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Ric Flair vs Lex Luger (NWA Wrestle War 02/25/90)

NWA WCW Wrestle War February 25 1990 Greensboro NC Ric Flair Lex Luger NWA World Title Flair vs Luger 4.5* Four Horsemen

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#1 Loss

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 10:50 PM

Talk about it here.

#2 Loss

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 08:07 AM

Wow. So Flair had some terrific performances after this, but this is to me the last time we truly saw Ric Flair as The Man, in the way I think of him as The Man. A lot has been written the last few years about Luger having an undeserved bad rep. And it's true. And Luger is good here, aside from being very clearly limited offensively and completely blowing a figure four attempt. But this match isn't about Luger and his performance. This is Flair carrying Luger to what has been the best match of the year to this point. The MX/Rock & Rolls match didn't keep that spot for very long at all. This match isn't without its flaws. Flair brilliantly works Luger's arm over in the early stages and within two minutes, it's like it never happened. The finish - while needed to protect the Flair/Luger match on the road - was an extreme copout that I think left people feeling ripped off when doing a title change because of a last minute main event switch would have been a guaranteed way to send fans home happy. So really, there's no reason for this match to be good. The setting is wrong. Flair had momentum as a babyface and is now a heel. Luger had momentum as a heel and is now a babyface. Both guys were big enough stars that they were going to get a reaction in whatever role they were placed in. But both were miscast. All of that said, Flair's performance overcomes all of those things. This is better than any match Flair ever had with Sting by a country mile. He does such a great job of putting Luger over in nearly every sequence they work. This is about Luger's power versus Flair's resourcefulness, and it's a titanic struggle. It's interesting to see how Flair works with more complete wrestlers like Bobby Eaton and Brian Pillman, then watch him switch it up and see what he does with Luger. I think more than any series he ever had, Flair/Luger really shows what's great about Ric Flair. They aren't his very best matches ever, but they are always good to great, and he always delivers a master performance that elevates the match and makes Luger look good, despite Luger being booked horribly and never being given the big win he should have gotten. Luger at this point was very good in the ring and I don't mean to downplay his role in this at all. But this is the swan song of the Ric Flair that was my favorite wrestler as a kid, so it's always had a special spot for me.

#3 PeteF3

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 05:22 PM

Not much else to say, but yes, this is the #2 MOTY (still behind Liger/Sano). Luger in some ways embodies some of Flair's worst tendencies when it comes to blowing off limb work, but that's something that just has to be accepted during a Flair/Luger match. In a way he's not dissimilar from the Ultimate Warrior. As miscast as both guys were at this point, that they were able to draw a crowd this hot this far into the match is a testament to the both of them. If WCW had had the guts to switch gears and put the title on Luger here or at Capital Combat, they may have had their franchise player fall into their lap.

#4 Tim Cooke

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 03:28 PM

First time I had ever seen this. Lots of repetition, but when its heel Flair vs. someone that needs carried, you know that's part of the game. On it's own, a great match. Knowing the booking decisions and Sting getting hurt drags it down slightly for me, but I agree with Loss and jdw that this is the last true, 1980's Ric Flair match.

#5 Childs

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 12:00 PM

I agree with everything you guys have said about this being a quintessential Flair match and maybe the last gasp for the version a lot of us grew up watching. But I do want to give Luger some props. For a guy who faced a lot of criticism over the years about his lack of passion for wrestling, he worked his ass off here. He went 30+ minutes, took some crazy bumps, sold when appropriate (thought him blowing off the arm work fit the story) and gave the crowd really expressive bursts of energy when the match called for them. Flair might have carried him in the sense that Luger didn't have enough stuff to fill that much time. But Luger was a game dance partner. I also enjoyed the Sting melodrama at the end, even if it might have been smarter to just put the belt on Lex.

