Could Flair have worked in Hogans spot?

Discussion in 'Old School Wrestling' started by relentless1, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. relentless1

    relentless1 G.O.A.T.

    Apr 29, 2011
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    1984 - 1990

    Hogans legendary run that turned Vinces WWF into a international juggernaut in pro wrestling.

    Of course Vince deserves the lions share of the credit for this happening but most say he couldn't have done it without Hulk Hogan as his star attraction.

    So would Flair have been able to replicate Hogans success for the WWF in this time period?? Many look on him as the second most notable star in wrestling from the 80s so what if Vince plucked him from JCP instead of Hogan from AWA?? Could Flair have carried WrestleMania on his back? Could he be marketed just as successfully as Hogan during this time period with Vince behind him??

    Bonus question, if Flair is the WWF main man what happens to Hulk? Does he die with AWA or is his natural charisma too much and he finds similar success elsewhere??
  2. ilapierre

    ilapierre Getting Noticed By Management

    Jun 3, 2010
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    He is considered the second most notable star of that decade because he was a relatively big fish in a little pond the entire decade. I look at Savage as 2nd best. But, no, I don't believe Flair could have transformed wrestling and did for WWE what Hogan did. There is only one Hogan and only Hogan could have done what Hogan did.
  3. Jack-Hammer

    Staff Member Moderator

    Mar 26, 2009
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    Flair was the better in-ring worker and gave better promos while Hogan was a man with the right look, the right personality and the right character coming in at the right time.

    Generally speaking, Hulk Hogan's character during this time was basically that of an old school comic book character come to life. He was incredibily family and child friendly, there wasn't anything remotely edgy about him and that sort of safe, old school, conservative patriotism clicked with Reagan era Americans. Flair was a shallow, narcissistic, materialistic womanizer who epitomed the greed and excess of the 80s.

    Hogan had the physique, persona and packaging of a heroic, blue collar American alpha male. In some ways, picture Dusty Rhodes but take away the lisp, the overly exaggerated Texas accent and give him a burly, powerful physique with just a dash of Christian theology and you have the ideal American hero of the 1980s. Ric Flair couldn't fill that role, I've no doubt he'd have been successful but Flair wasn't the one to lead the WWF to a level of mainstream success unseen or unheard of. The styles of Mid-Atlantic/JCP/WCW and WWF were quite different. The WWF had good wrestlers and did have some good wrestling, but it was more about the characters and their over the top aspects while Mid-Atlantic/JCP/WCW had the better overall in-ring work but relatively few over the top, cartoonish characters. For the most part, Flair's pond was doing things the way most other companies had always done while Hogan's was doing something quite different and needed a different wrestler than Flair to be be its biggest fish.
  4. Jonyboyuk2

    Jonyboyuk2 Getting Noticed By Management

    Feb 2, 2012
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    No way. There were far better technical Wrestlers out there like Bret Hart, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels and Randy Savage. But the truth is, Hogan had an aura. What is forgotten (or not even known by younger fans) was the magic of Hulkamania in the late 80s and early 90s. You would genuinely look at Hogan and see a superhero. His routine was the same and it was very cheesy - but it was mega powerful. Flair was someone who could appeal to working man in the audience, but Hogan transitioned all of that - and was the most exciting performer in terms of playing up to the crowd for cheers on his comeback and victories.
  5. d_henderson1810

    d_henderson1810 Mid-Card Championship Winner

    Oct 12, 2008
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    Hulk Hogan was the quinnesential face in the 80's.

    Ric Flair was the ultimate bad guy in the 80's.

    I can't see Flair playing a face character like Hogan back then and making it work.
  6. Goldie

    Goldie Getting Noticed By Management

    May 8, 2012
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    It may have worked to a degree but would been much less effective.
    Flair was a heel for the better part of his prime..... though Ric could work as a face, he was already a long term heel champion of the rival promotion.
    Yes Hogan wrestled as a heel... but with the 1982 release of Rocky 3... and certainly by the time Vince chose him, Hogan was already a super over babyface in the AWA. He already had huge momentum as a babyface and arguably already the most popular wrestler in America.

