Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Unicorn Gimmick Matches - No Punches Allowed

Steve Austin v. Ric Flair WWE Raw 6/3/02

ER: It's been years since I'd seen this but thought it would be a good fit as a unicorn match (there was a Lawler/Bockwinkel "Each Punch Costs $500" match, but I think it only made tape in music video form). The angle setting it up is silly and gross, with Austin wanting a match with Flair, beating up Arn (and then urinating on him with this beyond lame ecto-cooler neon green fake piss), then rushing to sign a contract with Flair (without reading it) that stipulated all kinds of things like Austin must wear a dress if he lost, be Flair's personal assistant, and most importantly - couldn't throw a punch in their match. All of these things would have made for some pretty spectacular build over a month leading to PPV. Month long build wasn't really a thing they wanted to do (which is an understatement, considering one week later was when they wanted to run the infamous Lesnar/Austin match that lead to Austin leaving and basically retiring. Sidenote, what I would give to see any of the few 2002 Austin/Eddie house show matches that happened in the last of his 2002). But we get this match as the main with one episode of build, and it's really fun. We get a lot of fun moments with Austin trying to use his primarily punched-based offense and then having to stop, forcing him to rethink his offense: He does his Thesz press, but can't punch, so just starts choking Flair on the mat; can't punch? Just throw tons of chops! And for a guy who I never remember throwing chops, Austin has some great meaty chops. Spot of the match is Austin going to punch Flair in the corner, but Lil' Naitch catching his arm, then Flair sneaking in a punch while Austin is staring bug-eyed at Robinson. Awesome moment in the middle of a super fun match.

PAS: This was basically Austin's wrestling swan song, and a really fun match. The secret to these Unicorn matches is solid use of the gimmick, and I loved how Austin kept getting frustrated by the rules and how it threw him off his game. Also Flair throwing the sneak punch when Robinson grabbed Austin's arm was a classic bit of sneaky wrestling horseshit. Austin is a formula guy, it is classic formula and it fun to see him forced out of that formula. Flair is a fucking nut bar for taking that backdrop on the floor as a regular spot into his 50's like this. Setting up a Flair/Eddie/Benoit trio with Arn as the manager vs Austin was a great wrestling what if. I don't blame him for bailing when he did, but man that feud would have been awesome.

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