By Ervin Griffin, Jr. and Matt Benaka
By Ervin Griffin, Jr. and Matt Benaka
Part 33: The Title or The Career
In a bold move, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair put his career on the line against then WCW World Champion Vader for a shot at his title. If you go back to chapter one of this series, you see that I have a direct quote from that night. Here it is again for your pleasure:
The card itself was not a bad card but you could tell that the crowd in Charolette, NC were reserving their cheers for the main event. With the exception of Hulk Hogan, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, and Goldberg, I have never really heard fans react to a wrestler coming down the aisle like I did that night when Flair came down for his match against Vader. It was also touching to see Flair nearly break down into tears when the fans roared for him when Michael Buffer introduced his name. As for the match itself, Vader actually dominated most of the contest, beating Flair nearly to death!!! Then, late in the match, Flair started punching Vader and was knocking the big man down!! The only other wrestlers that I have seen do this to Vader at that point in his career was Stan "The Lariat" Hansen and Davey Boy Smith. Flair then rallyed and used a simple cradle move to win his second WCW World Title (WCW awarded Flair with the first title in 1991 when they left the NWA/He was still champion at that point).
The interview afterwards with his family present was also heartwarming. I'm not too mushy about things but that was a touching scene. In contrast, Vader was tearing up everything in site in his dressing room and even almost decked Eric Bischoff (who was an announcer at that point). Flair would hold this title for five months until an old rival in Rick Steamboat came around. They met at WCW Spring Stampede in Chicago, IL. It was another classic battle as Steamboat used his old double-arm chicken wing hammerlock on Flair. By the way, the announcers said that this is how he defeated Flair to win the title in 1989. Schivone needed to get his story straight because Steamboat used a simple inside cradle to defeat Flair for the title. It is true he did make Flair submit back in 1989 but by that time, Steamboat was the champ and it happened at their famous (or infamous) two out of three falls match at Clash Of The Champions VI. Schivone and Bobby Hennan claimed that is the way Steamboat won the title originally but I can tell you that is not how he won. Go bust out the tape of Chi-Town Rumble '89 for proof.
Anyway, Steamboat had him locked in the hold. He then bridged down into a pin and, seemingly, the title. The title ,however, was given to Flair due to the ref not being able to determine who was in control. They later had a rematch that saw Flair win and retain the title on a pinfall. Flair would go on and have a good match against Barry Windham at Slamboree '94 and retained his belt there. Then came the Clash Of The Champions when he and then WCW International Champion Sting would unify both titles. With the help of Sherri Martel, Flair would win that bout and unify both belts. But, on that night, an old rival would rear his head. His name was Hulk Hogan.
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Ervin Griffin Jr. is Solie's resident historian and also contributes to the Ringside Insider on a regular basis. Many of his previous articles are available in the
We get stills from the PPV at the top of the program. McMahon wins the Royal Rumble.
RAW is live from the America West Arena Phoenix, Arizona tonight. Shane and the Corporate Thugs are in the ring. Shane introduces his dad as "the winner of the Royal Rumble." Vinnie yells, "I'm going to WrestleMania! I came, I saw, I kicked Stone Cold's a$$!" He then sings the praises of the new WWF Champ, the Rock. He offers the $100,000 bounty to Maivia in cash! The crowd starts chanting "A$$hole!" He then implies that Maivia is intimidated by the thought of having to face McMahon at WrestleMania, so he takes himself out of the Title picture, reserving to himself the right to name the Rock's opponent. He turns his attention to Steve Austin, saying that he will never get another Title shot. Austin appears on the TitanTron, he's broadcasting from Texas. Vince taunts him about his loss at the Rumble. Austin counters that he's going to WrestleMania to face the Champion. Vince is dubious and asks him to explain what he means. Austin reveals that he is with Shawn Michaels. Shawn says that he has decided to deny McMahon the right to appoint the Title contender. He points out that the runner-up to the Royal Rumble winner assumes all privelages if the winner takes himself out of the running. So Austin is the designated contender! Austin then offers to give up his shot if Vince will face him in a cage at the next PPV and win the match. McMahon agrees to the delight of Austin and the crowd. Cut to commercial.
An armored car arrives as we return. Inside is the $100,000 promised to the Rock.
Goldust vs. Bill Gunn (w/Chyna/HHH) - HHH makes a ststement before the match. He doesn't believe that Mankind really quit the other night. He wants to face the Rock in an "I Quit" match tonight for the Title. Goldust attacks Billy as HHH is leaving the ring. He takes the early advantage and sets Billy up for the Shattered Dream but the referee gets in the way. Billy tuns the tables and knocks Goldust out to the floor. Then Goldust's music starts up - and "Bluedust" (the Blue Meany) heads for the ring. Goldust gets bashed with Head by Bluedust. Billy rolls his opponent up and Bluedust splits with Head. In the back, Mankind is arriving at the arena. Cut to commercial.
More stills, from the WWF Title match this time.
The Oddities are in the ring when the Rock comes down again to make a statement. He tells them to leave and three referees usher them away. Maivia accepts the match and says that it was Chyna that caused him to lose to HHH for the IC Title a while back. In the back, Mankind attacks the armored car drivers and makes off with the loot. He heads out to the arena and then starts throwing the money out to the crowd. He pockets some of it as well. He goes on to say that he was beaten pretty bad but he didn't say the words, "I Quit." He has the tape replayed of his comments on Heat, which included the words, "I Quit" then demonstrates that the pre-recorded words were used at the end of the match, while he was unconscious! He throws out some more cash. He challenges Maivia to a re-match during the SuperBowl halftime show next Sunday. And he wants to have the match in an empty arena! The Rock accepts the match. Cut to commercial.