#6 soup23

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:13 PM

A majestic match fitting in great storytelling along with Flair playing a masterful heel. The nonfinish is actually pretty brilliant also by showing Luger trying to prove his friendship to Sting. I really think a lot of the future history and ups and downs can be traced to that moment because long term fans subconsciously were able to recall the time Luger gave up the title for Sting. The power vs. resourcefulness strategy is not utilized much in wrestling but here it works real well and these two are the best suited for their respective strengths. Maybe Luger's best match ever and to be honest not too far down the list for Flair. My MOTY so far.

#7 Cox

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 11:15 PM

I want to give Luger credit here, as he shows a lot of charisma in there, which I think helps get the crowd on his side (and it is notable to point out that in Greensboro, the crowd is mostly with Luger at the expense of Flair). His comebacks are all timed perfectly (granted, that might be Flair calling the match) and he takes at least one really great bump over the top rope to the floor. But yes, great great match, and Flair does everything he can and more to put over Luger. The finish sucks, but if you get past that, this is great stuff. I know Flair wanted to save the title change for when Sting came back that summer, but Luger probably should have gotten a quickie title change here.

#8 shoe

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 02:44 PM

This is just an amazing main event. The closeup of the pre match instructions was really awesome. Flair was the one who was the leader, but Luger worked really hard. As a side note this was the 1st ppv that I had ever purchased. I was blown away by the main event then, and am still to this day.

#9 Kevin Ridge

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 08:55 PM

Luger’s hair looking really flat in his pre match promo. Funk makes fun of Monsoon’s overused “It’s a happening” line. Thought we were going to get a Sting/Flair confrontation at the stage as Sting was heading up that way just before Flair entered. Ringside security is very active making fans stay in their seats. Luger with a variation of a bearhug that becomes a pinfall attempt. Ross brings up Lex’s GPA so I take a drink. Luger’s figure four attempt is unique. Ross nicely says that it was awful. Good stuff overall. Not as high on it as you guys but it's still a very good match. Luger was pretty fired up when he needed to be. Count out finish was kind of lame but finish you would expect at this point.

#10 Loss

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 08:56 PM

Funk makes fun of Monsoon’s overused “It’s a happening” line.

That's a Monsoon line?

#11 Kevin Ridge

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:58 PM

Funk makes fun of Monsoon’s overused “It’s a happening” line.

That's a Monsoon line?

That's Six time Wrestling Observer Announcer of the Year to you.

#12 Laney

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 07:24 PM

Excellent match here and #2 for my MOTY so far (behind Liger/Sano). This match tells an excellent story of Luger overpowering Flair in the beginning until Flair is able to use his cheap tactics to gain control. Luger then surprises Flair by switching up his gameplan and using wrestling holds such as the sleeper and attempted figure four. Great match and while some fans might be disappointed by the finish, I thought it served its purpose well as far as making Luger a full-fledged face.

#13 TravJ1979

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 06:59 PM

My February Match of the Month. Flair is far and away the Wrestler of the year for the first Q of 1990. Something I didn't notice until watching this, Lex Luger wore Roo wrestling boots. Or he at least had a Roos sticker on them. Very funny.

#14 garretta

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 03:48 AM

Match of the Year so far. Perfectly booked, perfectly worked. Luger's never looked this good in his life, and it's not all because of Flair carrying him. He was ready to be The Man........but sometimes being a human being is more important.


Yes, I loved the finish. They didn't need to put the belt on Lex, they needed to turn him face once and for all, and they did that in spades. Not just by saving Sting, but by making him so physically dominant over Flair. Flair was pretty much beaten from pillar to post for most of this match, and even needed his manager/valet (Woman, in this case) to interfere, which didn't happen a lot on pay-per-view.


I don't necessarily think we needed Ole and Arn in the ring at the finish; it seems a bit superfluous to have both a possible outside interference DQ and the countout finish we ended up with. But their purpose was really to attack Sting. I might have had him at least try to swing one of his crutches and not look quite so helpless, but they probably didn't want him to bump on his still-tender knee.


