Ric Flair Last Match Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction, Highlights from Starrcast V

Erik BeastonJuly 31, 2022

Ric Flair Last Match Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction, Highlights from Starrcast V

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    Jason Kempin/Getty Images

    For the last time in his unrivaled career, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair walked the aisle Sunday night for the marquee bout of an event celebrating him.

    Teaming with his son-in-law, All Elite Wrestling's Andrade El Idolo, he battled Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal in a blockbuster tag team match that capped off a card featuring stars from every major promotion in the world, including Impact Wrestling, Major League Wrestling and New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

    In what was a momentous match for him, his family, his friends and his fans, was Naitch able to leave with his arm raised in victory one last time?

    Find out now with this complete recap of the night's jam-packed, inter-promotional card.

Bunkhouse Battle Royal

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    Credit: Starrcast

    Participants: Sinn Bodhi, "Cowboy" James Storm, Bully Ray, Crowbar, Crimson, Rickey Shane Page, El Gringo Loco, Fanny Pack Kid, Big Damo, Wolfie D and Komander


    Nick Gage led an invasion by Game Changer Wrestling (but did not compete) before the Battle Royal could get started. Joey Janela, Jordan Oliver, Blake Christian, Matthew Justice, EFFY, Mance Warner and Manders rushed the ring, joining the previously announced talent for the night's opening contest.

    Late in the match, Ray and Storm battled Janela and Warner. The Cowboy and The Bad Boy were dumped by the opposition simultaneously, leaving Warner and Ray to battle for the win.

    In a brief showdown, Warner bested the former Impact world champion and earned the win for himself and bragging rights for his home promotion.

    The match itself was harmless fun and a great way to get the crowd into the night's festivities before the main show. Highlighting GCW, given the company's momentum and the dedicated following it enjoys, was a great call by the promoters and led to a cool moment in which Ray put Ol' Mancer and, by extension, GCW over.


    Result

    Warner won the boot and buckle


    Grade

    C


    Top Highlights

    • Bully Ray entered to "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses, and Gage entered to his signature "For Whom the Bell Tolls" by Metallica. Both are so great and just hit differently.
    • Ray showing respect for Warner after the match was a great touch and further legitimized GCW and enhanced the spotlight on that company in these opening minutes.

Motor City Machine Guns vs. The Wolves

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    Credit: Starrcast

    The Wolves (Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards) battled the Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley) in a dream tag team match between two of the best tandems in Impact Wrestling history.

    The action-packed opener set the bar for the rest of the show, delivering nonstop movement and never allowing the audience to become disengaged.

    Edwards and Richards worked heel, isolated Shelley and set up the hot tag to Sabin. The closing stretch was great, and the Guns went over to pop to the crowd early on.

    This, like so many of Impact Wrestling's X-Division and tag team offerings, was the right match for that ever-important opening contest slot. By the time Tony Schiavone and David Crockett wrap things up and thank fans for joining them, it may very well be the best in-ring offering of the card.


    Result

    Motor City Machine Guns defeated The Wolves


    Grade

    B


    Top Moments

    • Impact EVP Scott D'Amore put over Richards' and Shelley's current work away from the squared circle in the medical field (doctor and occupational therapist, respectively). 
    • D'Amore explained to viewers unfamiliar with the two teams that the Machine Guns would be comparable to the Rock N' Roll Express while The Wolves, with their execution of underhanded tactics, would more closely resemble the Midnight Express.
    • There was something humorous about Tony Schiavone calling the four competitors "kids" given that they are all longtime veterans of the mat game.

Killer Kross vs. Harry Smith

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    Credit: Starrcast

    Two physical heavyweights did battle in a showcase for Major League Wrestling as third-generation Hart family member Harry Smith battled Killer Kross (known to WWE fans as Karrion), accompanied to the ring by the ever-dangerous Scarlett Bordeaux.

    Physical strikes dominated, with an exchange of chops getting the crowd into the action and hard uppercuts from Smith rocking the former NXT champion.

    The short showdown concluded with Kross pinning Smith with the Quickening.

    There was not much to this one, disappointingly. There simply was not enough time. The action was hard-hitting, sure, but the time restraints did not allow for a complete bout.

    Kross still looks like a star, the presentation with Bordeaux can still draw money and one has to wonder if Triple H and WWE might reevaluate having him back under the new regime.

    Helmet and skirt be damned.


