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Ric Flair

Ric Flair at WrestleMania XXIV
Ring name(s) Ric Flair
"The Nature Boy"[1]
The Black Scorpion[1]
(Ramblin') Ricky Rhodes[1]
Billed height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)[2]
Billed weight 243 lb (110 kg)[2]
Born February 25, 1949 (1949-02-25) (age 61)[3]
Minneapolis Minnesota[3]
Resides Charlotte, North Carolina
Billed from Charlotte, North Carolina[2]
Trained by Verne Gagne[2][4]
Yasuhiro Kojima
Debut December 10, 1972

Richard Morgan Fliehr [3] (February 25, 1949),[3] better known by his ring name Ric Flair, is[5] an American professional wrestler, who is signed to a short term contract with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.[6] Also known as "The Nature Boy," Flair is one of the most well known professional wrestlers in the world.[7]

Flair is recognized by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) as a 16 time world heavyweight champion (eight time NWA Champion, six time WCW Champion and two time WWF Champion) although his actual tally of World Championship reigns varies by source - Flair considers himself a 21 time world champion.[8] In World Championship Wrestling (WCW), he also had two stints as a booker—from 1989 to 1990 and again in 1994.[9] Flair also won the 1992 Royal Rumble and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008. Flair retired from wrestling in 2008 following WrestleMania XXIV. He returned to the ring in 2009 for the Australian "Hulkamania" tour, facing Hulk Hogan, and is now an active wrestler with his current promotion, TNA.[5]


Early life

Flair was born on February 25, 1949. In his autobiography Flair claims he was born in Memphis, Tennessee. In the opening chapter of his autobiography To Be the Man, titled "Black Market Baby," he notes that his birth name is given on different documents as Fred. At the time of his adoption, his father was completing a residency in Detroit. Shortly afterward, the family settled in Edina, Minnesota, where the young Richard Fliehr lived throughout his childhood. After grade 9, he attended Wayland Academy, a coeducational boarding school in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, for four years (five years total in high school) during which time he participated in interscholastic wresting, football and track.[10]

As a teen, Flair took a summer job as a lifeguard at a local pool in Minnesota, where he received his first exposure to the wrestling business when he met the legendary Vachon brothers. In both 1966 and 1968, Flair won the state private school wrestling championship and was recruited to the University of Minnesota on a football scholarship, where he played alongside Greg Gagne, the son of Verne Gagne. Flair dropped out of college before receiving his degree, and he then worked as a bouncer at a nearby club, where he met Olympic weightlifter Ken Patera, who was preparing for a ring career at Verne Gagne's wrestling school. Patera introduced Flair to Verne Gagne, who agreed to take him on as a member of his training class.

Professional wrestling career

American Wrestling Association (1972-1974)

Under the tutelage of Verne Gagne[4] and Billy Robinson, Flair attended Gagne's first Wrestling camp with Greg Gagne, Jim Brunzell, Iron Sheik, and Ken Patera at Gagne's barn outside of Minneapolis in the winter of 1971. Flair met Ken Patera when he was working as a bouncer after dropping out of school at the U of M after completing his freshman year there in 1968-69. They lived together for a while in South Minneapolis. Flair made fast progress, and in December 1972, he made his debut in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, battling George "Scrap Iron" Gadaski to a 10-minute draw while adopting the ring name "Ric Flair."[4] Then weighing nearly 300 pounds with short brown hair, Flair scarcely resembled his future "Nature Boy" image. But he drew attention with his charismatic personality and ring endurance. During his time in the American Wrestling Association, Flair had matches with Dusty Rhodes, André the Giant, Larry Hennig, and Wahoo McDaniel.[11]

