Ric Flair’s Last Match
July 31, 2022
Nashville Municipal Auditorium
Nashville, Tennessee

Watch: FITE

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this show. For starters, I think everyone reading agrees that Ric Flair should not be wrestling on this show. After all, you can’t just “plug a pacemaker back in” or stop taking blood thinners for a day to be healthy enough to wrestle a match. That being said, the card Starrcast has assembled here is one of the better indie shows on paper of the year, with involvement from just about every major promotion in America. The Flair match itself has been wonderfully built up with the YouTube videos (which can be found here and here), to the point where I was actually excited for the Flair match itself, a sentence I never thought I’d type before a week or so ago.

Ren Narita def. Yuya Uemura

Kicking off the pre-show, we had a classic NJPW young lion match between two guys who have plied their trade at the LA Dojo as of late. Ian Riccaboni was on commentary for this one with Tony Schiavone and David Crockett, and Riccaboni did a great job explaining these two’s backstories, with Schiavone playing the role of fan who may not know as much about these two to draw more info out of Riccaboni. It was a really good commentary arrangement. The match was exactly what you’d expect from a Young Lion affair. There was some hard-hitting portions, some more grapple-heavy portions, and in the end, Narita won with a bridge after a real solid match. Nothing you need to go out of your way for, but nothing you’ll regret if you do. ***

Bunkhouse Battle Royal
Bully Ray def. Crowbar vs. Wolfie D vs. James Storm vs. Sinn Bodhi vs. Brian Myers vs. Big Damo vs. Rickey Shane Page vs. Gringo Loco vs. Crimson vs. Komander vs. Adam Priest vs. Kal Herro

This REALLY sucked. The day before the show, Nick Gage did a promo about how GCW was excluded from this show, and he ended up interrupting about two minutes into this match. It was a cool enough angle, and I’ll always pop for For Whom The Bell Tolls, but once the talking stopped and the action resumed, it was clear that the angle turned out to be a dud. Gage and a few GCW folks hit the ring and singled out Bully Ray, who sold their offense like he was the American Keiji Mutoh. Continuing his Mutoh tribute, Bully then proceeded to eliminate the GCW guys one by one until it was just him and Mance Warner left. Mance won out of nowhere, and Bully most likely refused to take any extra bumps that didn’t involve him getting directly eliminated. Don’t watch this. It’s not fun, it’s not funny, it just sucks. Watch the Sting tribute video that plays right after this that is shot in hostage quality instead.

The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin) def. The Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards)

I want everyone reading this to picture a match between the Guns & The Wolves in 2022, and what that looks like. You have just pictured this match spot for spot. Of course, this means that this was a pretty good, albeit not spectacular opening match for this show. Davey shouted AMERICAN WOLVES like four times in the first five minutes, which was funny to hear constantly. The crowd started off dead for this one, but these four pros pros managed to get the crowd into it by the end, which is a credit to them as performers. I do wonder if the crowd will be into these other undercard matches, or if they are all simply here for the Flair match. An interesting storyline that is sure to develop as the night goes on. If you like these two teams, this match is worth a watch, but don’t expect anything other than perfectly good. ***¼

Killer Kross (w/Scarlett Bordeaux) def. Davey Boy Smith Jr.

Davey used the PRIDE theme for his entrance music, which absolutely rules and is expected of the most Japanese white man in existence. Killer Kross has hair now, and Scarlett remains Scarlett. Sometimes in wrestling, there are matches that you pay attention to the entire way through, yet remember nothing about the actual match itself because it was so wholly unremarkable. Just a thoroughly boring affair, that thankfully was kept relatively short. This match stood out as the clear worst match on the show (non-Flair division), so I’m glad at least that it was relatively inoffensive and instead simply just boring. No need to watch this one. **

Jonathan Gresham def. Konosuke Takeshita vs. Alan Angels vs. Nick Wayne

This was the first match so far tonight that had me really excited whilst watching it. I had never seen Nick Wayne before, and he blew me away in this match. Wayne gives off a lot of young Will Ospreay vibes, and after watching this match, I am very excited to check out more of his stuff. Angels was the guy in here I was most curious about, as his profile has fallen significantly since the early COVID-era AEW where he was brought in almost by necessity just to fill space. He was good here. He was easily outshone by the other guys in the match, but he held his own. I recently watched his match with Mike Bailey in IMPACT that was very good as well, so Angels’ has a bright future on the indies if he wants it. Gresham showed up, octopus mask and all, and looked fired up to be there, doing multiple dives the outside and doing his flashy quick submission grappling that is always fun to enjoy. My only complaint about this match is that it needed about double the time, as giving this roughly seven minutes is just a crime considering the talent of all four guys. Regardless, I thought this was a very fun spectacle of a match, and the first match I’d truly recommend of the night. ***½

Brian Pillman Jr. & Brock Anderson (w/Arn Anderson) vs. Kerry Morton & Ricky Morton (w/Robert Gibson)

Whilst Pillman & Brock were making their entrance, they walked through gorilla position on camera and showed the very visible “faces go this way, heels go this way” signs, which I found to be very amusing on a Jim Crockett Productions branded show that theoretically would make kayfabe a huge deal. If you’ve seen any of these guys wrestle before, you know what this match was. Pillman Jr. & Brock Anderson still stink, and Ricky Morton was probably the best guy in this match. The match was built around Kerry Morton getting beaten down by his opponents, which led to the Ricky hot tag, which was fun, and then he ate a pinfall shortly after. The most basic of basic matches—which is fine sometimes—but nothing you need to go out of your way for. **½

