Bob Colling of Wrestling Recaps
At the 1992 Royal Rumble, Ric Flair had won the WWF World Championship and was announced to defend the championship against Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VIII in April of that year. That all changed when Sid Justice screwed Hogan over an an episode of SNME and the Hulkster wanted some revenge. So, Flair needed a new challenger and that new challenger was found in the form of “Macho Man” Randy Savage…
Leading into the big showdown at Mania VIII Flair had been saying that Miss Elizabeth had been involved with him before she got with Savage. As many people know, Savage was really protective of Elizabeth in real life, so the idea that Randy went off the wall at these accusations isn’t far fetched and played well into reality. Flair would even go so far as to post photos of himself with Liz in WWF Magazine, the photos of course would turn out to be Flair superimposed over Macho’s body. Flair and Mr. Perfect also claimed that they had some inappropriate photos of Elizabeth that they would reveal at the event after a victory.
Their match at WrestleMania was simply incredible. The emotion of it all was captured wonderfully. Savage having to fight off Mr. Perfect on the outside, getting his knee whacked with a chair, and Elizabeth coming down to ringside against officials wishes, all just made it really memorable. The ovation Savage got after rolling Flair up to win the championship was just icing on the cake. After the match, a bloody Flair decided to kiss Elizabeth and add more fuel to the fire for this feud.
They would take a break from feuding on television but had countless house show matches, including a tour of Steel Cage matches. They attempted to throw more heat onto the story with Flair providing us with a recorded conversation he had with Miss Liz, where it appeared Liz was now with Ric. This angle was abruptly dropped however due to the real life marriage of Savage and Elizabeth becoming very strained. The couple would soon divorce.
At SummerSlam in August 1992 it was announced that Savage would defend the championship against the Ultimate Warrior in a rematch from WrestleMania VII. Leading into the event, Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect claimed that one of the two men in the title match had paid for their services to help them win. This lead to Savage and Warrior not trusting each other, but during the actual match it was soon revealed it was all a ploy by Flair. At the event, Flair and Perfect attacked BOTH men and Savage retained the championship after a count out finish.
Flair would get a TV rematch with Savage, and the match aired on September 14th on Primetime Wrestling. The match originally took place on September 1st in Hershey, PA. Flair was able to regain the championship by locking in the figure four in the middle of the ring and pinned Savage, who refused to tap out from the pain.
Savage wouldn’t get the chance to regain the WWF World Championship due to Flair losing the championship to Bret Hart in October. The feud would continue however in November at the Survivor Series. Leading into the event it was supposed to be Savage and new found partner the Ultimate Warrior against Ric Flair and Razor Ramon. However, Warrior would leave the promotion due to a conflict. So, Savage needed a replacement and he was able to recruit Flair’s own executive consultant, Mr. Perfect, in the days leading in to the event!
The recruitment of Perfect would turn out to be a good thing for Savage as they would win the match at Survivor Series by disqualification. This would mark the last time Savage and Flair would get involved against one another in the WWF.
They would, however, meet again in World Championship Wrestling. Flair returned to the promotion in February and Savage would come to WCW in the winter of 1994. Savage quickly aligned himself with Hulk Hogan, and Flair was focused on taking both of them out, as a result. We’ll just focus on Savage this time around. However, it wouldn’t be the last time the two would meet by a long shot!
Moving on to WCW…
At Uncensored 1995, Savage was wrestling Avalanche (John Tenta) when a now “retired” Flair, dressed as a woman, jumped the guard railing and attacked the Macho Man on the floor. This beat down and Flair’s involvement in a match involving Hogan and Vader later on in the show, would lead to the Hulkster and Savage to demand Flair to be reinstated into WCW.
Flair would return to pay per view in a wrestling capacity when he teamed with Vader to take on Savage and Hogan at Slamboree in May. Naturally, Flair would be pinned by Hogan at the event, but after the match Flair ended up putting the figure four leg lock on Savage’s father, Angelo Poffo, in the ring! That would spark up the feud between the two of them in WCW.