The other reason WCW was comfortable not making the switch here is because they were going to do it on March 12 (I believe) in Chicago, Luger's gimmicked hometown, according to Graham Cawthon's results site. They had a camera crew and everything ready to go, but Flair balked at not receiving proper notice and demanded to be released from his contract, at which point they backed off. If they'd gone through with it, that would have left Sting/Luger as the next big feud, which you could run either with both men as faces or even with Sting slowly becoming angry that Luger not only stole his chance at the title, but his fans as well. Maybe you could have even done a heel Sting reunion with the Horsemen come fall. It would have been different, if nothing else.


As it is, we got at least one solid Match of the Year candidate out of what could have been a crippling mess for WCW. What a shame that it all seems to go downhill from here.

#15 Smack2k

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 04:29 PM

Not gonna repeat what others have said for this one, and I agree with all of it..this match fuckin rocked….I wonder if Sting - Flair here would have been as good?  Turning Luger did hurt the rest of 90 as he and Sting could have had a made feud if Sting is here..Amazing match with Amazing commentary / promos…Couple things that make this one of my top 4 or 5 personal favorite matches (US) ever:


1.  The Luger promo pre-match with Solie where he makes no mistakes of his plans to bring it "Power Slam, the Rack, Power Slam, the Rack" to quote Luger in that interview..it got me SO pumped that day in Feb seeing it live


2.  Jim Ross is at his pinnacle calling this match with Terry Funk.  Funk is also awesome on color as he knows Flair after their feud..But Ross takes over late as at the end of this match, he is SCREAMING "Ric Flair is a beaten Man, Ric Flair is a beaten man" when Luger has Flair in the rack.  But on the outside an injured Sting who had come to ringside is pursued by Ole and Arn…Ross even does that better as once they cut to that, Ross starts in "Why did he have to come out here" just showing the seriousness…then finally when Luger comes out to save him, and the Andersons are holding onto him to not get back into the ring Ross, once again is SCREAMING "Get back in the ring, Get back in the ring"


The ending was fine as is one of the only Countouts that I was perfectly fine with, and everyone involved made sense, with Sting coming down to get Luger pumped up when he was in trouble, and the Andersons coming to do what they do best, attack some hurt prey and save that World Title...


Fuck, I love this match..still the best Flair match I have seen as it happened (Live on PPV) .

#16 Matt D

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 02:42 PM

Wow. So Flair had some terrific performances after this, but this is to me the last time we truly saw Ric Flair as The Man, in the way I think of him as The Man.


I'm going to have more to say about this, but i do think it sort of sums it up. Flair didn't change. The world changed around him. At every point of this match, every single point up until maybe the last three minutes, you get the feeling that Ric Flair is not doing "the exact right thing" which is a feeling I get from a lot of wrestlers today, but instead, that he's doing "exactly what Ric Flair would do." The begging, the cheating, the desperation in doing anything he can to hold on to the advantage, because it's so hard to get and it's so hard to keep and Flair had to almost be perfect to keep it. The match is so tangible and believable and it's all on instinct. The armwork failed because it was just something to contain Luger. It wasn't actually damaging him all that much; it was just slowing him down. The legwork on Flair failed because Luger wasn't good enough as a kayfabe pro wrestler to utilize it well. They both fill the logical gaps through instinct, which is something I love, but don't always like, if that makes sense. My biggest problems with the match were Flair going into the flip the second time late in the match (That felt off and contrived in a match where almost nothing he did felt off.) and the finish. I haven't looked at the timing of this but it's a damn shame they didn't have Windham or Sid to unleash here. The ref was counting Luger even as he was watching the Andersons basically hang on to his limbs. That was ridiculous. It would have been so much more effective to have someone that you could cycle Luger off onto using Sting's crutch and Luger just eating the pin. After that match it would have hurt him less than what the actual finish was. 


This is one of the cases where you HAVE to separate the match from the wrestlers. I count that finish against the match but I don't count it against the wrestlers. The work isn't the match. 

