“Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan)
As we come to the end of October and continue the build to Survivor Series, there was a lot of buzz in the WWF since the arrival of Ric Flair and the anticipation of a future showdown with WWF Champion Hulk Hogan. But before that, Flair was put into a feud with Roddy Piper which made sense as they have history together from their days in the Carolinas and it was a good feud for Piper as well as he was transitioning back to wrestling after being a commentator for the last year. You knew that these two were going to have some wild matches and you figured that one of these matches would be either on TV or PPV, and it was going to be a good first feud for Flair before what would be the inevitable feud with Hogan heading into Wrestlemania.
This feud has been growing since Flair arrived in the WWF and we mentioned the 9/28 Superstars when the two men brawled and Piper accidentally knocked out Vince McMahon with a chair, and the two would cut promos on each other as Piper eventually made his in-ring return. The two men would feud on the house shows and Piper would also feud with the Undertaker while Flair fought the Texas Tornado, and on the 10/26 Superstars it was announced the two men would lead teams against each other with Piper teaming with Bret Hart, the British Bulldog, and Virgil facing Flair, Ted Dibiase, the Warlord, and the Mountie. This feud has been built pretty good on TV though again most knew that this was just a holdover feud for Flair before going to Hogan, but Piper was still a great guy for Flair to feud with and have good matches with.
Flair was red hot as a heel and a cool touch is Bobby leaving the commentary table and working as Flair’s manager while Flair also still has the “Real World Title”, and Piper gets a big pop from the crowd. The two men have a staredown to start the match and they lock up with Flair backing Piper into the corner and he gives a clean break, and they lock up again with Flair backing Piper into the corner again and he gives another clean break as Piper spits on him. They lock up a third time with Flair backing Piper into the corner and he shoves him back only for Piper to slap him in the face, and Piper picks the ref up and puts him on the top rope for some reason as they lock up with Flair hooking a headlock. He goes behind Piper who escapes and he slaps Flair in the face again as Flair stalls in the corner, and they lock up with Piper hooking a headlock and he knocks Flair down as Flair regroups near the ropes. They lock up with Flair getting a knee in and he pounds on Piper in the corner as Piper battles back and he knocks Flair down, and Flair flops to the mat and rolls outside to regroup as Piper follows him and he rams Flair into the guardrail. He rams Flair into the steps and drags him back into the ring as he hooks a headlock and knocks Flair down, and Flair leaps over Piper who knocks him down and he pounds on Flair in the corner until the ref grabs his arm and Flair gets a knee in. He knocks Piper down and drops a knee on him before pounding on him in the corner and he takes him to the mat with a headlock, and Flair tries to force Piper’s shoulders to the mat as Piper escapes with a headscissors and Flair flips on top of him for a two count. Piper bridges up and hooks a backslide for a two count as Flair rakes the eyes and he tosses Piper to the outside, and Piper quickly returns to the ring and gets a shot in as Flair tosses him to the outside again and Piper again quickly returns to the ring. Piper nails Flair again only for Flair to toss Piper to the outside again and he goes outside as well, and he pounds on Piper and returns to the ring as Piper crawls back up the aisle and tries to roll back into the ring only for Flair to stop him. He hotshots Piper on the top rope and pounds on him as Piper battles back and Flair drags him back into the ring, and Piper blocks a shot and pounds on Flair before whipping him into the corner and he hits a backdrop. He hits a running kneelift on Flair and then he clotheslines him over the top to the floor as Flair flops to the floor, and Piper comes off the apron with an axehandle to Flair and he throws him back into the ring as Flair begs off. He pounds on Flair in the corner and he attempts a running bulldog only for Flair to send Piper into the ref, and Piper checks on the ref as Flair nails him from behind only for Piper to counter a slam with a small package though the ref is still out. Piper checks on the ref again as a second ref comes out to check on him and Flair rakes Piper’s eyes, and Flair grabs at the second ref as Piper hooks a rollup for a two count and he pounds on Flair. Flair gets a kick in and pounds on Piper in the corner as Piper battles back and he whips Flair inside out in the corner with Flair landing on the apron, and Piper hits a clothesline on Flair who falls to the floor and Piper checks on the ref again. Flair grabs a chair from ringside and brings it into the ring as he hits Piper in the head with it for a two count, and Piper reverses a whip and hooks the sleeper on Flair who quickly escapes with a back suplex. Flair goes up top only for Piper to grab him first and he tosses him to the mat as they trade blows with Piper taking control, and Flair gets a shot in only for Piper to catch him ducking with a swinging neckbreaker before going outside and he brings a chair into the ring. Flair begs off as the ref grabs the chair and Piper blocks a shot before sending Flair over the top to the floor, and Flair gets on the apron as Piper winds up the chair only for the ref to grab it from him and Flair gets a shot in and falls on top of Piper while using the ropes for leverage which gets the three and he wins the match. After the match, Piper tosses Flair to the outside and goes outside himself as he rams Flair into the guardrail and throws him back into the ring, and Piper grabs the chair and hits the ref in the head with it before hitting Flair in the head with it. Officials come out as Piper scares them away with the chair before hitting Flair in the head with it again, and he hits Flair in the back and sends him over the top to the floor as Flair heads to the back with Bobby.
The match itself was good as both men worked hard and put on a solid match. It did start off a bit slow as they seemed to be stalling too much in the first few minutes, but by the end the action really picked up and 12 minutes was a fine length for the match. Piper looked good considering he had been out of the ring for a little over a year and Flair was really hitting his groove by this point, and they had good chemistry here as it was a bit of an upset having Flair win and giving Piper his first pinfall loss in Madison Square Garden. On the flip side, it made sense having Flair win because you obviously wanted him to be strong for the Hogan feud while Piper was bulletproof by this point and wouldn’t get hurt by the loss. The crowd was into the match and Piper, but are not happy when Flair won. Flair steals the win over Piper though this issue isn’t over yet.
Final Grade: ***