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Charles (Loss)

[1994-06-23-WCW-Clash of the Champions XXVII] Ric Flair vs Sting

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There's a lot to be said about the setting for this match. One of the more memorable rivalries of the early WCW days gets its last opportunity to headline a major show. Flair works overtime to get this crowd to turn against him, and it works as much as it's going to work. He does it to the detriment of the match in some ways, as he spends a lot of time stalling and jaw jacking with fans. The announcers are driving me insane by not shutting up about Hogan. Every time Flair is on the losing end of an exchange, it's because he's THINKING ABOUT HOGAN. Give it a rest.

 

More than having a good match, the goal seems to be to make sure Flair gets booed so Hogan gets a big pop coming out.

 

Not really even a good match, but it's yearbook worthy for many reasons and needed to be here in full. But this is around the time you start to get angry with the promotion for their new direction -- not that Hogan is in, because they would have been fools not to sign him. The problem was more the domino effect Hogan had on everything in the promotion.

 

This was kind of a sad moment for me as a 14-year old fan of the early days of WCW.

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They talk about Sting and Ric Flair facing each other on the first ever Clash of the Champions show. So would this match/event pretty much be an end of an era with Hogan coming in? Sherri comes out with Sting face paint on apparently to say she is in Sting’s side. How they hell can he trust her? Is he even looking for a manager? You would think he would say thanks but please leave me alone.

 

Flair is in full heel mode stalling and yelling at fans. This turn still doesn’t make fully sense to me. Why did he choose to turn? He beat Vader. I can see him facing Hogan first as both good guys, losing and then turning heel when he feels he can’t beat Hogan without cheating.

 

Sting inadvertly hits Sherri by mistake. He goes to check on her for some reason when she on her feet which you would think would mean she is okay. Then gets rolled up by Flair from behind. Then Sherri turns on Sting who really comes off as an idiot for falling for this. I really am feeling bad for the WCW fans from what I’ve seen from this yearbook so far.

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This is a famous match on many levels and I know why it's on this Yearbook. It was an okay match with Flair stalling and quarreling with fans at ringside. Sherri took a really scary bump off Sting's crossbody as she smashed the back of her head on the bottom of the guardrail. She looked legitimately woozy for the rest of the segment. Hogan gets a little bit better pop to save Sting after the Sherri swerve and subsequent beat down. He cuts a promo to close the show asking for a contract signing to face Flair in the near future. This is really all very infuriating because I know what this all leads to for two long years.

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It is going to be tough to be objective with all the Hogan stuff because you know how much shit lasted till mid - 96 but I am trying to watch everything like it is the first time. The match was almost strictly a vehicle to get Flair booed for the Hogan run in. Flair does an admirable job and when Hogan comes down at the end, he gets a big pop and the crowd is jacked. I was really frustrated with Sting no selling in this match and the SHerri turn was stupid as hell, did her a Flair decide that Sting would try to fly outside at one point right where she would be standing? Anyway it does feel like the end of an era as everything important with the company now is emphasized through Hogan.

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I guess I'm in the minority, but I think Flair and Sting never get the best out of each other, them working together pretty much always garantees a lower denominator match with cliché spots and sequences being repeated like routines with lots of begging, lots of Sting no-selling, hiptosses and Flair Flops. This is the case here, although to me this is better than their famous and not very good 1990 match, mostly because Sting is a much better worker at this point. There's a nice spot in which Sting anticipates the Flair Flop on the corner and blast him with a clothesline before Flair gets to run the apron. The Sherri turn you could see come from a mile away, but kudoos to her for catching Sting and taking that nasty bump on the floor. She was a trooper.

 

And of course the annoying part, because you have to know the show will be all about Hogan from now on. First off, Heenan is beloved, but he was just as much a Hogan bitch as Gene was. Second of all, Hogan and Flair having physical contact already (with Flair begging like a bitch) was stupid. Third, Jimmy Hart is fucking unbearable as Hogan's retarded jumping bitch. I don't care how great he was in Memphis, these years as Hogan's stooge are enough for me to erase whatever goodwill I have toward this guy. Here you can hear him tell Hogan to "Hit her ! Hit her !", meaning Sherri. WAIT A FUCKING MINUTE ! This is a guy encouraging your number one American hero and babyface to hit a woman in the face on a show destined at kids (yeah, now that Hogan is in the place, the demos targetted by the company is kids). To me it's way more disturbing that Tommy Dreamer actually piledriving Beulah on a freak-show promotion with a metal/grungy/porn-trash mentality. I think I hate Jimmy Hart the Hulkamaniac more than Bruti. Anyway, Hogan is in the place and he's already unbearable like he was in the WWF. The heel turn can't happen soon enough. Oh, you mean I have two years of Hulkamania to suffer through before Hulk becomes somewhat enjoyable ? Fuck me.