National Wrestling Alliance

In 1974, Flair left the AWA for Jim Crockett's Mid-Atlantic region in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA);[11] and he soon captured his first singles title when, on February 8, 1975, he beat Paul Jones for the Mid-Atlantic TV Championship. On October 4, 1975, however, Flair's career nearly ended when he was in a serious plane crash in Wilmington, North Carolina that took the life of the pilot and paralyzed Johnny Valentine (also on board were "Mr. Wrestling I" Tim Woods, Bob Bruggers, and promoter David Crockett).[12] Flair broke his back in three places and, at age 26, was told by doctors that he would never wrestle again.[12] Flair conducted a rigorous physical therapy schedule, however, and he returned to the ring just six months later, where he resumed his feud with Wahoo McDaniel in February 1976.[12] The crash did force Flair to change his wrestling technique away from the power brawling style he had used early on, which led him to adopt the "Nature Boy" style he would use throughout his career.

Groomed by Jim Crockett Jr. as his future top star, Flair won the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship when he defeated Bobo Brazil on July 29, 1977; and during the next three years, he held five reigns as U.S. Champion while feuding with Ricky Steamboat, Roddy Piper, Mr. Wrestling II, Jimmy Snuka, and Greg Valentine (with whom he also formed a championship tag team). Flair, however, reached elite status when he began referring to himself as "The Nature Boy" in order to incite 1978 feud with the original "Nature Boy", Buddy Rogers, who put Flair over in one encounter.

NWA World Heavyweight Championship (1981–1986)

Then on September 17, 1981, Flair reached the top of the mountain when he beat Dusty Rhodes for his first NWA World Heavyweight Championship. In the following years, Flair eventually established himself as the promotion's main franchise in the midst of emerging competition from Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation. With his outlandish wit and entertaining interview style, Flair embodied the role of the World Champion—sporting bleached blond hair, elegant jewelry, designer suits, and elaborate custom robes while dishing out his trademark chops and figure four leglock. All the while, Flair taunted his opponents with his "Wooo!" shout while boasting that "To be 'The Man,' you gotta beat the man!".

In 1982, Jack Veneno and Flair had a series of matches. Veneno defeated Flair for the World Title, but the NWA did not recognize this change. Flair also wrestled matches with Ricky Steamboat throughout the year. Harley Race won the title from Flair in 1983, but Flair regained the title at Starrcade in Greensboro, North Carolina in a Steel Cage match; afterward, Race and Flair fought in many different matches in early 1984. Flair won the NWA title, officially, eight more times. As the NWA champion, he defended his belt around the world. Flair lost the title to Race and won it back in the span of three days in New Zealand in March 1984. At the first David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions at Texas Stadium, Flair was pinned by Kerry Von Erich. Flair regained the title eighteen days later in Japan.

He then reigned for two years, two months, and two days, losing his title to Dusty Rhodes on July 26, 1986 at The Great American Bash; Rhodes had been an ever-present foe in Flair's career after Flair helped break Rhodes's leg on September 29, 1985. Flair regained the title two weeks later. Flair defended his titles against opponents like Harley Race, Ricky Steamboat, Roddy Piper, Kerry Von Erich, Jay Youngblood, Sting, Ronnie Garvin, Magnum T.A., and Rhodes throughout his career, as well.

The Four Horsemen

In the spring of 1985, the tag team of Ole Anderson and Arn Anderson began aiding Ric Flair (whom they claimed as a "cousin") in attacks against Dusty Rhodes, Magnum T.A., and Sam Houston. A few weeks later, the Andersons interrupted Houston's match against Tully Blanchard, and the three villains combined to rough up the youngster while sending a message to the rest of the NWA. Shortly thereafter, Flair, Blanchard, and the Andersons formalized their alliance, calling themselves the Four Horsemen, with Blanchard's manager J.J. Dillon also coming on board. Upon the group's inception, it was clear that the Horsemen were unlike any villainous alliance that had ever existed. The four rule breakers immediately used their strength in numbers to decimate the NWA's top fan favorites while controlling the majority of the championship titles. Over the years, there would be various incarnations of the group, with Flair and Arn Anderson as the two permanent members, while a number of different wrestlers, including Lex Luger, Barry Windham, Sting, Sid Vicious, Paul Roma, Brian Pillman, Chris Benoit, Jeff Jarrett, Steve McMichael, Curt Hennig, and Dean Malenko, have held the other two spots in the Horsemen.