    Result

    Kross defeated Smith


    Grade

    C-


    Top Moments

    • Smith countered the Straightjacket into a pinfall attempt, forcing the aggressor to release or be beaten.

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

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    Credit: Starrcast

    Four of the buzziest stars in professional wrestling clashed in the night's next match as Nick Wayne, Alan Angels, Konosuke Takeshita and former Ring of Honor world champion Jonathan Gresham did battle.

    Like the opener, there was no time for the audience to breathe, with action from all four competitors ensuring no opportunity to disconnect from what the performers were doing between and above the ropes.

    Wayne's athleticism was on full display, as was the tenacity of Takeshita. Angels continued to impress in his latest post-AEW bout, but it was Gresham who scored the win by outwrestling the former Dark Order member.

    Given Gresham has been the topic of discussion since ROH's Death Before Dishonor pay-per-view, it certainly makes sense to capitalize on the buzz with a win. Especially with considerable discussion of ROH throughout by the commentary team.


    Result

    Gresham defeated Angels, Takeshita and Wayne (pinned Angels)


    Grade

    B


    Top Moments

    • The great Ian Riccaboni joined Schiavone and Crockett at the commentary position for this one, likely because of the Gresham/ROH connection.
    • Little thing: Angels grasping at air, desperately seeking the ropes as Gresham rolled him up, showed great attention to detail. 
    • Gresham scoring the win was an interesting choice, assuming there was some sort of input from Tony Khan and AEW. Especially considering Takeshita is challenging Claudio Castagnoli for the ROH title as part of the upcoming Battle of the Belts.

Ricky and Kerry Morton vs. Brock Anderson and Brian Pillman Jr.

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    Credit: Starrcast

    Three legendary wrestling families were represented in the night's next match as the Rock N/ Roll Express' Ricky Morton teamed with his son, Kerry, to battle Brian Pillman Jr. and Brock Anderson, accompanied by the latter's father, Arn. The great Robert Gibson seconded the Mortons.

    Pillman and Anderson weathered the excitement surrounding Ricky's involvement, isolating his son and working him over on their side of the ring, preventing the father-son tandem from feeding on the crowd's electricity.

    The WWE Hall of Famer finally tagged in and left the opposition reeling, but a rake to the eyes by Anderson and his father's signature Gourdbuster finisher put the tag team legend away for the win.

    It would be easy to critique this one and note that Ricky looked really out of his element in there surrounded by such an abundance of youth, but that would be nitpicking what had to be an amazing moment for both him and Arn Anderson.

    Two all-timers who were so influential in the great Jim Crockett Promotions, they had the opportunity to watch their sons perform and carry on their legacies. There are no words to appropriately describe what that likely meant to those two industry greats.

    The match was fine, but the experience had to have been unrivaled.


    Result

    Anderson and Pillman Jr. defeated the Mortons


    Grade

    C


    Top Moments

    • The crowd erupting for Ricky's in-ring appearance highlighted the respect fans still have for one of the greatest babyfaces in wrestling history.

Rey Fenix vs. Bandido vs. Black Taurus vs.

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    Credit: Starrcast

    Four of the best luchadors in the industry clashed in a Four Corners match as AEW's Rey Fenix battled Impact Wrestling's Black Taurus and Laredo Kid, and former Ring of Honor world champion Bandido.

    If the matches to this point set the bar for the rest of the show, this one obliterated it.

    The action was unrivaled, and the competitors cut a frenetic pace that lesser performers would be unable to maintain but that these extraordinary athletes did without issue.

    Taurus stood out as the wrestler of the show to this point, showing off his unbridled power by throwing his body through the air with ease when the time called for it. His gorilla press on Kid off the top rope was outstanding.

    Fenix winning was not particularly surprising given his stature in both AAA and AEW. He is a recognizable entity and, when healthy, enters the conversation for the best in the business. He is a star, and he earned the victory over three very game opponents.

    The highlight of the show to this point from an in-ring perspective.


    Result

    Fenix defeated Bandido, Kid and Taurus


    Grade

    A


    Top Moments

    • Tony Schiavone put over the variety of styles and competitors on the show to this point and touted the homage it was to Ric Flair as a celebration of pro wrestling.
    • Taurus wiped out the competition with a twisting rope that popped the crowd. 
    • Kevin Kelly put over the motivation for Taurus, Kid and Bandido to win the match and earn a shot at dual champion Fenix in AAA, adding a certain gravity to the proceedings and giving fans a reason to be invested.
    • Taurus delivered a gorilla press slam from the top rope to Kid, again popping the crowd as he staked his claim to "standout star of the show" to this point.
    • Bandido caught his legs in the ropes, but Taurus caught him, they readjusted and the former ROH champion delivered a Code Red on the floor.

