Reliving A Feud #16: Curt Hennig Vs. Ric Flair In WWF & WCW ’92 – ’97
For most of 1992, Curt Hennig aka Mr. Perfect, was by Ric Flair’s side making sure that Flair was always in contention for the WWF World Championship. Hennig was there when Flair won the Royal Rumble and tried to help Flair keep the belt at WrestleMania 8. By the end of 1992 the relationship took a turn for the worse.
In November 1992, the Ultimate Warrior left the company and that meant Randy Savage didn’t have a partner for Survivor Series 1992. Savage was booked to meet Ric Flair and Razor Ramon in a tag match. Savage found a replacement partner, who would be Curt Hennig. Hennig wasn’t interested at first, but after Bobby Heenan got under his skin, Hennig accepted the offer and turned into a babyface. This wouldn’t sit well with Flair and Heenan. At the event, Hennig and Savage would win by disqualification.
At the Royal Rumble in early 1993, Hennig eliminated Flair from the match. The following night on RAW, WWF fans were treated with the first classic match in RAW history. Hennig would get the best of Flair on RAW and provide a match of the year contender. The match was promoted as a career vs. career match. Flair would lose the match, a match that saw him bleed on television, and head back to World Championship Wrestling.
This wouldn’t be the last time these two would meet in the business. Hennig would remain in the WWF until the fall of ’96. Hennig would debut in World Championship Wrestling on the 6/30/97 edition of Nitro. The following week, Flair tried to recruit Hennig into the Four Horsemen but Hennig wasn’t committed to the idea of joining the Horsemen. It was being teased that Hennig was also being recruited by the New World Order.
It looked like the Four Horsemen were the favorites to land Hennig as Curt teamed with Flair to defeat the New World Order team of Buff Bagwell and Scott Norton. Hennig would deny he was a Horsemen later on in the show.
On the August 25th edition of Nitro, Flair made it clear that he wanted Hennig to be in the Four Horsemen once and for all. So, on the show Flair brought out Arn Anderson to talk to Hennig. The segment is one of the more memorable moments in Nitro history and a classic promo by Arn Anderson. This is the promo where Anderson offers Hennig his spot in the Horsemen. Considering it is a huge honor and a emotional segment, Hennig accepts the offer and becomes a member of the Four Horsemen.
The Horsemen were set to meet the New World Order at Fall Brawl 1997 inside War Games. The few weeks leading into the event made it look like the Horsemen were all on the same page and ready to take out the New World Order at the event. Prior to the match, Hennig was attacked by the New World Order, but the beating wasn’t witnessed on camera.
As many people expected, Hennig turned on the Four Horsemen as he attacked his former members with handcuffs. Most shocking of all, Hennig would slam the cage door into Flair’s head. This would spark a feud between the two of them and some heated moments for the next two months. The following night on Nitro, Hennig added salt to the wounds by coming out wearing Flair’s robe, which he would give to Hollywood Hogan. Hennig would win his first WCW championship by pinning Steve McMichael to win the WCW United States Championship.
Flair wouldn’t return to television until October 6th when Flair ran down to the ring after Hennig defended the championship against Chris Benoit. Flair attacked the New World Order and chased Hennig outside before making it clear that he was hunting Hennig for revenge. They would meet at Halloween Havoc on October 26th. Flair would get some measure of revenge, but lost the match by disqualification due to using the United States Championship on Hennig. The feud continued the following night on Nitro when Hennig attacked Flair when the Nature Boy was wrestling Randy Savage. Hennig used the championship on Flair that night.
Over the course of the next couple of Nitro’s, Hennig and Flair would attack each other causing disqualifications. They would meet again at World War III on November 23rd with the WCW United States Championship on the line with no disqualifications. Hennig was able to win the match after he nailed Flair in the head with the championship, again. This would mark the end of the feud between Hennig and Flair on a major scale.
The feud between Flair and Hennig is an entertaining one that produced some quality matches for a five year stretch of time. The Hennig/Flair match on RAW has to be considered one of the best RAW matches to ever happen. The emotion of it all and the big win that Hennig got from it makes it memorable. However, if you’ve realized, Hennig won both instances of the feud and his star was not able to shine for a long period of time afterward.
In the WWF feud, I would’ve thought that Hennig would become a main event star. Instead, he lost to Luger at Mania IX, and would have to settle for a Intercontinental Championship match at SummerSlam ’93. Then, he goes to WCW and beats Flair and within two months he loses the United States Championship and isn’t competing on pay per views at all. There seemed to be issues with how Hennig was booked in both companies when it came to long-term planning.
Hennig was one of the few instances that when working with Flair, his career didn’t rise up to being a major player in the company. They were able to create entertaining moments and the feud is seen in a positive way for me.
What are your opinions on the feud between Hennig and Flair? Feel free to share your opinions below.
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