Review: WWE Network’s 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die: #36 Mr. Perfect vs. Ric Flair (Loser Leaves Town, WWE RAW, January 25, 1993)

20141106_EP_LIGHT_100best_2_home_nologo(Here’s the link for the match on the WWE Network: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31307261?contextType=wwe-show&contextId=raw_replays&contentId=67079426&watchlistAltButtonContext=series )

Ric Flair vs Mr. Perfect? Doesn’t that scream an instant classic? I had no idea they had fought each other during their respective periods in the WWE. It was a main event during an early 90s WWE Raw. The match between HBK and Marty Jannetty was a pleasant surprise, another early 90s Raw match on this Best 100…List at #97 (read my review here). A bout between Flair and Perfect would easily surpass that, wouldn’t it? Sadly, not. It’s by no means a bad match, but some casual sloppiness from both wrestlers and a lack of flow to the match harm proceedings. I expected so much more from two of the greatest workers of all time.You’d think that a Loser Leaves Town match between two of the all-time greats would be on a PPV. However, the stipulation came about rather quickly. To go into too much detail would spoil the outcome of the match. The outcome is one of the main attractions of this match if you don’t know too much about the backstage reason for the stipulation. I admit, my knowledge of early 90s’ WWE is limited to WrestleManias. I knew that both Flair and Perfect left WWE but wasn’t sure exactly when each wrestler left. Even with the result in doubt, I still wasn’t absorbed in the match.

There’s nothing wrong with the match, as such. There are a few botches that are unexpected from two greats. A mid-match leapfrog by Perfect goes awry. He tries to disguise it by hitting a clothesline, but it still looks awful. Flair, in general, does not seem heavily invested in the match. He performs moderately well, but seems disinterested at times. He runs through his normal routine of Flair flops, chops and being slammed off the top rope as though he’s checking off a ticklist. Perfect takes some silly-looking bumps that suspended my disbelief, one a leap over the turnbuckle after a slow Irish whip. Considering this leads to Perfect being busted wide open, a big story in the match, it’s hard to understand why Perfect flew over without great velocity.

Maybe my expectations were too high for this match...
Maybe my expectations were too high for this match…

It’s a decent story as well, with Flair the heel mostly on offence. He works on Perfect’s head after the silly Irish whip leap and later on works on Perfect’s knee to set up the Figure Foru Leg Lock. However, Flair slaps on his finishing submission before working on Perfect’s knee, another little niggle I had with this match. Perfect’s babyface comebacks are well-paced. For example, when Flair is chopping Perfect towards the end of the match and Perfect shrugs them off, it’s a cheer worthy moment. But his comebacks don’t succeed in excitement as well as they should do. Maybe I’m not used to seeing Perfect as a babyface, but it felt like an unnatural fit to him.

On their worst days, both Perfect and Flair could have decent matches. While not on their worst day for this match, they were definitely not on their best days. Perfect as a babyface doesn’t work for me. Flair is always a great heel, but here he did not do enough to sell Perfect as the babyface (or maybe that was just Perfect’s fault). It’s probably better than most of the dross we see on Raw nowadays, to be honest. It holds well up to today’s standards, with its fast pace and some big bumps. However, even with the Loser Leaves Town stipulation, there is no great heat in the match. It’s satisfactory, even good at times, but isn’t worthy of being included on the Best 100…List. It says something when one of the most memorable things about the match is Vince McMahon rambling about the Sci Fi Channel!

VERDICT: 6/10. Ric Flair vs Mr. Perfect should be an instant classic, especially with the Loser Leaves Town stipulation, but it isn’t. Sloppiness, Perfect’s inadequacy as a babyface, and Flair’s intermittent disinterest in the match spoil things. It’s still worth watching, but not worthy of the Best 100…List.

Does this match belong in the WWE Network’s ‘ 100 Best Matches To See Before You Die’ List? Leave your thoughts/comments below!

Click here for my review of #37 The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (Inaugrual Hell in a Cell Match, WWE In Your House: Badd Blood)

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