(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v32286157?contextType=wwe-show&contextId=clash_of_the_champions&contentId=73027582&watchlistAltButtonContext=series )
Another Ric Flair match? Of course! He’s on the Best 100…List no less than thirteen times. That would be unlucky for some, but it’s lucky for one of the all-time wrestling greats. On this list, we’ve seen him wrestle other wrestling greats to wrestling green as grass big men (see #93 against Lex Luger, and click here for my review!). Here, he fights another fairly green man, in the guise of Sting. It’s obvious that Sting was catapulted to the top of the card due to his look, size and popularity. But not his wrestling. It’s a testament to Flair that this match is very good, but unfortunately Sting drags the contest down. He simply doesn’t have the ability to make his offence interesting for this drawn-out match.
This match would benefit from a shorter duration. At 45 minutes, it’s too long for the newcomer Sting to hold his own against Flair. The constant reminder of the time (the announcer gives an update every five minutes) is a huge distraction as well. In Iron Man matches, for example, the time limit on screen is there for a reason: to count down the seconds and increase the tension as the hour/half hour passes. For this clash, the constant reminder of the time serves little purpose. There’s a time limit but do we need to be reminded of it? Why not tell us that there are five minutes left and leave it at that?
You’d be forgiven for thinking that you’ve accidentally hit rewind frequently during this match. I lost count how many times Sting went through a sequence of punching Flair in the corner and hip tossing him across the ring. In a match that went 20 minutes or so, the repeated sequence wouldn’t be so noticeable. But here, it is painfully noticeable. Sting’s limited move set harms the match. There’s only so many times that Sting can mount a comeback using the same sequence before it becomes boring.
However, the crowd go wild for everything he does. It’s a testament to not only his popularity, but Flair’s ability to manipulate the crowd as well. He sells Sting’s offence like a million dollars. We see the Flair flop and the usual Flair sequence of being whipped into the corner, going over the top, running to the next corner and being pressed off the top rope. But it’s all done to make Sting look awesome. In fairness, it often works. Flair plays the heel like no other, and this match is yet another great example of Flair at work. He cheats to get the advantage over Sting to build up the babyface’s comebacks. It’s a work of art and decreases the effect of seeing Sting repeat the same sequence over and over again.
The crowd and Ric Flair make this match special, and Sting, whilst he isn’t up to the task, is still treated like a megastar by the crowd. Sometimes it makes you believe that he’s a wrestling god. However, he still prevents the match from being a classic. Instead, it’s still a very good match that goes on for far too long. With a green big man, you make the match short. You make him batter the opponent. Let him show off his strength. At 20 minutes, this match would be great. As it is, it’s merely very good. I actually prefer another match on the Best 100…List from the same PPV over this one, the match between The Midnight Express and The Fantastics (click here for my review!). I’d also like to see a place for Ric Flair’s retirement match against Shawn Michaels on the Best 100…List as well…
VERDICT: 7/10. A potentially great match is curtailed by the inexperience of Sting and the duration of the match. However, the crowd and Ric Flair make it one to remember.
Does this match belong in the WWE Network’s ‘ 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die’ List? Leave your thoughts/comments below!
Click here for my review of #28 CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar (No Disqualfication, WWE Summerslam 2013)