WWE NETWORK SPECIAL REVIEW – TABLE FOR 3 – LEGENDARY RIVALS
FIRST AIRED: NOV. 27, 2017
REPORT BY JASON DARLING, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Today on the menu it is “Sting, Ric Flair, and Ricky Steamboat, Legendary Rivals” as they have named the episode. Flair is sitting in the middle of the table, with Sting to our left and Steamboat to our right. Ric Flair starts by saying “Stinger” and looking at Sting, then “Steamer” and looking at Ricky Steamboat. He asks if they are happy to be there at 8 a.m., all three laugh and Ric says, “Me, not so much.” They talk about how much they have matured, except for Flair. Same as 30 years ago, Steamboat would go to bed, and Flair would just be up all night.
Steamboat asks if Flair remembers the three shows in the “2000 club” during the late-’70s. Also asked if Flair remembered the bar bill, which was $1,000 and with a 20 percent tip came out to $1,200. Flair said doesn’t feel bad. The other night he racked up a bill for $3,000. Sting says nothing has changed over the years, Flair has already taken his watch off at the table and Sting knows of two or three separate times he’s lost his Rolex, so to hold on tight to it. Steamboat asks how many Rolexes has Flair lost in his career. Ric says he doesn’t know and changes the topic to seeing Steamboat at least once a month at shows. Has met Steamboat’s new fiancee and compliments him on having a great woman. Flair jokes that he is probably the only guy ever to have to be paying three seperate women alimony from all of his divorces. They all share a laugh. Sting just got married and is coming up on two years married with her.
Steamboat talks about how him and Flair would compete in the gym in various exercises. They always needed to compete, and that Flair just had the “Heel Look.” Steamboat remembers multiple times at 2 a.m. Flair would show up at his door with a suit in one hand and his robes in another and Steamboat would just say “Wife again?” and Flair would say “Yeah” and he would invite him in to stay the night.
The conversation turns to matches and how throughout Flair’s career the two most commonly names of opponents are Sting and Steamboat. Steamboat asked if Flair remembered their first storyline together on TV. A quick video package plays of the two of them on Raleigh TV. Steamboat hits Flair with a flying double axe handle of the top rope, then pins him and gets the three. Back at the table, Steamboat describes the angle in which they were having a match, Steamboat was on his back on the concrete, Flair has him by the hair and says “sorry pal” and clocks him right in the face. The backstage area empties as Steamboat is being dragged around on the concrete, a towel is thrown over his head and he gets rushed to the back. Weeks later Steamboat would go into a store and people would look at him and say, “Oh that was real?” because he had a huge black eye for about a year. A video package shows Flair being interviewed and he shows a picture of Steamboat and his black eye.
They switch to Sting and talk about a tag match had with him and Flair on the same team and Flair attacking Sting when he was tagged in. A WCW video is shown of the event and you hear Stinger’s voice over the video say, “That was old school heat.” Sting says that and the Corpus Christi match were good. Flair elaborates, saying it was at Clash of Champions; Flair was having a cage match and it was supposed to be Sting was going to attack the Four Horsemen.
A video package plays showing the match and Sting fighting through security to get to the ring. He runs to the cage and jumps on it and just hangs there. Flair didn’t know at the time, but his patella tendon had torn. Sting talks about reaching down for his knee and feeling his kneecap in his quad and starts telling the staff helping him what happened. He yells for the staff to tell Flair since Sting couldn’t climb the cage, and now Flair was coming out of the cage to go after Sting. While he is telling this story, Flair is just laughing because he had no idea what was happening with Sting’s knee. Sting says the angle was extremely hot and Flair was in the heat of the moment and could smell blood. The video package shows him attacking Sting, but is finally told that Sting’s tendon was torn and he eased up.
Now for road stories, Flair says he and Steamboat rode in a 7 series BMW on a European tour. Steamboat recalls they overheated it doing about 140 on the autobahn. They decided to use the BMW to make a six hour drive in two hours. Ric had bought a Corvette back in the day, and Steamboat asked Flair if he wanted to see how well it cornered to which Flair said sure. When Steamboat took it around a corner, he was doing 130, never once hit the brakes, and Flair said he was just hammering back his drink and holding on for dear life; he had no idea the Corvette could do anything like that.
