Tuesday, April 01, 2008

To Be The Man

I've been a fan of pro rasslin' since I was a kid. In fact, some of my best memories are of me and my brother stretched out on the floor of our living room on Saturdays, cheering on The Four Horseman and debating whether or not Lex Luger belonged in that group of extraordinary showmen.

For the record, he didn't.

There was something special about watching Ric Flair wrestle. He was the show; the man gave everything he had to give each and every time he stepped into a ring, then later upped the ante with his unparalleled work on the mic. The robes, the hair, the 60 minute match, the "Whoo-hooo!: Flair recognized what every good carny knows: put out the extra effort to give fans what they want, butts will go into the seats and you draw more money.

And Flair drew more than anyone back in the day.

More money, more blood and more respect than any other worker.

For the first time ever, I bought a WrestleMania pay-per-view Sunday evening. The overall show was fun, but I bought it because I knew it was Flair's retirement match. His final lose-and-you-must-retire match, against Shawn Michaels. Just before he pinned Flair, Michaels broke kayfabe by whispering: "I'm sorry. I love you."

Then, he kicked Flair in the head.

It was a fitting tribute for a legend.

I wiped a tear after the three-count. The tear was mostly for Flair, but part of it was because I miss stretching out in the living room with my brother, dodging brain busters and trying to counter the figure four leg-lock.

"To be the man, you gotta beat the man."

Rasslin' will never be the same.

17 comments:

fishing guy said...

FG: I have followed rasslin since Bruno San Matrtino was the champ. I always enjoyed the show for what it was, a great performance. I went to a live show in Charlette, SC when I had a short time job down there in the 80's. He was "The Man" of the WCW. They had a great goodbye show honoring Rick last night.

Ian C. said...

I was a big wrestling fan as a kid, too, and one of my favorite memories is being in the seats at Joe Louis Arena when Ron Garvin beat Ric Flair to win the NWA title.

Flair got his belt back just two months later, however, at Starrcade. You just couldn't keep that guy down.

Route 75 said...

Great post, man. Ric Flair should go down as the greatest wrestler of all time. Nobody was as good as Flair in his prime. Nobody.

By the way, that whole figure four "counter" by rolling over always seemed to put more pressure on my leg and less on the other guy! Counter, indeed.

Jackie said...

You know Flair is kicked back at home right now eatin' some Vanilla Ice Cream. Because he's a real man and a real American.

Because "To be the Flavor you gotta beat the Flavor!!!"

The Film Geek said...

Ian: I remember those matches. They were classic.

Thanks, guys. Whoooo-hoooo!

And Jackie: Flair loves him some PB & C!!! :)

The Film Geek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Film Geek said...

http://www.donutbuzz.com/

Jackie said...

My bad...I shoulda mentioned the DBET. I just got all excited reading your Flair post and then it occured to me that his hair is kinda like a big scoop 'o Vanilla :D

Donutbuzz said...

I watched Georgia Championship wrestling. I think Rick Flair was on it if I recall rightly.

By the way, you guys need to tell me where to find some PBC! Heh heh.

The Film Geek said...

You recall rightly. He was The Man. And Jackie: I tried to post it in a link, but I don't know how to do that, so it simply changed the color.

The Film Geek said...

And, the "To be the flavor..." line was perfect.

Barbie Girl said...

Oh my gosh. I love me som wrasslin. I'm the girl who cried Saturday Night watching "The Rock" Dwayne Johnson induct his father and grandfather into the WWE hall of fame. Heck, I never even knew they had a hall of fame.

Happy retirement Mr. Flair.

moneytastesbad said...

I too cried a little after the Flair/Michaels match. I cried even more watching Raw the next night. Did anyone else catch Flair saying to HHH "I was doing ok until you came out here." I really don't think Ric knew that was going to happen.

When I saw Tully, JJ, Arn and Barry walk out to the aisle, I totally marked out. I was jumping up and down like I was 10 year old again. I wish Ole would have been there, but I guess he is a pretty bitter man these days.

I am a little confused on why Y2J and Cena were asked to get in the ring. What relationship did they have with Flair. Also I am surprised that RKO was not in the ring. Besides the Evolution connection, I would bet that Flair has known Randy his whole life. Im sure Ric and Cowboy Bob Orten were friends back in the day.

The Film Geek said...

Hey, Money: The RAW tribute was incredible, and I acted a lot like you describe yourself doing. I kept saying to my wife: "Watch this, it's a total shoot. You don't understand how important this moment is, this guy really helped make the careers of these guys possible!" But, she didn't get it. I'm glad you and I do, man. :)

Route 75 said...

When I saw Tully, JJ, Arn and Barry walk out to the aisle, I totally marked out.

Damn straight. When I heard the intro music and saw the pop from the crowd, I held both my hands up with the "four" blazin' proudly. I wanted to see Ole, too. Having the full Minnesota Wrecking Crew there would've been awesome.

It was OK to break kayfabe that night.

ps- I'm just glad Ronnie Garvin didn't come out dressed like Precious! (see if you marks remember that one).

moneytastesbad said...

I was also wondering about guys like Ron Garvin, Dusty Rhodes (who was at a funeral) or even Magnum TA, but I thought my comment was long enough. But I am glad there was no crossdressing. I looked for that on YouTube, but can't find it.

Also, I wonder why Hogan wasn't part of all this [/sarcasm]

BTW I see that there will be a Smakdown/ECW taping in Huntington in May.

I would like to go, but my wife says if we are going to travel that far to see rasslin' we are going to see Raw.

BTW this conversation was shortly after we (I) were watching an old AWA episode that I tivoed (it is on ESPN Classic like every night)and she went on and on about how wrestlers back in those days (the match was King Kong Brody (aka Brusier Brody) and some fat tub of lard jobber) were a bunch of fat hairy men and now they are good looking (hot, I believe that is the term she used) physically fit studs like John Cena and Randy Orten

The Film Geek said...

Money: If you come to Huntington for the show, look me up. We'll talk old school rasslin--fat hairy guys and all.