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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey guys, the following is my entry into the 2012 Eve tournament on EGW.com the first rounds topic: What was the best match in clash of the champions history.

we got 15 great writers, ( and also myself.) with different opinions. If anyone wants to vote or follow along, the field will be narrowed down to 8 by Friday.

Follow along here, all comments are appreciated in this thread or on the site...


What the NWA Should Have Been​

March 27, 1988.

The National Wrestling Alliance and it's most successful promoter, Jim Crockett Jr, pulled on their big boy pants and put the first ever Clash of the Champions up against Wrestlemania IV. The idea was to create a free alternative to Mania, with a card jammed with Pay Per View caliber matches.

In the main event, Sting and Ric Flair put on such a match. And I think that match would go down as the greatest match in Clash of the Champions history.

And one of the greatest matches of all time.

Why that match?

Because Pro Wrestling was changing. And for one brief moment in 1988 the NWA was changing with it. People knew about wrestling's biggest secret. They knew it was a show and they wanted to see one.

And it all started with the visual.

Sting looked like a Mad Max villain. His face was painted, his hair was spiked, he had some kind of weird pony tail thing going on. You didn't walk down the street and see someone like that.

Ric Flair looked like Joe Namath on drugs. He came to the ring in a robe that would make Liberace jealous. His hair looked better than any chick in that building. His tights were purple. The Greensboro Colosseum hated him for those reasons.

Those reasons and his arrogant demeanor, which you picked up on right away. Even if you were seeing him for the first time.

But they also loved him. People wanted to be Ric Flair. He was the definition of cool. He was a jet Flyin', Limousine Ridin', Kiss Stealin', Wheeling Dealing Son of a Gun!

These were two men who got it. They knew how to get people to care. They knew how to draw. And no other promotion had anything like them.

It all would have been for naught though. It all would have been for naught if Sting and Flair had exchanged headlocks for the first 35 minutes of their match.

No. This match was exciting from start to finish. It was more than a match. It was a spectacle.

The First 15 Minutes

Before the match Flair's manager, J.J. Dillon was shoved in a cage suspended over the ring. There would be interference.

Sting dominated early. He threw Flair across the ring and followed up immediately with a Flying Head Scissor. Who does that? Sting was a Heavyweight and a Cruiserweight trapped in the same body.

Sting's way was to do something rough and then follow up with a Drop Kick. He tried it twice in the early goings, but Flair wouldn't fall for the same move twice. Flair avoided the second Drop Kick with a stutter step. He followed up by lacerating Stings chest with some nasty back hand chops.

It was all Sting though. He executed a Guerrilla Slam that should be copied by every big man in the business today.

It's the greatest powerhouse move I've ever seen.

This match had theatrics on display that the Pro Wrestling World had rarely seen at that time.

As we approached the 30 minute mark Sting slapped on a Bear Hug and positioned himself between Flair and the safety of the ropes. Flair was in agony. It took a herculean effort to push Sting far enough to reach the ropes. But just before he could, Sting scored a heartbreaking take down. The Bear Hug was still locked in and the frustration was immortalized on Flair's face.


Nobody ever made it as real as Ric Flair.

The Second 15 Minutes
If Flair tapped right there it would have been enough. It was a fantastic 15 minute match. It would have been the match of the night on any of today's cards.

But the match went on and that was okay. The 6,000 in attendance were emotionally invested and so were the millions watching at home.

Sting foolishly let go of the Bear Hug to attempt an Elbow Drop. Flair moved, but the miss had little effect on the Stinger. He whipped Flair into the corner and attempted a Running Elbow. Flair moved again, and Sting hit the turnbuckle.

Flair went on the offense but injured his arm after an attempted Double Ax Handle. He was backed into a corner. Sting jumped on the second rope for leverage and connected with one closed fisted strike. This was a mistake, Flair lifted him up, and executed a perfect Inverted Atomic Drop.

Now Flair was in the drivers seat.

He pulled Sting out of the ring and whipped him into the steel barrier. It wasn't technically illegal, but what a dick...

Back in the ring Flair hit Sting with more chops. Those chops were amazing. Much better than any of the ones you see today. They set up two of the nastiest Knee Drops I ever saw. For the viewers at home, Jim Ross confirmed what we had long suspected, Knee Drops to the face fucking hurt.

