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[1991-12-29-MSG, NY] Ric Flair vs Hulk Hogan


Loss
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  • 4 months later...

Flair wrestles the first few minutes of this with his robe still on, which is a first for him as far as I know. This is a better match than the last one, but still too rushed, and not as good as their matches in WCW. I wish this was structured more like Hogan/Tenryu, but that wasn't the WWF style. Hogan wins this one by countout. So they ran this match twice in MSG, had no intention of using it to headline Wrestlemania and still didn't give people a real finish. Too bad, but oh well.

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had no intention of using it to headline Wrestlemania

And instead we got Flair/Savage and Hogan/Sid, both of which are 'big' but neither of which were set up before Rumble AND neither of which would have been considered a fraction the dream match that Hogan/Flair was. I realize that part of the reason why Hogan/Flair wasn't done at Mania was the disappointing house show gates, but IMO they didn't do nearly enough tease/build to it on TV before doing it at house shows.

 

That WWF got so little out of Hogan/Flair is almost as bad as the Invasion botch.

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

I think I liked the November match slightly more but mostly for the teased pinfall Flair got in it. Flair failed on numerous attempts to get the figure four but Hogan succeeded on his only chance. And he proceeded to small package Perfect at the same time! Another non pinfall/submission finish for these guys. WWF never gave it any proper resolution. Should have been treated as bigger deal but ends up being a match that felt too abbreviated.

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There were pockets of really good stuff in the build to this, but various factors ultimately made this feud a letdown. Flair wasn't really, consistently put forth as a threat. Hogan lost his title quickly after Flair's arrival, putting a dent in the "champion vs. champion" selling point. And of course, no WrestleMania match. In a perfect WWF-centric world, maybe Flair takes that offer to jump ship in 1988 when wrestling was all-around hotter--however, that would have officially sunk Crockett/Turner, so for us it's better that he waited. The match itself is pretty good but not high-end '91 Hogan or high-end Flair at all. Hogan does his first figure four maybe ever, and small packages Perfect when he tries to interfere in a spot that would get repeated on Nitro a bunch of times.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Viewed as just a Hogan-Flair house-show sprint, this was good. Flair's signature bumps actually fit really well with Hogan. Ric could've seemed a little tougher in his control segments, but that probably wasn't in the cards no matter where they matched up. Of course, it's hard to ignore the broader context of this not seeming as big as it should and of them diminishing Flair as a threat out of the gate. It's a shame, because they clearly had a memorable Wrestlemania match in them.

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  • 11 months later...

I liked the November match slightly more but I dont know if it is the patriotism of watching on July 4 or the general marking out for Flair and Hogan that I have, but i really like this series. Hogan is a house of fire coming out, using his wrist tape, and hitting a back suplex. Vlad at ringside is delighted watching this. Flair goes after the leg and has a good sequence that plays in the predictable cheap finish. I still cant believe this wasnt the Mania match.

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  • 5 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

I disagree with Loss; this was about as definitive a finish as you could possibly have, almost like Flair had served notice and was doing a final job on the way out of the company. He's treated like a nameless, faceless Superstars jobber who showed up at MSG looking for a hundred bucks and free catering, as Hogan not only beats the living hell out of him, but humiliates him by using his finisher to greater effect than he (Flair) has in years. Make no mistake; Flair's done after this, at least as it relates to Hogan. I've seen all I need to see from this feud, and I'm not looking forward to the redo in '94, which is every bit as bad for Flair if not worse, from what I've read and heard.

 

It's actually more definitive that Flair takes the countout here, because he's left laying on the floor of MSG like a used-up piece of garbage who doesn't want any more of the Immortal One, the superman who can't even be put down with a brass knucks shot right on the button. Heenan would have had a better chance against Hogan coming straight from the booth, for heaven's sake.

 

Speaking of the Brain, he's at his apoplectic best here, but Hogan's so dominant that he comes off as whiny and pathetic even for a weasel. His ramblings about the Rumble come off as empty threats. So what if Flair (or anybody else) can win the title by tossing a bunch of guys over the top rope? When it came time to do it one-on-one, Flair was destroyed by the real WWF champion, the man who'd still have the belt in a fair world, the man who made him look like the pretender he is and left him laying on the floor at the number one arena in professional wrestling. If this match had gotten around outside of the New York area, Vince couldn't have put the belt on Flair without making the WWF look like a total joke. I've heard of guys losing to set up challengers prior to a title switch, but never, ever like this.

 

If this had been the Mania VIII match, I would have felt ripped off unless I was a card-carrying Hulkamaniac, and even then it would have felt like a letdown. "This jabroni that Hulk just beat is supposed to be the real World champion? What kind of wrestling do they have on that other channel, anyway?"

 

Before I forget, what was the deal with Gino referring to this match as taking place on New Year's Eve when it clearly took place on December 29? The only thing I can think of is that MSG Network didn't run this card live, instead showing it on tape two days later. If Gino knew that was the plan, he might have been trying to make the card sound as if it was taking place live. Either that or he was slowly going completely senile and forgot which day it was.

 

Speaking of Uncle Gino, he was actually the highlight of this one, taking such glee in Hogan's every move and relishing the idea of throwing Heenan's complaints right back in his face, responding to them on at least one occasion (I can't remember which for the life of me at the moment) with a hearty "So what?"

 

And so ends the dream feud of the eighties: Hogan reigns supreme (belt or no belt, pinfall victory or no pinfall victory) and Flair, despite his later success, is shown to be unable to compete with the best the WWF has to offer, having to win the title at the Royal Rumble after Hogan was eliminated by a jealous Sid and only being able to keep it because Hogan chose to settle his score with Sid before "retiring" instead of thoroughly destroying Flair once and for all at Mania for the world to see. And even at that, he still lost to the WWF's second best in Savage. I think I'd have rather seen him as Spartacus.

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  • 2 years later...

About as good a match as you will get with Hogan plugged into the Flair formula. Flair makes Hogan's house of fire opening look really good despite bumping and stooging a little too much. Flair does end up looking like a chump all the way around, which often gets glossed over when he's really laying on his heel schtick in NWA/WCW because of the insane amount of cred he's got there. If the goal was to make Hogan the hero who vanquishes the invading champion, it worked.

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  • GSR changed the title to [1991-12-29-MSG, NY] Ric Flair vs Hulk Hogan

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