After a lengthy layoff, two of pro wrestling’s biggest stars in the 1980s returned to action. Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair limped their way to the ring in Australia for their much anticipated encounter. The match was anything but what a match in the 80s would have looked like between these two men. As a matter of a fact, it sounded more like an alternative ending to The Wrestler.
Ric Flair lost a retirement match to Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 24 last year. Vince McMahon brought Flair back with the promise from Flair that this would be his last match. Flair was subsequently honored by the WWE the night after with a retirement ceremony for the ages. It only took a few weeks, but it wasn’t long thereafter when Flair started making noise about a “comeback.”
Hulk Hogan has also had quite a ride since his last big match. It has been three years since Hogan’s last big match in the WWE against Randy Orton. Since that time, Hogan attempted an indy tour which started and ended two years ago with a bombed show. Hogan has also had his share of family issues from a very public divorce, a new engagement, fame and destruction of his family, capped off with a ton of tragedy surrounding his son. Like Flair, Hogan is also in financial need due to a terrible divorce. It was also no surprise when Hogan announced his new venture, a tour of Australia and a comeback match. Needless to say, Hogan’s return to the ring was far less memorable than his WrestleMania classics.
Reportedly, only 50% of the seats were filled for the big Hogan-Flair encounter in Melbourne. Reports of the match vary, but it sounds like it was exactly what you would have expected. It sounded like two guys trying their best to entertain, yet looking every bit of their age in the ring. The match ended with Hogan hitting Flair with “brass knuckles” and pinning him. I must admit that I was kind of surprised not to see Hogan go over Flair clean, since he beat him like a drum in their WWE and WCW runs.
There is a big joke in here somewhere. Here are two guys that used to sell out the biggest arenas in the world, desperately trying to cling on to something that has long past them by. For Flair, it is almost pathetic that he sold his WrestleMania memory for this. Instead of going out with one of the most memorable matches and moments in his career, he will instead have to live with a slow-motioned match against Hulk Hogan in front of a minimal audience.
It is almost a worst case scenario for Hulk Hogan. Hogan at least still gives the perception to the mainstream media that he is still a huge wrestling superstar. His last two attempts to independently resurrect his career have been dreadful. Out of the WWE or WCW machine, his name attracts more media attention to TMZ.com than it does wrestling fans to a match. At a time when Hogan announced a deal with TNA Wrestling, this only shows TNA that the Hogan name doesn’t have nearly as much pull as they were led to believe.
Probably not go.
Ric Flair’s Entrance
Thanks to ProWrestling.Net for the tip!
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