Impact World Championship Match: Josh Alexander vs. Jacob Fatu

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    Credit: Starrcast

    The highest profile of all inter-promotional matchups saw Impact World Champion Josh Alexander defend against MLW's Jacob Fatu.

    The Walking Weapon found himself on the defensive early and often as Fatu threw his heavyweight frame around, executing a standing moonsault for two. He followed it up moments later with a springboard moonsault for a near-fall.

    Not to be outdone, Alexander hoisted his opponent up and delivered a backbreaker across the knee for a close two of his own. Fatu answered with his Mighty Moonsault finisher but could not keep the resilient champion down.

    Unfortunately, the hotly contested bout ended in a double disqualification as Brian Myers, Matt Cardona, and "Smart" Mark Sterling attacked both competitors. The beatdown ensued until WWE Hall of Famer Diamond Dallas Page jumped the guardrail and dropped Cardona with a Diamond Cutter.

    This was a hell of a battle between two very physical wrestlers. The chemistry was there and what Alexander and Fatu had put together up until that finish was trending upward. A really strong match hurt only by the finish, though it is easy to see why it would have been booked that way.

    Alexander and Fatu are integral to the creative efforts of Impact and MLW, respectively. Beating either one of them was never really an option so booking the insufferable Cardona, Myers, and Sterling to interfere was a smart call.

    DDP's Diamond Cutter always pops the crowd and helped make that finish a bit more palatable.


    Result

    Alexander and Fatu fought to a double disqualification


    Grade

    B+


    Top Moments

    • Fatu soared over the top rope with a plancha, wiping out the champion.
    • Alexander bumped big time to put his opponent over, and when the time called for it, he powered the big man up and showed off his raw power.
    • That Diamond Cutter is a timeless finisher. Page still executes it flawlessly, and Cardona sold the hell out of it with a great front bump. 

The Von Erichs vs. The Briscoes

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    Credit: Starrcast

    Fresh off their classic encounter with FTR at Ring of Honor's Death Before Dishonor, The Briscoes battled MLW's The Von Erichs (Marshall and Ross) in yet another inter-promotional match.

    Mark and Jay Briscoe controlled early, but the second-generation opposition worked over the latter and turned the tide in their favor momentarily. A tag to Mark allowed the former ROH tag champions to mount a comeback.

    The action broke down and for a moment, it appeared as though the Briscoes may earn the win via the Redneck Boogie. Marshall slipped out and downed Jay, only for Mark to make the save and deliver the Froggy Bow moments later for the win.

    This was a fun, inoffensive match that highlighted both teams and got the Briscoes back on track with a win. The crowd was hot, the more decorated team went over and we moved onto the next match, continuing the excellent pace of the broadcast to this point.


    Result

    The Briscoes defeated The Von Erichs


    Grade

    C+


    Top Moments

    • The Briscoes change the mood of the arena. They carry themselves like stars, the crowd treats them like they are and the result is a perpetually energetic atmosphere for their matches.

Knockouts Championship Match: Jordynne Grace vs. Deonna Purrazzo vs. Rachael Ellering

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    Credit: Starrcast

    Before she defends against Mia Yim at Impact Wrestling's Insurgence, Knockouts champion Jordynne Grace put the title on the line against former tag team partner Rachael Ellering and former champion "The Virtuosa" Deonna Purrazzo.

    An ankle injury threatened to eliminate Ellering from the mix before the match ever really got started. Grace and Purrazzo proceeded to have the typically great match they have had numerous times in Impact, while Ellering gutted through the pain to appear in key spots and situations.

    The finish came when the champion delivered the Grace Driver to Purrazzo and Ellering broke up the pin. A last-gasp roll-up attempt by the second-generation performer was countered by Grace, who tapped her out to the rear-naked choke for the win.

    This was a very good match that would have been even better had Ellering been able to compete to her fullest potential. The ankle injury very clearly threw things off early, but all three recovered nicely to deliver a match that was reflective of the hard work and overall quality of the Knockouts division.

    Grace and Purrazzo have championed a roster that is among the best in all of wrestling, and for them, along with Ellering, to be the only match on this card is a testament to the trust the promoters had in them to lead the charge for their art.


