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Charles (Loss)

[1992-11-16-WWF-Primetime Wrestling] Randy Savage's mystery partner

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When people watch thhis, they really need to pay attention to Heenan and how masterful he is in displaying the all of the stages of grief...

 

Denial ... check

Sadness... check

Anger... check

Bargaining... check

Acceptance... check

 

It may be my favorite performance from Heenan ever.

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This was absolutely spectacular. Maybe the most impressive last-minute main event reset in history. Heenan is gold here and is the star. This may be the best thing I've ever seen from him. Everyone is really good, even Flair feels like Flair. But this is Bobby Heenan's finest moment. Best WWF "thing" (match or otherwise) of the year.

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What's interesting is some time ago I discovered on Youtube a Prime Time segment where McMahon and the babyface panelists called out Heenan for having Flair in the Rumble and not Perfect, which created tension before Heenan successfully reconciled the situation by show's end. So it seems they had a Perfect/Flair split in their back pocket for awhile, just like we know they had the Ringmaster gimmick in the can for a few years and probably had the idea of Nailz for as long. Anyway, everyone here is great but Heenan delivers a performance on par with his legendary work in the '92 Royal Rumble. I've liked WWF Flair a lot more than Loss, but I agree that this is him at his most Crockett-like. His work after Perfect makes the babyface turn official is the peak--"YOUR NAME IS HENNIG! YOU'RE NOT PERFECT ANYMORE!"

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What's interesting is some time ago I discovered on Youtube a Prime Time segment where McMahon and the babyface panelists called out Heenan for having Flair in the Rumble and not Perfect, which created tension before Heenan successfully reconciled the situation by show's end.

Did they ever mention the back injury on television then?

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Heck, I'm not sure they've mentioned it at the time I'm up to. The implication was simply that Perfect went into consulting after losing his title, and that Heenan was deliberately keeping him out of the ring, away from Flair.

 

I think the Apter mags talked up the back injury, but the first on-air mention of it that I can recall was by Jim Ross at WM9.

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This was just phenomenal, and I imagine only better seeing it build and play out over a 2 hour show. Heenan is the absolute star here laughing this off early, slowly losing his cool and then absolutely blowing his top at the end and getting physical with Perfect. Hell of a way to rebook a main event with such little notice, and really couldn't have been done much better. Just great performances from everyone involved.

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Wow. This angle was tremendously done. It sounds really simple on paper, but the execution is amazing. Calling this the angle of the year may seem silly, but when I look out how well it was done, it blows everything else away. Everyone plays their role just fine, but Perfect is good and Heenan makes the entire thing.

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Part I: There is a WJZY, but it's located in Charlotte, not Sarasota. Randy's obviously in another studio at Titan Towers.

 

The "twenty-four hours to find a partner" thing is a great device to build drama, but the consequences for not doing so aren't spelled out. Does Savage forfeit the match? Does he have to go against Flair and Hall two on one? Could Tunney assign him a partner, someone who may not be able to cut it on Flair and Hall's level? Exactly why is Randy so desperate to turn Curt?

 

Vince almost blows the whole thing by not acting shocked. There's too much "cat who swallowed the canary" in his delivery. Duggan, Hillbilly, and Heenan all act like this is the craziest thing they've ever heard of, but Vince the non-wrestler doesn't? You'd think he'd be offering his own services as a partner before he'd stand still for Randy teaming with someone like Curt.

 

Among Heenan's choices for Randy's partner: George Bush and Herve Villechaize. You'll be laughing out of the other side of your mouth soon enough, Uncle Bobby!

 

I love Randy trying to appeal to Curt's manhood, but he really doesn't have to; Curt's intrigued by the idea from the start, despite the protests from Hillbilly, Hacksaw, and Heenan that Curt's "just a manager".

 

Part II: This is when the real knife-twisting starts, as Vince expresses the thought that maybe, just maybe, Heenan made Curt Flair's executive consultant just to keep him out of the ring and allow Flair to have all the glory for himself. It would make, ahem, perfect sense to do that from Heenan's standpoint: Curt's an excellent technical wrestler, just like Flair, and he's come close against Hogan quite a few times in the past. If Hogan is Flair's goal, why not make sure that every potential roadblock is out of the way, particularly the ones you have influence over? Curt would certainly agree in exchange for a big enough payoff, plus he has a back injury (which was referenced by Gino in passing at SunmerSlam '91, I believe, though they certainly didn't make a big deal out of it), so he'll take easy money in exchange for not having his brains beaten out every week, right?

 

Heenan makes several slips that add to the drama here, referring to Curt as "just a manager" at least once and saying that Savage couldn't possibly want someone who's been out of the ring for over a year as a partner. Curt's slowly starting to take offense as we go to break. One question: Who was Curt talking to on the phone?

