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Charles (Loss)

[1991-08-31-WWF-Superstars] Funeral Parlor: Bobby Heenan

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Heenan is out in a suit with the Big Gold Belt, which Vince calls "a championship belt par excellence". Heenan says this is the belt of the Real World Champion Ric Flair. The WWF title is a cheap imitation of the real deal. I wish someone other than Paul Bearer had conducted this interview, because while I have grown to LOVE those facial expressions, it makes the impact of this too much a part of the machine. Heenan trolls Piper, and Piper leaves the broadcast booth in a very obviously edited in spot, but it's a nice bit of production. Piper tells Hogan there is only one real champion, and that's Hulk Hogan. Piper pulls the "I Scare Flair" line out of mothballs. Heenan says if Flair was there, he'd have Piper on his hands and knees shining the belt. Piper says he'll shine the belt all right and spits on it. Just ... wow.

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Vince's ridiculously perky "IT'S THAT TIME AGAIN!" inexplicably made me giggle. Bearer's guest is world-renowned broadcast journalist Bobby "The Brain" Heeeenan??, who's rocking the suit-and-tennis-shoes look. Heenan calls out Hogan and then Piper, who leaves the comfort of his green-screen effect to confront Heenan. Piper spits on the belt, spits on Heenan, and storms off--not a smart move, Roddy.

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Even Paul Bearer recognizes the journalistic skills of Bobby Heenan. Brain has Flair’s belt. Bobby runs down Hogan as champion. Heenan takes some shots at Piper which is just going to make Flair’s plate full having to deal with both Hogan and Piper. There was a crowd shot that seemed totally out of place. Piper confronts Heenan and ends up spitting on the belt and throwing it down on floor. More disrespect of belt.

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Bobby waxes poetically about Flair and has the big gold to back it up. Good lord, I can appreciate WWF trying some new advance camera shots but the edit from Piper leaving the booth to showing up on set was too much. Flair vs. Piper seems to be pushed into drive as a program to bridge the gap to the inevitable Hogan feud.

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Finally, something important happens on The Funeral Parlor that doesn't directly involve Taker; Percy must be so thrilled. I can see Loss's point, but the question is: If not now, when? When was Percy going to get actual angle advancement stuff on his segment, the kind of stuff you have segments like this for in the first place? Unless you wanted to go to Okerlund podium interviews all the way around, Percy and Beefcake needed to get into the mix some way, even if they had to lay out and let the guests do 98% of the talking.

 

They're really going to push the announcers not getting physically involved from here on out, so get ready for plenty of schoolmaster Vince talking about contracts and "being professional". Of course, and thank God, that really doesn't apply to Bobby, who gets spit on by an enraged Piper here. So does the belt, and I'm surprised that Piper, who actually spent most of his career fighting guys for it, treated it that way without a second thought. I don't blame him for it, but it surprises me nonetheless.

 

There's just one thing wrong with Vince's strategy here: if the NWA/WCW belt and champion are so meaningless, then why should we pay money to see Hogan fight him? He's just another bum Heenan dug up from somewhere who thinks he can take the Hulkster, nothing more, and he carries some toy belt that cool guys like Piper treat like garbage. Obviously, that's an extreme pro-WWF perspective, but even the people who know who Flair is and respect what he's done are slowly getting the idea that's he's not going to be as big a deal as he should have been, Yes, he won the Rumble for the WWF belt a few months later, but that was just so a babyface could beat him clean at Mania VIII. I wasn't watching very closely by now, but I got the distinct impression from what I saw that as far as WWF World title threats go, Flair was small-time compared to what we'd seen earlier for guys like Orndorff, DiBiase, and even Bundy. Taker seemed to be pushed as the one who could end Hulkamania for good, not the much smaller and less muscular Flair.

 

All of that said, a Piper/Flair program sounds really interesting as an intro to Flair for the fans who may have only seen him in passing. I'm sure Flair requested to work with Rod given their long friendship, and Heenan being added to the mix (at least for now) adds some spice due to his prior history with Piper. I'm also anxious to see Vince get clocked with the chair, although I know that's a couple of months away.

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