World Championship Wrestling (1986–1991)

By 1986, wrestling promoter Jim Crockett had consolidated the various NWA member promotions he owned into a single entity, running under the banner of the National Wrestling Alliance. Controlling much of the traditional NWA territories in the southeast and Midwestern United States, Crockett looked to expand nationally and built his promotion around Flair as champion. During this time, Flair's bookings as champion were tightly controlled by Crockett, and a custom championship belt was created for Flair. In 1987, Flair and Barry Windham had a series of matches for the NWA World Championship. Flair defeated Windham at the Crockett Cup tournament and they fought to a time limit draw in January. Flair lost the NWA World Championship due to his flamboyant ways in Detroit to Ron Garvin on September 25, 1987. Garvin held the title for two months before losing to Flair on November 26, 1987 at WCW's first pay-per-view event, Starrcade, in Chicago.

In early 1988, rising star Sting had challenged Flair to a match at the first ever Clash of the Champions. Flair accepted and fought Sting to a 45 minute time-limit draw. In late 1988, booker Dusty Rhodes proposed that Flair lose the NWA World Heavyweight Championship to Rick Steiner in a short match at Starrcade when no agreement could be met regarding the finish to the scheduled main event between him and Lex Luger. Rhodes was fired for various issues within the company, and former JCP booker George Scott was given his role as a booker. Scott immediately negotiated to bring in Ricky Steamboat for a series of matches. On February 20, 1989, at Chi-Town Rumble in Chicago, Steamboat pinned Flair to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. This prompted a series of rematches, where Steamboat was presented as a "family man" (often accompanied by his wife and young son), while Flair opposed him as an immoral, fast-living "ladies man".

Following a best-of-three falls match with Steamboat that lasted just short of the sixty-minute time limit (and ended with a disputed finish where Steamboat retained the title) at Clash of the Champions VI: Ragin' Cajun on April 2, Flair regained the title from Steamboat on May 7, 1989 at WrestleWar. This match was voted 1989's "Match of the Year" by Pro Wrestling Illustrated, and is widely considered among the greatestest matches of all time. Flair was attacked by Terry Funk (serving as a judge for the match, as per its stipulations) after the match when Flair refused to grant Funk a title match, telling Funk that he had spent too much time in Hollywood and out of wrestling, and was not a listed title contender. The attack reached its conclusion when Funk gave Flair a piledriver onto the judges' table.

Months later, a "recovered" Flair returned to competition in an emotional match against Funk at The Great American Bash. The two continued feuding through the summer and eventually Flair reformed the Four Horsemen, with the surprise addition of longtime rival Sting, to combat Funk's J-Tex Corporation. This led to an "I Quit" match at Clash of the Champions IX: New York Knockout. Before the match, Funk stated that he would shake Flair's hand if he lost, a promise he kept when he shouted, "Yes, I quit!" after being in Flair's figure four leglock. Flair then kicked Sting out of the Horsemen upon his challenge for the NWA Championship, resulting in a revived feud between the two which had to be delayed due to Sting injuring his knee, forcing WCW to slot Lex Luger as Flair's main challenger until Sting returned. On July 7, 1990, Flair dropped the title to Sting at The Great American Bash. After being unmasked as the Black Scorpion at Starrcade in 1990, Flair regained the title from Sting on January 11, 1991, in front of a near empty house due to the blizzard conditions in the New York City area. Prior to this reign, WCW split their recognition of a World Heavyweight Champion from the NWA, and Flair was subsequently recognized as the first WCW World Heavyweight Champion, while still being recognized as NWA World Champion.

