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Gimmick Some Lovin': Loser Leaves Town

A look back at the January 1993 "career threatening match" between Mr. Perfect and Ric Flair.

CONTRIBUTOR
Top 5 / Top 10 03 Nov 2017, 15:25 IST
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Easily one of
Widely considered one of the best matches ever given away on "free" TV.

In Gimmick Some Lovin', we take a look at one iteration of a gimmick match each week. Some are iconic for their success, others for the extent to which they flopped, and some just...happened.

Also read: Gimmick Some Lovin': The Buried Alive match

We defined a "gimmick match" as, in any way, adding a rule/stipulation to or removing a rule from a match, changing the physical environment of a match, changing the conditions which define a "win", or in any way moving past the simple requirement of two men/women/teams whose contest must end via a single pinfall, submission, count out, or disqualification.

This week, in honor of ESPN's 30 for 30 about The Nature Boy Ric Flair premiering Tuesday, November 7, and with the announcement last week that the 25th anniversary edition of Monday Night Raw would emanate, at least partially, from the Manhattan Center, which hosted this contest along with much of the early editions of Raw, we're taking a look at the final televised match of Flair's first WWF run, the iconic Loser Leaves Town match which pitted Flair against his former confidante, "Mr. Perfect".


From Executive Assistant to Enemy

Perfect and Flair in 1992
Perfect and Flair in 1992

Two major events, one more fortuitous than the other, led to one of the then-WWF's most iconic pairings of the early 1990s. First was the injury to Curt Hennig's (a.k.a. Mr. Perfect's) lower back in the summer of 1991, which led to Perfect submitting to Bret Hart's Sharpshooter at that year's SummerSlam, losing the Intercontinental Title in what was purported to be Hennig's final match. Because of severe damage to his tailbone and several discs in his back accrued over his storied career, Perfect transitioned into a managerial role the next time he was seen on T.V.

His client?

The limousine-ridin', jet-flyin', kiss-stealin', wheelin', dealin', Jim Herd-fightin', To Be The Man-writin' son of a gun himself, "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair. Flair and then-WCW head honcho Herd clashed often over Flair's pay, look, contract, influence in the company, legacy, and just about anything else two men can clash over backstage at a wrestling show, which resulted in Flair leaving WCW (but, in one of the greatest examples of oversight in sports entertainment history, taking the world championship belt with him until a five-figure deposit could be returned).

One of the greatest angles in 1991 WWF was Bobby
One of the greatest angles in 1991 WWF was Bobby "The Brain" Heenan touting the "Real World Champion" all over WWF TV. In a post-InVasion era, it's hard to explain how odd it was to see that belt on World Wrestling Federation television.

Flair was naturally paired with easily the greatest heel manager the business has ever seen, Bobby Heenan, and Heenan's legacy managing Mr. Perfect (among too many other notable bad guys to list), made the recently-retired Hennig the perfect addition to Flair's entourage. With Hennig and Heenan by his side, Ric Flair captured the World Wrestling Federation Championship by lasting a then-record 62:02 in the 1992 Royal Rumble, where the vacant WWF Championship went to the victor.

Ric Flair taunts the crowd as Razor Ramon traps the Macho Man in an abdominal stretch.
Ric Flair taunts the crowd as Razor Ramon traps the Macho Man in an abdominal stretch.

Hennig would support Flair throughout 1992 but, as Survivor Series approached (and as Heenan's comments toward Perfect became more derogatory and dismissive), a replacement was needed for the departing "Ultimate Warrior" to team with "Macho Man" Randy Savage against Flair and newcomer Razor Ramon. In a heated confrontation, Perfect accepted Savage's invitation to partner up, and a newly-babyface Mr. Perfect and his Slim Jim-snapping partner were victorious.

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