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Old 05-10-2015, 07:16 PM   #101
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Meltzer with Brad Muster watching the Chi-Town Rumble match:



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Old 05-10-2015, 07:32 PM   #102
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Huh. I remember them showing Brad Muster in the crowd. I guess I didn't have any idea what Meltzer looks like.
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Old 05-10-2015, 07:41 PM   #103
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

I wouldn't know Meltzer if I was sitting next to or across from him at a bar.
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Old 05-11-2015, 06:15 PM   #104
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

excited for this thread to get to attitude era, just because i have zero foundation at all of wrestling before this
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Old 05-11-2015, 06:28 PM   #105
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Well I've got good news: the Attitude Era is only a little more than 100 matches away.
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Old 05-11-2015, 06:50 PM   #106
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

and the AE era matches are only 10 in total!!!

Kidding, of course. But it's sure easy to get through 98/99 which actually only has around 10 total matches.
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Old 05-11-2015, 07:26 PM   #107
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Looks like about 10 WWE matches in that period and 15 WCW matches.
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Old 05-11-2015, 07:36 PM   #108
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Was just referring to WWF, forgot WCW lol.
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Old 05-12-2015, 06:17 PM   #109
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Great American Bash '89: NWA US Title (No DQ): Lex Luger (c) vs. Ricky Steamboat

Date: July 23, 1989

Link: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31589169

Background: Lex Luger, mad that Ricky Steamboat was called the #1 contender while he was just the #2 contender, launched a sneak attack on Steamboat at Clash of the Champions the month before to turn heel.

The Match: Luger says in a pre-match interview with Gordon Solie that if they don't waive the no DQ stipulation, he won't defend the US Title on this night. Steamboat enters with a komodo dragon (I think; I don't actually know what a komodo dragon looks like). Luger comes down and reiterates his demand, saying that if Steamboat doesn't waive the no DQ stip on the spot then he's leaving. Steamboat is pissed, but caves to Luger's demands; this is now a regular match. Not knowing the result of this, this just reeks of a last-minute booking change. I certainly don't expect Steamboat to win the title here.



Steamboat surprises Luger with several pinning combos right at the start, all for two-counts. Two dropkicks by the Dragon, a series of chops, and a backdrop. I see that Luger is going to sell the chops now that he's a heel. The brawl goes to the floor, Dragon atomic drops Luger there, but Dragon gets caught prone going back into the ring and eats a knee from the Total Package.

Luger takes the fight right back out to the floor, with an axhandle and a hard clothesline. Steamboat fights back with those signature hard chops, then slams Luger head-first into the steel guardrail. Nice pace so far. Luger retreats into the ring, Steamboat tries to follow with a tomahawk chop but gets hit low on the way down. Lex rains hard right hands to Ricky's lower back, then some to his chest for good measure. Whip into the ropes, and a press slam on the way back. Measured standing kneedrops from Luger, and finally a pin attempt for two.



Luger gets up griping about the slow count, Steamboat grabs the opportunity to schoolboy him into a pin from behind, only gets two. Luger, mad, turns the Dragon inside out with three straight hard clotheslines. Luger wastes time, allowing Steamboat to fight back with a series of chops. As he chops him back into the corner, referee Tommy Young actually physically blocked a chop attempt, which left an opening for Luger to reach up over top of the referee and clock Steamboat with a closed fist. WTF, Tommy.

Scoop powerslam by Lex as the Dragon came off the ropes. Another whip into the ropes, Steamboat ducks a right hand, hits a cross-body coming back into a pin for two. Inverted atomic drop by Luger. Lex follows with an attempted back bodydrop, but Steamboat stops short and connects with a swinging neckbreaker. Bodyslam attempt by Steamboat, Luger drops behind him instead, but then charges and inadvertently dives out over the top.



The US Champ attempts to re-enter, but Steamboat pounds away on the apron. Ricky picks him up, attempts to bodyslam him into the ring, but Lex falls on him for another two-count. Steamboat with a corner charge, takes a boot to the face. Luger tries to capitalize by going up top, but gets caught and thrown off.

Chop by Steamboat. Dropkick. Multiple running right hands. Back to the top again for a tomahawk chop that gets two. Steamboat tries charging again, and again fails, as Luger backdrops Steamboat into the next ring (they were set up for War Games).

Luger heads outside and gets a steel chair, then threatens to hit Steamboat with it in plain view, since he would keep the title that way. As he holds it, Steamboat trips him, then catapults him into the corner; Lex, still holding the chair as he gets catapulted, hits the chair head-first as he hits the corner. That…was a pretty stupid and contrived spot. Steamboat gets up, grabs the chair for himself, and as Tommy Young tries to stop him he pushes Tommy Young over and waffles Luger with the chair to get himself disqualified.



