Hello and welcome to another WWE DVD Review. Over the past few years I have been a keen WWE fan, and I have watched and reviewed many WWE Videos and DVD’s, some have been terrible, most average and some good, however nothing would compare to this; The Ultimate Ric Flair Collection on DVD. This 3 Disk DVD box set has broken all WWE DVD records previously set, and it could well be the finest collection of wrestling action compiled to date. With action from the 70’s, 80’s 90′ and today it is something every wrestling fan should think about owning, find out why…
Length: 9 Hrs 41 mins
Ric Flair is one of the wrestling industries greatest ever competitors. He has held numerous belts; including the United States Heavyweight Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship which he won an astonishing 16 times. He won the 1992 Royal Rumble, in what is considered one of the greatest Royal Rumble matches ever, he has fought legends such as Dusty Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat, Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Harley Race, Terry Funk and many more. Ric Flair is unquestionably one of the greatest wrestling superstars of all time and finally the WWE have paid tribute to him with this unique DVD box set highlighting his career.
The box set is split up into 3 disks, each looking at different stages throughout Flair’s career. Each disk is then split into chapters looking at the different feuds and matches the “Nature Boy” has had over the years. The DVD set contains bonus features including promos, matches and interviews with Flair and some of his teammates and rivals from all over his illustrious career.
Anyway, getting down to business, lets take a lot at this excellent wrestling history.
Harley Race and the NWA Championship
The first chapter looks at Ric Flair’s feud with Harley Race, leading up to a NWA World Championship match at Starrcade ’83. I have often heard people talk about Harley Race, and how great he was, but I never really understood how good he was because I never got the chance to see some of his greatest stuff, until now!. This was a hot angle, and just by watching the highlights on this DVD I could see why. Race was the guy who ruled the NWA, and Flair wanted the title off him, Race put everything in front of Flair, but Flair against all the odds went into Starracde and won the title. This is really compelling stuff and for me, I really bought into the feud , considering it was 20 years ago, I think that shows how good the feud was.
The NWA World Title match is now featured between Harley Race and Ric Flair. The match is a Steel Cage match and its one those matches were the build up was as much part of the match as the actual wrestling was. One of the best steel cage matches I have seen, a match certainly worthy of the feud.
- $25,000 Bounty – Harley Race puts a bounty out for Ric Flair, he invites anyone to take out Flair for the money. Pretty similar to the promo Triple H did on Bill Goldberg back in autumn of 2003, only Race does it a millions time better, because he makes it so believable.
- Orton and Slater Collect – During a Flair vs. Harley Race match, Dick Slater and Bob Orton Jr. run in and attack Flair, they then proceed to give him a spike piledriver “injuring” Flair’s neck, and going on to collect the $25,000 bounty.
- Flair Announces Retirement – After the attack from Orton and Slater, Flair announces that wrestling is not worth the risk to his health, and he no longer feels he can carry on. Not the first time Flair announces his retirement, but this is one of the finest promos I have seen from Flair, very believable as you can expect from Flair.
- “Its only Just Begun” – Flair comes out of the crowd and attacks Bob Orton and Dick Slater with a bat during a tag team match. After the attack, Flair goes onto deliver a promo announcing he is back, and wants revenge.
- NWA Press Conference – Bob Connell takes us into the NWA Press Conference where the NWA Board of Directors announce the location for the NWA Championship match between Harley Race and Ric Flair. The thing that got me about this was the NWA made the match mean something, it wasn’t just another title match, this was something big. It includes interviews with Harley Race where he shares his dislike of the location, and then Flair tells everyone about how happy he is about the match. The thing I liked about this was that the NWA was trying to convince the fans and viewers that this match was important, and that all the promoters from around the world wanted this match because it was going to be something special, I think it worked very well, and would have certainly got me watching Starrcade.
