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Charles (Loss)

[1994-10-23-WCW-Halloween Havoc] Ric Flair vs Hulk Hogan (Loser Must Retire Cage)

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Flair is not showing too much confidence in his face. His body language is all wrong. Heenan is not sounding too well to say the least. Tony feeds him an easy question and Heenan is all who cares before remembering he is a broadcast journalist. Mr T. is wearing a jacket which is unusual for a referee. Mr. T shoves Hogan when they get face to face. Flair attacks the knee to cheers from the crowd. But then seems to immediately forget about the knee. I actually find myself siding with Hogan on his issues with Mr. T. Anything goes in the match Mr. T. Just count the pinfalls and check for submissions. Flair tries to climb out of the cage but Hogan catches him upside down hanging outside. Hogan slams him head first repeatedly into the cage. From the camera angle of this, Flair looks to have his face in Hogan's crotch area. Fitting visual for this feud. Flair finally goes back to the knee and gets the figure four on. Hogan survivies. Mr T. ends up getting in the way of a Hogan charge. Flair attacks Mr T. on the mat. Sherri tries to climb the cage but gets sexually assaulted by Jimmy Hart. Sting wants a go too but The Masked Man takes him out. I'm guessing the Masked Man is either Bob Orton or Billy Martin. Sherri handcuffs Mr T. to the ropes. Not the smartest thing when this referee would be determining your career. Hogan hulks up and this turns into a handicap match with Hulk beating up both Flair and Sherri. Hogan is just really beating up Sherri here. She was trying to leave the cage and gets pressed slammed by Hogan. Leg drop and it's over as Mr. T makes the pinfall count. The Masked Man had just disappeared as quickly as he got involved. Flair seems to be an after thought once match is over. Didn't get a camera zoom in of him leaving the ring or anything. He's your biggest star and his career had just ended. It was entertaining to watch but I think the Bash match ends up being the best as Flair wasn't totally crushed yet by that point. The Masked Man shows up again (different looking guy under mask though) and just stands behind Hogan for the longest time while has to get his posing in. Hogan avoids the attack and unmaskes Beefcake. Kevin Sullivan and Avalanche help Beefcake and squash Hogan. Sting saves Hogan for further beating.

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Hogan isn't as booed here as he has been in most segments, but Flair has a pretty vocal contingent on his side. I wouldn't by any means call this a great match, but it was a really hot one. Sherri worked almost as hard as Flair, taking tons of bumps and participating in lots of spots. What I hatehatehatehate about this is Flair doing the disappearing act. At the time, this was intended to be Flair's swan song - genuinely - so he should have had a goodbye moment. That just seemed especially disrespectful and petty. The parts of this that are Flair and Hogan in the cage are the best parts. They had the crowd and this felt like a big deal, as it should have. Imagine Ric Flair vs Hulk Hogan for the world title where the loser must retire in a cage match five years earlier. It would have done record business. The interference spots, while well done, were cheap considering that this really should have been a straightforward blowoff match to settle the score between the two "greatest stars of all time". They try their hardest to make Flair's departure seem insignificant with all the post-match angle stuff, but it doesn't really work. Brutus Beefcake replacing Ric Flair as the top heel? That's a tough sell. Seeing WCW's transformation from what it was at the beginning of the year - to peaking under Flair's booking with Spring Stampede and Slamboree - to this - is really depressing.

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What I hatehatehatehate about this is Flair doing the disappearing act. At the time, this was intended to be Flair's swan song - genuinely - so he should have had a goodbye moment.

Eh, in the context of the time I don't think it was that bad. Ppl getting big farewells just wasn't done very often back in those days in mainstream US wrestling. Like you can't miss what you don't have. There was the Savage/Liz moment at Mania 7 and that's about it that I can think of and even then, Savage was sticking around, turning face and knew he was going to come back eventually anyways which doesn't apply here.

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I suspect the plan all along was for Flair to come back at some point in '95, which might be why they didn't do anything. That said, even if that was the plan, they probably should have at least done something to make it look like Flair was actually retired for good, but knowing Flair, he probably planned to come back as a heel anyway, so maybe he didn't want to babyface himself? Who knows?