Steamboat dumps Tommy Young out of the ring, keeps beating on Luger to repay last month's beating at Luger's hands, and chases him to the back. Okay then.

Result: Lex Luger via DQ (10:26)

Meltzer Rating: ****1/4

My Review and Rating: These guys kept up a hectic pace for the entire 10+ minutes and put on a fun show. I didn't love it to the extent that Meltzer did, but I definitely liked it a decent bit. ***1/2
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Old 05-12-2015, 07:59 PM   #110
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Next up is a War Games match. I've gotta say, for the wonderful rep that War Games has, I've never actually particularly liked any War Games matches I've seen. This one is a new one on me though, so here's hoping.
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Old 05-12-2015, 08:41 PM   #111
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Saw the one you're about to see when I was rewatching classics on the network. Iirc I wasn't crazy about it.
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Old 05-12-2015, 08:57 PM   #112
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Great American Bash: War Games - Freebirds & Samoan Swat Team (w/ Paul E. Dangerously) vs. Midnight Express, Road Warriors, and "Dr. Death" Steve Williams (w/ Jim Cornette and Paul Ellering)

Date: July 23, 1989

Link: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31589169

Background: The Midnight Express and Samoan Swat Team had kicked off a feud at Clash of the Champions VII after interfering in each other's tournament matches. The Midnight Express and Freebirds had begun feuding at the same event. Steve Williams was in to round things out, recently turning face when he aligned with Jim Cornette.

The Match: The Freebirds cut a very nice pre-match promo; everyone who wasn't Samoan talked before the match, but the Freebirds were the stars on the stick here. It is announced that the heels won the coin toss, because of course they did. I'm guessing the faces must have won at least one coin toss in War Games history, but I've sure never seen it.



Jimmy Garvin and Bobby Eaton have a go to start. Eaton lays in the right hands, whips him into the corner on one end and then hits a swinging neckbreaker on the other. Eaton misses a dropkick to reverse the momentum, and Garvin goes to work. Eaton reverses his whip into the rope and goes behind for an atomic drop, but eats a boot when he charges the corner. Garvin slams him into the cage and then puts the boots to Beautiful Bobby's head.

Garvin goes to smash Eaton's face into the buckle, Eaton blocks and does it to him instead. Grabs the top of the cage and elevates with it for a dropkick. Controls for a moment, but then catches an elbow from Garvin as Garvin comes off the ropes. Bobby is back after him as the back-and-forth continues, and he hits a backbreaker followed by a series of right hands, then another backbreaker. Eaton applies the Boston crab as the ring announcer counts down to the next entrance, and Terry Gordy enters. Dangerously looks at the camera and says that Hayes is next in for the heel team.



The Freebirds double-team Eaton, as he just has to find a way to survive two minutes until some help arrives. They mostly don't do anything interesting, but they do connect on one back elbow and smash Eaton's face into the cage again. We get the bell, and Steve Williams is in, immediately simultaneously clotheslining both Freebirds. He and Gordy isolate in one ring and have a go. Williams with a nice feat of strength, as he picks up the 300+-lb. Gordy overhead and lifts him repeatedly into the cage ceiling before dropping him in a press slam. Favorite spot in the match so far.

The two pairs of opponents continue to do a lot of punch-kick stuff as the announcer counts down to the entrance of…Samu. Okay, guess Dangerously was just playing. In any case, his team now has a 3-on-2 advantage, as Gordy and Samu double-team Williams, eventually connecting on a double suplex. Road Warrior Animal answers the next bell to again even things up at 3-on-3. Animal with a couple of clotheslines on Gordy before he goes and pays Samu a visit in the other ring and levels him with a big boot that Samu bumps to beautifully.



Awesome flying shoulderblock by Animal from one ring to the next as Samu tried to escape him. The faces have taken the advantage on all fronts as Eaton runs Samu into the double clothesline of Animal and Dr. Death. Outside the ring, Fatu gets a pep talk from Michael Hayes, then enters at the next bell. 4-on-3.

Double clothesline by the Swat Team on Animal, then a double wishbone and a double falling headbutt. The faces are largely behind, but Williams does hit a Russian legsweep on Gordy. Mid-match report card: this is the most entertained I can ever remember being by a War Games match. Stan Lane is in at the next bell, simultaneously rams Garvin's and Fatu's head sinto the cage and then makes the full rounds, hammering on each member of the heel team.