8 punishing minutes after the Atomic Drop, Sting found an opening, knocking Ric upside the head so hard he had to roll out of the ring to gather himself.

Sting followed and tried a Running Clothesline. But for the third time in the match Flair proved faster and Sting wrapped his arm around the ring post. He was in a lot of pain but the 10 count forced him to reenter the ring. Flair pounced, locking in a Standing Armbar.

But even inside the Armbar, Sting started landing closed fists! Soon Flair was forced to let go and backed into another corner. Suddenly, Sting had Flair reeling!

Arm Drag! Clothesline! Vertical Suplex! Scorpion Deathlock! The match was over!

No! Flair got to the ropes. 15 minutes left now.

The Last 15 Minutes

It took him 30 minutes but Flair finally found a Figure Four. And he had Sting in the best possible position. Nowhere close to the ring ropes.

The referee asked Sting if he wanted to quit. Sting refused and Flair pulled himself up on the top rope, using the extra leverage to bring more weight down on the Stinger's leg. Flair was in great shape at that point, all he had to do was hold the move and wait. But Sting had other ideas.

He seemed to ignore the pain all of a sudden. He used his arms to push himself backwards. Flair's hands slipped off the rope. He was dragged along.

Sting beat his chest. He roared at Flair. The crowd roared at Flair. Sting pumped his fists. He reversed the figure Four! Now it was Flair on the receiving end. And the crowd loved it.

Watch this part of the match, and tell me if you've ever seen a Pro Wrestler in that much pain before. I never have.

The match was back and forth from there.

Sting reversed a Suplex attempt but failed to hit Flair with a running Cross Body. He got two Knees to the gut for his trouble.

Flair was fast, but only seconds later, the Stinger countered an awkward grapple attempt with an Abdominal Stretch. Flair countered that with a Hip Toss.

Neither man would stay down.

Flair suffered another Guerrilla Slam. He was whipped so hard into the turnbuckle that his momentum took him over the ropes. Sting rammed his head and his groin into the ring post.

It still wasn't enough to finish Flair.

Sting fell out of the ring too. He missed a Stinger Splash and landed on the arena floor.

And there was no rest for the weary. Sting had to beat that 10 count.

The Finish

In the last 30 seconds Sting finally connected with the running assault he had been looking for. It was a Stinger Splash.

Rather than go for a cover which might have won the match, Sting went for a Scorpion Deathlock. The Match ended with Flair stuck there for 20 seconds. He would not tap out. The time limit expired.

It Never Got Better

Celebrity judges were hired to ensure that this match didn't end in a tie. They failed the two men in that ring. They declared the match a draw and as punishment, the Wrestling Gods made sure that by the year 2012, none of them would be celebrities anymore.

It was a joke, but perhaps that's the perfect metaphor for what the NWA was. People in the ring brought the house down, people behind the scenes fucked it all up.

Unfortunately for Jim Crockett Jr and the NWA, it never got better than that first Clash of the Champions.

It never got better than Sting VS Flair in 1988.

The WCW either didn't know what people wanted or didn't have any desire to give it them.

People knew that Pro Wrestling wasn't a sport. And rather than look down on it, they embraced it. To them, Pro Wrestling was a real life action movie. It was a soap opera that didn't suck.

This match told a story. And that story was about a Freight Train from hell, running straight up the ass of injustice. And an Evil Cockroach, who could weather any assault on his beloved NWA World Championship.

The match itself was 45 minutes of inspiration. That would be enough to make it the best match in Clash history.

But few other matches in history made you care about the two men in it. And Sting and Flair had to do that over the course of 45 minutes. Most people today can't do that in 5.

Sting VS Flair is what the NWA should have been.

Just one year later, Crockett put another Clash of the Champions against Wrestlemania V. Most people were familiar with Jim Crockett's product at that point. And they chose to pay for Wrestlemania instead of watching the Clash for free.

They, saw Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage compete in the climax of one of the greatest stories ever told in Professional Wrestling. Meanwhile Clash of the Champions had Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat exchanging Headlocks for 50 minutes.

No. Guerrilla Press Slams and Grown Men flying through the air. That's what people wanted to see.

I highly recommend that you watch this match when you get a chance.

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Nice Try.
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