At the Clash of the Champions XIV: Dixie Dynamite on January 30, he wrestled Scott Steiner to a draw. On March 21, 1991, Tatsumi Fujinami defeated Flair in a controversial match in Tokyo at the WCW/New Japan Supershow. While the NWA recognized Fujinami as their new champion, WCW did not because Fujinami had backdropped Flair over the top rope in a violation of WCW rules. On May 19, 1991, Flair defeated Fujinami at SuperBrawl in St. Petersburg, Florida to reclaim the NWA title and retain the WCW Title. In doing so, he became a nine time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, breaking Harley Race's record of eight reigns. On June 14, at the Clash of the Champions XV: Knocksville USA, he defeated Bobby Eaton in a two out of three falls match.

In the spring of 1991, Flair had a contract dispute with WCW president Jim Herd, who wanted him to take a substantial pay cut. Herd had removed Flair as head booker in February 1990 and wanted to reduce Flair's role in the promotion even further, despite the fact that Flair was still a top draw. According to Flair, Herd also proposed changes in his appearance (i.e. by shaving his hair, wearing a diamond earring and going by the name "Spartacus") as well as his in-ring name in order to "change with the times".[13] Flair disagreed with the proposals, and two weeks before the The Great American Bash, Herd fired him and vacated the WCW Championship. While Flair had left for the WWF he was still recognized as the NWA World Champion until September 8, when the title was officially vacated.

World Wrestling Federation

The real World Heavyweight Champion (1991)

Flair in the Hulkamania Tour in 2009.

Flair signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in August 1991 and began appearing on television as one of the most hated heels the next month. Initially, he appeared on WWF shows with the "Big Gold Belt," calling himself "The Real World Heavyweight Champion." WCW sued Flair in an attempt to reclaim the belt, but Flair claimed that he owned the belt in lieu of the $25,000 deposit paid by NWA champions upon winning the title, which had not been returned to him when he was fired from WCW. The matter was settled later that year, with Flair's deposit being returned to him along with interest. Led by his "financial advisor" Bobby Heenan and his "executive consultant" Mr. Perfect, Flair repeatedly issued challenges to WWF wrestlers like Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan, wrestling a team led by Piper at Survivor Series in 1991 and helping The Undertaker defeat Hogan for the WWF Championship that same night.[14]

WWF Championship; feud with Randy Savage (1992-1993)

At the Royal Rumble in 1992, he won the Rumble match to claim the vacant WWF Championship. Flair drew number three in the Rumble match and lasted a then-record nearly 60 minutes, last eliminating Sid Justice with help from Hulk Hogan, who had been eliminated by Justice seconds earlier.[14] In so doing, Flair joined Buddy Rogers as the only men to win the WWF and NWA World Championships in their careers.

After a planned program with Hogan was scrapped due to Hogan's hiatus following the WWF's steroid scandal, Randy Savage challenged Flair for the WWF title at WrestleMania VIII. In storyline, Flair taunted Savage by claiming that he had a prior relationship with Savage's wife, Elizabeth, and that he had the pictures to prove it (which were later revealed to be doctored photos). Savage defeated Flair for the title at WrestleMania.[14] In July 1992, as Savage prepared to defend the title against The Ultimate Warrior at SummerSlam,[14] Flair and Mr. Perfect sowed distrust between the two by suggesting that they would back one or the other during their match. They actually attacked both Savage and Warrior and injured Savage's knee, an injury that Flair exploited to regain the title in a match with Savage on September 1. His second reign was short-lived, however, as he lost the title to Bret Hart on October 12, 1992.

Flair teamed with Razor Ramon to take on Savage and Perfect at the Survivor Series 1992.[15] After losing a Loser Leaves the WWF match to Mr. Perfect on an episode of Monday Night Raw,[16] Flair appeared in the Royal Rumble in 1993 (although the match with Perfect had been taped six days prior, it did not air until the following night) and then fulfilled his remaining house show commitments, making his last appearance on February 10, 1993, before returning to WCW.[17] On The Ultimate Ric Flair Collection DVD, Flair described his first stint with the WWF as "the greatest year and a half of my career, outside the time I spent with Arn Anderson and The Four Horsemen."