Fatu gets set up in one corner as Dr. Death and Animal take turns with running clotheslines at him in the corner. Eaton does the "grab the top of the cage to help elevate for a dropkick" thing again. "To get a little more momentum," says Jim Ross. Alright, not gonna lie; I gave that spot the benefit of the doubt the first time, but it's stupid and looks about 10x weaker than just a garden-variety dropkick. Michael Hayes comes in to make this a 5-on-4 affair, throwing DDTs on Williams, Animal, and Eaton before prancing over to the other empty ring to dance.



The lifeless carcass of Road Warrior Animal gets dumped over into that ring. Both of the Samoans hammer away on Animal in the corner. Gordy clotheslines Williams in the other ring. The ring announcer counts down, and we're ready for the entrance of Road Warrior Hawk, as all 10 men are now in the ring. Hawk enters by going straight to the top and doing a flying double clothesline on the Samoans. Hard chops and right hands on Gordy, then Hawk and Williams beat on Garvin. Great DDT by Eaton. Lots of great action going on, more than I can keep up with. "This one is just hard to call, Bob." I feel you, JR. There's full-on chaos in both rings for a bit, kicking and stomping and awaiting the next significant spot.

That comes when Animal signals for the Doomsday Device and goes to lift Gordy. Garvin picks off Animal as Hawk heads up top, but then Hawk just delivers the flying clothesline from the top to Garvin. Hawk with a neckbreaker on Garvin. Sets up for another one, then instead of executing a neckbreaker he lifts him up by the neck into a brutal-looking submission hold that Jim Ross calls a hangman. Garvin doesn't take long to submit, and the Road Warriors and Midnight Express prevail.



In the excitement, the other faces left a soldier behind, and Animal finds himself trapped in the cage with the whole heel team as Garvin and Fatu hold the door closed. The faces try to come back for the rescue, but they're kept out for a while until Hawk forces the door open and the faces burst in and chase the heels off. Great match.

Result: Road Warriors, Midnight Express, & Steve Williams win when Hawk forces Garvin to submit (22:18)

Meltzer Rating: ****

My Review and Rating: This had great action, stayed very watchable throughout, a hot crowd and a lot of different fun offense along the way. Not only am I going a little above Meltzer on this one, but I considered going even a quarter-star higher. ****1/4
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Old 05-12-2015, 08:59 PM   #113
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Was thinking of another
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Old 05-12-2015, 09:05 PM   #114
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

The Flair vs. Funk main event of this same PPV will be next, but not tonight. I remember loving it the one time I watched it. After a few matches away from Flair, he's back to his usual GOATing, and will appear in another 5 out of 6 run starting next.
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Old 05-12-2015, 09:14 PM   #115
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Actually one of those Flair matches doesn't appear to be on YouTube or Daily Motion, it's a tag match from 2/18/90, Flair and Arn vs. The Rock 'n Roll Express. So unless someone has a link to that match on one of those sites, that one I'll have to skip. But 4 of the next 5 ITT will be Flair anyway.

In the immediate queue:
Great American Bash '89 - Flair vs. Funk
Starrcade '89 - Flair vs. Sting
NWA World Championship Wrestling 2/17/90 - Flair vs. Pillman
WrestleWar '90 - Rock 'n Roll Express vs. Midnight Express
WrestleWar '90 - Flair vs. Luger
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Old 05-12-2015, 09:15 PM   #116
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Angry Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Funk vs Flair @ GAB >>> CotC "I Quit"...and I have the latter at 5*. "I Quit" match needed lots of blood iyam after the bloodbath at GAB.
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Old 05-12-2015, 09:17 PM   #117
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Purely a guess, but it might have been difficult to get approval to spill buckets of blood on TBS vs. doing it on PPV.
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Old 05-12-2015, 09:26 PM   #118
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Was going to watch the Funk/Flair match now but got distracted by having never seen that War Games before so currently watching. Love that they could use the "Bad Street USA" theme for the Freebirds entrance. Epic. I LOVED Hayes as a kid.

edit: and they have "Iron Man" for the other team? Thought they'd have cut that for sure.
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Old 05-12-2015, 09:49 PM   #119
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by LKJ View Post
Purely a guess, but it might have been difficult to get approval to spill buckets of blood on TBS vs. doing it on PPV.
Dusty Rhodes was technically fired for violating a no blood policy laid down by TBS shortly before this.
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Old 05-12-2015, 11:16 PM   #120
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Turns out my chronology was missing three matches in between GAB and Starrcade. Shockingly enough, two of the three are Flair matches. But that queue above is a bit inaccurate since I was glossing past those for some reason. At least I caught it before putting stuff up out of order this time.
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Old 05-13-2015, 11:11 PM   #121
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Great American Bash '89: NWA Title - Ric Flair (c) vs. Terry Funk (w/ Gary Hart)

Date: July 23, 1989

Link: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31589169

Background: After Flair defeated Ricky Steamboat at WrestleWar, Terry Funk (one of the judges for the match) got offended when Flair refused his challenge to an NWA Title match, took a cheap shot at him, beat the hell out of him, and delivered a piledriver on Flair through the table that injured his neck. Flair had not wrestled since.



