By Michael Chapman
The year is 1992 and WWE is struggling to find the right feud for Hulk Hogan. His ability to draw top crowds seemingly was on the wane and the WWE settled on Sid Justice aka Sid Vicious aka Sid Eudy. They must have felt a man the size of Sid was needed for the crowd to really buy into Hogan possibly losing.
Meanwhile the “Real World Champion” Ric Flair had won the WWE World title two months prior at the Royal Rumble. The Savage/Flair feud started up with the photographic evidence that Flair and Elizabeth had been a pair in the past prior to her relationship with Savage. The build up was intense with Flair and his partners in crime Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan and ‘Mr. Perfect’ Curt Henning presenting said photos each week in interviews. Flair and Liz enjoying a picnic, time with Flair’s race horse, etc.
Savage, white hot with the audience by this time as the WWE audience had years to feel connected to the couple, attacked Flair outside the ring and began to maul him. The first several minutes of the match Savage brutally attacked the world champion until Flair successfully caught his breath by sending Macho over the top with a back drop.
Flair climbed down from the ring and took advantage by smashing Savage into the ring apron, then bringing him back up but continuing to brutalize him. Flair brought Savage into the ring and began to take Savage apart with chops and a classic hesitation suplex. Several near falls later, interspersed with chops, slams and the patented knee drop to the head and Savage climbed out to the floor to save himself.
The pacing of this match was smooth with an even tempo over all. At about the ten minute mark Flair began to dissect the Macho Man (but had yet to attempt to weaken the knee). Around this time Savage starts to turn the tide as Flair went to the well once too often with his chops in the corner.
Savage then took advantage of Flair’s penchant for taking WAY too long to climb the top rope and threw The Nature Boy down on his hip. He then continued to beat Flair all over the ring. Savage used his trademarked double axe handle from top rope to floor allowing Flair to bang his head on the railing around the ring (and cut himself open). Savage chased Flair around the ring running his head into various surfaces to aid the champ’s bleeding. After tossing Flair back in he eventually went for the top rope elbow drop but the afore-mentioned Mr. Perfect’s interference saved Flair from losing at that point in the match.
At approximately sixteen minutes the tide once again turned as Savage chased Henning into the ring allowing a foreign object to be passed to Flair. The champ, bleeding everywhere from his forehead into his bleached white hair, clocked Savage but his pin attempt was unsuccessful.
At this point cameras caught Savage’s long time valet Elizabeth running up from the back stage area to deliver the moral support he so clearly needed. By now Flair had slapped the figure four on but then had it reversed by Savage after referee Earl Hebbner kicked the arm of Henning’s, who was helping to keep the hold from being reversed.
Flair, taunting Liz at ringside by Whoo-ing at her while kicking Savage in his damaged left leg and chopping his chest raw was caught off guard by a simple roll up. Savage, aided with a fist full of red tights, kept the champs shoulders pinned to the mat for the one-two-three.
Many call this match the greatest in WWE title history, others, just the best up to that time in WWE history. If forced to choose I’d have to choose Angle/Guerrero from WMXX. To be perfectly honest though, and maybe a little controversial, I personally prefer the series of matches between Ricky Steamboat and Ric Flair for the NWA title.
You can follow Michael on Twitter @NUFC_monkey as he discusses Wrestling, Football and the importance of growing a beard.