misses a flying elbow. Flair is up first but misses a knee drop. Windham starts working Flair over and sends Flair over the top to the outside. Windham starts working over Flair’s right leg and sends him back inside. Flair begs for him to stop and pulls Flair out of the corner and puts on a Figure Four of his own. Windham punches down Flair and gets a two count in a neat spot then he does it again. Flair makes the ropes but the ref kicks Flair’s hands off the ropes, since Flair used the ropes before. Flair makes the ropes again however so Windham has to break the hold. Flair bails to the corner but Windham goes right over to kick him. They exchange blows and we go to break as Flair hits an atomic drop. We return with the two exchange chops. Flair goes for a hiptoss but its reversed into an abdominal stretch. Flair tosses him over and the ref is bumped. Flair sends Windham outside and Flair attends to the referee. Windham comes back and hits a missile dropkick from the top rope and covers, but the ref is out! The ref finally revives but it only gets a two. Windha, goes right to the sleeper again but Flair hits a belly to back suplex to get out. Flair tries to whipWindham to the turnbuckle but its reversed and Flair goes up and over then runs to the opposite corner and hops right onto the top rope hitting a flying crossbody which is rolled through and Windham gets a two count. They exchange headlocks and Flair shoulderblocks Windham down only to bounce off the ropes and right into a sleeper. Windham rolls up Flair for two as we are dangerously close to the end of TV time. Windham sends Flair to the corner and goes to the second rope for a 10 count punch. Windham then pins Flair for a two count. Flair sends Windham to the turnbuckles but Windham bounces right back with a big lariat. Flair bails to the apron but Windham catches him and suplexes him inside. Windham drops a knee to the face and covers for two with one minute left in the match. Windham goes for a backslide which gets a two and Flair goes to the top but it’s Flair so you know what happens next. Windham powerslams Flair but that only gets two with 15 seconds left. Windham hits Flair with a HUGE clothesline and goes for the pin. The ref counts to two and the bell rings noting that time has expired at 30:50 (aired). Barry of course thinks the ref counted to three but of course, in the event of a draw, the champion retains. Barry says the belt will belong to him some day. Flair is knocked out in the ring and Windham lies the belt on him and leaves. What an intense match. *****.
Ok, now there’s TONS of extras.
Here’s for the Harley Race portion of the DVD:
Basically, Race puts $25,000 bounty on Ric Flair. He will give anyone all that money if they can eliminate Flair from wrestling forever. Of course, HHH used the same method to put a hit on Goldberg. I guess HHH was watching this DVD too?
-Orton and Slater Collect-
We join Race/Flair midmatch from Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling 08/31/83, as Race misses a dive from the second rope and Flair hits the figure four only to release it when Slater comes ringside. He tales care of him and hits the figure four again as Orton come out and starts pummeling Flair. Slater joins as they spike-piledrive Flair, and work over his neck as Race laughs at him. Roddy Piper and Wahoo McDaniel come out to protect Flair. Flair does the stretcher job which leads to…
-Ric Flair announces Retirement-
Ric, wearing a neckbrace, says he’ll retire. He isn’t sure he wants to wrestle anymore. Great promo.
-“It’s Only Just Begun”-
We go to a Orton/Slater Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling 09/21/83 match and Ric Flair WITH NECKBRACEcomes out with a BASEBALL BAT and chases Slater and Orton. Flair gives a crazy ass promo. He rips off his neckbrace and tells Orton and Slater they’ll go to their graves because of him. He says his bat is his partner now. He says it’ll be a cold day in hell before someone can make fun of him and try to eliminate him from wrestling. He tells Race he’s gonna take the gold belt and tells Slater/Orton that it’s only just begun.
-NWA Press Conference-
From Mid Atlantic 10/12/83. Basically, all the NWA suits are in a Hyatt Regency Hotel in Florida deciding WHERE the match will take place. It has already been decided that it will take place inside a steel cage and be NO-DQ. Gordon Solie joins us INSIDE the room and Bob Geigel (president of the NWA) announces that Jim Crockett’s promotion will indeed get the match and it will be held in Greensboro NC and will be held on Thanksgiving night and be called Starrcade. We go to satellite and Harley Race gives a promo from his fricken cadillac. He’s not happy. He won’t let Flair take the title from him. We cut to Flair who is in Charlotte, NC and he’s all smiles. Ric says that Starrcade is a nice name but Flair is gonna call it a “Flair for the Gold.” Crockett makes a few more comments and he really has nothing else to say.
Starrcade 1983 Pre-Match Interviews
Basically, he says he knows what Flair’s shortcomings are and he knows where he can be hurt.
It’s Flair’s night and he’s not gonna let anyone down.
Race will have no trouble beating Flair just like Orton/Slater had no problem beating on Wahoo McDaniel. Race says he’s going for the neck.
