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Charles (Loss)

[1994-02-20-WCW-Superbrawl IV] Ric Flair vs Vader (Cage)

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Last few minutes. The Boss tries to handcuff Harley Race to keep him from interfering, but it backfires and he ends up being the one handcuffed, which opens the door for Race to come in. Arn and Steamboat come down to try to even the sides, but Flair has to fight this battle alone, as they can't get in. Terrible finish. Too much booking and not enough Flair/Vader.

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Screw job type finish here with Boss calling for the bell on Vader when in figure four. That wasn't the finish I was looking for. All the extra interference here did not help this match live up to the great promos we were getting leading in.

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Yeah really tough finish to keep both guys over. They tried to make vader look scary by intimidating Tony and Bobby but he looked very vulnerable in the clips we saw. Really wish they could have an intense blow off to match the promos and Starrcade match.

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The whole thing sucked. I always hated the special referee stipulation anyway, and this was no good. Comical effect of having the Boss counting out Vader while Tony explains it's a no DQ cage match. Then you have Vader distracting the Boss so that Harley Race can choke Flair from the outside. Nothing made sense, like Arn shaking the cage like he couldn't enter. Hey, there's no roof, you can at least try to climb it even if you can't get in because of the shape at the top. The finish sucked. All of this is basically an angle to transition to Vader bs Boss which sucks as a major PPV main event, this is stuff for TV. Only impressive stuff was Vder doing the Flair flip on the corner and landing on his feet on a moonsault. Otherwise, bad booking. This shit got ***1/2 for Meltz while the great Anderson vs Regal match got 1/2*. Yup.

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The way they made Vader unstoppable all-day in teh lead up (in his lockeroom being watched and he'd kill anyone that came hear him) and then him not being as much a killer as they said when he got in there really hurt this for me....Flair wins, fine...end the feud, but Vader should have killed the Boss AND then he and Harley attack Flair post match (after Flair gets the win with some kind of help from theBoss) to keep him the big killer heel he was......the ending just made no sense...

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We did a huge disservice by making this finish only. Just watched the complete match and it was really fun leading to the bad finish. Vader does a fucking Flair Flip in the corner. He does a moonsault where Flair rolls out of the way, Vader lands on his feet (or close to it) and smashes Flair in the corner. Really should have included the entire thing since the ending doesn't come off as bad with the match as a whole.

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Fired this one up in full--thank you, WWE Network. Interesting wrinkle before the first Thundercage bout--Flair and Steamboat are interviewed together and Okerlund makes mention that Hulk Hogan is watching at home, and Flair discusses the possibility of a match with him. I think it almost had to be a done deal with Hogan at that point for them to go that far.

 

Good highlight package of the build-up to this match, including the Clash, the press conference, and Vader and Race mauling Ricky Steamboat during a squash--nice booking there, coming out of Steamboat's involvement with the press conference--and it leads to Flair calling in from home and demanding that Bockwinkel put him back into the match at SuperBrawl. And that's what leads to the Boss as guest referee. Honestly, this whole set-up with doctor's releases and waivers and logical flow feels VERY Wattsian, and I never thought I'd say that about any Eric Bischoff product.

 

On some level this was an overbooked clusterfuck that like the previous Thundercage match was too short, but on the other...it was pretty damned dramatic. Basically a sprint compared to Starrcade with Flair getting much more in the way of offense. The Boss turns in one of the most comically inept officiating performances since the Green Bay/Seattle replacement referees--he keeps getting distracted allowing Harley to interfere, and when he finally tries to put a stop to it he ends up getting handcuffed to the cage. I was conflicted for a lot of this--as a rule I don't like interference in cage matches which there's a ton of here, but as a separate rule I love babyfaces trapped outside a locked cage trying desperately to get in, which we also have. Boss completes his night of refereeing incompetence by assaulting Vader in the kneecap and pulling a Montreal once Flair puts the figure four on. I remember PWI absolutely hammering WCW and the Boss, the way a real-life sports official would get lambasted if he acted in such a manner.

 

I honestly don't know what the fuck to feel about this. The action is good, the pre-match booking and set-up were great, and the transition to the Boss/Vader feud was done pretty well. But it doesn't pay off the great set-up in a satisfying way and there are some eye-rolling moments like Boss breaking the handcuffs. There needed to be a way for Boss to cost Vader the match in a more ambiguous manner, giving Flair a satisfying victory while giving Vader an out. Ultimately, I think they got a little too clever for their own good.

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And so Flair's a chump to the end in this whole godforsaken mess of a feud.

 

Look, I couldn't care less about a Bossman-Vader feud that we're only going to see pieces of on this set if we see anything at all. This ​was the feud I heard so much about, that it was Flair's last great program before Hogan came in and ruined everything. Well, as far as I'm concerned, Hogan can come in and take out the trash that is 1994 Flair at his earliest convenience. He's all mouth and nothing in the ring these days, and this match was proof.

 

Will says that he did a disservice to us by not including the whole match. No, Will, you did us a favor. I have no desire to see Flair take on anyone not his own size (250 pounds or under) ever again as long as I live. I also have no desire to see a so-called World champion treated like a no-account bum just so his opponent can start an issue with an upper midcarder like Bossman. Furthermore, I have less than no desire to see Harley Race involved in a match again to the extent he was here. He didn't look this good in his entire in-ring WWF career, for God's sake. The idea of him getting the drop on Bossman at any ​point after 1980 is ludicrous, and I'm fully aware that Traylor didn't start wrestling until 1986. Even with Vader hammering him from behind, Bossman should have still had enough left to split Harley's head open on the cage and toss him out. In fact, I would have had Bossman stun Vader by doing a double noggin-knocker with him and Harley to set up the very spot I talked about. Anything ​but the mess we got.

 

The finish was even worse. Now Flair's so bad off that he can't even put the figure-four on Vader? He looked like a wrestling school reject trying to put the hold on, and while that made Bossman's screwing of Vader stand out more, it also made Flair look like a total joke. If you can't even half-ass your finisher, Ric, get the hell out of this business before you ruin your legacy completely. It had nothing to do with bad booking, either; Flair simply couldn't execute the hold properly. Why even use the damn thing if you think you may have trouble applying it, which with the size of Leon's legs is a possibility? Have Bossman call for the submission with a side headlock or a hammerlock; what difference does it make as long as Vader's screwed out of the title and Bossman's the one doing it?

 

I didn't actually see Bossman kneecap Vader with the nightstick, but I know what it was a reference to, and it's another case of lame copycatting, especially since Tonya Harding and her goons cost Nancy Kerrigan a real-life shot at Olympic gold. You'd think that there would be some lines wrestling simply wouldn't cross, but you'd be wrong, I suppose.

 

I thought Heenan did a great job walking the line of neutrality, which you'd expect considering his history with Flair. He also really got over the screwjob aspect of the finish by talking about how he was close enough to ringside to hear all the conversations taking place, but he'd never heard Vader give up. Tony, of course, was in "get the show off the air on time" mode, so he didn't react to what Bobby was saying at all, and if that's the way he's going to be going forward, I'm going to wish even more fervently than I already do that the Brain had stayed with Vince. His constant referrals to Traylor as "Bossman" was the only thing I didn't like, and he was probably doing it on orders from Bischoff.

 

As a final comment, what does it say about American wrestling at this time that the best promotion in the country (SMW) isn't even seen by three-quarters of the people, and its booker is best known for being Yoko's mouthpiece in the WWF? The so-called BIg Two are damn near unwatchable, and the Little One that Would Be Big (ECW) is even worse.

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