The Match: Flair gets interviewed by Gordon Solie backstage. Solie questions why he would get back in the ring so soon to take on Funk, doing so with the full knowledge that if he reinjures his back it could seriously hurt him for life. Flair gives a good understated face promo in reply. Out to the ring, Terry Funk enters…I can't make out if that's Man With the Harmonica or not. It does sound like Morricone though. I'm disappointed that the recording kind of drowns out the entrance music.

Upon Flair's entrance, he quickly rips off his robe and chases Funk out of the ring and down the aisle, furiously chopping away at Funk and even trying to bite him up against the guardrail. Flair, having gotten some early licks in, awaits his opponent in the ring, but gets impatient and heads back out, connecting with an axhandle off the apron and then pounding Funk against a ringside table. Funk tosses a chair into the ring, but referee Tommy Young disposes of it. Finally Funk re-enters and we'll start with a real match.

Funk in, lays in some massive chops. Flair fights back at him with a series of his own, one knocking Funk out over the top. The Nature Boy follows him out and gets rammed into the steel post for his efforts. Funk beats on him as Flair attempts a return to the ring, even belittling him with several slaps, before suplexing him back into the ring. And then beating him back out of it. Funk in pretty firm control here, just measuring his shots straight at Flair's neck and landing them until the champ finally gets a shot of his own back in. Flair attempts a suplex to the outside of the ring, but can't fully get Funk up and over, and instead they both spill to the floor.



More chops and right hands between the two outside. Funk tries to roll into the ring, Flair says hell no and yanks him back out to keep the brawl going. They do both end up in the ring before long, with Funk attempting a piledriver but getting backdropped all the way over the top to the floor. Snapmare by Flair on the floor before cranking Funk's neck twice outside the ring and then once more back in the ring for good measure.

Running kneedrop by the champ. And another. Flair tries a pin and gets two, then follows up by going for a piledriver of his own. And connecting, to a huge pop. Funk sells it like a champ. Awesome. Flair goes for another, and again connects (though not as well). Funk tries to get up, and stumbles backward through the ropes to the floor. Funk begins to crawl down the aisle away from the ring, but the match is personal for Flair and he's out for blood, following the challenger out and dragging him back in, then delivering insulting slaps of his own.



Back suplex by the Nature Boy, then a figure-four. Gary Hart gets up on the apron and runs distraction, as Funk produces a branding iron seemingly out of thin air and clocks Flair in the face with it to break the hold. Flair immediately bleeding hard. Funk follows with a piledriver that only doesn't win it because he pins him too close to the ropes.

Funk heads to ringside and lifts one of the mats out of the way to expose the concrete floor. Funk reaches into the ring and strangles Flair with some tape before dragging him out. Tries for a piledriver on the concrete, but Flair reverses into a backdrop. Flair can't follow up though, and Funk ends up getting the next offense with a hard elbow to Flair's open wound as Flair screams obscenities.

The challenger back in the ring with a swinging neckbreaker. Bob Caudle: "I tell you, I don't want to see this. I don't want to see this man permanently injured, and I think we're in danger of seeing that right now." A great commentary moment that really puts this segment over. Another swinging neckbreaker by Funk. And a third, as Flair just lies prone. Elite selling by Flair; he really does look like someone who is in terrible shape; frankly this would be the perfect moment for the JR of 10 years later to be pleading with Tommy Young to "stop the damn match!"



Funk slams Flair's head into the corner, then gets greedy and grabs for the branding iron again as Gary Hart is distracting Tommy Young one more time. This backfires though, as Flair appears to crotch him with it, then gets a full swing in with it that knocks Funk square in the head and sends him reeling to the outside. Now he's bleeding. Flair follows and rams him into the post, then returns the both of them to the inside, setting Funk up in the corner and laying a series of closed fists straight into Funk's wounded head.

Flair tries to do for the kill shot with a running knee into the corner, but Funk dodges and Flair hurts his knee going in. Funk attempts the spinning toe hold, Flair trips Funk, reverses, and attempts his own spinning toe hold, Funk reverses into a surprise small package, Flair reverses the leverage and turns it into his own small package. 1-2-3, Flair retains.