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It's hard to fault WCW too much for this--if the opportunity to sign Hogan is there, I can't fault them for taking it even if leads to a product I don't like. If you've signed Hogan, it only makes sense to go forward with the match that the WWF couldn't pull off. If you go forward with Hogan vs. Flair off the bat, Sting is going to be left out in the cold. All that being said, this set-up does Sting no favors whatsoever. All the pre-match build is on Flair and Hogan, all throughout the match the talk is about how Hogan's affecting Flair, Sting gets his ass kicked by a woman who double-crosses him, etc. I can't really offer a better alternative right now (the idea of having Hogan and Flair as a dream team before building to the match sounds nice in theory--in practice, I think the longer you put the money match off the higher the odds that something goes awry, just as it did in the WWF) but Sting really comes off as ineffective even as he dominates the match. There's really nothing new under the sun here, as these two roll through all their standard spots with Ric getting pretty badly bitched out, until demonstrating his superiority in the most important departments: brainpower and trust.

 

The WCW International title is finally mercy killed and Flair and Sherri put on a pretty awesome post-match attack, before Hogan comes in and bitches Flair out again. Yes, Jerome is 100% right on the Hogan/Sherri altercation and Jimmy Hart's involvement specifically. It's one of numerous issues to come that demonstrate how many ridiculous advantages Hogan always gets. Plus Hart comes off as the little Chester the pup from Looney Toons, to Hogan's Spike the Bulldog.

 

This historic, legendary unification match between WCW's two top all-time legends ends with Hogan's music playing. If that doesn't sum up late-'94 WCW...

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I know I'm giving WCW way too much credit here, but I kinda liked the Sherri "turn" in this match...if one can even call it that (bear with me).

 

So, Sherri comes out wearing Sting's make-up and the immediate expectation is that she is going to screw the Stinger and reveal that she was with Flair all along.

 

She spends the whole match cheering Sting on and even trying to get the ref to break up a pin when Naitch is using the ropes for leverage. This is what one might expect from a face manager, but, again, it just seems to be leading to a predictable turn.

 

But then, Sting inadvertently nails Sherri with a crossbody that knocks her out and one that Flair dragged her body into. It is not only a great looking spot, but it completely made me rethink how "predictable" this was because when she comes into the ring and begins to attack Sting, it comes across to me more like she was getting revenge for Sting's careless high-flying rather than her executing a flawless plan devised by Flair.

 

So, in a weird way, it wasn't a swerve at all. Sherri really WAS coming to cheer on Sting and be a good guy for once...but Sting's recklessness forced Sherri to reconsider and join the dark side. Further evidence of Sherri's good intentions is the fact that her purse isn't loaded with a brick or anything else nefarious.

 

If you look at it that way, the turn is the opposite of predictable because you go into the match expecting Sherri to screw Sting, but she really doesn't screw him as much as his own devil-may-care aerial tactics screw him...but you still end up with Sherri joining Flair, not as part of an elaborate plot, but as an in-the-moment, heat-of-passion decision.

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This match is super fun.  The crowd is really hot for Sting vs. Flair, as they always are, which is why NWA/WCW went back to it so many times.  The crowd is eating up the early antics, and I love this type of simplicity in building up the early stages of a match between two huge personalities.  Flair is really on point all night for this show, as he's looking to really build things up for the upcoming Hogan match.  I loved his promo from the back (on screen) when Hogan was talking with Mean Gene.  He reminded me of a crazy comic book villain.  Flair is so awesome walking around the crowd, shouting at them... all Sting has to do is look at the audience and they flip out.  Sting has lots of energy in his quick jolts of offense, but Flair masterly averts each one.  I mean, this is the kind of stuff you buy a ticket for.  This may seem like paint by numbers to some, but I say... come on! It's Sting vs. Flair!  :) Sting sells really well during the beatdown.  The superplex is awesome, and how about Sherri bump!  She is one of the GOATs.  The finish is a abrupt, but this a fun match.  This combined with Hogan's debut and the Larry Z vs. Regal match make for pretty solid Clash.  I dig your theory on Sherri DMJ, 5 years later ha. 

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