    At the time Vince liked huge god like physiques. Hogan had it. A lot of the NWA guys though obviously bigger built than your average guy.... did themselves look quite like normal guys when you compared them to Hogan, Andre etc
    Hogan was the American hero, was loud and boisterous (unlike his processor Bob Backlund) .... though Flair had immense charisma, could you imagine Flair taking on an American super hero persona? telling the kids to drink their milk and eat their vitamins?

    Another thing to consider- Flair was about to turn 35 when the 30 year Hogan rolled up the Iron Sheik to win the title. Would Vince have considered there would be less mileage in building his long term expansion plans on a 35 year old?

    Hogan had the look, the build, the loud bouncy personality- I don't think anyone at that time could have pulled it off as well as Hogan did. It didn't matter than he wasn't much of a worker because Vinces direction was more about hype, glamour, showbiz and most importantly ... dollars! Hogan had mass media crossover appeal to win over the 'kids market' and bring new audiences to his product.
    Flair I would say was great at keeping the loyal NWA fanbase happy... but not having that super hero persona of Hogan- I don't see him having the same crossover appeal across the media

    Hogan was the perfect choice and thats the reason Vince picked him in the first place!
    If it wasn't Hogan- I think Savage would have been the 2nd best guy to go with
  7. d_henderson1810

    d_henderson1810 Mid-Card Championship Winner

    Oct 12, 2008
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    Another factor that came into play was the time period.

    In the 80's, wrestling was just becoming big. People still embraced fantasy, and didn't want realism in everything. The U.S. was held up on a pedestal and everyone was making money. Patriotism was at an all-time high.

    So, part of the reason Hulk Hogan was embraced was because we were living in a society that was willing to embrace a child-friendly, American-loving wrestler.

    Hulk Hogan is essentially the 80's version of John Cena. Or maybe Cena is the 21st century version of Hulk Hogan.

    Think about it. They were the same. Both family-friendly, both won all the time, and beat whomever was put in front of them, both happy to wave the flag.

    But the difference was, the internet wasn't around, and people didn't get upset when Hogan retained his belt yet again and called him "SuperHogan". They didn't complain that he buried everyone, and that you are all tired of him being champion, and your favourite should wear it instead.

    I have said that the only difference to Hulk Hogan and John Cena's popularity is all a case of timing. If Cena was in Hogan's spot in the 80's, he would be as big as Hogan. If Hogan was wrestling today, we would have the forums full of how bad Hogan is and how anyone but him should have the belt.

    In the 80's, people also wouldn't have Twitter, and even if they did, they wouldn't think of sending death threats to people like John Cena or Roman Reigns.

    In today's society, Ric Flair would be more over than he was in the 80's. In the 80's, he was praised for his in-ring work and his charisma. Today, it would be this, as well as the character he played- the partying, styling and profiling guy who does what he wants, and doesn't follow the rules. He would be looked at as a more stylish version of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, in regards to their contempt for the rules.

    Also, we didn't know about Hogan's private life, and just believed that he lived the values he espoused. People wouldn't have an internet to read about all the wrestlers who Hogan refused to put over, how he destroyed wrestling companies, or how he said the "N" word (and people wouldn't get their knickers in a twist and want Hogan sacked like the easily-offended and overly-sensitive petals we have today).

    So, Hogan worked better for Vince, back then. Back in the time where wrestling fans actually enjoyed the product, and didn't think that they knew so much and arrogantly criticised every single thing and bragged that they could do better. So Hogan worked, because the crowd back then were more open to embracing it and making it work.

    So, Hogan worked better for Vince back then, and was more universally praised, because it was then. If it were today, Flair might have been more over, because of his in-ring ability and the way he carries himself to a more fickle wrestling fanbase (and those on here who pretend to be fans).
  8. King Patrick Star

    King Patrick Star K. O. T. R. 2007 -€“ Team Undisputed

    Apr 27, 2009
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    Could Lex Luthor have worked in Superman’s spot?? Could the Joker have worked in Batman’s spot??

