For the second time, a War Games match makes an appearance in Meltzer’s Classics. It also once again features The Four Horsemen with Ric Flair, Barry Windham and Sid Vicious teaming up with Larry Zybysko who is replacing an injured Arn Anderson. On the other side of the two rings are our babyfaces, Sting, Brain Pillman and the Steiner Brothers.
Mitusharu Misawa vs. Jumbo Tsuruta is seen as a turning point for All Japan Pro Wrestling. It was the moment when the supremely talented Misawa stepped up to take his place at the top of the company. I’m by no means an All Japan historian, though, so rather than setting up this scenario myself, I’ll point you in the direction of this article which does the job wonderfully.
You didn’t think we’d seen the last of Ric Flair, did you? Following his iconic series with Ricky Steamboat, it didn’t take the Nature Boy long to find his next opponent. Just minutes after their final match Terry Funk put his boot up Flair’s ass and all roads led to Clash of the Champions IX in an I Quit match.
Well, we couldn’t watch Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat forever. Our latest five-star match sees us heading back to Japan where Jumbo Tsuruta is taking on Genichiro Tenryu. I’ll be honest, this is one of those matches where I hadn’t heard of the competitors. Ten minutes of research tells me that coming into this fight Jumbo Tsuruta is the Triple Crown Heavyweight Champion, a title which he unified by winning the PWF World Heavyweight Championship, NWA United National Championship and the NWA International Heavyweight Championship. While Tenyru only retired a couple of years back in a match against Okada.
I’m almost sad to be writing this article for it means we come to the end of Ric Flair vs. Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat. The final match in their iconic series (although not in their careers) takes place at NWA Wrestle War in 1989, a month after their two out of three falls match. That means Ricky is still the NWA Champion and Flair is desperate to get it back.
If you’ve been reading these reviews, then you’ve probably figured out by now that Ric Flair was quite good at this time. This is the fifth Flair match we’ve covered and his second with Ricky Steamboat. This time the two men go for nearly an hour in a two out of three falls match.
While Flair has been a regular in this series so far, we are now hitting what many might see as his heydey. His feud with the Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat is still spoken about in hushed tones, and there are three five-star matches between the two in 1989. The first one is for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and took place at NWA Chi-Town Rumble.