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Solie's Tuesday Morning Report

Monday Night Wars Edition: Part 2
RAW Report
Road Dogg wins the Intercontinental Title!
Billy Gunn is the New Hardcore Champ!
Ric Flair: 22-Time World Heavyweight Champion?

by Richard Sullivan


Volume 4, Issue 440 - March 16, 1999
Editor's note: The following was posted to the Wrestling Classics discussion board and forwarded to me by the author. I present it here as another argument in the debate over just exactly how many titles has Ric Flair held. Solie's neither agrees nor disagrees with all of the author's conclusions.

Ric Flair: 22-Time World Heavyweight Champion?

by Richard Sullivan

Since I'm sure there's gonna be a lot of debate over all this following the Flair-Hogan match. If anyone has any corrections or anything else to add, feel free to jump in.

1] Flair won the NWA World title for the very first time, beating Dusty Rhodes on September 17, 1981 in Kansas City (for promoter Bob Geigle). He then lost the belt on February 9, 1982 in Tampa (for promoter Eddie Graham) to The Midnight Rider (Dusty Rhodes under a mask).

2] Flair became a two-time NWA World champion when NWA president Bob Geigle awarded him the belt after Rhodes refused to unmask (due to "NWA regulations" forbidding a masked wrestler from holding the World title). Rhodes, who had put on the mask after losing a loser-leaves-town match, would've been suspended had he "revealed" his identity. Flair then held the belt until late 1982/early 1983, when he lost the gold to Jack Veneno in the Dominican Republic.

3] Flair pinned Veneno in the Dominican Republic a few days later to capture the NWA World title for the third time, despite the fact that NWA promoters in the U.S., Canada, Japan, or anywhere else for that matter, never mentioned the title switches with Veneno. A short time later, Flair dropped the title to Victor Jovica in a similiar manner.

4] Flair then beat Jovica for his fourth NWA World title. He then held the belt until June 10, 1983, when Harley Race upended him in St. Louis.

5] Flair captured the NWA World title for the fifth time, beating Race in a steel cage in Greensboro, NC at the first Starrcade on November 24, 1983 (for promoter Jim Crockett Jr.). It was the first time the World title ever changed hands in a cage. Flair then held the title until March 21, 1984, when he was once again defeated by Race in Wellington, New Zealand (for promoter Steve Rickard).

6] Flair took his sixth NWA World title on March 23, 1984, beating Race in Kallang, Singapore. He then held the title until May 6 when Kerry Von Erich captured the crown at Texas Stadium in Irving on the first-ever "Parade of Champions" show (for promoter Fritz Von Erich).

7] Flair won the NWA World title for the seventh time, beating Von Erich on May 24, 1984 in Yokosuka, Japan (for promoter Shohei Baba). That reign lasted until July 25, 1986, when he dropped the belt to Dusty Rhodes once again, this time in another cage match in Greensboro (for promoter Jim Crockett Jr.).

8] Flair beat Rhodes on August 7, 1986 in St. Louis (for promoter Jim Crockett) to win his eighth NWA World title. He then held the belt until September 25, 1987, when he lost to Ron Garvin inside a cage in Detroit (for Crockett).

9] Flair captured his ninth NWA World title on November 26, 1987 in Chicago, beating Garvin in a cage rematch at Starrcade (for Crockett). That stint lasted until May 7, 1989, when he was beaten by old rival Ricky Steamboat on a PPV from Chicago (for promoter Ted Turner).

10] Flair beat Steamboat on a PPV from Nashville (for Turner) on May 7, 1989, winning his tenth NWA World title. He then held the belt until July 7, 1990, when he dropped it to Sting on a PPV from Baltimore (for Turner).

11] Flair won the NWA World title for the 11th time, beating Sting on January 11, 1991 in East Rutherford, NJ (for Turner).

12] While still holding the NWA World title, Flair was also given recognition by World Championship Wrestling, Inc. (an NWA member) as "the WCW World heavyweight champion." This gaves him a total of twelve World title reigns by this point (since the NWA World title and WCW World title were and are two separate entities). On March 21, 1991, Flair lost the NWA World title to Tatsumi Fujinami at the Tokyo Dome, but continued to be recognized as the WCW World champ.