 

Part III: This is when it gets good. Heenan's at least tried to spare Curt's ego a bit so far, but Flair and Hall appear for the first time here, and they make it clear that in their minds, Curt's just one of the hired help. Hall starts off with "You used to be somebody", and Flair piles on by emphatically stating that Curt walks behind him. Curt's starting to do a slow burn, and it gets even hotter when he's asked if he thinks he's a better wrestler than Flair. His answer: Yes. He's asked if he's a better wrestler than Razor, and again, the answer is yes. All the while, Flair and Hall are acting like this whole thing is a minor irritant, a psych-out job designed to take away from their training time, and they want it over with. At one point, Heenan even speculates that Savage has another partner all signed and ready to go, while Flair dismisses the whole business as a bluff because Savage doesn't have a partner at all.

 

This segment contains one of the first times I've heard Hall/Razor use one of his signature phrases, as he says of Curt, "He's one of the bad guys."

 

Part IV: More exploration of the same themes, with the addition of the money angle: Curt could stand to make a huge payday as Savage's partner, and isn't he a professional? How many paydays has he missed as a result of having to walk behind Flair and take orders from him? Isn't he the greatest wrestler who ever lived, the perfect wrestler, if you will? Or is he afraid of the competition, of Flair and Hall, or perhaps of Savage himself? Curt clams not, that he could get back in the ring tomorrow and perform perfectly.

 

Heenan knows that it's all starting to crumble for him and Flair, and just like at the Royal Rumble, he does desperation brilliantly. Even his requests for water are extra dramatic and filled with meaning now, as he's desperately trying to maintain his composure and repair the damage that's already been done, But appeals to Curt's loyalty haven't worked, nor has reminding him of his place within the Flair organization. What other tricks will Heenan try to keep Curt in the fold, especially with Savage back on the scene and (presumably) demanding Curt's final answer? Finally, Vince lays it on the line: Will Curt at least consider Savage's offer? Curt says yes, and an angry Heenan can't believe his ears.

 

Part V: We're getting down to rug-cutting time, as Savage, Flair, and Hall almost literally wage a war for Curt's soul. Unfortunaltely for Flair and Hall, all they choose to offer is continued servitude in exchange for loyalty, while Savage is offering him the return of his manhood and a piece of the glory at Survivor Series. It gets a little tough to hear the back-and-forth at times, with both sides talking at once, but that only adds to both the pressure and the chaos.

 

I'd forgotten about Curt's boast that he could beat Flair, Savage, and Hall all in the same night, even after a year's layoff. That's one feat I'd have definitely loved to see him try to pull off.

 

Part VI: Most of this is the clip we've seen elsewhere: Curt accepts Savage's offer, Heenan gets mad and slaps him, and Curt makes the turn official by pouring a pitcher full of water on Heenan's head. I have to believe that there was a time when he'd have done more, but Bobby's neck prevented that.

 

I loved Flair's final interview, where he snapped and called Curt "Hennig" because he wasn't perfect anymore. I wish that he'd kept it up, but he might have been told by Vince to stick to the names that the WWF had trademarked. Still. it's nice to hear that I'm not the only one out there who knows who Curt Hennig is.

 

Savage didn't need to say much else, nor did Curt; the big smile on Curt's face said it all for them. I can't wait to see this match now!

 

Was this Heenan's finest hour in the WWF? I don't think so; maybe of the "broadcast journalist" era, but he did so much better work when he was an active manager that it isn't funny. This isn't even his best performance this year; the Rumble's got that crown by open lengths. I will say that it's probably his last great performance outside of commentary, maybe even his last truly great WWF performance overall, although I still have '93 to go through in order to tell for sure.

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Unique in that it's the only real important angle shot using this era of Prime Time, similar to the Piper/Rude feud had the benefit of being that for the Heenan/Monsoon era of Prime Time.

As a child watching the clips of this angle on the Survivor Series VHS, this blew my mind because I'd never heard of Prime Time Wrestling, but it looked so different. I wasn't aware that WWF had a platform to pull off something like this, at least not on Raw or Action Zone. 

One of the more "realistic" WWF angles of the '90s? Imagine having enough faith in Perfect, Heenan, Flair, Savage, Razor, Duggan, and Jim to pull off a half hour long drama detailing the redemption of Mr. Perfect.

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Adding upon rewatch:

Flair, Razor and Heenan all come off as true "bad guys". Their goal is to keep Perfect in their faction, but never appeal to him as friends. Heenan keeps bringing up loyalty, but doesn't offer it back. Flair & Razor can't help but throw around backhanded insults. This isn't a Flair/Arn situation (discounting the '95 feud). Perfect used to be somebody, now he's the hired help. It's clear they think he's a worthwhile possible opponent that they don't want to deal with, but never give him any reason to turn Savage down.

Perfect doesn't come across as a face either, lacking the intelligence to prevent Savage's name calling ("Are you a man? Or are you a baby!") from tricking him into accepting the challenge. He's got a high opinion of himself and it's really Heenan/Flair/Razor's indifference to his talent and skill that causes him to switch sides. A surprisingly believable turn in that he's not suddenly slapping hands with fans.

I always feel bad for Heenan. It's Duggan/Jim/Vince/Savage against Heenan for Perfect's soul and Flair/Razor don't do anything to help. The desperation Heenan shows near the end is impossible to scoff at.

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