I will admit that while it will be nice to look back at a time that Ric Flair was a great performer and had every right to be in the ring, my feelings are tainted and I’m very biased by his most recent work in TNA/IW. Much of the time I have troubles remembering just how great Flair really was for some of the schlock he’s been involved with. I will do my best to keep my disposition cheerful as I write this and feel free to call me on it if I get too cranky about Flair.
The 1992 Royal Rumble Match was of the typical thirty entrants who entered about every two minutes. The match started with ‘The British Bulldog’ Davey Boy Smith and ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase as numbers one and two. DiBiase was quickly eliminated by Smith in barely over a minute. Smith waited for the #3 entrant, Ric Flair to join him in the ring. Flair broke DiBiase’s longevity record from the year before by staying in the match for 59:26! It seems as though every year there was someone new breaking the longevity record, but there’s only so many times that could happen from this point as Flair started so early in the match and lasted thought to the end, though I do find it humorous that it was broken every year for the first couple Rumbles. Flair eliminated four entrants while Sid Justice (aka Sid Eudy or Sycho Sid or Sid Vicious) eliminated five. Actually, Justice was the last eliminated and it was with the help of Hogan who had just previously been eliminated. This started a feud between Justice and Hogan.
Prior to the Royal Rumble it was announced that the winner of the Royal Rumble Match would win the vacant WWF Title. If you remember what I wrote in my previous article about Royal Rumble 1991, Hogan lost the WWF Title to Taker at Survivor Series due to Flair’s involvement for Taker’s behalf. Just six days later Hogan won the Title back from Taker at This Tuesday in Texas, but Flair was involved with that match, so the Title was vacated. Very interesting turn of events that Flair’s the one who ended up winning the Title at Royal Rumble. Also, Flair is the second of only two men who won the NWA and WWF World Championships in their careers. The other man to do so was ‘Nature Boy’ Buddy Rogers.
I had been writing about what happened to the Royal Rumble Match winner in the year after they won the Royal Rumble, but the six months leading up to Flair’s Royal Rumble win is just too interesting to not talk about. In July of 1991 Flair was in the WCW and held the NWA Championship. Flair was having issues with WCW management. They wanted Flair to take a cut in pay and remove him from the top spot in the company. For obvious reasons Flair wasn’t happy about this and didn’t want to do it. They asked Flair to drop the strap to Lex Luger at the Great American Bash, but Flair said no. They asked Flair to drop the strap to Barry Windham, but Flair said no. Because of this Flair was fired. The problem with all of this is that Flair held the NWA Championship and had put the cash deposit down on the belt that NWA required of their Champion as a kind of insurance bond. So Flair took the belt to the WWF and declared himself the ‘Real World’s Champion!’ Basically Flair owned the belt and the WCW had no say in the matter. The WCW ended up having to pay Flair $75,000 to get the belt back and they stated (storyline) that Flair had been stripped of the belt! To me that story shows just how crazy things were during the Monday Night War!
On February 8, 1992, at Saturday Night Main Event, Flair tagged with Taker against Hogan and Justice. Justice turned on Hogan completing his turn and cementing his feud with Hogan. Hogan might have been alone out there, but he managed to win by DQ. Flair went on to WrestleMania VIII to try to defend his WWF Championship from Macho Man Randy Savage, but Flair lost and Savage was the new WWF Champion. Flair and Savage feuded through the spring and summer, but it was Ultimate Warrior who was #1 contender going into SummerSlam. Flair and Mr. Perfect attacked both Warrior and Savage during the match. Savage lost by countout, but retained the Title. On September 14th episode of Prime Time Wrestling (taped Sept.1) Flair reclaimed the WWF Championship from Savage through interference by Razon Ramon (Scott Hall). Flair quickly lost the WWF Championship on October 12th to Bret Hart.
At Survivor Series Flair and Ramon faced Mr. Perfect and Savage. After chair shots, a ref being knocked out and other shenanigans but both Flair and Ramon, the match ended in DQ with Mr. Perfect and Savage getting the win. On January 24, 1993 Flair was eliminated from the Royal Rumble Match by Mr. Perfect. The following night on RAW they faced off in a Loser Leaves The WWF Match. Mr. Perfect defeated Flair who then left the WWF. The funniest thing about this was that the match had been taped the week prior. In truth, Flair had given his notice prior to Survivor Series that he was going back to the WCW. Flair promised to put Mr. Perfect over before he left. In The Ultimate Ric Flair Collection DVD Flair stated that this was “the greatest year and a half of my career, outside the time I spent with Arn Anderson and The Four Horsemen.”, but if it was so great, why did he leave to go back to WCW where he’d had so much trouble in the first place? Was it money or something else? I haven’t found an answer to that other than the WWE is the one who put out the series.
I have to thank everyone for your reaction to this series. I will try to get caught up and will possibly do two this week to get a bit ahead. After this series is done I’m thinking of possibly a King of The Ring Series? Either way, I will continue with Hogan’s career history as well as possibly Flair’s history if anyone’s interested. I am learning so much as I research and write these. Thanks for being so receptive and reading all I write as I’m having such fun.