Match of the Day: Ric Flair vs Tatsumi Fujinami 05/19/1991

Myth is in quotation
Sorry for the haircut, Naitch.

A while back, I decided to watch the only Tatsumi Fujinami match available on WWE Network. It is from SuperBrawl I in May 1991. The background: WCW and New Japan had a supershow in March ’91 headlined by Fujinami/Flair for the WCW AND NWA titles. Fujinami won via a rollup, but since Flair was thrown over the top rope against WCW rules, that title did not change hands. The wrestling mags of the time made this seem like the biggest deal in the world, as The Wrestler made it seem like Flair was the last American hope against some sort of Japanese onslaught.

As for the match: Not the best work of either guy, I would imagine. Very sloppy at points with Fujinami missing on a spot where Flair was supposed to go out of the ring, so he just did the same spot again. Lot of sloppy rollups, etc. Flair had very little going on at this point, having just got the belt back as a huge “I’m sorry” for having to do the Black Scorpion thing since original choice Al Perez skipped town. Lot of mat wrestling early in the bout which was good but the crowd didn’t dig it. Understandable since they just saw a classic Steiners vs Luger/Sting match and Bobby Eaton beating Arn Anderson for the TV title at the highest point of Bobby’s singles career earlier in the night. It’s always important to keep the concept of crowd burnout in mind for shows as not everything can be Wrestlemania 17.

We also go the whole match without Fujinami using the Dragon sleeper or Dragon suplex, moves he innovated. That’s a bummer. Bill Alfonso is the US ref who is outside the ring and he’s a bit annoying. Flair (who bladed because he’s Flair) wins via rollup while grabbing the tights. And he would then be fired six weeks later, because WCW head man and former Pizza Hut executive Jim Herd didn’t like him. The lesson with that is that pizza chain executives probably shouldn’t be running wrestling companies.

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