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#1 Grimmas

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 04:30 PM

Discuss here.



#2 Loss

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 09:19 PM

A definite number one contender. I would have said for sure my number one pick in the past. Now, it's still likely, but hardly definite. Flair's best quality is getting opponents over in a way that they look far better than they really are. His flaws have been discussed ad nauseum, as have his strengths. I don't have a ton new to say and like Jumbo he is kind of a boring top pick, but the truth can be boring sometimes.



#3 Matt D

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 09:39 PM

Parv has a list of matches that show Flair's breadth and how he would change up his formula for different opponents and in different situations. Sort of an argument-killer. I've been promising for years to revisit these matches all together to see if that proved to be the case or not. If he would post it here, then I will absolutely get to it in the next two years.



#4 NintendoLogic

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 09:52 PM

I'm pretty sure I've seen every notable Flair match (I haven't seen the Brody broadway, but you'd have to put a gun to my head to get me to sit through that), and I've found that the ones that are held up as being not typical Flair matches end up being basically typical Flair matches. The ones where Flair is a babyface are obvious exceptions.



#5 Goodear

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Posted 13 September 2014 - 08:21 AM

I think Flair's best 'non-Flair' prime stuff comes when he's pushed by other veterans like Terry Funk and Ronnie Garvin out of his zone.   I find him to be an underrated brawler and while I don't think his punches are great, they fit the mentality those matches were going for at the time.  I think they work better in non-stand up positions like when he has someone in a headlock or sitting on the canvas.  His propensity to fish hook also came out during these times and was a welcome change from say the thumb in the eye off a beg off spot.  His stomps always seemed on point as well.



#6 Timbo Slice

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Posted 14 September 2014 - 03:57 PM

Him, Funk, Lawler, and Hansen are the guys I'm considering for #1 overall. I've always leaned Flair, so it's gonna be hard for me to see him knocked off the top spot.



#7 Shining Wiz

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Posted 21 September 2014 - 08:02 AM

Avoiding the more well trodden issues some have with Flair, how much (if any) does it hurt him that he stayed around too long and has a relatively long period of not so great matches at the end of his career?

I'm throwing this question in here, but it is one that will apply to a lot of candidates I think.

#8 Grimmas

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Posted 21 September 2014 - 08:22 AM

Avoiding the more well trodden issues some have with Flair, how much (if any) does it hurt him that he stayed around too long and has a relatively long period of not so great matches at the end of his career?

I'm throwing this question in here, but it is one that will apply to a lot of candidates I think.

 

Charles, Chad, Parv and myself did a podcast on the whole project and this was a question we discussed. It will be up Wednesday.



#9 Shining Wiz

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Posted 21 September 2014 - 08:31 AM

Avoiding the more well trodden issues some have with Flair, how much (if any) does it hurt him that he stayed around too long and has a relatively long period of not so great matches at the end of his career?
I'm throwing this question in here, but it is one that will apply to a lot of candidates I think.

 
Charles, Chad, Parv and myself did a podcast on the whole project and this was a question we discussed. It will be up Wednesday.

Great.....look forward to hearing it.

#10 Matt D

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Posted 21 September 2014 - 08:32 AM

I think it does absolutely, because it shows a lack of understanding about how pro wrestling works. If you are fully dependent on physical gifts and not savvy enough to change your act (like a lot of great wrestlers did as they aged to still be effective), then it means you're not as good a wrestler as other people. It means you don't have a good 360 degree understanding of pro wrestling and you just had an act that you honed that worked. 



#11 Loss

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Posted 21 September 2014 - 08:38 AM

That is the most asinine thing I've ever heard. Are you saying Ric Flair would have been better if he understood wrestling as well as you do now when he was in his 40s and 50s?



#12 Grimmas

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Posted 21 September 2014 - 08:42 AM

I see what Matt D is saying. If Flair was better he would had been able to adapt as he got older and not regress as he did. Regal, Finlay, Funk, Lawler, Tenryu, almost every luchadore, etc.. are all guys that were pretty great as they were old. Getting old should not make you shitty and if it does, why is that?