Flair gets zero celebration time, as the Great Muta hits the ring and spits green mist in Flair's face. The two double-team Flair, Muta clobbering Flair over the head with his championship belt. Sting runs in for the save and creates enough recovery time for Flair that Flair gets up, fights for himself, and the two faces clear the ring before continuing a two-on-two brawl up the ramp. This was pure awesomeness.



Result: Ric Flair via pinfall (17:23)

Meltzer Rating: ****1/2

My Review and Rating: Elite brawl from start to finish, awesome storytelling by both men. Just so compelling, especially going from the pre-match interviews and going through the post-match brawling. I have zero criticisms of this match, and a major hat tip to the brawl after the match too. My only struggle was whether or not this earned the full five stars. After letting myself digest it a bit: yep. I'm in. *****
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Old 05-17-2015, 12:56 AM   #122
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Clash of the Champions VIII: US Title - Lex Luger (c) vs. Tommy Rich

Date: September 12, 1989

Link: http://network.wwe.com/video/v32286315

Background: No idea. Probably just a title match.

The Match: Before this moment, I genuinely couldn't even slap a visual on the name "Tommy Rich" even though I've heard the name any number of times. I'm…intrigued that we have a Meltzer four-star match featuring Lex Luger vs. some random dude that I've only vaguely heard of.



Jim Ross and Jim Cornette on the call, Nick Patrick officiating. An extremely clever fan holds up a sign saying "The Untotal Package Lex Luger." That'll show him. Luger goes right in with a side headlock takeover, reversed by Rich into a headscissor, and a break. Rich forces Luger into the corner, gives him a clean break; the situation gets reversed, with Luger forcing Rich into the corner, and then he feigns a clean break before trying a cheap shot that Rich blocks and fires back a series of right hands and an eventual backdrop on.

The challenger's offense continues with a bodyslam and an armdrag before Luger begs off and Rich stands back. Solid little flurry there. Lex off the ropes with a shoulderblock. And a pec shuffle for good measure. The crowd really only seemed to halfway turn on Luger here; he remained fairly over as a face even after his heel turn.



An extensive rope-running sequence finally ends with Rich stopping and landing an uppercut before executing an arm drag and cinching in an armbar on the mat. Luger manages to work his way back to his feet and then delivers a knee-lift to Rich's gut that puts him down. Lex with a whip into the ropes, misses on the clothesline, Rich with a flying bodypress on the way back for two.

Luger back on offense fairly quickly, hammering in the corner and then whipping him into the opposite corner, but he comes up empty on a charge and gets rolled up by Rich in a schoolboy for two. Surprise small package by Rich as well for another two-count. Quite a bit of back-and-forth here, with neither man getting into firm control. Luger takes the clear advantage when Rich misses with a dropkick, then follows with a scoop powerslam after sending the challenger into the ropes.

Luger tries to fling Rich through the middle to the outside, but Rich won't stay down, bouncing quickly back up to the apron and then throwing a low shoulderblock through the ropes at an approaching Luger before flipping over him with a sunset flip for another near-fall.



Luger, frustrated while recovering from the near-fall, charges for a clothesline, misses, and goes tumbling over the top. That spot looked horribly contrived; Luger practically got on a megaphone and announced "hey yo, I'm sending myself over the top now" before he ever got to Rich with a clothesline attempt.

Luger back up to the apron, Rich greets him there with a right hand and then attempts to suplex him back in and ends up botching and dumping Luger straight on his head. Luger falls on him for a two-count, but I'm not buying that as being anything but a botch, and a dangerous-looking one. Sidewalk slam by Lex; can't say I realized that was in his repertoire. Lex throws a punch at the small of Rich's back. Whips him into the ropes, Luger powerslams and signals for the Torture Rack.



Rich fights back to avoid the rack, but gets beaten back down quickly. Lex sits him up on the turnbuckle, executes a superplex…still only two. Luger to the top rope, comes up empty with a top rope flying splash when Rich rolls away. Rich lays in the rights, connects on multiple back elbows, a second rope fistdrop, and he has to settle for another two-count. Thesz Press by Luger for another two when Lex barely escapes with a foot on the ropes.

Rich thought he had won on the Thesz Press, but has to get back to work and chases a recovering Luger outside. Rich throws an errant punch that gets the post and disables that hand. As the two men return to the ring, Rich inside and Lex on the apron Rich attempts another punch, but smartly sells it like it hurts him too much to punch anymore.



Instead, he slaps on a sleeper on an opponent who is on the wrong side of the ropes, which is all kinds of stupid since that's an automatic rope break, but as Nick Patrick is about to jump in Luger takes the opportunity to forcefully sit down and hang Rich over the top rope hard by doing so. Lex lays across his opponent, and surprisingly that's our 1-2-3.