- Starrcade ’83 Pre Match Interviews
Race, Bob Orton Jr. and Dick Slater
Ric Flair and Wahoo McDaniel
- Starrcade ’83 Post Match Interviews
Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood
Dusty Rhodes: Talking The Talk
Moving onto the second chapter of the first disk, we look at the feud Ric Flair had with the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. The chapter looks at the feud which was brewing between Flair and Dusty leading up to Starrcade ’85 and the NWA Championship match. Ric Flair talks about Dusty and discusses what he thinks of him and how he enjoyed facing him. We then go back to 1985, where Ric Flair is in a cage match and he is being attacked by the Koloffs, Dusty Rhodes then comes to the aid of Flair and runs the Koloffs out of town, but Flair doesn’t take kindly to Dusty’s interference and he along with Arn and Ole Anderson attack Dusty and proceeded to break his ankle.
The NWA Championship match from Starrcade ’85 is now shown with Dusty taking on Ric Flair. The match was pretty solid for the most part, with Flair working his usual style and Dusty, well being Dusty. The interesting part comes towards the end of the match, Dusty nailed Flair with a clothesline and went for the pin, he got a two count and Flair kicked out, as he kicked out, Dusty lands on referee Tommy Young causing the ref to be knocked out. The match continues and Arn Anderson then runs in and attacks Dusty Rhodes, referee Tommy Young sees this interference and attempts to call for the DQ, but Dusty fights back with Anderson and Anderson collides with Tommy Young causing him to be knocked out yet again. Dusty manages to pin Flair, and another referee makes the pin count, everyone thinks Dusty Rhodes has won the title. The following week on NWA TV, Tony Schiavonne announces that Dusty never won the title because referee Tommy Young saw Arn Anderson’s run in, and he would have called for the DQ had he not been knocked out., thus giving Dusty a victory via DQ. While it might not have been the most memorable match in the world, the finish certainly will be remembered.
- Flair and the Andersons Break Dusty’s Ankle – Ric Flair has just won a steel cage match with Nikita Koloff, when Ivan Koloff then comes into the cage and both Koloff’s double team Flair. Dusty Rhodes then comes to the aid of Flair and he beats down the Koloffs and runs them out of the cage. As Flair raises, Arn and Ole Anderson along with Flair attack Dusty Rhodes and break his ankle until the “faces” from the locker room empty out and come to Dusty’s aid.
- Flair cuts a Promo – “Nature Boy” cuts a promo on the events which led to Dusty getting his ankle broken thanks to himself, Ole and Arn Anderson.
- “That’s Hard Times!” – Dusty conducts his first interview since the injury by Flair and the Andersons. Pretty good stuff, Dusty was certainly one of the most charismatic wrestlers of the 80’s and this interview certainly shows that.
- Controversy Explained – Tony Schiavonne looks back at the “Dusty Finish” at Starrcade’85, explaining why Dusty never won the title, with and interview from referee Tommy Young explaining why he made the decision.
- The Man – Flair conducts yet another great promo, Flair talks about that finish of the match between himself and Dusty at Starrcade ’85.
- The Legend – Dusty comments about the match from Starrcade ’85 and the finish. Yet again, another good promo, have to say, watching this has proved to me that both Flair and Dusty are two of the finest promo workers in history.
Barry Windham: Keeping up with The Champ
This is the final chapter on the first disk and it looks at Ric Flair’s rivalry with Barry Windham. Flair comments on how much he loved wrestling with Windham, saying Windham was one of the only guys in the business who could keep up with him, hold for hold. A brief video package is shown looking at Windham and Flair.
Moving on to a NWA World Championship match between the two from World Wide Wrestling in 1987 is shown. I can honestly say that I have never really seen many Barry Windham matches, as a matter of fact, I never really had any urge to see any of his matches, no disrespect to the guy, but I never knew how good he really was. After watching this match my opinion has changed a lot, this was first-rate effort by both men. Windham managed to stick with Flair hold for hold, move for move. The match lasted for the best part of an hour and entertained completely. This match is great and one of those matches that are not talked about as often as they should be, a testament to both Ric Flair and Barry Windham’s hard work.
- Attacked by The Horsemen – Barry Windham along with Ron Garvin discuss The 4 Horsemen, and footage is shown of Barry Windham interfering in a match involving Tully Blanchard, consequently causing the Horsemen to run in and beat Windham down.
