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Charles (Loss)

[1991-12-02-WWF-Corpus Christi, TX] Ric Flair vs Shawn Michaels

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The highlight of this is Lord Alfred Hays' explanation of the difference between a manager and Executive Consultant. This is a pretty non-descript match, but it is the first match between the two, so it's an interesting piece of trivia. Jannetty comes out to save Shawn when Perfect keeps interfering. But he ends up just rolling Shawn into the ring for Flair to pin Shawn with his feet on the ropes.

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Michaels is quick to avoid any of Perfect’s interference. Shawn ends up doing himself in by eating the guardrail on a dive to the outside. Marty finally makes an appearance to back up Shawn. Jannetty rolls a obvious knocked out Shawn into the ring only for him to get pinned by Flair immediately. Nice work Marty.

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Flair flirting with Mike McGuirk is so, so Flair. Michaels works very energetically and brings a lot of nice offense, though for Flair vs. a tag wrestler this is a tad one-sided in Michaels' favor. It's a really fun performance, though. More dissension in the Rockers as Jannetty "helps" an unconscious Michaels back into the ring so he can promptly be pinned. Flair gratuitously puts his feet on the ropes, just because.

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Marty Jannetty in a FRIGGIN OVERKILL SHIRT IN 1991!?!?!??!?! I know C*bain had officially killed Metal yet as Skid Row still had a Number One album in 1992, but heavy metal was on its last commercial legs. Then add that Overkill is a non-Big 4 Thrash band and Marty had a Glam Metal gimmick, it just made me mark out like crazy.

 

I wonder if Shawn was more excited to wrestle DiBiase in his hometown or wrestle Flair on TV.

 

This was excessively lopsided in Shawn's favor and I have no idea why that is? It is not like Shawn had a ton of offense to get in at this time. I will say this some of the best I have ever seen Shawn's strikes look. This was definitely a low-rent Flair/Pillman match with all the strike exchanges in the corner, which looked good on the WWF sliding scale, but don't compare to the JCP/NWA/WCW stuff. Flair's offense is really basic Flair and he works in his three major bumps: Flair Flip, Flair Flop and press slam off the top. That was the strangest Flair Flop as he literally just flopped for no apparent reason. Shawn wipes himself out on a plancha after clotheslining Flair out and Jannetty in the Overkill T-Shirt pushes him back in. Flair puts his feet on the ropes for the easy win. I like how he just puts his feet on the ropes just as that extra dig.

 

Marty Jannetty Came To Shred! Flair & Michaels came just have the most basic Flair match you'll see as Michaels did not have much to add to this, but Flair still let him have the most of the match. Both inside and outside of the ring, you cannot deny that Flair is very generous.

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This match was more competitive and entertaining than I had remembered. I thought Flair did a good job of letting Michaels do his highflying stuff and grounding him when needed. Lord Al playing quasi heel on commentary is always an interesting ride. Not a great match, but certainly historic and fun to watch.

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Flair was WAY too generous here. Other than the Tito match I've talked about at length this is a great example of Flair not thinking. Shawn at this point was half of a lower mid card tag team that was breaking up, losing all the time and had issues. Yet he dominates Flair for much of this.

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What was Flair supposed to do, Brain? Take it upon himself to beat Shawn in under three minutes the way he supposedly should have?

 

For the record, I didn't like this performance by Flair any more than anyone else seemed to, but it had its purpose: to put the last straw in the Rockers breakup angle (though the match wouldn't be seen for several months, and then only on home video). In fact, I'd venture to say that if it had been televised, you could make a good case for Jannetty going heel. He knew Shawn was knocked silly and couldn't defend himself, but instead of finding a way to revive him somehow so he could continue in a match he'd dominated, Marty simply rolled him back into the ring still out colder than a wedge, thus giving Flair a ridiculously easy pin. If Jannetty had been my partner and pulled that stuff, he'd have gotten a lot more than a superkick through a fake glass window.

 

I didn't like Flair getting virtually no offense. I know that the essence of the character, especially by this time, is that he talks a better game than he brings to the ring; he claims to be the greatest wrestler in the world, but other than some chops and a kneedrop, he doesn't tend to do a whole lot. He's a lot like Foley in that you go to see his signature spots and bumps more than a classic match.