#17 drew wardlaw

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Posted 13 December 2015 - 01:22 AM

A majestic match fitting in great storytelling along with Flair playing a masterful heel. The nonfinish is actually pretty brilliant also by showing Luger trying to prove his friendship to Sting. I really think a lot of the future history and ups and downs can be traced to that moment because long term fans subconsciously were able to recall the time Luger gave up the title for Sting. The power vs. resourcefulness strategy is not utilized much in wrestling but here it works real well and these two are the best suited for their respective strengths. Maybe Luger's best match ever and to be honest not too far down the list for Flair. My MOTY so far.

YES. The first time I saw this match was post-WCW closing, so I had years of perspective, and it was totally a lightbulb going off in my head that this is why Sting trusted Lex after getting duped and turned on year after year. 

#18 zep81

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 04:54 PM

Ric Flair (w/Woman) vs. Lex Luger (World Heavyweight Title)

Of course this was meant to be Flair/Sting, but Sting injured his knee at COTC and Luger was quickly turned babyface and put with Ric for this.
Oh and it's Ric's birthday
Luger is first up with a pre match promo. Says he ready and what's good for him is very bad for Flair. Flair meanwhile is with Woman by his side for his promo. Says that when you have been champion of the world 6 times, you fear no man.
Yup, we're ready.
The man that everybody wants there and back is STING, and he comes out on his crutches
Damn straight mate.
Luger is next out, followed by the world champion, the man, Ric Flair, accompanied by Woman
Hot crowd for this as you'd expect. They square off and start jawing at each other to get them going. They start off with some head and arm locks then Luger just says fuck this, and pushes Flair to the floor with great effect. Funk on commentary already putting the match over as it's going to be one of the greats.
Luger again uses his power advantage and Flair isn't happy about this and gets flustered. I sense that is indeed how the match will play out. Luger continues with the power game and Flair bails to get a rest-bite.
This happens again and this time, Flair is like 'Fuck this shit, i'm outta here', and starts to walk the isle, before Lex runs over 'Nope', picks him up, and  carries him back to the ring. I just fucking love Luger's power game and how he uses it against Flair.
It's all Lex so far. Ric tries a cheap shot, but Luger is having none of it, and Gorilla presses Ric again to show his current dominance. Flair chops him, but again Lex is like 'Nope', which Ric does a great 'Oh for fuck sake' reaction to and once again, Lex gives him another Gorilla Press Slam and puts on a bear hug/pin attempt, which was good, then Ric does the old thumb in the eye trick, but Luger gets him into the corner for the old ten punches and Flair does his apron face flop. It's still all Luger, here.
But he hip tosses Flair, then goes for a big ariel splash, but Flair moves and it send Lex flying to the outside. This could be a turning point for Ric.
Indeed it is, as he begins to take over and sends Luger into the guardrail. He gets him back in the ring, gives him a big chop, then just dumps him back to the outside. Ric then cleverly asks Woman to get on the apron, to distract the ref no doubt, so he can get to Luger and bounce his head of the guardrail again.
I heard Flair say "Get off you ass and do something". Who was that to? :lol
Ric in full control at the moment. He keeps letting Lex get back up to the apron, then he keeps dumping him back off it again. Back in the ring and Flair continues to take over with knees to the face. Lex kicks out emphatically at the  count of 2 and tries to mount a comeback, but he misses a corner spot and is sent running, shoulder first, into the corner, allowing Flair to take over again and work on the arm, using the rope as leverage. Naughty.
Flair tells the crowd to "Shut up, as they are giving him some stick. He then uses the ropes again, and again berates the crowd
"Sit down fat boy and keep your mouth shut" :lmao
Luger looks like he's coming back but Flair pokes him in the eye again and Woman gets involved and pokes him in the eye too for good measure. This continues as Flair swats him down again onto the ropes, and Woman starts pulling at Lex's hair.