13] On May 19, 1991, WCW champ Flair pinned Fujinami in St. Petersburg, FL (on a Turner PPV) to win the NWA World title for the 12th time, thus making him a 13-time World champion. He then held both the NWA and WCW World titles until a contract dispute with WCW boss Jim Herd forced his departure from the promotion. On July 1, 1991, Flair was stripped of the WCW World title (with Lex Luger winning the belt on the following PPV, beating Barry Windham). Then on September 8, 1991, Flair was also stripped of the NWA World title after he signed with the WWF (a tournament for that title was later held with Masahiro Chono garnering the gold).

14] Flair won his 14th World title (and his first WWF title) on January 19, 1992 in Albany, NY, eliminating Sid Eudy to win the Royal Rumble (for promoter Vince McMahon). He then held the belt until April 5, 1992, dropping it to Randy Savage in Indianapolis at the HoosierDome in the main event of WrestleMania.

15] Flair won his 15th World title (and his second WWF title), beating Savage on September 1, 1992, in Hershey, PA. He then held the belt until October 12, 1992, when he lost it to Bret Hart in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

16] Flair won his 16th World title (and his 13th NWA World title) on July 18, 1993, beating Barry Windham on a Turner PPV in Biloxi, Mississippi. In September of 1993, WCW dropped out of the NWA after a dispute between the two organization that ended in a court battle won by the NWA. Flair was once again stripped of the NWA World title. Although WCW was forced to read a disclaimer on television, disavowing any NWA sanctioning, they kept the "big gold belt" (which had been commissioned by Flair and Jim Crockett Jr. in 1986 and had been purchased by WCW in 1992), and created a new title out of thin air. In September of 1992, Rick Rude beat Flair on a Turner PPV in Houston and was recognized as the first-ever "WCW International World champion" (and yes, that does sound stupid and redundant).

17] Flair beat Vader on December 27, 1993 in Charlotte to win his 17th World title (and his second WCW World title). He then held the belt until April 17, 1994, when the title was held up by WCW commissioner Nick Bockwinkel after a match with Ricky Steamboat in Rosemont, IL (Chicago), ended in a double pin.

18] Flair won his 18th World title (and his third WCW World title), pinning Steamboat on April 24, 1994 in Atlanta.

19] Flair then beat Sting on June 23, 1994 in Charleston, SC to win back the "big gold belt" (which by this point represented the "WCW World International title"). This now gave him 19 World title reigns overall and unified the two WCW titles (but had absolutely, positively NOTHING to do with the NWA World title, despite what belt may or may not have been used). Flair then held the unified WCW World title and the "big gold belt" until dropping it to Hulk Hogan on July 17, 1994 in Orlando.

20] Flair beat Savage on December 27, 1995 in Nashville to win his 20th World title overall (and his fourth WCW World title). He then dropped the belt back to Savage on January 22, 1996 in Las Vagas.

21] Flair beat Savage inside a cage in St. Pete to win his 21st World title overall (and his 5th WCW World title specifically). He was then beaten by The Giant (Paul Wight, pronounced "White") on April 22, 1996 in Albany, GA.

22] Flair defeated Hollywood Hogan in a cage to win the WCW World title for the sixth time on March 14, 1999.

STATS:
13 NWA WORLD TITLES (often times credited with 8)
6 WCW WORLD TITLES
2 WWF WORLD TITLES
1 WCW WORLD INTERNATIONAL TITLE

TOTAL WORLD TITLE REIGNS: 21

plus

3 "NWA" WORLD TAG TITLES
5 "NWA" U.S. TITLES
1 WCW U.S. TITLE
3 MID-ATLANTIC TITLES
3 MID-ATLANTIC TAG TITLES
2 MID-ATLANTIC TV TITLES
1 MISSOURI STATE TITLE

GRAND TOTAL: 40 title reigns overall

Richard Sullivan is a regular contributor to Solie's Title Histories, supplying invaluable details concerning the NWA prior to 1990 from his personal memories and news clippings collection.


