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December 16, 1991 / TJ Hawke

Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair from WWF’s Prime Time Wrestling TV 1991

 

Recap from David Arthur:

One of the biggest stars in all of wrestling, who had surprisingly jumped from one ship to the other, faces a tag team wrestler in a match taped for syndicated television. Looking back, no one would’ve guessed it was much more than just that.

 

Ric Flair, The REAL World’s Champion, if you listen to him, accompanied by his Executive Consultant, Mr. Perfect, who does not work for a common stipend, enters the ring and removes his stylish robe in preparation for action. In doing, so pixelated distortion obscures the view of the championship belt Flair proudly sports around his waist. A championship that, until his unexpected arrival in WWF (that’s right, F), was seen only on their competition’s programming. However, by this point, the actual belt had been returned to WCW, and Flair would simply wear one of the WWF Tag Team Championship belts, still distorted from the view of the viewers at home, to play up the storyline.

 

Enter Shawn Michaels, one half of the tag team of The Rockers with Marty Janetty, and Flair’s opponent for the match. Flair would display an arrogant underestimation of his opponent until reality slapped him across the face (much like Michaels would physically do shortly) when the young tag specialist would begin to out-wrestle the crafty veteran. When Flair found the opportunity to take back the advantage, his dismissive consideration of his Shawn would repeatedly backfire upon him as Shawn would relentlessly fight back at every turn.

 

A commercial break took some of the match from us. Before hand Shawn was clearly in control, afterwards Flair seemed to have taken it back from him. “The dirtiest player in the game’s” cunning would not give Flair much help against Shawn’s resiliance, prompting Mr. Perfect to interfere and cause a abrupt halt to Shawn’s momentum. But Shawn would not be put down easily. At one point Flair ascending the top turnbuckle only to be cut off by Shawn and slammed into the center of the ring, which I believe happened at least once in every Ric Flair match. After executing some of his trademark “Rocker offense,” such as the Superkick and the Top Rope Flying Fistdrop, Shawn clotheslined Flair over the top rope to the floor, but came crashing down into the guardrails outside the ring when an attempted dive onto Ric failed to connect. Marty Janetty , Shawn’s tag team partner,  made his way to the ring to help the seemingly unconscious Shawn back into the ring to avoid getting counted out. But upon doing so, Flair would pin Shawn and win the match. Clearly he learned not to underestimate Shawn’s desire to fight, so the widely experienced Flair would put his feet on the ropes,  aiding in keeping Shawn’s shoulders down for the three count.

 

It was this match that set the wheels in motion for Shawn Michaels’ singles career in WWF. His efforts here showed to be that of a wrestler with much more potential than to simply reside in a tag team. Time would tell the rest of the story of a young tag team wrestler who would go on to be one of the greatest and more influential performers in the business’ history.

 

On a personal note, being a long time fan of Heavy Metal music since the age of 9, I took a great deal of delightful amusement upon seeing Marty Janetty wearing a cut off Overkill T-shirt.

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