Our first Ric Flair match in the WWE Network’s Best 100 Matches…List, and quite the match to show Ric Flair in all his glory. Flair is one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. The true test of a great wrestler is if he can pull a lesser opponent to a good match. Lex Luger was the ideal wrestler from a physique point of view. From the ability point of view, he was an awful wrestler. Watch any other non-squash Luger match and see the true wrestling prowess of Luger. Then watch this match. Ric Flair literally works miracles to drag a great match out of Luger.
This is the only Lex Luger singles match in the WWE Network’s Best 100…List. But he failed to set alight both WCW and WWF, even though he was pushed to the moon in both promotions (in the WWF, he was promoted as a Hogan-esque ‘American Hero,’ but the gimmick never took off). In this match, fighting for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, Luger looks like he can wrestle, all thanks to Flair.
In the early stages of the match, he refuses to be fooled by Flair’s heelish antics. Instead, Luger uses his power to neutralise the ‘Nature Boy.’ But, as always with the power wrestlers, they take themselves out of the match. Luger smashes his shoulder into the turnbuckle and Flair takes advantage. It’s a similar story to the match between Goldberg and DDP (and in both matches the bigger wrestler is carried by the more experienced one). Here, however, the heel is the smaller wrestler.
Towards the end of the match, it is apparent that Luger is struggling to keep up with Flair. Flair attempts an atomic drop from the top rope that goes awry, mainly because Luger doesn’t look sure about how to take the move. And Luger resorts to the military press over and over again (much like Brock Lesnar and the German Suplex) because he has a limited moveset. The match is also marred by an interference-strewn ending, involving an injured Sting and the Four Horseman (plus, the match ends on a count out, even though the Four Horsemen attack Luger…so shouldn’t it have ended on a disqualification?)
However, I suspect that if I watched every Luger match in history I’d never find one even close to this standard. It would be easy to find plenty of Flair matches that better this standard. A true one man show.
VERDICT: 8/10 An early 90s classic involving an awful wrestler and a great wrestler reaching the end of his prime. Pity about the ending, but still one to watch.
(Click here for my review of #94 Cactus Jack vs Triple H, Raw, 2/9/1997)
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