On March 21, 1991, IWGP Heavyweight Champion Tatsumi Fujinami went toe-to-toe with NWA Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair in a 'title vs. title' match at the WCW/New Japan Supershow in Tokyo, Japan.
Fujinami would defeat Flair via pinfall to claim both titles, but not without extreme controversy.
Prior to the finish, referee of record Bill Alfonso was knocked out of the ring. Flair was then tossed over the top rope by Fujinami -- a move that was illegal (for fighter safety) under the current rules. Fujinami should have been disqualified as Flair landed right in front of the rattled official, but Alfonso was still on queer street and unable to make the call.
"The Nature Boy" returned to the ring and was promptly pinned, thanks to a count by a late replacement referee.
What's terrific about this date in history, aside from the pleasure of watching two of the best of all time go at it in their prime, is how well the entire angle was booked -- and how masterfully Jim Ross set it up.
Even before they get the bout started, Ross is laying the foundation for the finish, talking about how rules are different in other countries and referencing the referee's blown call in the USA vs. Russia basketball game from the 1972 Olympics.
He also makes sure to tell fans how "sincere and honorable" Fujinami is.
See it all go down from start to wild finish [02:59:56, full show]:
Flair would storm the post-match press conference and steal the NWA belt from Fujinami. They would eventually settle their differences later that year at SuperBrawl I in St. Petersburg, Florida.
And now, from the desk of the CSS Senior Editor, for your viewing pleasure we bring to you:
Additional posts dusted off from the --
21 - MARCH
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