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This had a lot of heat but wasn't a great match. It was fun to watch and Sherri was a blast both bumping and to look at. The masked man bullshit was annoying though. Hogan pretty much destroyed Flair for the most part except the few minutes Flair worked on his knee. Hogan does his thing and it's over. Flair vanishes with Sherri and Hulk poses. The masked man returns and attacks Hulk. Hulk retaliates and unmasks him revealing it to be Brutus Beefcake. Then Kevin Sullivan and Avalanche show up and they triple team Hulk forming the Dungeon of Doom. Oh no. Sting makes the save for Hulk and this company has turned to utter dogshit in just a few months. Sad.

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Up to the finish, I thought this was pretty great. Flair and Hogan both were cheered and felt like huge stars. The cage match they wrestler reaped of desperation and awesome spots and Flair controlled the offense for a great deal. The interference spots were annoying but did have a chaotic nature and Sherri bumped like crazy. The finish is fine but then Flair just leaves and we get the big Dungeon angle which seems real deflated and cheap after what should have been about the retirement of one of the biggest wrestlers in history. Really big match that had an epic feel but left a horrible taste in your mouth at the ending image.

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From the 10/31/94 WON: "It was no secret going in that after Hogan beat Flair, the company's No. 1 priority would be the post-match angle to establish John Tenta, now called Avalanche, as the new monster heel threat to be fed to Hogan. There would be no time to give Flair the send-off that he deserves."

 

He even mentioned the plan was for Flair to return in March to team with Hogan, so he didn't I don't think anyone in the business bought Flair retiring in the slightest, so why bother giving him a big send-off? Yes, it would have made it look authentic, but they had to bow to whatever Hogan wanted.

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Bobby is Hog Wild 96 level of drunk during the main event here. Tony seems aggravated by it.

 

I have to admit they kind of hooked me with the masked man stuff and I was surprised with Tenta showing up. I actually begged my mother to order the rerun on the Tuesday after the show. I watched very little WCW at the time due to not having TBS so I was probably more lax on the show than their hardcore fans.

 

And it just occurred to me that WCW was probably trying to duplicate the Bret/Owen feud with Hogan and Beefcake. They make sure to point out that they are basically brothers. Bobby's "He butchered their friendship" is pretty shameful (not his fault) as is Tony's alluding to Earthquake

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I have not seen their 1999 series in a while but I have watched the 1991 matches recently and obviously the 1994 matches and to me the Bash at the Beach 1994 match is clearly the cream of the crop and maybe one of the best "Hogan as ace" matches i have ever seen.

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I have not seen their 1999 series in a while but I have watched the 1991 matches recently and obviously the 1994 matches and to me the Bash at the Beach 1994 match is clearly the cream of the crop and maybe one of the best "Hogan as ace" matches i have ever seen.

After re-watching the 3 '94 matches I'm inclined to agree. I hated the Bash at the Beach match at the time that it happened, but in hindsight I realize that's just because of personal reasons. I was so pissed that Hogan was coming in and changing the territory so dramatically to all of the things that i didn't like about WWF. So, I had a bit of a passionate negative attitude toward that match. Re-watching it I acknowledge that it's good.

 

The Havoc match, on the other hand, I had a more positive attachment to. I still hated that Hogan won, but I was so sure that was going to happen going in and was used to Hogan being there and burying Flair for a few months by then. Plus, I had a pretty positive memory attached to Flair. I'll be honest, I threw one to Sherri thanks to that garter belt/stockings gimmick. Hey, if Lars Fredericksen will admit to enjoying himself while watching Baby Doll, I'll admit to this. And I don't even think Sherri is special in that manor. Just loved that outfit.

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The match itself is pretty hot until the last mintutes, but Hogan is the shittiest babyface ever. He keeps his shirt with him in his tights only to choke Flair seconds into the match, then threatens the referee. Way to go ! Anyway, Masked Man, abusing a woman in bras, panties & stockings, a nonsensical "hadncuff the referee and beat him up spot" which kinda kill the purpose of winning the match, more abusing a woman because Hogan is just that kind of a babyface, swerve. Who booked this shit ? Russo ? The post-match is actually pretty hot in all its ridiculous glory, especially in retrospect, with Heenan dropping the "he butchered a friendship" several times, while Schiavone was forced to deliver the "this building is rumbling like there's an avalanche" or some nonsense. Hilarious. Of course Quake squashes Hogan, and you can send you get well postcards to Titan Tow... wait a minute. Too bad Fred Ottman wasn't on the roster anymore, I'm sure they could have renamed him Steamboat (awful pun intended). I'm gald this wasn't Flair's retirement match because the ending was godawful, and it was pretty much always in the plan for him to come back at some point in 1995 so I don't mind the disappear act at all. The post match revealed the direction of the new WCW for the year to come. It will be so bad I'll probably enjoy it more than watching Flair degrading himself in angles with Dave Sullivan and playing Hogan's bitch.

