Posted on November 22, 2010 by Zachariah Marcantoni
Match #86: Kevin Von Erich vs. Ric Flair (5/5/85)
Flair has yet another World Title defense against a Von Erich at Texas Stadium.
In a fit of humor (for what is to come) Mark Lawrence puts over the NWA title, saying that you’ve heard of other promotions making world title claims, but the NWA title is the one true title. World Class would pull out of the NWA the next year. Also there is a stip that if Flair get disqualified he loses the NWA World Title.
Kevin wins early with a headlock, Flair growing slowly more aggravated. Great nearfall by Kevin using a roll up after Flair ran the ropes. Good movement, which I’m always a sucker for. Kevin is just outpowering Flair here, with a test of strength leading to Flair needing a rope break. Flair gets chops in, but they do the suplex escape to sleeper spot where Kevin gets Flair in trouble. Flair makes the ropes, and that’s your first five minutes: Little battles where Flair gives in the Kevin’s quickness and power. Everything meant something. Nice slow build.
Kevin gets more aggressive with punches and kicks, and Flair as always goes to the lower abdominals. Flair ends up doing the face first bump, but avoids the Iron Claw off the top rope. No idea why Kevin felt he had to jump for the air to do the claw. Flair uses A LOT of chops, tosses the ref down, then sends Kevin over the top rope (should be a DQ and title change). Kevin catches himself and goes to the top rope, and presses Flair for a nearfall that sends Flair on his heels to the outside.
The next few minutes are Flair on offense taking over, and this begins to look more and more like a classic Flair formula match (in a good way), just not as “clean” because of Kevin’s style, which is fine. Flair strings together moves and then pin attempts. Flair cheats while emplying the abdominal stretch, and Kevin turns it around on him. Little by little Kevin gets his hope spots as they go back and forth, Kevin actually seeming like this force that will have to win the title tonight. Ten minutes gone.
Flair takes over for another stretch of offense. Kevin comes back with punches, Flair does the flip when whipped into the corner, and in one of the best spots I’ve seen Kevin leaps up to the top rope and flying body presses Flair for a nearfall in the second ring (There are two for the stadium show next to each other. See W.C. Diaries Match #85.) The crowd goes ape over it. Now Kevin goes for the Iron claw. Flair catches it, then suplexes Kevin back. Great flow here. Flair sells, then regains control. Flair ends up slapping on the sleeper after some chops to kill the momentum. Kevin fights, finally shooting Flair’s face into the turnbuckle. Flair’s chops are AWESOME in this match. Kevin reverses a suplex. Two count, Flair takes a chop of him own and falls face first, and we get another tease of the Iron Claw from Kevin. Kevin sends Flair to the turnbuckle and he flips over it, falling to the floor.
Kevin is feeling it, so he takes the fight out onto the floor. Flair shortcuts back in, then throws Kevin to the outside. Sunset flip back in for a heated nearfall. Flair, even on offense, is selling the desperation and damage. Funny spot where Flair goes to the top rope, and Kevin doesn’t get there to flip him off, so he jumps down. Kevin beats Flair from one ring back to the original ring, which is a great touch. Flair begs off, but Kevin won’t give ground. Flair gives a low blow, but fails going up to the top (there it is). Iron Claw on Flair, so he takes Kevin to the ground. They move through reversals to the backslide pin, and the place goes crazy knowing this is how Kerry Von Erich won the title from Flair the year before at Texas Stadium. Great nearfall as Flair gets his leg in the ropes. A moment later Kevin clamps on the Iron Claw. Flair can break it, the ref doesn’t insist on it even in the ropes, so Flair flips them both over the top rope to the floor.
The fight rages on the floor once they recover, Kevin hearing the refs 20 count. He tries to get back in the ring, but Flair keeps pulling him off the apron. The ref makes it to twenty and counts both men out. Bummer of a finish to a great 20 minute match. Back in the ring Kevin puts the Iron Claw on Flair after tossing the ref and then shoving overly involved, self-important ref David Manning. Mike and Kerry, Kevin’s brothers, come out to try to get Kevin to release the claw. Finally Fritz gets in the ring and convinces Kevin to let him go.
A really good stadium-appropriate match that lacks very little and gave a lot in terms of story and action. It had the Flair traveling champion formula, complete with a slow build and storytelling moments. Flair can’t out wrestle, power, or quick Kevin, so he goes for the shortcuts. Kevin is a freight train that won’t be stopped. I loved that they utilized both rings (especially for Kevin’s diving body press that resulted in a near fall. Even miscommunications like Flair going to the top and Kevin not remembering and waiting for a Flair dive felt real and new. I’m not sure this was as good as the first Kevin vs Flair match from ’83, but the only thing it lacked was a solid finish. Even then, the post match where the brothers and Fritz came in sort of had me. I liked this match quality-wise a ton more than Kerry title win the year before, so it will be just south of the first Kevin/Flair. 4 ¼ stars and 8.6/10