    I believe Ric Flair could have worked in Rowdy Roddy Piper’s spot at WrestleMania. Ric Flair could have worked in King Kong Bundy’s spot at WrestleMania II. Ric Flair could have worked in Andre the Giant’s spot at WrestleMania III (well maybe not). Ric Flair could have worked in Million Dollar Man, Ted DiBiase’s spot at WrestleMania IV. Ric Flair could have worked in Macho Man Randy Savage’s spot at WrestleMania V. Ric Flair could have worked in Ultimate Warrior’s spot at WrestleMania VI (well maybe not). Ric Flair could have worked in Sgt. Slaughter’s spot at WrestleMania VII. Ric Flair could NOT have worked in Hulk Hogan’s, until Hulk Hogan himself became Hollywood.

    Ric Flair may be looked at as the second most notable Star in Professional Sports Wrestling Entertainment from the 80s, but in my opinion, he’s the most notable Heel in Professional Sports Wrestling Entertainment history. The reason why some may think Hollywood was the most notable Heel is because it was literally Superman turning and leading the Legion Of Doom.

    If Flair went to the WWF instead of Hogan, I think we’d be watching SuperClash on the AWA Network.
  9. Bruno's Sanctimony

    Bruno's Sanctimony Dark Match Winner

    Jul 21, 2014
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    Too much in the way of apples and oranges to this question for a definitive answer.
    Flair and Hogan were designed and promoted for entirely different purposes...
    Hogan’s job was to look good. Flair’s job was to make his opponent look good.
    Flair’s persona was developed to be that of a traveling world champ, jumping from territory to territory in order to make each territory’s top guy look like a million bucks.
    Hogan’s persona was that of a top territory guy who just happened to be in the right place at the right time when that territory went national. Granted, his character played a large role in the success of that expansion.
    But his persona was still that of a “top territory guy”, nonetheless.
    Even midway through Flair’s championship years, when the NWA died down and WCW became a singular promotion, he was still playing the role of “world champ” and his primary skillset remained that of making his opponents look good.
    So, no. I don’t think Flair could have been as successful as Hogan….in that role. Likewise, I don’t think Hogan could have been successful doing what Flair did.
    If we’re constructing limited parameters for this discussion, however, and looking to Hogan as the standard….I DO think that Flair’s character could have been refocused to that of primary foil…akin to what Piper did in the early years of WWF’s expansion.
    tdmoon likes this.
  10. theblackplague

    theblackplague Dark Match Jobber

    Apr 13, 2018
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    no chance in hell....Flair to me is a natural born heel and always has been. Even when he tried playing the face was not believable to me. Some guys are natural faces and some are natural heels...Ric Flair is definitely a natural heel and always will be in my eyes
  11. THTRobtaylor

    THTRobtaylor Once & Future Wrestlezone Columnist

    Jun 2, 2006
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    Hogan worked because of many different things, the physique, the name, the way he was pushed and the exposure Rocky got him. Make no mistake, the image of him with Stallone in a Gorilla Press, hurling him out of the ring did more to make Hogan than anything Verne Gagne ever did and by the time Vince got him, the momentum was there.

    Flair wouldn't have caught on in the same way... he was a natural heel, worked best when he was a cowardly cheat...many of his best spots were the begging off etc...

    For Flair to have been the poster child of the WWF would have meant Vince having to focus on "negatives", like the plane crash he survived. He'd have been the opposite of the "strong" wrestler, however inspirational his tale of recover was... just as if Magnum TA had come back after that crash... he'd have been seen as a plucky survivor rather than the superhuman hero.

    The other thing that was essential was the name... Hulk... it had resonance as the TV show had only just ended and was for 5 years in the top 10.... EVERYONE knew the Hulk and the wrestler who was named after him was always going to be the big star.

    Could ANYONE have replaced him... Slaughter could have potentially...Barry Windham could have if he were a year or two older... Kerry Von Erich could have if all the Von Erichs had signed... but that's about it.
    tdmoon likes this.
  12. GhettoV1

    GhettoV1 Pre-Show Stalwart

    May 29, 2015
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    Kerry would need a babysitter to keep him away from drugs and alcohol to succeed if he was in Hogan's place.

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