 

(Sherri's jump from the top of the cage was insane, and she worked much harder than Hogan, who threw some really lazy looking shots in this match. And she had a great ass, yes, I said it.)

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Was this the first-ever female cage dive? Or, at least, in America? There had to have been some earlier examples, but none come to mind.

In America maybe, unless she did it in a Savage match too. With the average workrate of woman's US wrestling, I can't really see it happening.

In Japan, Bull Nakano dropped a freaking legdrop from the top of a cage in 1990 or so.

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This is actually really fun and briskly paced, and the insane heat helps, right up until Hogan is rammed into the masked man's pipe. Then the stupidity of Flair & Sherri handcuffing T so that he can't count is exposed and the match goes off the rails: Hogan shrugs off the pipe, gives a half-hearted Hulk-Up, and then abuses Sherri about 3 or 4 more times than is necessary (not even counting the times he's beaten her up before this). Hogan beats Flair into oblivion of course, and Flair is immediately shunted to the back and forgotten about. I agree--Flair was so big and so important to the company and so legendary that if there ever was a time to waver from WWF-style booking, this was it. Hell, the WWF itself gave Savage *two* send-offs. Instead, it's a set-up for the Three Faces of Fear. Sting's rescue is actually pretty hot and it's nice to see him back in the main event angles, but man, coming off the Flair feud and everyone really wanting to see Vader in the role, Beefcake is about the biggest #1 heel letdown in history. WCW is officially Hogan Championship Wrestling, and there's no relief in sight for another 12 months, and really not for another 19 or so until the NWO forms.

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WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan vs Ric Flair - Halloween Havoc 1994 Steel Cage, Career vs Career Match

 

You can never accuse Hulk Hogan of being lazy or boring. His matches might be overly simplistic, but he always bring a ton of energy to his matches. I loved this up until the finish. They were just going full bore the entire time. They probably could have taken some time to let some things to breathe, but this was fun. Hogan was flying around, throwing punches, raking eyes and throwing Flair into the cage. Hogan had every right to be pissed at Flair because Flair Tonya Harding'd him. Flair got plenty of offense in to attacking the knee (which was injured by a Masked Man attack in August of '94), vertical suplex and chops. Hogan was always quick to come back and attack Flair with punches and slam him in cage. It actually gave the match a lot of excitement because it was so nip & tuck. I liked Flair crotching himself. The ending leg work was really damn good and the figure-4 was dramatic. Then overbooking kicked in with Mr. T ref bump. Sherri climbing the cage, mystery man nails Jimmy Hart & Sting with a pipe, Sherri loses her clothes. Sherri leaps off the cage onto the back of Hogan! Insane! Sherri taking all those bumps was crazy and amusing. She took the big boot. Great Hulk Up! Legdrop and 1-2-3! Flair is retired and WCW briskly moves into the future with Brutus Beefcake being revealed as Mystery Man and Kevin Sullivan & Earthquake (now Avalanche) attacking Hogan kicking off the ill-fated Dungeon of Doom storyline. The ending was some serious overbooking, but it was a really fun match. ***1/2

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This match is so fun.  It totally delivered, I know what is to come, but I thought they put on a heck of a show here.  Sherri was incredible!  She is a top 3 manager of all-time easy.  I'm watching the YB now, so thinking of it as if I didn't know the Dungeon of Doom storyline that lies ahead, I think this was pretty fantastic.  Hogan was really laying it in with those chops at the top of the cage.  I really like Sting coming out to save Hogan in the end as well.  Hogan had the spotlight up to this point, as he should have.  So, it's nice to see Sting being brought back into the main event as Hogan "retires" Flair.  Sure, it was over the top, but man was it fun. 

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