    Result

    Grace defeated Purrazzo and Ellering to retain


    Grade

    C+


    Top Moments

    • Ellering was caught up under her opponents and severely rolled her ankle, threatening her continued participation in the bout. Ellering toughed it out, though, and returned to the match despite agonizing pain.
    • Ellering joined her opponents for a Tower of Doom superplex spot, then caught the champion with a Bossman Slam for a quality near-fall, all while competing on an ankle that was very clearly injured.
    • The finish was clever, preserved Purrazzo's credibility by keeping her out of the fall and unintentionally put over the toughness of Ellering, who fought until she had nothing left.

Ric Flair and Andrade El Idolo vs. Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal

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    Credit: Starrcast

    And then, there was one.

    One more dance for the most respected in-ring competitor in professional wrestling; one more opportunity for the consensus best of all time to remind fans of his greatness and himself of the legacy he has compiled over the course of five decades in the industry.

    Ric Flair walked that aisle, joining his son-in-law Andrade El Idolo to battle Jay Lethal and Jeff Jarrett in the match that drew the crowd, sold the tickets and had the eyes of the industry focused on Nashville.

    The hype was at a high, the pageantry, too.

    Then came the match.

    Lethal and El Idolo carried the majority of the in-ring action, with Jarrett popping in and out to provide old-school heel heat and Flair getting spots in here and there. He bled, because of course he did, and even managed to fake a heart attack to set up an eye poke to Lethal.

    Yes, you read that last sentence correctly.

    The babyfaces won because Flair was never going to lose, and he cut a tearful post-match promo after giving props to Undertaker, Mick Foley and Bret Hart at ringside. Confetti fell and the show went off the air with images of Flair from decades past.

    When his greatness was never in doubt and long before he would wrestle his final match. And the next one. Then, this one.

    Before diving into that, though, it is absolutely imperative to give El Idolo, Lethal and Jarrett major props. They were in a high-pressure situation in which their work was going to be key to whether the match was successful or not.

    They did their jobs and made sure Flair was in the position he needed to be for the key spots in the match.

    With that said, this probably never should have happened.

    No, it is not on this writer, fans, or even Flair's peers to tell him when he has to step away from the squared circle. He put in the work to get the match to the ring and absolutely earned the right to do whatever he wants in an industry he has been so hugely influential in.

    He wanted this and he got it. But that does not mean he should have.

    Flair was out of it on more than one occasion, appearing unaware of what was going on around him. At one point, El Idolo slipped brass knuckles on his shaking hand in a moment that was not so much entertaining as it was concerning.

    Fans chanted "you've still got it," but he did not. As he stood bleeding, limping his way around ringside and basking in the cheers of the fans, it felt less like a celebration of one of the greatest this artform has ever seen and more like the extended cut of the great film The Wrestler, in which Mickey Rourke's Randy the Ram risks health and wellbeing for one last go-round in the squared circle.

    Flair's body of work earned him this night. His contributions to the industry are why legends like The Phenom, The Hitman and The Hardcore Legend gathered around the guardrail to pay respect.

    As great as he was, as enormous as his legacy is, and iconic as he will forever be, this absolutely must be his last match because, by the time that bell rang to signify its conclusion, it was not nostalgia running wild but, rather, discomfort.

    Flair is on the Mount Rushmore of pro wrestling, a legend among fans and his peers. Let him stay that way.

    Or, as the band Fuel once memorably sang, "leave the memories alone."


    Result

    Flair and El Idolo defeated Jarrett and Lethal


    Grade

    C, maybe. The presentation and effort were off-the-charts but it still made for one of the most unusual, at times uncomfortable, watches in recent memory.


    Top Moments

    • Cameras caught The Undertaker at ringside, with wife Michelle McCool and their daughter, sitting next to his legendary rival and fellow Hall of Famer, Mick Foley.
    • Flair broke out the big gold belt version of the world's heavyweight championship that he made famous as the headliner for Jim Crockett Promotions, the NWA and WCW.
    • David Crockett put over the fact that Lethal, by training with Flair for his in-ring return, knows what the Nature Boy can and cannot do.
    • Flair strutted, then thrust his hips toward Karen Jarrett at ringside in a spot that popped the crowd.
    • The crowd erupted for Flair's Figure Four on Lethal.
    • Flair's eldest daughter, Megan, attacked Karen Jarrett at ringside. 
    • Andrade slipped a pair of brass knuckles on his father-in-law's hand, helped him to his feet and watched as he knocked Jarrett unconscious.
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