RAW Report

The opening montage highlights the recent "discussions" going on between Paul Wight the Rock. It also harkens back to the Teddy Bear incident.

RAW is live from San Jose, CA (just down the road about 25 miles south of me). The Rock comes out for his opening rant. He uses 7 of his cliches in one sentence at one point. He is troubled by the "Rocky Sucks!" chant that wafts out from the crowd but tells us that he is ready to defend his Title against the Rattlesnake. This provokes a gathering Austin chant. He wants to talk to McMahon, and he isn't polite about it. He gives the crowd a hard time for chanting along with his lines. Has anyone else noticed that wrestling is getting more and more like the the Rocky Horrer Picture Show..? McMahon comes out and has to tell the crowd th shut up before he can "lay the smack down" on the Rock. The "A$$hole!" chant is growing in volume until McMahon starts talking about their two familys' connections going back to their grandfathers' dealings with each other. He tells Maivia that he feels a responsibility to their "familiy" (not plural) and likens the Rock to his son. He explains that Paul Wight isn't a family member but has been brought in as "protection for the family." In the process he besmirsches the big guy's name so Wight strolls down and gets in his face. McMahon talks politely but forcefully about Wight's responsibilities as an employee than slaps him in the face! As Wight bulls him into the corner, McMahon changes his tune and makes a match for the two of them as a tag team against Mankind and SCSA. Sounds like fun! A construction crew sets up near the broadcast position and starts using power tools. Cut to commercial.

Road Dogg vs. Val Venis - Intercontinental Title match - Val plays up to the San Jose Jose home crowd by mentioning the Sharks then delivers some mysoginist silliness as usual. On paper there is no real contest here because Venis is a much better physical specimen and has some talent. James has shown some intestinal fortitude in many recent matches but I'm still not convinced that he is much of a wrestler. Venis dominates the action as the table saw whines. Road Dogg rather suddenly gets a DDT and Val is pinned. New Interconinental Champion!

Wight and the Rock are talking in the back. Wight tells the Rock that he's there to take care of things in case he (Maivia) screws up. Road Dogg is celebrating with DX in the dressingroom. Billy is rude and demands a shot at the Title. HHH looks lost...

Shane McMahon rants a bit then invites "the Legion of Doom" down to face him in a handicap match. Its a Pat and Gerry show. What's funny is that either of these guys, if he actually wanted to, could tie McMahon into a knot (either McMahon...or both, actually...) Shane runs circles around them then knocks them both down with the Title belt. He pins them both...what an athlete...

The camera switches to a suburban homestead where the Ministry is about to invade. It is the McMahon's family home! Cut to commercial. If anybody pulls a gun...

The construction project is finished and covered by a drop cloth. Here comes Jim Ross and Steve Williams...Cut to commercial.

JR unveils the construction project - it's a custom announce table with a "JR is War" logo - brilliant! He turns to the King and says "you want to join the A-Team?" This is great stuff!! JR talks right over Mike Cole...

Kevin Kelly talks to the Public Enemy who have a Tag Team Title match tonight.

Pissed Brothers vs. Public Enemy - Tag Team Title match - PE's great teamwork is just the antidote to Tag Champ's mat wrestling style for about 2 and a half minutes then they get squashed. In the back, McMahon is calling the police and sending them to his house but they suggest that it is just a publicity stunt. Cut to commercial.

The McMahons are starting to panic about the situation. Vince picks up the phone and listens to the Undetaker telling him, "It's almost 10:00 - do you know where your family is?" Cut to commercial.

McMahon is huddling with the Corporation. Mankind is telling Mr. Socko that he gets a bath tonight...in Paul Wight's saliva...yech!

Mideon vs. the Bossman - Hard Time Cage match - Cole is asking JR for an apology, JR says "...don't hold your breath..." This could be a credible match. Dennis Knight has always been underestimated in my opinion. Bossman destroys him with his nightstick then opens the door to let the rest of the thugs into the cage along with Mr. McMahon. Vince says, "I know you're watching, is this what you want?" as his guys cream Knight. The scene switches back to outside the house and the Undertaker who says Khight is expendable, but what about your family, McMahon? Cut to commercial.