I don't think I will hold any fall off against people, but I see the argument.



#13 Matt D

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Posted 21 September 2014 - 08:44 AM

That is the most asinine thing I've ever heard. Are you saying Ric Flair would have been better if he understood wrestling as well as you do now when he was in his 40s and 50s?

 

Lots of guys adapt and change their act and have good matches deep into their later years. Flair didn't. 

 

Why?

 

(Actually, that's not entirely true. He has some pretty good hardcore matches later in his career, both in ECW and the Foley match, which is almost all Foley when it comes to layout). 



#14 Loss

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Posted 21 September 2014 - 08:46 AM

Those guys all regressed as they got older. And I feel like we're pretending that Ric Flair suddenly turned 40 and became shit, which is not true at all.

 

Getting old should make wrestlers worse. Of course it should. Wrestling has a physical component just as much as it does a mental one. If it didn't, Matt D could go have a great match right now.

 

I think it's a credit to guys who can remain great as they get old, but I think it's ridiculous to criticize those who don't. It assumes that the only changes that come with age are physical. There are mental and emotional changes that can affect a wrestler as well.



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Posted 21 September 2014 - 08:47 AM

 

That is the most asinine thing I've ever heard. Are you saying Ric Flair would have been better if he understood wrestling as well as you do now when he was in his 40s and 50s?

 

Lots of guys adapt and change their act and have good matches deep into their later years. Flair didn't. 

 

Why?

 

 

He did. They weren't at the level of his 1980s matches, but to call his post-prime career a wash is purposely misleading.



#16 Matt D

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Posted 21 September 2014 - 08:53 AM

Those guys all regressed as they got older. And I feel like we're pretending that Ric Flair suddenly turned 40 and became shit, which is not true at all.

 

Getting old should make wrestlers worse. Of course it should. Wrestling has a physical component just as much as it does a mental one. If it didn't, Matt D could go have a great match right now.

 

I think it's a credit to guys who can remain great as they get old, but I think it's ridiculous to criticize those who don't. It assumes that the only changes that come with age are physical. There are mental and emotional changes that can affect a wrestler as well.

 

We'll revisit this later on, Charles. It all feels a bit too heated now, and I'd like to see more first, but the better you understand pro wrestling as a wrestler, the better you're able to wrestle as you get older. I fully believe that. Someone who's totally broken down like late era Andre, could still do amazing things in the ring, very much on what he DIDN'T do and when he decided to do something. Flair still tried to be Flair. Andre wasn't to do the leapfrogs he was doing earlier in his career. He understood his limitations and adapted his act accordingly. That shows a level of understanding. 

 

I'm happy penalizing someone if I don't think they have that understanding, because that's something important to me. The physical matters, sure. Execution matters. But the mental matters far more to me. The art of doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason to the right effect. That matters to me more than how pretty it looks. I'm not trying to single Flair out, but it does say something to me that the problem was Flair still trying to be Flair without the physical gifts to pull it off. It makes you wonder what was Flair without those gifts? RVD is a much worse example of the same. Flair brought (from the beginning of his career to the end) much more knowledge and understanding than RVD has, of course. 

 

How is this not consistent with everything I always say? I'm not saying that other people should feel this way too, but I absolutely do, and I levy it across the board consistently. It's something that penalizes Flair somewhat, yes, but I didn't come up with it specifically to penalize Flair. Of that, I promise you. It was a chicken/egg thing. It was something I came to decide upon by watching wrestlers over time, and then I started applying t to wrestlers as I watched them. Organic and without any sort of agenda. You know my opinions and I'm sure you know I'm eccentric enough in them that it's probably true.