- “You Cried the Blues” – Flair does a promo on Windham telling him to “quit talking and do it”. As you can expect, first rate promo.
- Flair vs. Windham 13.1.87 – Match between the two which leads the to the Championship match a few weeks later.
- Dusty’s Analysis – Dusty gives his thoughts on NWA Championship Match between Flair and Windham with Flair retaining the belt.
- Flair Post – Match Promo – A locker room interview with The Horsemen and Flair after he retains the title against Barry Windham, great stuff.
Ricky Steamboat: The Rivalry
The second disk starts off covering the feud that produced some of the greatest matches in wrestling history to date., Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat. The chapters starts off looking at how Ricky Steamboat ended up in the Mid Atlantic territory after Georgia Championship Wrestling swapped Steamboat for Mid Atlantic’s One Man Gang, which at the time may have been a fair trade, but now looking back, it sure is lucky Steamboat ended up in Mid Atlantic Promotions, or we may have never seen some of the best matches in wrestling history. Flair talks about Steamboat and how he enjoyed wrestling with him, the chapter looks at how the feud of the flamboyant Ric Flair developed with the family man Ricky Steamboat. The thing I got from this feud is that there was no over exaggerated angles, no unrealistic storylines, just good guy vs. bad guy, with both Flair’s and Steamboat’s persona jus being extensions of there own personality.
Moving on the chapter now looks at the 2 out of 3 falls match which took place in New Orleans at Clash of the Champions VI. Without I doubt this is one of the finest matches in wrestling history, it lasts for the best part of one hour and its full of the most entertaining wrestling I have ever seen. Not only are Flair and Steamboat two of the greatest wrestlers ever, they are the best at ring psychology; they can tell a story even without opening their mouths. Flair scores the first pinfall, Steamboat makes Flair submit for the second fall and Steamboat pins Flair for the final and winning victory. The thing is, when Steamboat pins Flair, Flair has his feet under the ropes, so after the video tape has been looked a rematch is called for.
Moving on, the chapter looks at what is considered the greatest ever wrestling match in history, as Ric Flair talks bout the match he had with Ricky Steamboat at WrestleWar ’89. Flair speaks candidly about what he thought of the match, and what he thinks about it being named by many people as the Greatest Match in Wrestling History.
The match between Flair and Steamboat from WrestleWar ’89 is now shown in its entirety. In my opinion this is easily the greatest match I have seen, and I’d probably agree with most people that this match is the greatest wrestling match in history. The match was a technical masterpiece, it had every single aspect of wrestling carried off to perfection, if you ever feel that you are starting to take a dislike to wrestling, just watch this match all your faith will once again be restored, trust me. During the match Flair managed to get the pinfall after Steamboat went for a body slam and Flair reversed it into a cradle pin. If you hadn’t already gathered, I really like this match. Anyway, after the match, Terry Funk, who had been a judge at ringside came into the ring to congratulate Flair on a well won victory, he then asked for a title shot, but Flair said he would have to join the list of the top 10 contenders, Funk didn’t like this and attacked Flair when his back was turned. This lead to Funk brutally attacking Flair and pile driving him through a table, this attack would lead to one of the most brutal feuds of the time; Flair vs Funk.
- Flair & Windham vs. Steamboat and Gilbert – This Steamboat’s return match to the NWA, after a period with the WWF, this match is just the start of a feud that would produce some of the best matches ever seen. Not a bad match by any means.
- Steamboat’s Three Man Workout – Ricky Steamboat shows off his wrestling skills with three jobbers including a very young Dustin Rhodes. Steamboat demonstrates his skills, until Flair interrupts the workout.
- Flair Call Out Steamboat – Ric Flair calls out Steamboat at the Clash of the Champions V, which leads to an altercation between the two.
- Flair’s Lawyer – A Jim Ross who has not yet become “Good Old JR”, looks at the controversy surrounding the Championship match from Clash of the Champions VI. Ric Flair’s Lawyers issues a statement on behalf of Flair.
- Jim Herd – Jim Herd announces that a rematch will take place between Flair & Steamboat, but not because of the actions of Flair and his lawyer, but a decision made by the NWA Board of Directors.
