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Friday, September 23, 2016

DVDVR Puerto Rico 80s Set: Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes (12/21/85)

Disc 1: Match 13: Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes (12/21/85)

I'm a little ahead on when these get posted on SC, a couple of weeks h. I just wrote two thousand words on Nick Bockwinkel vs Tito Santana. That was the easiest thing in the world. I could have probably gone twice that if I had the time. I'm struggling to find two or three things to say about this match, which was new to me as well.

If you've seen this match, you've seen it a thousand times. If you've seen one Ric Flair match, you've sure seen a lot of them. They're good, but this was painful, especially so because I saw it in context. Puerto Rico has amazingly cool crowds, right? It's the mix of lucha and Memphis, of brawling and stooging and heat and just wonderful bs. The crowd is part of the match, part of the equation, an ingredient in the mix, and you can do things with the Puerto Rico crowd that you can't do elsewhere.

In this match you had Dusty Rhodes, who is a master of crowd manipulation and Ric Flair who, if nothing else, is one of the most natural foils in wrestling history. I wanted them to play to their audience, to use the unique nature of the crowd to help build their match, as an architecetural component. In short, they didn't. There was a single moment, a single shot, where you thought that maybe, just maybe, Flair would play hide the foreign object. Dusty had one or two comebacks that got everyone going, with maybe just a little more in the way of engaging brawling than usual. Then the finish, with Flair attacking the ref in frustration, could have played into the chaotic nature of the promotion, but it really didn't. They didn't set it up well enough (but then when does much of anything get set up or foreshadowed well in a Flair match? That's just not his strength).

A match doesn't need to be interesting to be good, but it helps. This was just a waste.

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