Segunda Caida

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

Friday, January 12, 2018

I Know What the King Has Been Doing Don't Lie To Me

Jerry Lawler v. Ric Flair WWE Raw 11/29/04 - GREAT

ER: What an awesome match I totally forgot about, one of the great late Flair performances (and yes I know Flair still had a few hundred matches after this, and that is crazy, but this was late Flair) and a killer opportunity for Lawler to show off on his 55th birthday. This is great from Go as both are in good spirits, Lawler taunts him with some Fargo struts (arguably superior to a Flair strut in terms of swank) and Flair lights him up with chops. It all leads to a perfect pro wrestling moment of Lawler getting sick of taking chops, so just unleashing every single one of his perfect punches from every angle in the corner on Flair, with Flair pushing out past the ref with his dukes up...only to faceplant. Legitimately, within the structure of a match, one of the best placed Flops of his entire career. Flair takes over by stomping meanly on the back of Lawler's calf and this was also one of the better matches in terms of setting up the figure 4, as he went to leg early, and it would always be there just on the outskirts of the match, not just all set up down the stretch. Lawler gets tired of it and rips the strap down and dishes more great punches, Flair eats a couple backdrops (though almost dumps himself on his head on the second one), hits one of his greatest cheap shots ever (punching Lawller hard while reaching around the ref), drops a tremendous knee to Lawler's forehead (with an awesome sell by Lawler), Lawler hits a cool falling elbowdrop (think Dibiase's fistdrop but an elbowdrop) that he really needs to do more often, and we go up for a couple big fistdrops. He plants both of them but tweaks his knee on the second, and Flair smells blood. All of the work around the figure 4 was really great stuff, super engaging, with Lawler selling it better than most and Flair integrating some cheats at the perfect times. The finish cheat was the best, as Lawler is just about to turn it, and Flair is on his way over, but he slyly grabs the ropes and slowly pulllllllls himself back into leverage, getting the tap. This was a real gem, I had no memory of these two ever meeting in a WWE singles match (and I'm pretty sure the only singles I've seen from them was from the early 80s part of the Memphis set), and we get two 55 year old dudes laying in the best punches and crafting a better 6 minute match than  I wager most of the WWE undercard that year.

PAS This was totally fun, just a pair of guys with all time legendary shtick, playing off of each other. Part of the joy of this match is being so familiar with their stuff and watching them tweak it. The Flair chop into a Lawler strap drop into a Flair beg off into a series of Lawler punches is like watching two great dancers trying to one up each other while still being in sync. It is crazy that in a match with Jerry Lawler, Flair still unloads the best punch, cheap shotting Lawler while distracting the ref. Their Mid-South Coliseum showdown never made tape, but I wonder if 1982 Flair v. Lawler would have been as viscerally satisfying as 2004 Flair v. Lawler.


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