- Ricky Steamboat – Steamboat discusses the controversy and talks about the rematch.
- Ric Flair – Flair does a promo about controversy surrounding the Championship match from the Clash of the Champions VI.
- Wrestle War ’89 Pre Match Interview – Flair does a promo regarding the Championship match with Steamboat.
Terry Funk: Hardcore
This chapter looks at the feud between Flair and Funk which started at Wrestle War ’89. Ric talks about Terry, giving his opinions of the feud and of Funk. This segment is only brief, but it highlights what needs to be known leading up to the “I Quit” Match.
The match in this segment is the “I Quit! Match between Flair and Funk from the Clash of the Champions IX. I suppose for the time on national television this was pretty brutal, as Flair and Funk really tore each other apart. The match is pretty much a brawl from the start, but unlike many of the “Hardcore” matches today, this also has a good amount of actual “wrestling”, its not just one person beating the opponent with a weapon. The ending comes when Flair hit’s the Figure Four on Funk and he says “I Quit”. This is a great match, not up there with the likes of Flair and Steamboat, but for a brutal brawl, its certainly entertains.
- Press Conference – A press conference is held by Jim Herd, where Ric Flair announces that he will return to wrestling after the attack from Funk at Wrestle War ’89, and he has now been granted permission to face Funk at the Clash of the Champions IX.
- “I’ll Shake His Hand” – Terry Funk does a promo saying that if Ric Flair manages to beat him, he will then shake hands with Flair. Classic Terry Funk promo.
- Flair’s Rebuttal – Flair answers Terry Funk back, commenting on Terry Funk’s comment about him shaking Flair hand if he could beat Funk.
- “You’re gonna say “I Quit” – Ric Flair gives a classic interview one week before his “I Quit” match with Terry Funk
- New York Knock-Out promos – Terry Funk and Ric Flair deliver pre match promos for the Clash of the Champions “New York Knock-Out” event.
- Pre Match Interviews: Terry Funk + Ric Flair
The Plane Crash
This piece originally was broadcast on one of the WWE Confidential shows which are broadcast in the US, the chapter looks at the plane crash that could have ended Ric Flair’s Pro Wrestling career. It was back when Flair’s career was just in its early stages, Flair along with some other wrestlers from the Mid Atlantic territory including Johnny Valentine, Tim “Mr. Wrestling” Woods, along with David Crockett the promoter of the Mid Atlantic area boarded a six seat light aircraft to travel to a show they where appearing at. Unfortunately there was engine problems which caused the aircraft’s engines to fail, thus causing the plane to crash. Flair along with David Crockett talks about the flight, crash and injuries, which were sustained during the accident, including the tragic death of the pilot who was flying the plane. Also we hear from a fan at the time of the accident, who was in attendance at the show Flair and others were due to appear at. Flair along with many others sustained broken and injured backs, so its quite amazing to think that Flair went on to become one of, if not the greatest World Champion ever. This chapter is certainly worth watching,, a good insight into the tragic accident that could have been much worse.
History off The Horsemen
Its probably the most influential stable of all time, with Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Ole Anderson, Tully Blanchard’s the original members with J.J.Dillion as the manager, The Horsemen dominated the NWA in the late 80’s and were a key part of WCW in the 1990’s. This chapter looks at the success of this stable. Arn Anderson along with Tully Blanchard talk about why the group worked so well together, looking at what the fans thought of them, and looking at each member and what they brought to the group. Both men speak candidly about what they thought of the group, including what they thought of the later version of The Horsemen. This chapter again is cool, nice to see Tully Blanchard discuss what he thought about the group. Overall very good brief introduction of The Horsemen stable.
A Day in the Life of The Horsemen
Basically exactly what it says on the tin, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard talk about being a Horseman. They talk about living the life which the Horsemen portrayed on screen, with the cars, the jets, the drinking. Both Arn and Tully says that what the Horsemen said on screen, they used to go out and do, and they believed this is the key to the success of the Horsemen, that they were legitimate friends and this is why the grouped worked so well. This chapter was again pretty interested, a nice look at the group.
