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Charles (Loss)

[1996-12-02-WCW-Nitro] Interview: Ric Flair & Roddy Piper

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I thought this was Flair making his first appearance since his injury, but there was all the Jarrett stuff. Still, cool to see him again. Of course, he gets a big pop since they're in Charlotte.

 

This was the beginning of the "Flair does a meaningless promo and has obviously lost a step" period that would continue through most of '97, although this one is pretty decent.

 

Flair does an amusing promo alluding to their wild times on the road.

 

"What do we think of Hulk Hogan in this town? He sucks. Hogan sucks. Hogan sucks." You can tell Flair took a lot of pleasure in saying that.

 

Flair offers Piper all the support he needs at Starrcade. Piper respectfully declines, but says this is his last shot and needs to do this by himself.

 

Good stuff, and believe it or not, there was a time when they DIDN'T bury the Horsemen every time they were in this area.

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This was the beginning of the "Flair does a meaningless promo and has obviously lost a step" period that would continue through most of '97, although this one is pretty decent.

I thought Flair looked older in the ring too from this point on.

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He did. He also had some really awful interviews during this time.

 

One thing that I think will become apparent watching the '93 yearbook is that Flair can range from okay to actively bad as a promo when he doesn't have anything to talk about. I guess you could say that for quite a few people if you want, but Flair got an ungodly amount of TV time in '93 and did well when he was building to a match, but not when he was just put out there to kill time.

 

I also occasionally hear people say Flair could do color commentary. NO NO NO. His strong point as a talker is doing emotional interviews that are focused on something specific. He's not a Jericho type who is amazing every time he does color commentary.

 

You can say the same for '97, which I might call the worst year of Flair's career. He didn't look good in the ring, he had a handful of good interviews but not too many ... and it really took the Bret Hart match for him to regain some of what he lost, and even then, while Flair did some good interviews to build that match and it popped a number, Flair in '96 would have done much better promos and the match would have meant more. The Flair/Syxx feud could have been a good one for Ric had he embraced it, as Waltman was a huge fan of his growing up and appeared to be overly motivated and beyond ecstatic anytime he had the opportunity to sell for him. But Flair was so focused on feuding with bigger names that it was a lost opportunity to revitalize himself before building to a last big run on top. (Then again, Flair has had more "last big runs" than anyone.)

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One thing that I think will become apparent watching the '93 yearbook is that Flair can range from okay to actively bad as a promo when he doesn't have anything to talk about. I guess you could say that for quite a few people if you want, but Flair got an ungodly amount of TV time in '93 and did well when he was building to a match, but not when he was just put out there to kill time.

Wasn't this the year of the awful Flair interview segment A Flair for the Gold or something ?

 

I also occasionally hear people say Flair could do color commentary. NO NO NO. His strong point as a talker is doing emotional interviews that are focused on something specific. He's not a Jericho type who is amazing every time he does color commentary.

Agree, Flair wouldn't be a good color man.

 

You can say the same for '97, which I might call the worst year of Flair's career.

I would disagree, since what I've seen of his WWE work looks like shit. The infamous WM Taker match is just an embarrassment to watch for a Flair fan like me. As far as WCW goes, I don't know, I don't remember if he was much better in 99 and 2000 than he was in 97.

 

He didn't look good in the ring, he had a handful of good interviews but not too many ... and it really took the Bret Hart match for him to regain some of what he lost, and even then, while Flair did some good interviews to build that match and it popped a number, Flair in '96 would have done much better promos and the match would have meant more.

Agree, although Bret didn't help as he was dull as hell during this feud. But Bret's booking in the first months of 1998 is jaw dropping bad, the poor guy had no chance in hell to be anything relevant, it's fascinating how they did nothing with him and how he was settled with albatros like his in-laws (who didn't mean shit in WCW and weren't over at all) and Curt Hennig (not over, washed up, lazy, midcarder). I'm at mid April 98, and it's the first time Bret is featured as a player on Nitro, coming to Sting's aid and kicking the nWo ass by himself, then tagging with Sting against Savage & Nash on Thunder. I don't remember much about what's coming next, but I think it'll fall apart quite quickly with a heel turn or something...

 

The Flair/Syxx feud could have been a good one for Ric had he embraced it, as Waltman was a huge fan of his growing up and appeared to be overly motivated and beyond ecstatic anytime he had the opportunity to sell for him. But Flair was so focused on feuding with bigger names that it was a lost opportunity to revitalize himself before building to a last big run on top. (Then again, Flair has had more "last big runs" than anyone.)

Yeah, Waltman was obviously thrilled to work with Flair, it should have been more fun than it was. I remember Flair having a suprisingly good match with Piper in 97.

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I'll just say Bret's promo style is a lost art. He wasn't colorful and he sometimes stumbled. In the traditional sense, I wouldn't consider him a great promo. But he was an overwhelmingly effective promo because there was a sincerity to what he said. It always amazed me that he could get great heat for terrible lines (like repeatedly calling Sid "Ya big dummy ..."), but I think that's because Bret felt truthful. Bret in WCW didn't work because they didn't understand that. Most of the WCW guys were big names in the sense that you put them against other big names and it's easy to build a match. Bret wasn't that simple. If he was placed in an environment that didn't make sense, he wasn't effective. If he was put in an angle with no thought put into it, he wasn't effective. In some ways, the story of Bret is him rising above what he was given, and there's kind of a vague charisma about him where he has always been able to get big fan support despite not being all that colorful. But at the same time, Bret's not the type that I think a booker could just throw out there against another guy with name value and expect people to care.

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I agree on what you say about Bret's promos. But Bret coming from WWF after getting screwed was the easiest guy to book in the world at this point, he was red hot, he had been fucked by "the other company". WCW needed some fresh blood on top and Bret was perfect. A feud with Hogan could write itself. Really, WCW was just totally incompetent with Bret, not to mention people who just didn't want to do business with him (how ironic that Flair was the one to put him over in his first match).

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Decent stuff. Second promo from Roddy on the same show and this one was the better one. Still totally agree about what we said about Flair during this comeback, after a last super fun run as a heel in 96.

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Ric has to come out to Arn's theme, for not the first time. Flair's pretty much a full-fledged babyface now, even kissing up to Kevin Greene. He then brings out the "greatest Scotsman since William Wallace." Flair, Piper, and Okerlund are having too much fun here.

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I thought this was surprisingly organic feeling and Piper in the roll of the veteran out for one last shot, like he plainly states, is really good. Whether it's a gimmick or not, him telling everyone he loves them is really effective.

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This was neat as well with Flair and Piper being chummy and you got a genuine sense of companionship from both of them. Flair laying out that he is willing to help only for Piper to rebuke that he has to do it on his own was well built too as well. I am really digging the build to Hogan vs Piper and they are making it seem like a huge deal with Piper carrying the heavy lifting so far.

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