Laredo Kid vs. Taurus vs. Rey Fenix vs. Bandido

This was absolutely incredible, and exactly what the crowd needed to wake them up after a so-far so-so undercard. These four went into a crowd that most likely didn’t know who they were, and by the end, they were receiving a standing ovation from a molten hot crowd. It’s genius booking – throw three of the best high-fliers in the ring with a luchador who can just toss them around, fly competently, and just let them impress a crowd full of people who’d never seen them before. I’d like to give special credit to Taurus, who based great for the high fliers and did some absolutely bonkers power moves that shocked people in the audience. My main takeaway from this match is that everything in this match was so crisp, making every match before it look horrid by comparison. This is a must-watch match, the first notebook match of the show so far for me. Go out of your way to see this. ****¼

Impact World Title Match
Josh Alexander (c) vs. Jacob Fatu

Another solid as hell match was had here between Alexander and Fatu, with Court Bauer talking a pretape before the match. MLW may be on break right now, but as we know, the world of MLW never stops. Except for the 15 or so years it did. Regardless – this was a nice change of pace from the match before it, with both men focusing more on power grappling with Fatu showing off his strength in the latter-half of the match by throwing Alexander and slamming him multiple times, which I thought was very impressive considering Alexander isn’t exactly small. MLW have something with Jacob Fatu, he has the talent, the look and an undeniable presence, so getting him onto this show vs. a wrestler as talented as Alexander was a genius move on Bauer’s part. I’d be very surprised if Fatu doesn’t walk into AEW or WWE when he is free of his MLW contract. ***1/2

The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe) vs. The Von Erichs (Marshall von Erich & Ross von Erich)

Going into this match, my only prevailing memory of The Von Erichs came from Total Extreme Wrestling. Back in 2014, when I was first getting into wrestling, I’d always play as TNA as it was fun to try and build them up to beat WWE. I always cut The Von Erichs, because their attributes were horrible. Their performance in this match was better than their truly horrific attributes suggest, but they certainly aren’t anyone to write home about. This was another perfectly fine match on a show that has had a lot of perfectly fine matches. The Briscoes did Briscoe things, and I’m sure Mark is excited to get home and see his eighty kids or whatever it is he does in his spare time. Nothing special about this one, and frankly, I’ve already slightly forgotten about its existence. Take that for what you will. **1/2

Impact Knockouts Title Match
Jordynne Grace (c) vs. Deonna Purrazzo vs. Rachael Ellering

I am not up to date whatsoever on the Impact Women’s Division, but this was a pretty solid match with three women who are better than 80% of their counterparts on the American women’s wrestling scene. Purrazzo, in particular, was very good, showing a clear sharpness and experience in her work that made her stand out here. The beginning stretch was a little rough, as Ellering badly sprained her ankle and left Grace & Purrazoo to adapt on the fly, but once Ellering got back in, this match clicked into gear and was a really exciting match, with Grace winning by choking out Ellering. I have similar thoughts to this that I do the MLW match, in that this made me want to watch more of the IMPACT women’s division, so props to these three for achieving that. This is definitely worth a watch. ***1/2 

Jay Lethal & Jeff Jarrett (w/Karen Jarrett) vs. Andrade El Idolo & Ric Flair

I love Jeff Jarrett.

The man had a full-blown mashup theme, complete with the superstar entrance that took much longer than it was supposed to. Then, Ric Flair came out, and I was thankful for Jarrett’s brevity. It was a great sign that Flair could barely walk to the ring, which was an ominous sign of what was to come. On the other hand, Jeff Jarrett can still move like he’s in his prime. Jarrett played the role of “annoying shithead” in this match to perfection, copying Flair’s moves and mannerisms and really getting under the skin of the crowd. Unfortunately, the charm began to wear off after about five minutes, as the act of “Flair does something slowly, gets pop, and stalling occurs while Flair catches his breath” got old pretty quick. It was definitely juiced up when Andrade got in there, as he can actually, ya know, move. It was especially amusing as Andrade wrestled Jarrett, considering that this was, as far as I know, the first ever AEW vs. WWE battle inside a wrestling ring. The power of the Nature Boy is uniting, I suppose.

Unfortunately, the match got significantly less funny when Flair started bleeding. We all knew it would happen, but a man who has a pacemaker and takes blood thinners bleeding will never be comfortable. Credit to promoter Conrad Thompson, though, who didn’t flinch one bit at his father-in-law bleeding like crazy though. Andrade and Lethal proceeded to wrestle a bit, there was a ref bump, and Flair got tagged in despite it looking like he was having a seizure of sorts on the apron. Thankfully, the match ended soon after with Jarrett shockingly doing the job to Flair. I’m sure Jeff will find a way to get his win back. Unfortunately, this match was more uncomfortable than fun, and as a result, it affected my enjoyment greatly. It may be worth watching as a spectacle, but even then, you just feel gross after watching this match, and I can’t really rate it because of that. Hopefully Flair doesn’t die because of this.

Final Thoughts

This was a weird show. The lucha 4-way was fantastic, and both IMPACT title matches & the Gresham four-way were also good, but the show as a whole felt disappointing. By design, the only match that got shine was the Flair match which was obviously just gross. I’d watch the aforementioned four matches, as well as the Flair match if you have a morbid curiosity, but know that it is exactly what everyone thought it would be, and it is truly disgusting that it actually happened.