Flair's DVD set wins the belt
TJ MADIGAN -- Calgary Sun
I've always been taught if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything. Of course, in this line of work, that can be a bit of a challenge at the best of times but it's particularly tough (and often near impossible) when it relates to the random items of wrestling merchandise that sporadically land on my desk.
Take Hulk Hogan's boring and unbelievable autobiography, for example. I gave the book the bad review it deserved (which prompted the usual landslide of hate mail from obsessive Hulk-worshippers) but I figured WWE would probably react strongly to such blasphemy by wiping my name from its 'free stuff' mailing list forever. It didn't. And thank goodness.
Turns out WWE has some cool new stuff on the market these days, including the excellent Unscripted coffee-table book and the upcoming Monday Night Wars DVD but I'm going to skip straight to the highlight, The Ultimate Ric Flair Collection.
For those who don't know, the Flair Collection is widely regarded as the best wrestling DVD ever made, a 10-hour compilation of classic Nature Boy matches, accompanied by video packages giving the back-story to each feud. The three-disc set was available in the U.S. last November and finally hit Canadian shelves last month.
Most of Flair's most famous battles are included, from his epic title tilt with Harley Race at Starrcade '83 through to his '94 unification match with Sting at Clash XXVII.
But my personal favourites (and bear in mind, I watched all 10 hours in one sitting) are the 1992 Royal Rumble and Flair's classic feud with Ricky Steamboat.
More than a decade later, the '92 Rumble still stands as one of the best battle royals of all time, with Flair bumping like crazy for more than an hour before going on to lift his first WWF championship.
As someone who had limited access to NWA growing up, I was blown away watching Flair's feud with Ricky (The Dragon) Steamboat in all its remastered glory. The chemistry between the two was off the charts and the matches stand the test of time better than anything else from the era.
Outside of the regular content, the Collection also includes a string of bonus features, ranging from Flair's WWWF debut in 1976 through to the 'out-of-character, off-the-air' tribute to the Nature Boy after his TV match with Triple H on Raw last year.
Overall, The Ultimate Ric Flair Collection is a must-have for serious wrestling fans and is the benchmark against which future wrestling DVD releases will be measured.
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