Mideon (Dennis Knight) comes down to jabber at the announcers as we return. He says, "Evil is coming tonight..." (too bad...)
Droz vs. George "the Animal" Steele - Drozdov clearly has no idea what to do with Steele until the latter exposes one of the corner buckles. Droz runs his opponent's head onto the buckle and then gets the pin. He continues to pound on Steele after the pin and has to be chased off by the Oddities. Cut to commercial.
Backstage, the Stooges are feeding saltpeter to the Big Bossman and Shamrock to try and suppress their libidos. Elsewhere, Debra is being interviewed when Mark Henry shows up and hits on her (this guy never learns, I guess...)
Jeff Jarrett/Owen Hart vs. Ken Shamrock/The Big Bossman - Tag Team Title match - Debra tries to get the Bossman excited before the match but he seems immune. Jarrett faces Bossman to start and winds up on the receiving end until Jarrett sidesteps a corner rush. Owen tags in and loses the initiative. Shamrock comes in and continues the assault on Hart. Debra tries to divert Shamrock but he's not biting either. Owen reverses a whip and gets a powerslam then a spinning heel kick. He launches from the top but now it's Shamrock's turn to sidestep. Debra exposes her bra then removes her blouse to no avail. Suddenly the "Blue Blazer" - this one is a black man - invades the ring and clobbers Shamrock with a guitar. Owen rolls him up and takes the pin. The Pissed Brothers are the new Champs! Cut to commercial.
Shane and the Stooges come to the ring. Shane orders Kane to come to the ring. Kane complies and is told by Shane that he has to apologize publicly. He uses his voice synthesizer to comply but that isn't good enough for Shane. He orders the big guy to do it again on bended knee. Still not good enough - he wants the apology on both knees. X-Pac shows up and tries to talk sense to Kane. He offers him a spot in DX. He starts to pick a fight with Shane but Kane attacks and delivers a chokeslam on Shane's orders. Then he shoves X-Pac into the corner so that Shane can ride the bucking bronco on him. Cut to commercial.
Replay of what we just saw. Meanwhile, in a dark corner somewhere, The Undertaker is instructing his minions.
We see video of D-Lo going shopping with PMS. Terri is forcing him to buy Kotex for her! Of course he is recognized much to his embarrassment. Cut to commercial.
Val Venis debuts his latest video featuring a shower scene with Shamrock's sister!
Val Venis vs. Test - Test is no wrestler, which is amply demonatrated at the beginning of this match. Val outmaneuvers him at every turn until Test sidesteps him and tosses him out. Ken Shamrock runs in and hits Val with a chair giving Test the win. He attacks Venis until Billy Gunn runs in and saves his bacon. The only problem is that Val never saw Shamrock and thinks it was Billy. He attacks Billy in his injured ankle and has to be pulled off by referees. Cut to commercial.
Road Dog/Al Snow vs. The Brood - Hard Core Tag Team match - the Dog and Snow lie in wait with fire extinguishers as the Brood make their entrance. They put the fire out and go on the attack. The fight goes immediately to the backstage area where the Brood take the advantage and shove a dumpster into their opponents. Snow gets hold of a metal bar and scores some points before it is taken away and used on him. A stretcher gets involved along with a box of silverware and other accoutrements. Gangrel sets the Dog up on a table and drops a leg on him which collapses the table. The fight goes into the Ladies Room, chasing out the Godfather's garden tools. All four of them fight up a wall where Bluedust hands Head to Snow who uses it on Gangrel. They fall back onto another table which also collapses. Gangrel is counted out. UT and company are still aking their plans. Cut to commercial.
Snow and the Dog are interviewed by Kevin Kelly - Snow wants a two-out-of-three falls Hard Core Title rematch. The Dog agrees just as the Undertaker's cohoorts attack them. UT makes an ominous statement and we cut to commercial.
HHH (w/Chyna) vs. The Rock - "I Quit" match for the WWF Title - a slugfest erupts before the bell. The Rock loses the encounter and rolls out to the floor. he comes right back in and probabely should have taken his time. HHH takes the advantage and tosses Maivia to the floor again. The Champ tries to leave but HHH follows him up the aisle and attacks him again. They brawl right up to the platform. Rock is downed but refuses to concede - HHH hits him repeatedly with the microphone. They brawl back down to and around the ring. Maivia knocks HHH down and dons a headset to taunt him. HHH attacksw agaian and the Rock ends up half under the table. Soon they are over the barrier and fighting among the fans. HHH uses a TV cable to choke Maivia who still refuses to say "I Quit." Back at ringside, Maivia is rammed into the steps twice then rolls back into the ring. HHH gets the bell and tries to use it but Maivia beats him to the punch. He lays the bell on HHH's face then drops the Corporate Elbow on it. HHH is not ready to cncede, however. HHH gets a high knee and the Pedegree. He throws Maivia out to the floor and goes out with him to deliver the Pedegree on the floor. He declines to use the mic and positions Maivia on the announce table. The Corporate Thugs appear in the ring and threaten Chyna with a chokeslam. HHH concedes the match to save her. Afterward she goes to help Chyna but is distracted by Kane on the apron. He turns to face the big man only to be given a low blow by Chyna from behind! The McMahon's come to the ring and welcome Chyna into the Corporation!!
I'll be back on Thursday night. Until then...
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
This page is a personal tribute and is in no way connected to any of the wrestling promotions mentioned on it. It is dedicated to the Dean of Wrestling announcers, Gordon Solie. Copyright 1998 - Jump City Productions