Monday, November 29, 2010

"Project 33" - Match #23 - Ric Flair vs. Wahoo McDaniel

Ric Flair vs. Wahoo McDaniel
12 July, 1985
Summit; Houston, TX
NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match

Part 2

The other day I was watching an old tape of NWA television, and I saw a pretty good Wahoo McDaniel vs. Tully Blanchard match for the National Championship.  I realized that although I have read a lot about Wahoo and seen a lot of his promos, I haven't seen a lot of his in ring work.   So, I decided to take a look at Wahoo for Project 33.  When I came across a match with Ric Flair from 1985, I thought I may have found a gem.

For the most part, this was a meat-n-potatoes touring championship match.  Unlike when Flair would go into a territory and face the area's top contenders, this match takes place in Houston, which was a territory ran similar to the St. Louis office; it was a one-town territory where top talent from everywhere was brought in for shows. 

Because this was Houston and Flair and McDaniel had feuded all around the Mid-Atlantic territories, I expected a barn burner of a match here.  Instead, what I got was a very formulamatic Ric Flair match.   Not to say it wasn't good, but it was very basic, and after watching Ric Flair matches for thirty years, there isn't really anything here that I have not seen. 

McDaniel brings the pain with the chops early and often, and Flair starts cheating at his first opportunity.  Every time Flair gets McDaniel down, he is trying to get his feet on the ropes for leverage.  Every time McDaniel is up, he is chopping Flair.  So, right there is the story being told in this match: Will McDaniel's chops wear down Flair, or will Flair cheat his way to a victory? 

With that said, the crowd seems pretty rabid for this match - every time McDaniel chops Flair they go nuts, and when Flair gets busted open, they are on the edge of their seats.  They really believe that McDaniel is going to pull this off.  Considering that the biggest spots in this match include a vertical suplex and a double ax-handle from the top rope, this is an excellent match to watch for how to tell a story in a match and to keep a crowd into it. 

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