The “Nature Boy” Heads North
The first two disks look at Flair’s career in the NWA throughout the 1980’s, so it would only be inevitable that the third disk would look at Flair’s career in the World Wrestling Federation during the early 90’s. Flair kicks off the chapter and talks about the main reason why he left WCW, due to his feeling towards Jim Herd. Flair comments that Herd wanted him to change his image by cutting his hair, putting a diamond earring in his ear and generally just changing the “Nature Boy” gimmick, and for Flair to become more “New School” rather than sticking with a gimmick which he had years of success with, of course that’s a prime example of WCW logic. Flairs then goes on to talk about how he came about brining the WCW Heavyweight Championship belt to the WWF, he details what Jim Herd wanted him to do, firstly drop then belt to Lex Luger, then to Barry Windham and then they were just going to strip him on the title belt all together. So Flair asked for the $25,000 deposit he originally put down when he was in the NWA, and as you can imagine, WCW weren’t willing to do so, so Flair took the belt to the WWF with him, and became “The Real World’s Heavyweight Champion. Flair goes onto talk about his time with the World Wrestling Federation, and how much he enjoyed being there. Good insight to why Flair left WCW, the reasons the WCW “brains” wanted Flair to change is beyond me, the only thing I know is that Flair’s first run in the WWF produced some of the best matches and television the company had seen in a long time, Savage vs. Flair, and Flair’s triumphant victory at the 1992 Royal Rumble. Once again, another great chapter.
The highlight match of this chapter is the 30 Man Royal Rumble from 1992. This is the best Royal Rumble ever, in my opinion. With The “Nature Boy” entering in as Number 3, and surviving right till the end, to win the WWF Championship. This is classic Flair action, with Flair out shining any of the talent that night. This is a must see match, for any fan, whether a casual fan, or a diehard fan, this is the WWE at its best.
- Bobby “The Brain” is Excited – This is a promo of Bobby Hennan at WWE Headquarters getting ready for the arrival of Ric Flair, pretty funny stuff, and Bobby Heenan at his best.
- Flair’s WWE TV Debut – Ric Flair makes his highly anticipated WWE Debut on Prime Time Wrestling in front of a studio audience. Pretty cheesy, but at the time I’m sure it worked well.
- Funeral Parlor – Paul Bearer interviews Ric Flair and Bobby Heenan.
- Flair attacks Piper – Ric Flair comes out to ringside and confronts Roddy Piper at the announce table, this leads to a brawl between the two in which Flair attacks Piper with a wooden chair, which ends up being brutally broken over Vince McMahon’s head. Excellent segment which at the time was part of a heated rivalry between Piper and The “Nature Boy”.
- The “Real” World Heavyweight Champion – Flair tells the wrestling world what he really thinks about Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper.
- Rumble Post- Match Interview – Flair, along with Mr. Perfect and Bobby Heenan pull a cracker of a victory speech to celebrate his Royal Rumble victory.
Sting: Defining an Era
In WCW there were two figures that symbolised the company, one of these men was Ric Flair, the other was Sting. This chapter looks at the incredible rivalry these two men had for over 10 years. Ric Flair speaks about Sting, talking about the matches, the rivalry and what he really thinks about Sting. Flair comments on how much he liked facing Sting and how much chemistry the two had. Thoughts move to the First Clash of the Champions, where Sting and Flair faced off with one another in a gruelling 45 minute match up. The final moments of the incredible match is shown where after countless falls, Sting locks The “Nature Boy” in the Scorpion Death lock, but as time ticks away Flair fails to submit and the match comes to a draw. Moving on, we are shown some of the build up between Flair and Sting mounting to the Title unification match at the Clash of the Champions XXVII. Overall not a bad chapter, but this only skims the surface of the feuds and rivalry Flair and Sting have had over the years.