World Championship Wrestling

Retirement teases (1993-1996)

Flair with Jimmy Hart.

Flair returned to WCW as a face in February 1993 and, as a result of a "no-compete" clause, hosted a short-lived talk show in WCW called A Flair for the Gold as he was unable to appear wrestling. Arn Anderson usually appeared at the bar on the show's set, and Flair's maid, Fifi (portrayed by Wendy Barlow),[18] cleaned or bore gifts. Once he returned to action, Flair briefly held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship for a tenth time after defeating Barry Windham at Beach Blast before WCW finally left the NWA in September 1993. At Starrcade in 1993, Flair was placed in a match, which was billed that if Flair lost, he would retire from wrestling. The match ended with Flair using a chop block and roll-up on the gigantic Vader to win the title for the second time.

In June 1994, Flair defeated Sting in a unification match, merging the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship with the WCW World Championship. This concluded a slow heel turn for Flair that started when he defeated Ricky Steamboat in a controversial manner some months earlier. Flair later feuded with Hulk Hogan upon Hogan's arrival in WCW in June 1994, losing the WCW World Championship to him in July at Bash at the Beach. Flair lost a retirement match to Hogan at Halloween Havoc and took a few months off before returning as a wrestler and part-time manager in 1995 (explained on-air by having Flair nag Hogan for months until Hogan agreed to let Flair come back). He and Randy Savage renewed hostilities when Savage arrived in WCW late in 1994, and their feud continued off and on for almost two years with each wrestler winning the WCW World Championship from each other at different times. Flair defeated Savage in a steel cage at SuperBrawl VI to win the WCW World title, which saw Savage betrayed by Elizabeth in favor of Flair. The Nature Boy also defeated Konnan on July 7 at Bash at the Beach to win the United States Championship. He vacated it in November of that year due to an arm injury.

Feud with nWo (1996-1997)

Flair played a major role in the New World Order storyline in late 1996 and throughout 1997. He and the Horsemen often took the lead in the war against Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Hulk Hogan. Flair feuded with Roddy Piper, Syxx, and his old nemesis, Curt Hennig, in 1997 after Hennig was offered a spot in the Four Horsemen only to turn on Flair and the Horsemen at Fall Brawl in 1997. Hennig punctuated the act by slamming the cage door onto Flair's head. After Fall Brawl. Flair would return a month later to feud with Curt Hennig over the US title (which Hennig won from Steve McMichael). Flair would challenge for the title at Halloween Havoc and World War 3, losing both times. Flair took a hiatus from wrestling for ten months.

Return from hiatus and various feuds (1998-2001)

After twelve month hiatus from television, Flair made a surprise return on September 14, 1998 to ceremoniously reform the Four Horsemen (along with Steve McMichael, Dean Malenko, and Chris Benoit). Flair feuded with Bischoff for several months afterward and eventually turned heel in the process. This culminating in a First Blood cage match at Uncensored against Hulk Hogan where both Bischoff's presidency and Hogan's WCW World Heavyweight Championship were on the line. Despite being the first to bleed, Flair won the match by submission thanks to biased referee Charles Robinson, who counted Hogan out. Robinson would be nicknamed "Lil' Naitch", idolizing Flair and officiating all of Flair's matches in his favor.

As on-air President, Flair began abusing his power much like Bischoff had, favoring villains over fan favorites and even awarding the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship to his son David and resorting to whatever means necessary to keep David U.S. Champion. Flair eventually formed a stable of followers which included Roddy Piper, Arn Anderson, and the Jersey Triad to keep things in order. Flair's reign as president came to an end on the July 19 episode of Nitro, facing Sting for the WCW presidency. During the course of the match, Sting had Flair in his Scorpion Death Lock, but with the referee knocked unconscious, no decision could be reached. A returning Eric Bischoff came to the ring and began ordering the timekeeper to ring the bell, which he eventually did, awarding the match and the presidency to Sting (who promptly gave it up upon receiving it).