They were supposed to have a match on the June 3rd edition of Saturday Night but instead Savage attacked Flair backstage and Ric escaped in a limo to get away from Macho. They would however square off at the Great American Bash on June 18th. Savage was accompanied to the ring by his father, Angelo, who had been attacked by Flair at the previous pay per view. Flair was still able to get the victory after hitting Savage with Angelo’s cane!
Their feud continued at Bash at the Beach the following month with the stipulation that there would be wrestlers dressed as lifeguards around ringside making the match a lumberjack match. Savage would finally get his revenge on Flair by pinning the Nature Boy with a top rope elbow drop that July.
After a few months apart, the feud would continue in the winter of 1995. Randy Savage won the vacant WCW World Heavyweight Championship at World War III in November. At Starrcade in December, Flair would defeat Savage to regain the championship after beating Sting and Lex Luger in a triple threat match to earn a match with Savage in the main event at the pay per view.
Savage would reclaim the WCW World Heavyweight Championship on the January 22nd edition of Nitro in 1996. These two would meet again at February’s Superbrawl VI inside a steel cage. At the event, Elizabeth turned on Savage by handing Flair a high heel shoe and allowing Flair to hit Savage to regain the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Elizabeth would rub salt into the wound by spending Randy’s money and bragging about it.
Flair would get two more television victories over Savage on the June 17th edition of Nitro after Mongo hit Savage with a briefcase. Then again on the August 12th edition of Nitro Flair got the win on Savage after a now heel Hulk Hogan hit Savage with a steel chair.
For most of 1997 and 1998, Savage and Flair didn’t have any interaction with one another thanks in large part to the New World Order angle and Flair also having issues with Eric Bischoff. Savage left WCW in the summer of 1998, but when he returned they would continue their feud for a period of time in 1999.
Savage returned to WCW in April 1999 and would be the special referee for a fatal four way match at Spring Stampede where Flair defended the championship against DDP, Hulk Hogan and Sting. Savage helped DDP win his first WCW World Heavyweight Championship by hitting a top rope elbow drop on Flair in the middle of the ring.
At Slamboree in May of 1999, Ric Flair’s protégé referee Charles Robinson fought Savage’s valet Gorgeous George in a match where if George won, then Savage would be reinstated in WCW. She would win the match after Savage got involved and George hit the elbow drop. The next night on Nitro, Savage teamed with Madusa to beat Ric Flair and Charles Robinson in a mixed tag match. This would mark the final match involving Flair and Savage to cap off the feud.
This has to be one of my favorite rivalries in wrestling history. I’ve always been a huge fan of their match at WrestleMania VIII. That’s a match I watch at least several times a year. Their whole feud in 1992 is memorable to me. Actually, their entire feud even in WCW is top notch stuff. Their matches never failed to deliver, either.
Sure, the matches are the same formula for the most part, but their matches hook me in every time. There are countless memories in this feud as well. Savage winning at Mania 8, Flair attacking Savage’s father in 1995, Elizabeth turning on Savage at Superbrawl VI, and the reinstatement of Savage in 1999. There is never a down period between these two while they are feuding.
What makes this feud great is that neither man was dominate throughout the feud. That was a negative for the Flair/Hogan feud. Hogan pretty much dominated Flair throughout their feud. Not only did Flair and Savage exchange wins over this lengthy feud, they had countless matches that were incredible and had great emotional value.
The Elizabeth turn tied into the feud that started in 1992. Remember, Flair claimed to have been with Elizabeth before she was with Savage. Four years later, she goes to Flair. It just fits into the feud perfectly.
While the feud from 1992-1996 was fantastic with some emotional stuff attached to it, the feud in 1999 was more of a comedic value than anything serious. The involvement of Charles Robinson and Gorgeous George increased the humor of it all for me personally. That part of the feud didn’t hurt the feud overall, though. These two just worked perfectly with one another.
In my opinion, this feud ranks easily in my top ten of all time and could possibly be in the top five. A fantastic overall feud between two icons in the wrestling business.
Feel free to share your memories on this feud below!
Thanks for reading.