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Ric Flair v Terry Taylor (Mid-South, 6/1/85)

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There's something about Flair's black and white robe. My first exposure to him as a kid was when he showed up at Survivor Series with the big gold belt, Bobby Heenan raving about him being the REAL World Champ, pomp out the wazoo...and that incredible robe. As a four year old it was the definition of regality and I've been a mark for it ever since. Maybe the black and white brings out his inner bastard as well, because there was a five minute stretch of this where he was as surly as I've ever seen him. The first fifteen minutes were fairly standard Big Match Flair. He wasn't rampant with the cheapshotting and mostly played by the rules. He'd beg off once or twice, kind of flirt with being a dickhead, but for the most part he behaved himself. Taylor wasn't buying whatever Flair was selling and Flair kept finding himself being taken over or having his head squashed in a front facelock. The build wasn't anything new, but these two work it well together. Then Flair got chippy and it led to them absolutely lacing into each other. At the best of times he's pure hubris, but this wasn't hubris; he was pissed and wanted to fight. He's the world fucking champ and who is this wannabe? Taylor backs him into the corner, winds up for a left hand, the ref' stops him short...and Flair knees him in the balls. I've made comment about being burnt out on Flair plenty of times, but I could watch this Flair all day and it's disappointing we didn't get to see him do it more often. He really cleaned Taylor's clock for a spell there, chopping him to ribbons, dropping the knee across his forehead, stomping him in the corner, throwing nasty little body shots, blatantly choking him, popping him with an AMAZING right hand that Terry sold like it broke his face -- just a great little segment. I wish it lasted longer. The last fifteen minutes never went off the rails as such, but it became more of your standard Flair fare. Standard isn't necessarily a knock because standard Flair fare is still a very awesome thing to lots of people, but I can really go either way these days and I much preferred it when he was bullying Taylor. They seemed to maybe run out of ideas down the stretch as well, going to the backslide spot a few times and reaching a point of diminishing returns with the nearfalls. I lost count of the number of times Taylor grabbed a headlock to set up the next rope running sequence, but it built to a fever pitch and it's hard to come away thinking Taylor didn't look all the better for it. Still though, some of the brawling in that mid-match stretch was as potatoey and awesome as the best Flair/Garvin or Flair/Wahoo exchanges I've seen. I'd rather they filled more time with that.

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