Ric Flair Finally won his last match, so it’s time to see what Dave Meltzer rates as his 10 greatest matches of all time. While his ratings are subjective, when it comes to individual wrestlers they are generally agreed upon as the best of the best.
Flair is undoubtedly one of the best of all time, and even though his career has outlasted him (on more than one occasion), there’s no denying that there have been some all-time classics over the years. Various wrestling promotions. Although considering Meltzer’s ratings, it is clear that his best tenure was in NWA/WCW, during which time he dominated the top 10.
10 The Four Horsemen vs. Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, Paul Ellering, and The Road Warriors, NWA Great American Bash, 1987 (5 stars)
This was an incredibly historic match, although the rating itself may have been based on how well the War Games match was conceptualized rather than the in-ring quality. That being said, there were still plenty of good moments for the first-ever War Games in wrestling history, led by The Four Horsemen.
It felt like an authentic, bloody and brutal fight between 10 men who hated each other. It took a while for the crowd to get used to the then-strange terms, but they got into it after a while. It wasn’t a spot-fest like modern War Games matches, but it was certainly a fight and served to introduce fans to the concept.
9 Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat, NWA Chi-Town Rumble, 1989 (5 stars)
Despite being a babyface, Steamboat brought great aggression and a hard-hitting style to the match, doing whatever he needed to do to win, without worrying about looking good.
It had a mix of great mat wrestling, stiff hitting and other great acts in between, ending with Steamboat winning the title after a shocking roll-up, but it felt like a fitting way for the belt to change hands.
8 Ric Flair vs. Barry Windham, NWA MACW, 1987 (5 stars)
In the 1980s, Flair shared the ring with some of his all-time greatest rivals in a series of classic matches, his battle with Barry Windham being one of them. In this match for the World Heavyweight Championship, the pair battled to a time limit of 45 minutes.
Despite some arguably slow parts, it helped create the flow of a match that sped up to heat up the crowd at moments, before the match slowed down again to settle, and then exploded into action once again. It was a tremendous show of psychology to run a match for that long, which is certainly difficult to do for almost an hour.
7 Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair, Clash of the Champions 6, 1989 (5 stars)
After a great match earlier, in which the titles were exchanged, the stakes were raised as this was a two out of three falls match, which lasted nearly an hour.
They built on their previous match, although Flair increased his volatility and Steamboat increased his intensity, allowing Babyface to successfully defend his World Heavyweight Championship.
6 Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk, NWA Clash of the Champions 9, 1989 (5 stars)
This “I Quit” match made the entire show, and it’s easy to see why it took place and it was a wild brawl, and something crazier than most matches seen on TV at the time. There were table spots, blood and even suplexes on the apron, making it unlike anything else of the era.
Sometimes “I Quit” matches can get boring in more modern days because the wrestlers were constantly asked if they wanted to quit, but it was done right because it felt like two men were trying to beat each other.
5 Ric Flair vs. Barry Windham, NWA Battle of the Belts 2, 1986 (5 stars)
It was another example of Flair and Windham not getting the best of each other in a World Heavyweight Championship match, ending in a double count-out after an epic 41-minute battle.
Windham put on a great babyface performance, lending Flair his strength for his sneaky and cowardly heel tactics, while still enduring blood and pain. Unfortunately, the finish wasn’t perfect, but set up more matches later on.
4 The Four Horsemen and Larry Zybzko vs. The Steiner Brothers, Brian Pillman, and Sting, WCW WrestleWar, 1991 (5 stars)
It was another messy, messy, and bloody brawl that often happened in the structure of War Games in the 80s and 90s, and when it wasn’t very polished or clean, that only added to its authentic nature.
Pillman and Windham overpowered each other, Sid Vicious dominated, and Flair naturally bled everywhere. Maybe 5 stars is a bit of a shock, but at the time these matches were hot and highly anticipated.
3 Ric Flair vs. Barry Windham, NWA Jim Crockett Memorial Cup, 1987 (5 stars)
While it was as long as some of their other encounters, this wrestle was much faster and more determined, leading Flair to win to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
Flair needed to cheat in order to win, but he single-handedly raised Windham’s stock to be unbeatable. The trilogy of classics between the two offered something different, with fans having differing opinions on which was their favorite, but this was certainly the most decisive of the three in terms of endings.
2 Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair, NWA WrestleWar, 1989 (5 stars)
Everything about this match was perfect, wrapping up a trilogy of amazing world title matches spanning several big shows in 1989. The three judges at ringside and the grand entrance both added to the feeling of the climax of their feud and a huge championship fight.
Flair would win and regain his World Heavyweight Championship, although Steamboat emerged from the fight as a valiant hero.
1 Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair, NWA House Show, 1989 (6 stars)
Among their best trios, Steamboat and Flair worked the house show circuit, this match in March being one of the few matches to break Dave Meltzer’s 5 star rating, earning an astounding 6 stars.
There isn’t much clear footage of this match, but in the videos that remain, the intensity is still evident. Whether it warrants an extra star rating compared to other matches is debatable, but there’s no denying that it’s still on the same threshold of incredible quality.