Result: Lex Luger via pinfall (10:37)

Meltzer Rating: ****

My Review and Rating: Certainly a nice match despite some sloppiness midway through. A number of interesting spots that caught me off-guard; good work by both men. Not going quite as high as Meltzer, but still. ***1/2
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Old 05-17-2015, 02:14 AM   #123
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Tommy Rich might have been the last (truly) national top face that was not in the WWF (outside of WCW in 94-97). GCW was the only nationally televised wrestling program in the US in the early 80s until 1983 when WWF left the NWA and started national shows, and Rich at the time was the top face in GCW. The Von Erichs didn't have complete national TV at the time they were really hot, just syndication in many markets.

Vince then bought GCW shortly after, so WCW was not the first time Vince bought a wrestling promotion that was shown on TBS.

Some of the fans from GCW watched WCW, so Rich got some reaction when he came to WCW in 1989, but not a huge one. Ross put him over as being a former NWA champion; while WCW and GCW had completely different management, they had the same TV station and both recognized the NWA champ as the world champ.

Last edited by moorobot; 05-17-2015 at 02:22 AM. Reason: Forgot about Hogan
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Old 05-17-2015, 01:02 PM   #124
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Clash of the Champions VIII: Ric Flair & Sting vs. Great Muta & Dick Slater (w/ Gary Hart)

Date: September 12, 1989

Link: http://network.wwe.com/video/v32286315

Background: At Great American Bash, Ric Flair had just defeated Terry Funk when the Great Muta ran in to try to help Funk deliver a 2-on-1 beatdown. Sting came to the rescue. The separate individual feuds were Flair-Funk and Sting-Muta. This was set up to be a tag match between those two sides, but Flair had hospitalized Funk when he beat on Funk with a branding iron and caused a wound on his arm that got infected.

Funk vowed even from the hospital that he would be at Clash to end Ric Flair. In the meantime, it was a secret who would team with Muta at this show until the time of the match.

The Match: Slater just comes down for the entrance with Muta and Gary Hart like it ain't no thing, and Jim Ross nonchalantly says "well I guess that mystery is solved." That's the correct way of introducing a decent but unexciting mystery partner. (The wrong way is to hype "OMG who will it be??" all night and then have Savio Vega step in for Shawn Michaels.) It's Ross and Jim Cornette calling the action, Tommy Young is the man in the middle.



Sting and Muta do some histrionics from their respective corners and then move in to have a go. Immediately into a rope-running sequence, Muta somersaults through Sting's legs after a shoulderblock, but eats a clothesline on the way back. Slater comes in illegally and takes one also. Heels regroup; Muta back in.

Side headlock by Muta, Sting sends him into the ropes, Stinger with an armdrag transitioned into a standing armbar. Muta kicks his way out, but charges Sting and gets backdropped for his efforts. Nature Boy tags in, continues Sting's armbar and lands a hard chop as Cornette comments that this is the first time Flair and Muta have been in the ring together.



Muta is getting the worst of the exchange, and tags in Dirty Dick. Slater lays a chop in on Flair, which seems to activate Flair's trap card, as he quickly returns the favor with about four way harder chops of his own. Slater sends Flair into the corner, Flair flips over onto the apron on the enemy side, charges up the apron and chops Muta down before going up top and dropping an elbow down on the top of Slater's head.

Muta comes back in to run interference and kicks Flair out of the ring, then runs and hits a flying plancha over the top rope to the floor on Flair. Sting copies Muta's move and does likewise to him. All four now outside brawling, the faces take it to the heels outside the ring and then stand in the ring facing Hart's guys down as they collect themselves again. Great pace to this match.

The broadcast catches over in the corner that Gary Hart has Terry Funk's branding iron at ringside, though he's trying to keep it hidden under a towel. Slater back into the ring and still getting the worst of it right away, Flair beats on him, applies an armbar, then he and Sting pass the hold back and forth.



Sting with a suplex on Slater; Slater manages to tag out, and then attempts to double-team, but Sting fights off both men. Flair tags back in, elbows Muta from the apron and then enters and delivers a back suplex. Muta finally manages to gain the upper hand, whips Flair into the ropes and performs the sort-of-cool-looking-but-stupid handspring back elbow into the corner. Tag to Slater. Slater tries to go blow-for-blow with Flair, seems to be perfectly ready to lose the exchange again, but after being sent off the ropes he's able to lock on a swinging neckbreaker and execute it to put the world champion down; remember that Flair has a bad neck from his ongoing Terry Funk feud.