It's still all Flair and he works on the arm of Luger and continues to cheat by using the ropes on a pin attempt. Lex then snaps as he grabs Flair and throws him into the corner, and he does his backflip onto the outside. Lex isn't selling shit now and goes after Ric, who is begging Luger to leave off.
Luger gets Ric in a sleeper. Flair counters this by back body dropping Lex and they are both down on the mat, fucked i'd imagine the pace they have kept up. 
Ric gets on the apron to try and suplex Luger to the outside, but he reverses in and gives Ric a big suplex back into the ring. He then goes after the leg by ramming it into the post. He tries to put on the figure four, which looked somewhat sloppy, but Flair wriggles out of it.
Flair knocks Luger down, tries again but Luger reverses it into a big power slam for a 2.9 count. Luger is having none of Flair's chops and Flair bails and they take it once again to the outside. Ric with another fucking thumb in the eye of Lex. i'm surprised he can see at this point.
Back in the ring and Luger gets another nearfall before Ric give him an atomic drop and Lex's leg is hurting. this allows Ric to take over again and gets a nearfall. Lovely  double arm suplex by Flair follows this into another nearfall. He jumps on Luger to apply a sleeper hold.
Luger tries to fight back and knocks Flair on his ass for another nearfall before Luger misses an elbow and they're both down. Ric gets up and starts working over Luger's knee. 
FIGURE FOUR LOCKED IN Using the ropes again, Ric. 
Crowd go nuts as STING comes hobbling out to ringside and starts shouting encouragement towards Luger. I fucking LOVE, LOVE this bit
Sting is basically telling Lex to get back in the game. Luger uses this to no sell Flair's shit and runs after him, gets him in the ring, and gives him a Gorilla Press Slam.
CROWD GOING BANANAS as Luger is powering up and starts to finally take his frustrations out on Ric with some big clotheslines and a big vertical suplex for a nearfall. Another big powerslam and Luger signals it's time for THE RACK.
But Luger tries to grab Woman, who slaps Luger, who has his back to Flair, who flies into him with a big knee, knocking the ref down in the process.
Luger continues to wail on Flair and gives him a super-plex off the top rope. Oh fuck here comes Arn and Ole. Lex swats them out the ring, no nonsense style. Luger has Flair in the TORTURE RACK, but the ref is still down. 
Arn grabs Sting as Ole hits with his crutches. This prompts Luger to run out and clobber Ole and Arn. Fuck yeah. Whilst he's doing that, the ref is counting him out, 7,8,9..........10.
Oh fuck. The Horsemen then pound on Luger as a helpless Sting is forced to watch on. The Steiners come running out and the Horsemen bail. Where the fuck were you 2 minutes ago, Rick/Scott????
Anybody ask me why Ric Flair was great, i'll point them to this, because this is one hell of a fucking match. Pace never lets up, and as good as Luger is here, and he is trust me, Ric is just supreme and i'm not saying he carries Lex, but he puts on one hell of a performance to help him through this. It was the perfect balance of Luger the powerhouse, versus Ric, the wily, experienced general, who will wrestle and cheat his way through anything.

#19 dawho5

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 11:55 AM

Can't disagree with the above.  They nailed the power vs. wily veteran perfectly.  Anyone else notice that Flair was getting a lot of cheers (it is in the Carolinas) early?  And by the end, Luger was universally the babyface?  It's a shame that the big, built up title match had to be used as the fulcrum to turn Luger face, but that's how it played out.  Best possible outcome given the circumstances.  Even if it points WCW in the complete wrong direction.

#20 JKWebb

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 02:42 PM

#57 - placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-100-51/2/


One of my favorite moments ever is when Sting comes down to the ring and gets in Luger's face.  This wasn't the best match of 1990, but it is certainly my favorite.  This isn't Ric Flair's greatest match, but outside of the Steamboat and Funk matches, it is probably my personal favorite.  What a great moment and match.  ****3/4

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: NWA, WCW, Wrestle War, February 25, 1990, Greensboro NC, Ric Flair, Lex Luger, NWA World Title, Flair vs Luger, 4.5*, Four Horsemen

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