Five-Star Match of the Week: Ric Flair vs. Big Van Vader - WCW Championship Match, Starrcade 1993
Every Wednesday, WWE Classics and Greatest Matches team up with your favorite Superstars to bring you the Five-Star Match of the Week. We ask a Superstar in the WWE locker room to select one of the greatest wrestling matches of all time, and WWE.com brings you that full-length match, uncut.
It might come as a surprise that a tandem as modern and slick as The Prime Time Players selected a Five-Star Match of the Week that took place nearly 20 years ago, but Darren Young and Titus O’Neil are as knowledgeable about the ring as anyone on the roster.
“The Prime Time Players’ favorite match is Ric Flair vs. Vader, WCW World Heavyweight Championship, Starrcade 1993,” Young told WWE Classics. “Why that match stands out is because Ric Flair was the underdog and Vader was the World Heavyweight Champion.” ( MORE DARREN)
The role of the underdog was not a familiar one to The Nature Boy. Flair is often considered the finest professional wrestler of all time, and is recognized as a record 16-time World Champion. But after returning to WCW from WWE, Flair was met with a seemingly insurmountable task. The Charlotte, N.C., native often claimed that “to be the man, you’ve got to beat the man,” and in 1993, Vader was the man. ( MORE FLAIR)
Since debuting in WCW in the early ’90s, The Man They Call Vader was one of sports-entertainment’s most imposing competitors. In The Nature Boy’s absence from WCW, The Rocky Mountain Mastodon rose to a prominence and became nearly unstoppable. Upon Flair’s return, it was up to “Naitch” to unseat the monstrous Big Van Vader, who had been WCW Champion for most of the prior year and a half. ( MORE VADER)
The beloved stylin’ and profilin’ challenger put his career on the line when he faced Vader at Starrcade, WCW’s version of WrestleMania. With his back against the wall, Flair put on a tremendous performance and pinned the big man to win the title.
“One of the most impressive things in this match was when Ric Flair performed a delayed suplex on Big Van Vader himself,” Young recalled. “Four hundred and fifty pounds over his head. At the time, Ric Flair was in his late 30s/early 40s, so to pick up a guy that big was unreal.”
When asked if he had anything to add, Titus O’Neil simply replied, “Yeah. What he said.” ( MORE TITUS)
PREVIOUS FIVE-STAR MATCHES:
Oct. 3, 2012: Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels, WrestleMania XII
Oct. 10, 2012: Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero, Halloween Havoc 1997
Oct. 17, 2012: Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk, Clash of the Champions IX: New York Knockout
Oct. 24, 2012: CM Punk vs. John Cena, Money in the Bank 2011
Oct. 31, 2012: Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase, WrestleMania IV
Nov. 7, 2012: Bret Hart vs. The British Bulldog, SummerSlam 1992
Nov. 14, 2012: Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels, WrestleMania X
Nov. 21, 2012: The Hart Foundation vs. The British Bulldogs, Madison Square Garden
Nov. 28, 2012: Eddie Guerrero vs. Brock Lesnar, No Way Out 2004