While Flair has been a regular in this series so far, we are now hitting what many might see as his heydey. His feud with the Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat is still spoken about in hushed tones, and there are three five-star matches between the two in 1989. The first one is for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and took place at NWA Chi-Town Rumble.
After a brief time in the US of A, we are back in Dave Meltzer’s beloved Japan for our next five-star classic. Once again it is a tag team match featuring Stan Hansen, but this time he teams up with Terry Gordy to take on Genichiro Tenryu and Toshiaki Kawada. This match was the final of the bizarrely named World’s Strongest Tag Determination League in All Japan Pro Wrestling.
Barry Windham and Ric Flair have done it all together, and for the second time, the two men appear on the list of Dave Meltzer’s Five Star classics. This time we are in 1987 and the match is taking place at the Crockett Cup for the World Title.
Our next Meltzer’s Classic match features yet another Tiger Mask, this time Tiger Mask II who takes on Kuniaki Kobayashi for the NWA Junior Heavyweight Championship. It also continues the theme of all of these matches happening in Japan.
My third Meltzer Classic is the most unusual yet, at least from my point of view. Kazuo Yamazaki and Nobuhiko Takada are the first wrestlers on the list that I haven’t even heard of. In fact, watching the copy of the match I have, I’m not even entirely certain whether I know which one is which. I don’t know if this is some massive oversight on my part or whether the two just aren’t appreciated on this side of the world.
One thing that has become apparent in my attempt to watch all of Meltzer’s five-star matches is that no one is sure exactly what they all are. While you might think the Wrestling Observer would have an easy to access list, if they do it has been hidden from me. If anyone does know where I can find a comprehensive list, then let me know. Until then, I will be going for a mixture of this one and this one.
I love wrestling. That should be fairly evident. It’s that childhood obsession that I never grew out of alongside the countless other childhood obsessions that if I’m perfectly honest, I never grew out of either. I also consider myself to be fairly knowledgeable about that world. I’ve been a fan for a long time, and I know the difference between a lariat and a clothesline (something that has yet to be useful in finding gainful employment). And yet there are countless brilliant matches I have never seen, particularly when it comes to older stuff. So in an attempt to fix that I have decided to go back to the first ever match Dave Meltzer gave five stars too and work my way forward while documenting my thoughts for all you lovely people. Now, a few things before we begin. I am aware Meltzer is not the be all and end all; there are other matches I should see. I’m also not sure how easy it will be to get all of these; I might have to miss out a few, but I will do my best. Anyway, let’s get started.