Slater rams Flair's head into Muta's well-positioned foot above their corner, and now the Pearl of the Orient is back in. Jim Ross says that Muta has never been pinned; likely only an NWA phenomenon if that, but still. Flair fights back with a chop, but it doesn't take; Muta floors him and then drops a running elbow on the fallen champ. Muta with a nerve hold, but Ric executes an inverted atomic drop to force the hold free, then makes the hot tag to Sting as Muta tags out also.

…turns out to not be THAT hot of a tag, as Sting just sort of stupidly fights his way into the enemy corner, but he does mostly get the better of both men as he press slams Muta. Flair drags Slater to the floor. Sting with a Stinger Splash on Muta, then a Scorpion Deathlock, but Tommy Young's back is turned and it gets blatantly telegraphed that this isn't going to be it. Right on cue, Gary Hart comes in and wallops Sting in the back of the head with a bag of coins. Muta for the pin, but only gets two. It's odd, but that genuinely might have been the first pinfall attempt of the match, and it was like 15 minutes in.



Powerbomb by Muta, still can't get a three-count. Dirty Dick catapults Sting throat-first into the bottom rope. Sting rolls out and gets bodyslammed on the floor for his efforts. A groggy Sting re-enters and gets greeted by a sleeper hold by Slater, but quickly breaks it with a jawbreaker. Slater attempts a piledriver, but Sting keeps fighting and backdrops his opponent instead. Hot tag to Flair.

Flair faces a 2-on-1, but Sting quickly returns and we have a free-for-all. When Tommy Young has his back turned, Muta spits his yellow spray into Sting's face and incapacitates him. Flair keeps up the attack, even 1-on-2, but eventually succumbs to it when he attempts to latch the figure-four onto Muta and Slater clocks him with a hard forearm that has been covered in a cast the whole match. Flair gets busted open by this shot.

We get a ref bump, and I had to rewind the match twice to figure out WTF happened, but it looks like Slater just straight-up attacked him from one corner of the screen. Slater and Muta continue the 2-on-1 assault that becomes 3-on-1 when Terry Funk runs in wearing street clothes. Funk wraps a plastic bag over Flair's head and ties it off, trying to suffocate him.



Flair struggles and can't get the bag off his head; Muta and Slater turn to Sting and resume the beatdown on him, culminating in Slater walloping Sting's knee with the branding iron. We still don't have a bell, but this has to be a disqualification, as Gary Hart and company leave after having both Flair and Sting laid out. They send it to commercial break, then come back just to show that paramedics had resuscitated Ric Flair and were bandaging up his open wound outside as the credits start to roll.

Result: Flair and Sting via disqualification (19:16)

Meltzer Rating: ****1/4

My Review and Rating: It's odd, this was objectively really good but I had difficulty getting into it as much as it feels like I should have, and I guess it comes down to the fact that Dick Slater was kind of a lame stand-in for Terry Funk, and that as a result of Funk's absence (until the end), the story wasn't necessarily working for me. I'm saying this despite enjoying the match a decent bit; I think that Meltzer's rating is fine, and mostly I'm just giving my best explanation as to why I can't go that high with it. ***1/2
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Old 05-24-2015, 06:31 PM   #125
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Halloween Havoc '89: Thunderdome Cage Match - Ric Flair & Sting (w/ Ole Anderson) vs. Terry Funk & The Great Muta (w/ Gary Hart); Special Guest Referee Bruno Sammartino

Date: October 28, 1989

Link: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31588987

Background: These four had been in the middle of a hot feud since Great American Bash (with the Flair/Funk feud dating back nearly six months to WrestleWar). They were supposed to meet in this tag match at the last Clash of the Champions, but an injury to Funk put it off until here. I don't know exactly what got Ole Anderson involved, but obviously he had the Horsemen history with Flair.

The Match: Ole Anderson and Gary Hart were designated as "terminators," and the match would only end when one of them threw in the towel. The cage features electrified fencing all the way around the top of the cage.



Funk and Flair kick things off. Shoulderblock by Funk kicks things off, but Flair takes control by winning a fistfight in the corner and then sending Funk into his corner to take a shot from Stinger. Muta takes exception as he comes in, but Sammartino calms things down and the match resets. Bodyslam by Funk. Flair back up quickly with a chop, a slam, a chop, and a throw over the top rope to the floor.

Funk returns with a whimper, running into the double-team of Sting and Flair, who swap tags and quick stints in the ring that continue the assault on the man from Double-Cross Ranch. Muta, impatient, just runs in without getting tagged, but Sting and Flair make quick work of him and send him on his way. Despite having Funk in bad shape, Sting just lets Funk finally tag Muta in for his first legal appearance as Jim Ross talks about Sting's beginnings as a Blade Runner and takes a swipe at the Ultimate Warrior by saying, "I don't think his partner has progressed as well as this young man has."