Flair won the WCW World Championship twice during 2000, the company's last full year of operation. When WCW was purchased by the WWF in March 2001, Flair was the leader of the villainous group called the Magnificent Seven. During the final episode of Nitro on March 26, 2001, he gave an emotional speech regarding the company's greatness. Later in the night, Flair lost the final match of Nitro to Sting, recreating the first main event of Nitro in 1995. Nevertheless, Flair has repeatedly stated in various interviews how happy he was when WCW finally closed down; although, at the same time, the fact that many people would lose their jobs saddened him.[19]

World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment

A bloody Flair at WrestleMania X8.

WWF co-owner (2001-2002)

After a hiatus from professional wrestling, Flair returned to the WWF in November 2001 as the on-camera co-owner of the company and as a face.[20] Flair reappeared on Raw following the end of the "WCW/ECW Invasion" that culminated in a "Winner Take All" match at Survivor Series won by the WWF.[21] Flair's new on-screen role was that of the co-owner of the WWF, with the explanation that Shane and Stephanie McMahon had sold him their stock in the company to a consortium (namely Flair) prior to purchasing World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling.[22] Flair's feud with Vince McMahon led them to a match at the Royal Rumble in 2002 in a Street Fight, where Flair defeated McMahon.[21] Flair also wrestled The Undertaker at WrestleMania X8 in 2002 where Flair lost after a hard fought battle and interference by Arn Anderson.[23] From then, the "co-owner" angle culminated in early 2002, when Flair controlled Raw, and McMahon controlled Smackdown!.[24] After Steve Austin abruptly left WWE while in a program with Flair, a match was hotshotted between Flair and Vince for sole ownership of WWE, which McMahon won, thanks to interference by Brock Lesnar.[25]

Evolution (2003-2005)

Flair later became a villain by joining Triple H's "Evolution" stable.[26] Flair won the World Tag Team Championship with Batista twice in 2003 and 2004.[27][28] After Triple H took time off following Vengeance and for the rest of the summer, Flair would become a fan favorite again by beginning a short feud with Kurt Angle. Later, at Unforgiven in 2005, Flair defeated Carlito for the Intercontinental Championship.[29] On the October 3 edition of Raw, Flair was attacked by Evolution partner Triple H, after Triple H threw him into a limousine. On the November 1, 2005 at Taboo Tuesday, Flair defeated Triple H in a steel cage match. Flair continued feud with Triple H until Survivor Series, Triple H defeated him in a Last Man Standing match to end the feud.

Various rivalries and retirement from wrestling (2006-2008)

On the February 20 edition of Raw he lost to Shelton Benjamin.[30] Flair then took some time off in mid-2006 to rest and marry for the third time; he returned in June to work a program with his real life rivalry Mick Foley that played off their legitimate past animosity.[31] Flair defeated Foley at SummerSlam in an "I Quit" match.[32]

Flair became a mentor for Carlito in 2007.

Subsequently, he was involved in a rivalry with the Spirit Squad on Raw. On November 5, 2006 at Cyber Sunday, he captured the World Tag Team Championship from the Squad with Roddy Piper.[32] On the November 13 edition of Raw, Flair and Piper lost the Tag Titles to Rated-RKO,[33] due to a disc problem with Piper and had to be flown immediately back to the USA as soon as Raw was off the air. On November 26, 2006 at Survivor Series, Flair was the sole survivor of a match that featured himself, Ron Simmons (replacing an injured Piper), Dusty Rhodes and Sgt. Slaughter versus the Spirit Squad.[32] Flair then left television due to his divorce hearings. On the December 11, 2006 edition of Raw, Flair returned to team up with DX again. They defeated Rated-RKO and Kenny Dykstra.[34]