Backstage, McMahon is desparately trying to get through on th phone. Cut to the King's trip to the Playboy mansion. He gets himself thrown out. Cut to the ring where Lawler is inviting Sable to the ring. She shows censored versions of her Playboy photos on the TitanTron. Tori shows up and does a little strip tease of her own. They make a match for WrestleMania.

The cops arrive at the McMahon house to find it dark and seemingly secure. No sign of the Ministry. Cut to Shane's rich-kid friends extolling his machismo...yawn...

Billy Gunn vs. "Steroid Bob" Holly - Hard Core Title match - Holly gets a big clothesline right off the bat then dumps Billy out. He gets a trashcan from under the ring and bashes Gunn. Then runs him into the steps. Billy comes back with a piledriver attempt but is backdropped. Holly gets a broom stick and returns to the ring with it only to have it used on himself. Billy goes out for a chair but doesn't get to use it until his second gambit...and then drops his own head on it. Holly gets a two count. JR is competing with Cole on the mic. Of course, McMahon is too pre-occupied to discipline him. Back in the ring, Holly is getting a solid chair shot to a worn out Billy Gunn. Billy kicks out. Holly jaws at the referee and then turns around to be elevated over the top rope and right on to JR's brand new announcer's table! Billy rolls Holly back into the ring, positions the chair then drops a leg across his neck and smashes him into the chair. Billy Gunn is the New Hardcore Champ! Cut to commercial.

McMahon is talking to the police, they didn't find anything.

McMahon is puzzled. UT's voice intrudes - the camera is still at the house. UT is talking about taking "her" They burn the cross on McMahon's lawn. I can't believe they are doing this. I'm not surprised - but I can't believe they actually showed a burning cross (Undertaker Symbol...whatever) on McMahon's front lawn. The FCC will hear about this, no doubt...

They come back to the scene, the home in the background looks like an antibellum mansion - you can't tell me that the WWF isn't doing this to make people mad...

HHH is in the ring ranting at Kane about what happened to Chyna. He calls him out and manages to turn the challenge into a misogynist slur. Kane appears and HHH runs down to meet him in the aisle. They start brawling around the ringside as Vince McMahon goes to the ring and tries to get Kane's attention. He wants to the big guy to help him talk to the Undertaker. "Kane" climbs into the ring and takes off his mask. It's the Undertaker! McMahon's surprise is comical. The lights go out for a momet then Kane's pryo goes off. The lights come up and we see a closeup of McMahan - he is crushed (spiritually, I mean). Cut to commercial.

Vince is being tended to by his cronies and son. The Rock comes out and we are on with the main event.

The Rock/Paul "the Big Show" White vs. Mankind/Steve Austin - the latter team, of course, were the Tag Team Champs a while back. The Rock recites another set of seven cliches (no kidding, I counted them) in his rant, which consists of one run-on sentence. Mankind attacks Wight before his partner even shows up. Austin runs in to even up the odds and is all over the Rock to start the match. Mankind tags in and continues the violence against the "Great One." Mavia finally turns the tables on Austin and things go into see-saw mode. Austin goes for the Stunner but Maivia rolls away from it and bails out. Austin follows him up the ramp and drags him back. Mankind tags in - as expected, they are showing better tag team cohesion. Maivia gets a quick DDT to turn the tables. He pounds Foley in the corner. The giant comes in - this is his first televised match in the WWF. The BS (sorry, I just had to use that phrase...) does a number on Mankind. Wight is looking pretty buff tonight. Maivia takes over and sets up the Corporate elbow. Austin saves Foley from the pin. The Rock turns his back on Foley and almost gets pinned in a roll-up. Wight comes in again and builds on the pressure. Austim is arguing with the referee so Maivia punches Foley in the testicles (ouch!!!) Foley comes back with DDT. Mankind is disoriented and takes his time tagging in Austin who stomps the Rock in the corner. He gets a two-count. All four come in now. Austin and Maivia fight on and about the announcer's table (the real one). They brawl out into the crowd then back to ringside. All four are brawling on the floor as we fade to black.

I'll be back Thursday with the Thunder Report. Until then...

At least that's the way I see it...

Earl Oliver
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter



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