"To be the man you have to beat the man."-Ric Flair. On the seventh day God created man-on the eighth day God created Ric Flair. The greatest pro Wrestler of the modern era.
From The Great Ric Flair's Auto Biography
I don't remember crying much as a kid. But that was a long time ago, before I left Minnesota for Charlotte, bleached my brown hair blond, and became "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. That's before I let my self-esteem depend on people with power in the wrestling business.
For the last fifteen years or so, I've been told that I'm the greatest professional wrestler who ever lived. Better than Frank Gotch or Lou Thesz, Bruno Sammartino or Verne Gagne, Gorgeous George or Hulk Hogan. Ric Flair can call himself a sixteen-time world champion. Ric Flair went on the road and wrestled every single day -- twice on Saturday, twice on Sunday, every birthday, every holiday, every anniversary -- for twenty straight years. I've spent more than thirty years of my life -- some days good, some bad--trying to prove to myself, to my peers, and to the fans who paid anywhere from five to five hundred dollars that I could be the best at what I chose to do for a living.
When you have no equal in professional wrestling, you have no equal in the sports world. Because -- despite what outsiders may think -- we are not ninjas or warriors. We are a special breed who can withstand pain, exhaustion, and injury without ever coming up for air. There is no off-season in our business, and we're the toughest athletes alive.
In the ring, I've always been at home. It's what lurks outside of it that scares me. For every legitimate punch I've ever taken to the head, every bone I've ever dislocated or every chair that's been bent across my spine, nothing can be as ruthless as the political sabotage inside the dressing room or promoter's office. While fans were saying that I could have a five-star match with anyone at any time, behind the scenes I'd be called an old piece of shit that didn't understand the public, couldn't read ratings, and deserved to be bankrupted along with my family.
These weren't things I heard once or twice; it went on for years. And after a while, it almost broke me. I felt myself losing the Ric Flair strut and, in many ways, my joy for life. When I came to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in late 2001 after spending most of my career representing the competition, I didn't know if the wrestlers liked or respected me, or knew about my legacy. Hell, I began to wonder if I even had a legacy at all.
So that's why on May 19, 2003, at fifty-four years old, I was standing in the center of a ring in Greenville, South Carolina, in boots and trunks, crying like a little boy. The Raw TV cameras were off. This was something personal between myself, the "boys" -- as the members of our fraternity like to call each other -- and the fans.
"I went through a period where the Nature Boy wasn't the Nature Boy," I started, confessing to people who had watched me trade knife-edge chops with Wahoo McDaniel in 1976 after I came back from a plane crash; take Dusty Rhodes's bionic elbow in 1987 while my cohorts in the Four Horsemen circled the ring; and return in 1998 after my old company, World Championship Wrestling (WCW), tried to sue me out of my profession. Either these fans had been there personally, or their fathers had been there, or their grandfathers or great-grandfathers had told them about it. For nearly thirty-five years, it had been me and them. And when the tears came down my face, I was just letting it out to a group of people who, in some ways, knew me like a part of their families.
But the bad days were over, and here in Greenville, South Carolina, I finally saw it -- by the way the boys had hugged and honored me after my opponent, Triple H, carried me to one of the most satisfying matches of my career, and by the way the fans had stood and screamed and looked into my watery eyes, letting me know that, when the Nature Boy was in the ring, they'd never stopped believing.
"To be the man, you've gotta beat the man," I'd said so many times, taunting my opponents while I shoved my title into the camera. Well, I'd beaten myself, but now -- in my mind, at least -- I won back the crown. I was still "Slick Ric," "Space Mountain," "Secretariat in Disguise," a kiss-stealing, wheeling, dealing, jet-flying, limousine-riding son-of-a-gun.
This is my story. And, as I've proclaimed during many an interview, whether you like it, or whether you don't like it, learn to love it.
From Ric Flair's Book To Be the Man
Flair was the leader of the Four Horsemen-one of the most dominant wresting forces of all time!!!
Richard Morgan Fliehr (Born 2/25/1949) is one of the most well known professional wrestlers in the World. Known for his trademark chest chops, inverted drops and figure four leg locks as well as the testicular claw, Flair has been wrestling in front of diehard fans over the span of four decades. Trained by the great Verne Gange, Flair has feuded with Andre the Giant, Sting, Dusty Rhodes, Hulk Hogan and Ricky The Dragon Steamboat just to name a few. In addition to being the 16 time World Champion, Flair has won almost every wresting accolade from Wrestler of The Year and Tag Team Champion to Most Inspirational.
"When I found out that EA wanted me to be part of Command & Conquer, all I could say was 'Woooooooooooo!'" exclaimed 16-time world heavyweight champion, Ric Flair." -
This book should be called How to Be Awesome