Flair then began teaming with Carlito after Flair said that Carlito had no heart.[35] Flair defeated Carlito in a match after which Carlito realized that Flair was right.[36] Flair and Carlito faced off against Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch in a number one contender's match for the World Tag Team Championship but were defeated. The two teamed up at Wrestlemania 23, and defeated the team of Chavo Guerrero and Gregory Helms. After weeks of conflict between Flair and Carlito,[37][38] the team split up when Carlito attacked Flair during a match.[39] At Judgment Day, Flair defeated Carlito with the figure four leglock.[40] His career was put at risk following a match with Randy Orton on June 4, 2007.[41]

On the June 11 edition of Raw, Flair was drafted from Raw to SmackDown! as part of the 2007 WWE Draft.[42] He briefly feuded against Montel Vontavious Porter[43][44] and rejoined forces with Batista to feud with The Great Khali; the alliance was short-lived, however, as Flair was "injured" during a match with Khali.[45][46]

After three month absence, Flair returned to WWE programming on the November 26 edition of Raw to announce that he would "never retire".[47][48] Vince McMahon retaliated by announcing that the next match Flair lost would result in a forced retirement.[47] Later in the night, Flair defeated Orton after a distraction by Chris Jericho.[47][48] It was revealed on the 15th anniversary of Raw that the win or retire ultimatum only applied in singles matches. Flair won several "career threatening" matches against the opponents such as Triple H, Umaga, William Regal, Mr. Kennedy, and Vince McMahon himself among others.[49][50][51] On March 29, 2008, Flair was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as a part of the Class of 2008 by Triple H. Flair became the first active wrestler to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame. The day after, Flair wrestled at WrestleMania XXIV in Orlando, Florida, losing to Shawn Michaels.[52] This match was voted the 2008 PWI Match of the Year. Flair's fight to keep his career going garnered him the 2008 PWI Most Inspirational Wrestler of the Year award.

Retirement, part time appearances and departure (2008-2009)

Ric Flair during the final months of his WWE career.

On the March 31, 2008 edition of Raw, Flair delivered his farewell address. Afterward, Triple H brought out many current and retired superstars to thank Flair for all he has done, including Shawn Michaels, some of the Four Horsemen and Chris Jericho, followed by The Undertaker and then Vince McMahon. Along with the wrestlers, the fans gave Ric a standing ovation. This event represented a rare moment in WWE as both the heels and the faces broke character and came out to the ring together. The Undertaker's and McMahon's entrances, however, were not shown on the TV taping of Raw for the week in order to preserve their characters, more in the case of the Undertaker as it involved him hugging Ric Flair and then raising his arm in victory, but were included in Nature Boy Ric Flair: The Definitive Collection DVD as extras.

Flair made his first post-retirement appearance on the June 16, 2008 edition of Raw to confront Chris Jericho about his actions from the previous week, when Jericho brutalized Shawn Michaels. Flair did not want to come out of retirement and have an official match, but challenged Jericho to a fight in the parking lot, until he was ejected from the building by Vince McMahon.[53]

On the February 9, 2009 episode of Raw, Flair made an appearance to once again confront Chris Jericho, telling him to respect the WWE Legends and the fans. The segment ended with Flair punching Jericho.[54] Exactly one month later, on the March 9, 2009 episode of Raw, Flair appeared during a Money in the Bank qualifier match between Jericho and Kofi Kingston, distracting Jericho which cost him the match. Flair distracted Jericho as revenge for Jericho's attacks on Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka and Ricky Steamboat. Jericho subsequently suggested Flair come out of retirement and challenged him to a match on the March 16, 2009 Raw.[55]

That week, Flair declined Jericho's challenge to come out of retirement. Instead he, along with Ricky Steamboat, Roddy Piper and Jimmy Snuka attacked Jericho.[56] Flair made another appearance the next week, to accept Jericho's challenge on behalf of Steamboat, Piper and Snuka for a 3-on-1 handicap match at WrestleMania XXV. Jericho then proceeded to brutally attack Flair, causing him to bleed and even destroying the watch that was given to Flair from Michaels after Wrestlemania.[57]

At the 2009 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Flair inducted Ricky Steamboat whom Flair called the hardest competition he ever fought. The next day at Wrestlemania XXV, Flair was in the corner of Piper, Snuka, and Steamboat for the match against Jericho. Jericho went on to win the match, and then went after Flair. While Flair was knocked down, Mickey Rourke came into the ring and nailed Jericho with an upper left hook, at which time Flair came in and held up Rourke's hand in victory.

