The Ultimate Collection
Thu, 1 January 1970
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â€śThe Nature Boyâ€ť Ric Flair has been wrestling for decades and represents the cream of the wrestling industry crop. He has taken part in some of the finest matches and given some of the best interviews that the wrestling world is ever likely to see. He is a genuine legend of the business and utterly deserving of his reputation as one of the greatest to ever lace up the boots. A tribute to (and celebration of) Flairâ€™s extraordinary career is now available as a three-disc dvd set called The Ultimate Ric Flair Collection.
Now that Vince McMahonâ€™s WWE has purchased the rights to all of the video libraries of his former rivals- including AWA, WCW and ECW- we can expect many more dvd collections like this one. Thatâ€™s great news for long time fans of â€śsports entertainmentâ€ť.
For those who have only gotten into wrestling in recent years it might not seem obvious just why Ric Flair is held in such incredibly high esteem. It isnâ€™t his physique- though he was always in great shape (and still is, especially for his age) there have always been plenty of others much bigger and more impressive looking.
It isnâ€™t gore or shock value- Flairâ€™s in-ring style was never particularly outrageous and by todayâ€™s standards is even less so. He has never been known for jumping about all over the place and it is highly unlikely youâ€™ll see him get set on fire or hit over the head with a chair fifty times in a row during a match. The fact that he doesnâ€™t need any of that stuff to hold an audience in the palm of his hand is a big part of what makes Ric Flair so great.
In the world of professional wrestling it can be equally important to be as entertaining out of the ring as you are in it. These dvds are more than adequate proof of how well Flair captures the attention of wrestling audiences. Flair has pretty much always projected the image of a cocky, egocentric, playboy superstar who enjoys the lifestyle that comes with being on top. One way or another he nearly always gets the results to back up his boasts. Flair plays his role so well (perhaps because, as with many successful wrestling alter egos, he is just being an extreme version of himself) and so humorously that he was one of the first men to be cheered heavily during matches where he was intended to be the bad guy. Ric is one of the best ever at giving interviews (or â€ścutting promosâ€ť as it is known in the business) and maintaining his overall persona. Included on this set are many of the best interviews Flair has given throughout his career, many of which help set up the featured matches. Others just showcase how damn good Flair can be on the mic; he can switch back and forth from funny to intense to aggressive and everything in between. Some of his speeches are completely over the top and very humorous, while others are just so sincere and heartfelt that they might even bring a tear to your eye. For fans it is fantastic to now have them all in one place thanks to this dvd collection.
Of course it wouldnâ€™t be much of a wrestling set without, you know, some actual wrestling matches. The ones on these discs are some of the best ever and are presented in their entirety. For pure match quality this is head and shoulders above any other wrestling dvd released so far. Some of the included bouts are-
Flair vs Steamboat: two full (really long) matches between these men who had probably the most enthralling rivalry in wrestling history. The chemistry they had is unmatched. One of these bouts is considered by many to be the best wrestling match of all time and the other one is awesome as well.
1992 Royal Rumble: This is the entire 30-man rumble match, which Flair won for his first WWF (as it was then known) title. Bobby Heenanâ€™s commentary during this one is hysterical; he was playing the role of Flairâ€™s manager at the time and frantically cheers his man on the entire time.
Flair vs Barry Windham: a classic â€śold schoolâ€ť style wrestling match. The action goes back and forth as they exchange holds and moves. The ending to this one is very exciting as Windham tries desperately to put Flair away before the time limit expires.
Flair vs Terry Funk in an â€śI quitâ€ť match: even though this match is a little short for my liking it is still violent, fast paced and fun. Funk is another of wresltingâ€™s most legendary figures and this is a great brawl.
There are a many other matches on offer and nearly all of them are phenomenal. The one factor they all have in common is of course â€śThe Nature Boyâ€ť himself- Ric Flair and thatâ€™s what helps make them so good. In his prime Flair could, as the man himself has said, â€śgo out there and wrestle a broom and still put on a good match.â€ť
Flair knows all about the importance of pacing a match- when to speed it up and when to slow it down. He takes great bumps and sells his opponents moves well to help make them look impressive. He infuses his bouts with a genuine sense of drama and importance. They come across as epic encounters. As a result it is easier for fans to suspend disbelief and get emotionally involved. Ric is also capable of doing some really amusing and flat out funny things in the ring when the situation calls for it. A good example is Flairâ€™s classic routine where he begs an opponent for mercy just so he can distract them long enough to sneakily poke them in the eye.
A wrestling match is not unlike a movie- making one that is not only enjoyable but also truly memorable requires numerous things. The little extra touches can make all the difference. Ric Flair is probably wrestlingâ€™s all time greatest master of the little extra touches. He knows how to make it both dramatic and amusing at the same time and thatâ€™s how wrestling should be.
Along with all the matches and interviews, we get to watch and listen to Flair explain the history of the included footage and speak candidly about his career and some of the things that go on behind the scenes. This is the icing on the cake for Flair fans. Speaking of icing on the cake- there are several â€śeaster eggsâ€ť hidden on the discs as well. Try highlighting different chapters and pressing right twice on your remote to access these cool added extras.
The overall visual and audio quality of the discs is very good. Some of the footage is twenty or more years old and therefore not quite up to todayâ€™s standards. But this is by far the sharpest it has ever looked, so you can throw away your crummy, warn out old videotape collections. The more recent stuff is pretty much faultless. The packaging of the set is slick and stylish too.
The Ultimate Ric Flair Collection is awesome and easily the best value wrestling dvd released so far. Not every great moment from Flairâ€™s career is on these dics, but thatâ€™s because there are just so many of them. Rest assured that there are a massive amount of features here to enjoy. Newer wrestling fans might take a while to adjust to a different style of wrestling than they are accustomed to, but if you call yourself a pro wrestling fan you should consider this required viewing and an essential purchase. Flair marks and those who appreciate classic wrestling action will be in heaven with these three jam-packed discs.
In the â€śNature Boyâ€™sâ€ť own immortal words â€śTo be the man, youâ€™ve got to beat the man!â€ť and believe me, Flair is the man and his dvd is certainly very hard to beat.
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