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Still the Man
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- "To be the Man, you've got to beat the Man. " -- Ric Flair
The Superstar who uttered those words survived yet another emotional, possibly career-ending match to prove once again that he is still "the Man."
In a Career Threatening Match against his friend and protégé, Triple H, Flair prevailed with some unexpected -- and unexplained -- assistance from William Regal. In a possible attempt at ingratiating himself with Mr. McMahon, the Raw General Manager assaulted the Nature Boy during the bout with brass knuckles, causing Flair to win by disqualification. Watch the video...
While Flair lives to "Woooo!" another day, the bout was not without consequence for his opponent. Prior to the contest, Mr. McMahon issued one more stipulation:
were Triple H to lose, he's out of the Royal Rumble.
The prospect of knocking out The Game before the first step to WrestleMania did not dissuade "Naitch" from throwing everything in his arsenal at the Superstar he calls one of his "best friends."
For Flair, who prides himself on lending a hand to younger Superstars hoping to ascend the WWE ladder, the win had to taste bittersweet. Relieved at not being put out to pasture, the future Hall of Famer nonetheless must be untying the knots in his stomach over having kneecapped his friend's chances at winning the Royal Rumble.
For his part, the King of Kings must also be at odds with himself. He certainly never savored the notion of ending his mentor's storied career. Therefore, it must give Triple H some measure of satisfaction and relief to watch Flair carry on, even if it was at his expense.
On the other hand, The Game is every inch the competitor, always certain to check his allegiances at the ring ropes. The 11-time World Champion has to be gutted, having made no secret of his hunger for a 12th title. But now those Championship dreams have seemingly fizzled like a flame in the winds of Hurricane Flair.
How much longer can Flair keep his improbable winning streak alive? And just how will Triple H's anger and disappointment manifest itself? While these questions remain unanswered, a couple of things are indisputable: Triple H's goal of another WWE Championship is now on life support, and Flair's hopes of fighting on remain very much alive and well.