Steamboat shares an “out of the ring” story where they had just completed a show and did a “hot finish” in which Flair went over. Flair jokes and says “Well, that’s unusual.” Steamboat snaps back with “What are you talking about? I can count on one hand the number of times I went over, like legitimate 1-2-3’s” and goes back to his story. He says they all had their stops for beer and food, and since kayfabe was so real back then that if you saw your rival you would leave and find another spot to get beer or whatever. One night Steamboat pulls up to a store and he saw Flair inside. He was about to leave, but instead goes in. He spins Flair around and says, “You pull that crap on me one more time, your family isn’t going to be able to recognize you after our next match” and leaves. Steamboat received a call later in the night from Flair asking if they were alright because of what happened in the store. Steamboat said, “Yeah, I was just working it in for the fans that were there.” Steamboat also did it as a rib to Flair.
Flair says he spends as much time as possible with his daughters, especially Charlotte as part of the whole Women’s Revolution. Sting says kayfabe is completely gone now and the day they called it Sports Entertainment in the NWA it was a shock. Sting says it’s probably the smartest move they ever made, though, because look at how the business has grown now. Flair says you look at both brands right now and Smackdown Live is better than Raw and he puts over the young talent on the show. A brief video package shows A.J. Styles, Becky Lynch, and Shinsuke Nakamura. Sting says nobody taught them how to socialize in their day, but now they are teaching the wrestlers and how to stay in line. Sting jokes that Flair probably wouldn’t be able to make it in today’s product, which Flair laughs, agrees, and says that he is barely making it now. Flair talks about the rivalries he had with Sting and Steamboat being able to last a long time and you don’t see that as much anymore.
The best rivalry right now, according to Flair, is between his daughter and Sasha Banks. He says that every time they are in the ring together it is magic with unbelievable chemistry. A brief video package airs of the women’s rivalry from their first time in NXT all the way to their Hell in a Cell match with commentary that doesn’t sync up to the matches but talks about how their rivalry has defined the Women’s Division. Steamboat compliments Charlotte and asks how is it that she is just a chip off the block of Flair. Ric says she can outwork anything he’s ever been able to do, but “thank god” she can’t talk as well as he did. Sting says the Shane McMahon and A.J. rivalry was pretty good to him. Sting saw Shane backstage before his match with A.J. at WrestleMania and he told his wife he was going to do something crazy that night. A video package plays showing Shane going through the announce table after jumping off the Cell. Steamboat says the Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt build up was real good to him and that Wyatt is almost like a throwback to their time because he doesn’t do anything crazy in the ring but has the character part down.
Flair says two of the biggest honors in his life was being able to induct Steamboat and Sting into the Hall of Fame. A video package airs of him introducing them at their respective Hall of Fame ceremonies and embracing them for a hug. Flair says when he first heard Sting was going into the Hall of Fame he called Sting and told him “It better be me, pal” in reference to inducting him. Sting laughs and said “He did” and they all laugh. Flair jokes that Sting going into the Hall of Fame is as big of a deal if not bigger than Kurt Angle going in, because little did everyone know Sting actually has more world title reigns than Flair and Steamboat combined at 35. (This joke fell pretty flat; Sting didn’t seem to understand where that came from)
Flair says goodbye and shakes both mens hands. As he is doing so he says this will be the best “Table for 3” that WWE has ever done, if nothing else for the fact that all three of them are still alive. He thanks them for the memories and says that Steamboat and Sting are the nicest guys ever. Sting says “They’re just nice guys” as the shot goes dark and the “Table for 3” graphic appears in the corner.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I have always been a fan of these “Table for 3” specials and the dynamic the three wrestlers bring. I wouldn’t say this one was any different as far as the friendship and dynamic between the men, but it certainly seemed more produced than others in the past. First, it seemed a lot shorter, with quick hits on topics and stories then moving onto a different topic without any real segue, not quite like a real conversation. When they were telling stories it seemed very fluid and like a conversation, but when it came to discussing the current product it was as if they needed to hit some bullet points and became almost scripted at times. Overall, still a fun quick watch amongst three Hall of Famers that had some good funny moments and shared on some matches I personally had not seen before and will be going back and looking up on the network. This also seemed to take place after WrestleMania 33 before Flair’s medical emergency and he seemed to be very open about his drinking and not worrying about the impact it had on his life.
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