SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
RIC FLAIR’S LAST MATCH
JULY 31, 2022
AIRED ON FITE TV
REPORT BY CHRISTOPHER MAITLAND
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, David Crockett,
(1) THE MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS (CHRIS SABIN & ALEX SHELLEY vs THE AMERICAN WOLVES (DAVEY RICHARDS & EDDIE EDWARDS)
The Motor City Machine Guns won when Sabin pinned Edwards after the Skull and Bones in 11:05.
(Maitland’s Thoughts: Scott D’Amore joined on commentary and this match was billed as an Impact dream match even though Richards currently wrestles in MLW. This was a solid opener, The Wolves were the heels and the Guns were the baby faces and the crowd got behind them. Shelley was favoring his knee after the match and hopefully that was selling and not an injury.)
There was a tribute video to Jim Crockett Promotions. Al Snow, Santino, Vickie Guerrero and Mick Foley were shown in the crowd.
(2) DAVEY BOY SMITH vs KILLER KROSS with SCARLETT BORDEAUX
Killer Kross won with the Quickening in 5:25.
(Maitland’s Thoughts: Joe Dombrowski joined on commentary. This match was billed as a MLW showcase match even though Smith hasn’t been in MLW for nearly 2 years and is currently half of the NWA Tag Team champions. This was a hard hitting match that had an abrupt ending. They could probably do more but tonight was not the night for that.)
Nick Nemeth (aka Dolph Ziggler), Booker T, Shawn Michaels, Jake Roberts, Will Sasso, Doug Dillinger, and Lez Luger gave tributes to Ric Flair.
(3) KONOSUKE TAKESHITA vs ALAN ANGELS vs NICK WAYNE vs JONATHAN GRESHAM
Jonathan Gresham won when he pinned Alan Angels with an O’Conner Roll into a Bridge in 5:40.
(Maitland’s Thoughts: Ian Riccaboni joined in on commentary and the winner earned a shot at the Progress World Title. This match only scratched the surface of what these competitors did. It was fine for what it was though I wished they had a little more time. It was good to see Jonathan Gresham bounce back after a difficult weekend.)
Cody Rhodes gave a tribute to Ric Flair and Nick Aldis came out to join in on commentary for the next match.
(4) RICKY AND KERRY MORTON with ROBERT GIBSON vs BRIAN PILLMAN JR AND BROCK ANDERSON with ARN ANDERSON
Brian Pillman Jr and Brock Anderson won when Anderson pinned Ricky Morton with a gordbuster in 7:25.
(Maitland’s Thoughts: Before the match, Arn Anderson gave his team a pep talk. Standard tag team match where Pillman stood out as a heel. He hasn’t been a heel in AEW but that may be the best role for him in the future.)
JJ Dillion was shown in the crowd.
(5) BANDIDO vs BLACK TAURUS vs LAREDO KID vs REY FENIX
Rey Fenix won when he pinned Black Taurus with the Fear Factor in 11L48
(Maitland’s Thoughts: Joe Dombrowski joined in on commentary and this match was billed as an AAA showcase. This match really awoke a crowd that was quiet for most of the show so far. It was pleasing to see because the stereotype would be that a crowd of nostalgia would not be into lucha libre. The four put on an impressive performance and all deserved credit for this exciting match.)
Jim Ross gave a tribute to Ric Flair and a promotional video aired for the next match.
(6) JOSH ALEXANDER (c) vs JACOB FATU – IMPACT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
This match ended in a no contest when The Major Players (Brian Myers and Matt Cardona) and Mark Sterling attacked Alexander and Fatu in 10:19. Alexander and Fatu took out Myers and Sterling leaving Cardona to get surprised by a Diamond Cutter from Diamond Dallas Page.
(Maitland’s Thoughts: Tom Hannifan joined in on commentary. This was the match I anticipated the most and the one I enjoyed the most despite the finish. Most fans would be annoyed by this finish but in a lot of ways it is a throwback to wrestling companies putting matches together where they could not agree on the finish. The only issue is there probably won’t be a resolution to this and a rematch isn’t likely.)
Josh Shernoff went to interview Jeff Jarrett but ran into Jerry Jarrett. Jerry Lawlor was also in the locker room and said Jarrett would bear Flair and that the real originator of the strut was Jackie Fargo.
(7) THE VON ERICHS (MARSHALL & ROSS VON EHRICH) vs THE BRISCOES (MARK & JAY BRISCOE)
The Briscoes won when Mark pinned Ross after a Froggy Bow in 7:45.
(Maitland’s Thoughts: Ian Riccaboni joined in on commentary. The match was alright and was mostly a showcase for the Briscoes.)
Sting gave a tribute to Ric Flair and a promotional video aired for the next match.
(8) JORDYNNE GRACE (c) vs RACHAEL ELLERING vs DEONNA PURRAZZO – IMPACT KNOCKOUTS CHAMPIONSHIP
Grace won by submitting Ellering with a Rear Naked Choke in 9:50.
(Maitland’s Thoughts: Tom Hannifan joined in on commentary. Ellering got hurt early in the match which hampered this for a bit. Grace put in a star making performance in preparation for her Impact Knockouts Title defense against Mia Yim at Emergence on August 12.)
A promotional video was aired for the main event and the Undertaker was shown in the crowd.
(9) RIC FLAIR & ANDRADE EL IDOLO vs JAY LETHAL & JEFF JARRETT
Ric Flair & Andrade El Idolo won in 26:43 when Flair pinned Jarrett while Flair had Jarrett in the Figure Four.
(Maitland’s Thoughts: Mike Chioda was the referee and David Penzer was the ring announcer. They used every trick in the book to get this match to go as long as possible. They had Ric Flair staples such as bleeding and chops. The finish even involved a referee bump and Andrade giving brass knuckles to Flair. At times this was very concerning, and when the match was over my first thought was get Ric Flair a doctor.)
After the match, purple confetti falls into the ring. Andrade helped a bloody Flair to his feet. Flair greets his family, the Undertaker, Mick Foley, and Bret Hart. Schiavone congratulates Flair. Flair said Nashville was a great wrestling town and he had one of his greatest matches against Ricky Steamboat here. He said a lot of his family and friends were here. Ric Flair thanks the fans and says he hope he didn’t let anyone down. He conclude by saying he is going downtown after the show. Flair celebrates with the other wrestlers on the show. Andrade hands him the Big Gold Belt. Flair hugs Lethal as the show ends.
Overall Thoughts: This was an odd show but not necessarily in a bad way. For an inter-promotional show, there were a lot of interesting matches though the crowd was mostly there to watch the main event. They did not know a lot of the wrestlers and were not interested unless they did spectacular moves like in the AAA showcase. The crowd was there for the main event which was uncomfortable to watch at times. I knew Flair would do something but I kept hoping he would do less. Even with stalling, there is no way this match should have gone this long. Nonetheless, the fans got a happy ending. Hopefully Flair is not too hurt after this match but time will tell. Justin McClelland and I will be discussing Ric Flair’s Last Match in further detail on this week’s Wrestling Coast to Coast Podcast.