Sting quickly takes the fight to Muta, hammering away with right hands and then hoisting him for a press slam that turns into him throwing Muta at Terry Funk, who was entering to try to interfere. Suplex by the Stinger, and a tag out to the world champion, Flair. Inverted atomic drop. Chops in the corner. A snapmare and a running kneedrop, then a tag back out to Sting. It's odd to see the faces dominating a tag match quite this much.

Sting sends Muta outside, then lifts him and sends him into the cage, but the openings are big enough that Muta's head just goes through and there's no real offense being done. Jim Ross sells it like there is though? I dunno. Muta is quickly able to fight back anyway, so maybe he didn't get the memo that what just happened was supposed to hurt. Nice running legdrop by the Pearl of the Orient; he executes that before sending Sting through the ropes to the outside, where Terry Funk is waiting to put the boots to him.



Flair pairs off with Muta outside, but Funk interrupts by clobbering Flair, and now Gary Hart's guys are back inside and openly double-teaming Sting, taking turns dropping elbows on him in the middle of the ring. There's no disqualification here, so I'm glad the teams finally seem to have realized that it's absurd to respect the tag rules. All four are inside; Flair suplexes Funk, then Sting hits facebusters on Muta and then Funk. Unfortunately the impromptu tornado rules are back off, and the teams are stupidly fighting it straight-up; the match settles in with Flair and Muta as the legal men going at it.

Sting in (didn't see a tag), knocks over Muta and locks on the Scorpion Deathlock, which Funk promptly breaks up. The wrestlers just kind of arbitrarily come into the ring when they feel like it, then return to their corners to hang out when they feel like it; Bruno Sammartino's primary job seems to just be to hang out in the middle and be Bruno Sammartino. Flair and Funk both hang onto the cage and do battle for a bit, as Flair knocks Funk's head into the cage. On the other side, Muta starts climbing up as well. Every time they do this the announcers go, "WTF are they doing, the top is electrified." Sure enough, Muta takes a big shock once he goes up too high. Was that spot really necessary?



The wrestlers on both teams all seem to be trying to escape a cage that is inherently going to stop them from escaping. I don't get it. This is pretty much a mess. Flair and Funk fight along the cage as Sting has Muta up for what feels like 30 straight seconds before dropping him in a press slam. Funk keeps trying to escape up toward the corner. JR: "He must think that he can get out of this thing, and that's ludicrous!" The announcers continue to be as confused as I am.

Sting focuses on trying to keep Funk from getting electrocuted or some such thing, and Flair and Muta wrestle inside. Figure-four by Flair, but lets it go pretty quickly for some reason. The world champ gets distracted by the pointless Funk and Sting stuff going on along the walls of the cage, as Muta hits an enziguiri to the back of Flair's head. Spinning toehold by Muta. Sting is trapped along the cage as Ole attempts to get him free. This allows the opportunity for Funk and Muta to double-team with impunity; kind of a cool spike piledriver spot (Muta the spiker, Funk the driver) on Flair.



The double-team keeps on for a decent bit until Sting finally gets loose. From near the top of the cage, Sting launches and hits a cross-body on Funk from there. Alright, that was cool. Muta now becomes the latest to make a pointless trip up to the top of the cage as Ross and Bob Caudle again say "WTF Muta" from the broadcast table.

Flair works Funk's left leg over in the middle of the ring, with a one-legged atomic drop and a kneedrop on that now-injured left leg. Sting and Muta seem to have gotten bored with climbing, and they return to the ring and quickly settle in as disinterested tag partners chilling at their respective corners as Flair applies the figure-four again.



Okay, Sting isn't THAT disinterested; he heads up top for a splash on Funk as Funk is in the hold. And another one. Muta re-enters, for some reason tries to chop Bruno, and Bruno rares back and floors Muta with one right hand. Gary Hart tries to enter the ring, Ole attacks him, Hart's towel goes flying, Bruno thinks it was deliberately thrown, and the match is over.



Result: Ric Flair & Sting via submission, sort of (23:46)

Meltzer Rating: ****

My Review and Rating: This match was mostly a ridiculous mess, and that four-star rating by Meltzer is shameful. The psychology in the match made no sense; all of the cage-climbing and random intervals of traditional tag vs. tornado tag were completely absurd. The ending seems fine to me, but it was all kinds of painful getting there aside from the one great spot of Sting's cross-body off the top of the cage. *1/2
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