 

Right now, however, he's actually defending a belt (at least in his own mind) that he claims to be more important than the WWF title, so you would think that he'd be a little more motivated to show what he can do. But he's not, and though part of that can be laid squarely at Vince's feet, since Flair had to know by now that he wasn't going to be The Man even if he won the title at the Rumble, part of it is on Flair himself. You'd think that a new atmosphere and fresh opponents would motivate him to turn back the clock to the pre-Horsemen days when he wasn't simply a punching bag for every babyface who was mad at the group, but he's still standing there and taking it without trying to fight back for the most part. Curt's more menacing outside the ring than Flair is inside, to the point where Sean and Lord Alfred still laud Curt as one of the most physically dangerous men in the WWF even though he's strictly a manager. Who here has ever heard of such a thing?

 

If it hadn't been so close to Shawn's turn, I would have said that Flair knew Shawn was looking to showcase himself for a possible singles run and was choosing to help him out. But the turn was already set in stone; there was no need to convince anyone of anything. As I said above, Flair didn't need to squash Shawn in three minutes (or even look like he was capable of doing so), but he needed to be more than a bleached blonde version of the Honky Tonk Man, which he's turned into too many times from about 1986 onward, though never quite this blatantly.

 

The video distortion still looks ridiculous, especially since the NWA belt is long, long gone. If Flair wants to wear an old WWF tag team belt into the ring and claim that it's the Real World championship belt, call him out for his delusion on commentary and make him look like a fool just like you would every other heel, although you would then have to explain how Flair got his hands on a WWF tag team belt. Better yet, have him buy a new belt for himself like Teddy did with the Million Dollar Belt. When he wins the title at the Rumble, have him decree that that belt is the new WWF World title belt and the one he'll be defending, since the original WWF belt was once around the waists of losers like Hogan and Savage and he doesn't want it to touch his waist. Talk about a heat-getter!

 

I don't think Lord Alfred was playing heel here, but he certainly admired Flair and let it show, while Sean chose to follow the party line established by Vince that Flair was just another pretender who would fall before Hulkamania. His Lordship stopped short of approving of Flair's wearing an unrecognized belt into the ring, though.

 

I didn't really understand His Lordship's definition of the difference between a manager and an executive consultant, and I doubt he did either, but it was fun to listen to.

 

This is definitely the low point of Flair's WWF run so far. If after watching this match you would have told me that Flair would be WWF World champion in a little over a month, I'd have placed a phone call to the wacky ward on your behalf.

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I would have Flair take about 60 percent of the match with basically the same finish except Shawn lands wrong on his knee on the floor, is rolled in by idiot Marty, put in the figure four and made to submit. It would have been about the same length and competitive but not make Flair look like HTM v 2

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So much oddness about this match. Flair is overly generous, but Shawn's offense rarely ever looked this good. I normally don't care for Hayes on commentary but really liked him here. The finish was goofy as Hell with Janetty tossing a KOed Shawn back into the ring with no attempt at trying to wake him up. There is good work here in the technical sense. Shawn looks better than Hogan did against Flair. But none of it makes sense.

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And again I'll be the contrarian and say this is much better than the Bret match that precedes this on Invasion '92.

Interesting thing about this is it fits in perfectly after that prior match because it feels like Michaels watched and took notes on Flair/Bret. Here, Flair starts to pull out the same bag of tricks, but Michaels is prepared and counters over and over so Flair has to work harder. Even the quick fisticuffs sequence seemed more intense than the Bret ones. Flair seemed very, very motivated and Michaels matched his energy.

Yes, Flair gives Michaels most of the match, but that's typical of his work in the NWA against most non-jobber opponents. This was a major TV match for the Michaels/Jannetty angle and good on Flair for making Michaels look like the next Pillman. If anything, this contrasts the Hart match in that this feels like Michaels is letting Flair call it and coming out smelling like a rose, while Bret didn't want to defer to the heel and had more of a clash of a styles because of it.

The ending came too quick, both in terms of the bump not looking that vicious and in terms of lacking any sort of heat segment for Flair, but everything about this felt more exciting. Even Perfect got involved after not doing much last time.

Really fun match.

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