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[1991-11-30-WWF-MSG, NY] Ric Flair vs Hulk Hogan


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  • 4 months later...

It's a match that happened so many times through the years that it sort of became run-of-the-mill by a certain point, which considering how much of a dream match this was in the 80s, seems insane. I wanted to get into this, and I do think this was a good match where both guys worked hard, but Perfect at ringside makes it feel a little cheap. Flair pins Hogan after hitting him with brass knucks that Perfect threw into the ring. Tony Garea is in to correct the record, and they end up reversing the decision, and suddenly I'm wondering if Flair vs Hogan is happening at the Sportatorium. This would have been the perfect time to give Flair a pinfall over Hogan since Hogan wasn't champ and also because they were being matched up again the next month. But it is what it is.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

No Mr. Perfect at first even though he is introduced by Fink. First time I saw this I was excited to see Flair get the pinfall win over Hogan. Then the decision gets reversed which sucks. It was a really good time to give Flair the win but I guess they need to protect Hogan since he was in line for title shot at Tuesday in Texas.

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There's a reversal, but...Flair still gets a 1-2-3 on Hogan. That counts for a lot with me. I did always hate how inconsistent WWF officials were with pointing out screwjobs, just as they were inconsistent with trying to prevent interference. Both guys cut a quick pace and the crowd is pretty electric, but Hogan doesn't exactly bring it in terms of effective offense. The near-fall on Hogan's legdrop was about as perfectly timed as you can get. I give Hulk credit for limping his way all through his posedown.

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  • 1 year later...

Slap on a better finish and I have no problem with this being your WM 8 main event as the crowd was hot and the opening Hogan house of fire segment was great but made even better with Flair being resourceful. I found it odd they wedged in this match at MSG between the two PPV's. Finish is of course a little annoying but seeing Flair get a visual pin was cool. Between this match, the 1994 BATB match, and the 1999 series that I always liked more than most, Flair vs. Hogan feels like kind of an underated feud to me.

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  • 1 year later...

This was really two separate matches: the first half was all Hogan, the second half all Flair. That meant that it wasn't quite the epic encounter most fans were picturing; then again, in order to be that epic it would have had to be NWA World Champion Flair vs. WWF World Champion Hogan before 100,000 fans at the Rose Bowl sometime in '86, winner take all. That never came close to happening, so this was the next best thing. We got to see each man whip up on the other, and both sets of fans (make no mistake, there were quite a few visible Flair fans at the Garden on this night) came away thinking that their man gave his opponent the beating he'd been meaning to for years.

 

There was only one problem: the commentary. Vince finally had the match most wrestling fans had dreamed of for over seven years in his number one market, was sitting right there to call it in fact, and how does he frame the whole thing? He tells a story which has Flair and Curt as nothing more than operatives of Percy's, out to soften up Hogan for the match that really matters with Taker at Tuesday in Texas. That brought what happened in the ring down about a hundred notches. Anyone could have been used in that spot, even Steve Lombardi. It didn't need to be someone who up until a week or so ago had his own separate and arguably more compelling issue with Hogan. That issue needed to be dealt with entirely separately.

 

Ideally, the match at Survivor Series would have been Hogan/Flair with Taker doing the interfering instead of the opposite, which would have made this a rematch with Flair defending against Hogan. As it was, once the whole "real World champion" hook was all but eliminated, both by Hogan's loss to Taker and Tunney's decision to, in non-kayfabe terms, strip Flair of his gimmick, this became a match with nothing at all on the line, and I'll bet some fans would rather have seen Taker defend against Hogan instead, with Flair either fighting Piper again or someone else entirely.

 

Let me try and explain what I mean by Tunney, a kayfabe President of the WWF, stripping Flair of his gimmick. Everyone knows that the NWA belt had to go back, that Flair couldn't keep displaying it on pain of the WWF being sued into oblivion. That's all fine and dandy. But they missed an opportunity to really keep the gimmick hot.

 

Okay, so you don't want me (Flair) displaying another organization's belt, Mr. Tunney? Fine, any old belt will do, and I'll prove it by using one of your old belts. Let's see you blur a belt that your organization made. It's like Jake Roberts and his snakes; it's not the snake (or the belt) that matters; it's the man who possesses them, and until I'm beaten, I'm still the Real World champion. Deal with it! This, in essence, makes a virtue out of necessity; Flair needs to display a WWF-approved belt, so give him one but don't blur it. That gives it at least some symbolic value and allows Flair to rub Tunney's nose in his own decision. But that didn't happen, of course, and Flair didn't look particularly badass thumbing his nose at Tunney's decision with a tag belt nobody knew even was one.

 

Anyway, back to the match. I liked Heenan asking to go to ringside when Curt didn't show up, and I'd have loved to have seen it. Curt's really earning his keep outside the ring, though, as he's able to get physically involved at least somewhat, helping Flair with leverage on the figure-four and handing him the knucks he used to knock Hogan out here. Ideally, Heenan would handle the talking Flair doesn't and Curt would be the ringside muscle, but they seldom chose to work it that way.

 

For whatever reason, Vince hates to identify his "officials" by name. I'm sure a lot of longtime MSG viewers recognized Tony Garea, but Vince refused to say his name. He also refused to acknowledge the other "official" in the ring, who was none other than referee Earl Hebner's twin brother Dave.

 

Was the finish cheap? Not under these circumstances. Contrary to what Loss said above, this was the worst time to give Hogan a second straight televised pinfall loss, screwy or not. Flair's cheating had to be acknowledged and punished, the way it wasn't at Survivor Series, in order to reassure the fans that it wouldn't be tolerated at Tuesday in Texas. Anything less and the buyrate for TIT would have plunged through the floor, at least in the New York area where this outcome was known. Who wants to see Hogan potentially cheated three times in a row and pay top dollar to do it? Not anyone with common sense, that's for sure.

 

This was a good first bout for what it was. Hopefully the rematch in December will have a tad more zing.

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  • 2 years later...

Good effort by both, but Hogan's offense looks pretty weak. Flair's selling of said offense seems a little over the top due to this. Perfectly done Hogan-wins-no-he-doesn't moment. This felt like a first meeting that was designed to leave fans wanting more and it did work.

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  • GSR changed the title to [1991-11-30-WWF-MSG, NY] Ric Flair vs Hulk Hogan

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