The highlight match of this chapter is Ric Flair vs. Sting from Clash of the Champions XXVII, it’s a Championship for Championship match, effectively the NWA World’s Championship and the WCW World’s Champion Unification Match. Sting had ‘Sensational’ Sherri in his corner, so you could more or less tell there was going to be a double cross down the line. Anyway the match was ok, I don’t believe it is the best match the pair had, but it wasn’t a bad match by any means. The ending to the match came when Flair rolled Sting up for the victory. After the match it was revealed the Sherri was with Flair all along as the two shared a moment, and then double teamed on Sting. Hulk Hogan then ran down and made the save for Sting clearing the ring. The actual match was ok, not mind blowing, the bad parts were Hulk Hogan, more the fact that Tony and Bobby Heenan were on hype duty for Hogan as he made his WCW PPV debut, with Hogan stealing all the limelight from the main event.
- Kicked out of The Horsemen – A few weeks prior to this, Sting challenged Flair to a World Championship match, So in what we thought would be the usual Horsemen promo, it turned out that Ole Anderson along with Flair and Arn Anderson would kick Sting out of the Horsemen because he would be facing Flair for the World Championship.
- Reeking of Sex Appeal – Flair along with J.J Dillon cut another excellent promo on Sting.
- Ladies and Gentlemen…Sting! – Mene Gene interviews Sting before Clash of the Champions XXVII where Sting takes on Flair in the Championship Unification Match.
A Special Night in Greenville
You’ve heard about it, you have probably talked about it, but a lot of you won’t have seen it, until now. This chapter takes a look at the emotional aftermath of the World Championship Match Triple H and Ric Flair had in Greenville during May 2003 when the camera’s stopped rolling live. As Flair recovers from his match, the RAW locker room empty out and celebrate the career of Ric Flair. Flair talks about the night and what he thought of the tribute. Highlights are shown from the night, with a very emotional speech from The “Nature Boy”. This was a very nice way for the WWE to honour Ric Flair, the man has done so much for the wrestling world, and he has accomplished so much, this was a excellent way to honour him.
- Flair’s World Wide Wrestling Federation Debut – 01/031976 Ric Flair vs. Pete Sanchez at Madison Square Garden, not a bad match, nice to see very early Ric Flair footage.
- A Workout with Piper – After Ric Flair does an amateur wrestling workout, he gets in the face of Roddy Piper who at the time is announcing the action. Obviously this leads to a confrontation between the two men, resulting in Piper and Flair having a workout of their own, leading to an all out brawl.
- PWI “Wrestler of the Decade” – Ric Flair is awarded “Wrestler of the Decade” by Pro Wrestling Illustrated Magazine.
- The Final Nitro – A very emotional Ric Flair addresses the fans at the final WCW Nitro, Flair touches many things including Sting, the WCW legacy and of course Vince McMahon. Excellent stuff by Flair.
Ric Flair vs. Triple H – World Heavyweight Championship Match from Raw 19.05.03 – This is the match that Ric Flair proved to every fan he could still keep up with today’s superstars when he wants to. This is one of my favourite matches from 2003, certainly one of Triple H’s better matches in recent years. I certainly believed Flair could have won the World’s Championship belt one more time. And of course, the aftermath proves to be just as good as the match, as the RAW locker room along with the McMahon family pay tribute to Flair. Excellent stuff, but funny to see Triple “I organised the night, get out of the ring because I’m bigger and better than everyone………..well apart from Ric Flair” H , throw his weight around, even he manages to soak up some of the lime light from Flair.
WOW…What can I say, excellent stuff, as a whole the DVD is first rate. Personally I enjoyed the chapters with Harley Race, Barry Windham and Steamboat the most, simply because the matches were excellent. The only fault I have, and I suppose its not a fault, but me wanting a little bit more is I would have liked to see another Sting match in, maybe Sting vs. Flair from the Great American Bash, and I would have also liked to have seen Sting vs. Ric Flair from the final Nitro, but hey!
The DVD set is a must have for any wrestling fan, its roughly 9 and a half hours of classic wrestling, and as I said before, it could well be the greatest wrestling compilation ever made, certainly the best WWE DVD release. All I can say is “………Diamonds are forever, and so is Ric Flair, Whoooooooo!”
Its currently available in the USA, UK fans can buy it from SilverVision. It should be available in all good VHS and DVD stockists from 16th February.
UK: £24.98 (DVD)
USA: $25.46 (DVD)