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Charles (Loss)

[1996-05-20-WCW-Nitro] Ric Flair vs Eddy Guerrero

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Terrific match, and in retrospect, this was the time they should have moved forward with an Eddy Guerrero push. This match had very little heat in the opening minutes and about seven minutes in, fans were chanting his name and popping huge for everything. Flair and Eddy worked well together, and the market research that was done around this time showing that Eddy was the most likable wrestler in WCW proved that they had something. This could have led somewhere good.

 

They gave them 20 minutes on Nitro, which was rare during this time. It seems like WCW main eventers who worked with Eddy on occasion enjoyed it because most of them sold quite a bit for him, Luger earlier in the year and Flair here.

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For Flair in 96, it's a really good match. For Eddie in 96, this is decent. It's obvious Eddie had to tone it down a lot for Flair not to get over his head. Eddie was getting himself over as a sympathetic babyface on his talent alone (unlike Malenko, whom the crowd couldn't care less about, go figure). Flair's promo at the VIP table is always a winner.

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Not many TV matches from the era got full length. This wasn't standout but was worth a watch. It's a match I'd have liked to see a few years earlier when Flair was still the force of old. Eddy was noticeably slowing down his usual style for him.

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This was a 90-minute episode *and* they were running unopposed (early start due to the NBA playoffs) so these two get plenty of time, not just to wrestle but to slowly build up to the big spots toward the end. Eddy does tone it down some, but Flair still takes the tornado DDT (which he bumps great for), the frog splash, and a huracanrana, so Guerrero still got plenty of his spots in. Heenan also does a strong job of putting over Eddy as having a real chance--yeah, this really should have been followed up quickly with a US title push.

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By far the best Flair match so far this year. He bumps well for the Eddy lucha spots and controls the action in a great way to get Eddy over as a face that the crowd wants to cheer. Flair getting the win in this fashion also helps put over the figure four. I am glad that we finally get a Flair match to hang onto in 1996 as his character work has been good and he has dominated a lot of tv time. ***1/2

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Really cool to see this match up. They get a lot of time and have a damn good TV match and Eddy comes off looking great. Other than being a great wrestler, Eddy does feel a bit generic at this point, hasn't really found his personality or charisma yet. But he's getting over here. Post-match promo is awesome.

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