#17 Loss

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Posted 21 September 2014 - 09:01 AM

Yes, let's give credit to Andre for being great while broken down for his 1998-1990, while Ric Flair at the same age was having his WWF run with matches against guys like Savage and Bret Hart, and the excellent three match series against Tenryu in Japan. And let's ignore what came shortly thereafter in the Vader match, the '94 series with Hogan, the Regal and Steamboat '94 matches and the Savage feud. That seems to be purposely ignoring what's out there in order to make a convenient point. It has me heated because we've had this argument multiple times and you've gotten through to me on some things which I was rightly criticized for at the time and reconsidered and partially conceded. But you remain locked into your view despite the points I've made, and I find it frustrating because I don't know how to have a conversation with someone who refuses to listen to anything that challenges the way they look at things.



#18 Matt D

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Posted 21 September 2014 - 09:03 AM

To clarify, I'm mainly looking at his 00s WWF run, when I think "older Flair." I think he was fine in the 90s, though there was a sense of diminishing returns towards the end of the decade. He could still lean on a lot of his physical gifts in the 90s. The guy aged pretty gracefully considering. 



#19 Jmare007

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Posted 21 September 2014 - 09:06 AM

A strong contender for n°1 for me. I've probably seen more Flair singles matches than any other wrestler and even though he did have his "formula" I was never bothered by it and didn't think it was worse than any other "formula" that almost every all-timer has. And as Parv posted in the Microscope thread, there are a lot of examples of Naitch going away from his usual style.

His later years can play a part in him not getting n°1 but I don't see him dropping from the top 5. But then again, even though he did get much worse than others as he got older. I'm not sure a lot of those people had the body of work Flair had in his prime. I'd see the argument if people were on the same level before Ric started his decline/others adapted but I still haven't seen someone as good as Flair in his prime get better or adapt better as they got older. I'd put guys like Misawa or Kawada on Ric's prime level and they too got worse as they got older too.
 

I'm pretty sure I've seen every notable Flair match (I haven't seen the Brody broadway, but you'd have to put a gun to my head to get me to sit through that), and I've found that the ones that are held up as being not typical Flair matches end up being basically typical Flair matches. The ones where Flair is a babyface are obvious exceptions.


Yeah, Brody was one of his opponents I dreaded the most. I sat through a couple of very mediocre matches before finding the one were it finally clicked for them (still can't remember the date). Still, it's the best Brody singles match I've seen and it wasn't because of what Brody did.

#20 Matt D

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Posted 21 September 2014 - 09:15 AM

What I will concede is that maybe it's ridiculous to expect that someone change up their act when it served them so well for almost 30 years in the ring, so successfully, more successfully than almost anyone ever, but he had a lot of matches in the 00s, many more than I think he expected to have. Maybe the issue wasn't a lack of understanding of wrestling and how it works, but instead a lack of perspective in the fact that he couldn't bring it to the table anymore, because he was Ric by god Flair and if anyone's delusional about himself and his capabilities, it's Slick Ric. 

 

And I'll see that in his older matches, maybe, if I can make enough of a throughline to provide me the evidence I feel I need to make that call. I'll do my homework. Right now, between what I've seen in his earlier career, what I've heard through interviews, and what I've seen in the 00s, I'm not convinced that it just wasn't a lack of understanding of certain aspects of wrestling, or at least a disagreement with what I value. 

 

But it could be that he was just a delusional old mule trapped in a lifetime of glory and not necessarily a deficient wrestler when it came  to the mental game.

 

I don't entirely know, though I have my opinions. In the end, since he's such a strong candidate for #1, I'll probably have to make an exception with him and try to decide whether or not I'd give him a pass for things I wouldn't give someone else a pass on and not just go on the matches as primary evidence. In general, I have to feel like there's strong mitigating evidence otherwise not to apply the same criteria across all wrestlers and looking at a wrestler's late career is something I think is important, because I care about situational reactions more than almost anything else. With the way I look at things, with the way any of us looking at things, the biggest danger is not trying to be as consistent as possible.






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