Sunday, December 19, 2010

"Project 33" - Match #39 - Flair vs. Von Erich

Ric Flair vs. Kerry Von Erich
13 February, 1985
Blaisedale Arena; Honolulu, HI
NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match

Part 2  Part 3  Part 4  Part 5  

This match was obviously clipped a little bit, with commercial breaks and a few obvious edits, but it is about 45 minutes of action, so I do not really think much is missing.  This match was suggested by Kronos over at the Death Valley Driver

I think most of the people that have seen the Flair/Von Erich match where Von Erich won the title at Texas Stadium will be pleasantly surprised by this match.  I figured that this match would be Flair doing a five star carry job of Von Erich.  Instead, this match was pretty damned epic. 

Because of the drug problems and the deaths in that family, the Von Erichs have kinda been written off to an extent.  By that, I mean that people kinda just chalk up the success that they had in World Class to nepotism, and they are looked over when it comes to great workers.  I do not think anyone will dispute David was the best of the clan, but Kevin and Kerry were both pretty damn good.  Kevin was actually underrated in my opinion, and I think Kerry had that Hogan-like physique that got him that little extra push ahead of Kevin when David died. What doesn't help the Von Erich's cause is that Kevin is really the only one left to represent the family, and a lot of guys (like Flair for instance) bury Kerry in interviews about being doped up in the ring. 

If Kerry was under the influence in this match, it did not show.  It was not sloppy in any way, it told a great story, and both men appeared to have the working boots on.  I love mat wrestling, and I liked the extended exchange of holds and counterholds early in this match.  It is a shame that it is so hard to find wrestlers on the independent scene that can do simple reversals and stuff like that, but it is unbelievably hard.  Flair and Von Erich exchange holds for a good while, before things heat up. 

If you ever catch a shoot interview with an old school World Class guy like Gary Hart, David Manning, Bill Mercer, Marc Lowrance, etc, or if you have seen the Heroes of World Class documentary, you know that a lot of the people in the company wanted to go national with the product, but that Fritz put the kibosh on it for whatever reason.  This match is a great example of why World Class going national probably would have worked. 

You see, Hawaii was a pretty strong territory, but it was an anomaly.  There were only a handfull of native workers there, so the cards were usually loaded with talent from the US and Japan, but no one really stayed there for an extended period.  The wrestlers usually either stopped there after a tour of Japan, or treated it like a working vacation usually.  The arenas and the amount of work just wasn't enough to make it a full time gig for most guys. 

What makes this match unique then, is that Von Erich and Flair are both imports brought in to draw for this show, and they totally hate Flair and are behind Von Erich like a mega babyface - which is what the Von Erich boys had been largely.  This makes me believe that if World Class tried to go national, or if maybe the Vin Erichs and Crockett could have worked together, the NWA would have been on fire.   I mean, when sober, Kerry Von Erich was a "Hulk Hogan" that could actually work.  People always ask "What If..." about Magnum TA's career ending, but can you imagine what could have happened if that gap between Dusty Rhodes and Sting was filled up by Von Erichs? 

I liked everything about this match, except for the damned pointless piledriver that is no-sold at what was probably the 50-minute mark of the match.  Flair did the same thing in his 60-minute draw with Brody, so maybe it is a Flair thing.  I dunno, but I hate hate hate hate that. 

Aside from that however, I thoroughly enjoyed the match.  Makes me even sadder that the Parade of Champions match from a year or so before was so below par...

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