Santa Clara, Calif. – Battered and bloodied, Charlie Manuel could only smile to himself as he raised a bottle of Coors Lite to the 90,000 screaming fans celebrating his victory of Ric Flair this past Sunday afternoon at Wrestlemania 31.
The former Philadelphia Phillies manager toasted the fans as he stood triumphantly on the top turnbuckle, Flair still laying motionless on the canvas below him after the 45-minute iron man match finally concluded after Manuel had slapped the Nature Boy’s patented Figure-Four leg lock on him for nearly 5 minutes.
“I told him Ol’ Cholly didn’t take kindly to being double crossed. Maybe Naitch will think twice next time before he decides to interfere in my business again,” Manuel said, blood pouring from a 3-inch gash across his left eyebrow.
The path to his Wrestlemania moment began, of course, in Philadelphia during the Royal Rumble, when it looked as if he would triumph at the spectacle before being dumped over the top rope by his longtime friend and confidant Flair.
Stalking the Nature Boy from town to town, Manuel finally received his match after he threatened Flair’s daughter during the final Monday Night Raw before Wrestlemania. Faced with the likelihood of his daughters brains being sent across the ring by the enraged Flair, he had to relent and sign the contract presented to him for the match.
Manuel entered the Wrestlemania ring to raucous cheers and Lynard Skynard’s “Simple Man” blaring through the Levi’s Stadium speakers. Flair of course entered to his usual processional song, wearing a white and blue robe for the event.
The two former friends clobbered each other for more than 45 minutes, which saw Flair kick out of Manuel’s famed GTS not once, but twice, until he finally had to tap out to the move he made famous.
“It’s a great feeling, I’ll tell ya. I can’t wait to get back up to Philadelphia to celebrate this one,” Manuel told the crowd.
The joy was short lived, however, as The Undertaker’s gong filled the arena, and the Deadman himself came out through the Titantron and menacingly pointed at Manuel, perhaps foreshadowing his next Wrestlemania appearance.
“Ahh who care. Deadman, liveman, they all fall down the same way. YEEEEEHA!” Manuel screamed into the microphone before the WWE broadcast ended.