Main Event


Randy Orton vs. Ric Flair in a Steel Cage Match

In October 2004, the WWE was still abuzz over the recent breakup of RAW super group Evolution. The group, which consisted of four former and future World Heavyweight Champions, crumbled following Randy Orton's triumph over Chris Benoit for the gold at SummerSlam. One key player in the breakup was the legendary "Nature Boy," Ric Flair.

At Taboo Tuesday, Triple H was set to defend his World Heavyweight Championship against one of three men, each of whom would have to win a match to qualify for the voting. During qualifying, Ric Flair and Evolution got involved in Orton's match, and in the end, Flair left Orton laying after a series of brutal blows from a chair.

In the weeks leading up to Taboo Tuesday, the match was set for Orton vs. Flair, with the stipulation to be chosen by the fans. The rivalry, which was already heated and significant on a multitude of levels, was made even more personal by a barrage of verbal attacks in both directions in the days before the pay-per-view. 

In one instance, Flair told Orton, "You are great… but until you've beaten the Nature Boy, you'll never be the Legend Killer." While Orton had already defeated such legends and former champions as Harley Race, Sgt. Slaughter, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Mick Foley, he had never defeated a legend with the accolades and accomplishments of the "Nature Boy."

Orton's words were even more pointed, as he belittled the former 16-time World Champion. "It's tragic what you've become Ric. This generation will forever remember you for kissing Triple H's ass." Orton even challenged the veteran. "At Taboo Tuesday, I don't want to face the Ric Flair who rode in the backseat of Evolution. I want to face the Nature Boy."

After the war of words, there was only one thing left to do, find out the stipulation. At Taboo Tuesday, the fans had their say in what matches they saw; in 2004, 68 percent of the WWE fans voted for Randy Orton and Ric Flair to meet in a Steel Cage Match. The circumstances surrounding the contest already assured the WWE fans that they would be in for an extensively physical battle, but the addition of the steel cage only took the intensity to another level. By the time the bell rang, Orton and Flair were ready to go.

The match was the main event of the evening, and it had no trouble in living up to the hype. The younger Orton provided all the energy and eagerness that made him the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in WWE history as he aggressively pursued the seasoned veteran. Orton's determination helped him in the early going, but it didn't take long for the "Dirtiest Player in the Game" to reach into his bag of tricks. A gruesome low blow gave Flair the advantage, and from there, the master went to work.

Flair, a veteran of hundreds of Steel Cage Matches in his career, relied on his experience to break Orton down. The "Nature Boy" used his environment to his advantage, raking Orton's face against the unforgiving steel that surrounded the squared circle. Before long, both men were a bloody mess and it looked like Flair would put the supposed Legend Killer away. In an attempt to finish Orton off, Flair resorted to the oldest trick in the book: brass knuckles. The knucks were only enough for a near-fall on this night though, as it became clear that the evening belonged to the aptly named Legend Killer.

In a matter of moments, Orton showed that he had done his homework because the second Flair looked to use a trusty steel chair, he ducked out of the way and nailed the surefire hall-of-famer with the RKO. Three seconds later, Orton was the victor and another legend, the most accomplished legend to date, was officially slain.  

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