Flair says the heels won’t be happy come tomorrow when Flair is champion. Wahoo says he’d bet all his money on Ric Flair
Starrcade 1983 Post-Match Interview
A bloodied Flair is in the dressing room and gives an emotional interview and al the faces pour champagne on him. Dusty comes in and congratulates Flair.
Race says that nothing stands in his way from winning the title an 8th time. Race is not packing it up and going away.
The three of them talk about winning their titles and they wouldn’t be there without the fans.
This is under the Dusty Rhodes portion of the extras:
-Flair and the Anderson’s Break Dusty’s Ankle-
This is a recap of the attack in a cage. Flair had just beaten Nikita Koloff and afterwards he and some more Russians run down for the beat down. Dusty comes down to help Flair and clears the ring. Then the Anderson’s run in and beat down on Dusty as Flair locks the cage. Arn holds Dusty’s leg as Flair climbs to the top rope and drop a knee on it. He then starts on the figure four. Afterwards, the faces manages to get the Anderson’s and Flair out of the ring and attend to him while they take off the cage and remove the ropes to stretcher Dusty out.
-Flair cuts a Promo-
He talks about how he’s a winner and he only associates with winners, like the Andersons and Tully Blanchard. This was before the Horseman were formed so it’s like a foreshadowing of sorts.
-“That’s Hard Times”-
This is Dusty’s first interview since he was injured. He starts talking about hard times. Pretty good promo here by Dusty.
Tony Schiavone is out to clear up the controversy over Starrcade. Everyone thought that Dusty won the title but Ric Flair was rewarded the title a few nights later because referee Tommy Young got knocked out. He was going to call Flair for a DQ due to Arn Anderson’s interference but never got the chance since he got knocked out.
Flair gets riled up. Flair starts talking about who shot JR which I’m sure most of the newer fans watching have no idea about. In fact, how many new fans actually bought this DVD? I mean, all they know of Flair in the WWE is HHH’s lackey and he’s only wrestled a few times, losing to Vince McMahon and HHH among others. He even whips out the diamonds are forever and so is Ric Flair line.
Dusty comments on the disappointing decision. Dusty says he’ll mess Flair up.
Finally, here’s the extras under the Barry Windham section
-Attacked by the Horseman-
Barry Windham and Ron Garvin talk about the 4 Horseman. They talk about how the Horseman only attack 4 on 1. They show clips of the Horseman beating up Barry.
-“You Cried the Blues”-
Yet another Flair promo. Flair talks about how he’s one of the 10 best dressed people in America then talks about Barry Windham crying the blues. He tells Barry to quit talking and do it.
-Flair vs. Windham 01/13/87-
This is a match in Columbia SC in a match that turns into a melee. Windham is controlling the action and the fans are hot. Dusty comes out to ringside with the Rock N’Roll express to even the sides. Barry is just pummelling Flair as I type and Flair does the Flair flop over the top rope. Windham suplexes Flair back into the ring and drops a knee. He goes for the cover but Flair kicks out. I don’t think I’ve heard a crowd this loud in recent memory. Flair takes over with a punch to the abdomen then sends him outside. Flair works over Windham outside then sends him back inside. They exchange blows inside which Windham wins. He continues using Flair as a punching bag and punches him outside. Dusty throws him right back in however. Flair takes over and drops a knee to the face of Windham and tries again but Windham catches the knee and puts Flair into the Figure Four. Tully Blanchard, however, interferes by raking Barry in the eyes. Flair picks up Windham and crotches him on the top rope. Flair sends Windham to the ropes but he ducks a clothesline attempt and hits a crossbody for two. Flair quickly takes over and sends Windham outside, who gets back in. Flair goes to the top and gets tossed off. Windham then goes up top and hits a missile dropkick for two. Windha sends Flair to the turnbuckle and as Flair bounces off hits a flying lariat and goes for the pin. The Horseman come in and that’s a DQ. The RNR Express and Dusty come in to ward off the Horseman as Barry celebrates his victory (though not for the title) in the ring.
Dusty says that Windham can become heavyweight champion on any occasion. He has to beat Ric Flair but Ric doesn’t have to beat Windham. Dusty says there is no greater sporting event than Crockett Wrestling.
-Flair’s Post-Match Promo-
Flair and the Horsean celebrate in the locker room. Flair calls Windham a loser and say there are 50 girls behind their locker door waiting for the winners.
Of course, no WWE DVD would be complete without the Easter eggs, of which there are two on this particular disc. Both unlock classic Flair interviews and here’s how to get to them:
1) Go to chapters, highlight Windham, then hit right
-Flair talks about anything off the top of his head and talks about half the NWA roster.
2) Go to chapters, go to the Dusty portion of the extras, highlight Flair cuts a promo, then hit left.
-Flair talks about when Flair is in town, things are taking place.
Of course, that’s only the FIRST disc. OF the three, it’s my second favorite disc but that’s just for the sake rating them against each other but on it’s own, it’s awesome.