On May 17, 2009, Flair returned to WWE during the Judgment Day pay-per-view, coming to the aid of Batista, who was being attacked by The Legacy faction (Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase). He also appeared the following night on Raw, in a verbal confrontation with Orton. He then went on to compete in a Backstage Brawl with Orton on the June 1st Edition of Raw, after an interference from the rest of The Legacy, the fight ended with Flair trapped inside a steel cage as he was punted by Orton. After Raw, Flair left from WWE for good.

Ring of Honor (2009)

The Main Event of Hulkmania Tour in 2009, Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan.

Flair signed with Ring of Honor (ROH) and appeared at the aptly titled Stylin' And Profilin' event in March 2009, clearing the ring after an ROH World Championship match ended with a run-in.[58] He soon served as the company's ambassador, in an on-screen authority role and appeared on the television show Ring of Honor Wrestling in May to cement his role.[59] After a #1 Contender match ended in a time-limit draw, and the following week a double count out, Flair announced Ring of Honor Wrestling's first ROH World Title match as a four way contest.[60]

Hulkamania: Let the Battle Begin (2009)

On November 21, 2009, Flair returned to the ring as a heel on the "Hulkamania: Let the Battle Begin" tour of Australia, losing to Hulk Hogan in the main event of the first show by brassknuckles.[1] Flair lost to Hogan again on November 24 in Perth, Australia. Both men bled and Flair was pinned after being hit with a megaphone by Hogan.[1] Flair also lost to Hogan on the two remaining matches on the tour, both times after being struck by a megaphone.[1][61]

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling

Alliance with A.J. Styles (2010-present)

On the January 4, 2010, live, three-hour edition of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling's Impact! television show, Flair as a face made his debut appearance for the company arriving via limo and later observing the main event between A.J. Styles and long time rival Kurt Angle.[62] It was later reported that Flair had signed a one-year deal with the company.[6] In the past Flair has openly stated that he was loyal to the McMahons and wanted to end his career in WWE, however he hadn't had contact from WWE since June 2009 and decided to sign with TNA Wrestling after waiting for the call from WWE for six months.[63] On January 17, 2010 at Genesis, Flair helped A.J. Styles cheat to pin Kurt Angle and retain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.[64] On the following episode of TNA Impact!, Flair anounced that he was going to make A.J. Styles the next Nature Boy.[65] Flair has also confirmed that he will return to wrestling in TNA.[5] On the February 25 edition of Impact! Hulk Hogan announced that both he and Flair will make their in-ring TNA debuts on the March 8 Monday night edition of Impact!, when Hogan and Abyss face Flair and Styles in a tag team match.[66] On the March 8 Monday night edition of Impact! Hogan and Abyss defeated Flair and Styles, when Abyss pinned Styles.[67] Afterwards, the returning Jeff Hardy saved Abyss and Hogan from a beatdown at the hands of Flair, Styles and Desmond Wolfe.[67]


Flair was often popular with the crowd due to his in-ring antics, including rulebreaking (earning him the distinction of being "the dirtiest player in the game"), strutting and his shouting of "Woooooo!" (Flair got the inspiration from Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire") Flair's moveset became limited in the last ten years of his career due mainly to his age and years of competition taking a toll on his body, but still remained one of the most entertaining parts of the show. The "Woooooo!" yell has since become a tribute to Flair, and is often shouted by the crowd whenever a wrestler performs a knife-edge chop, one of Flair's signature moves.[2] From the late 1970s, Flair wore ornate fur-lined robes of many colors with sequins during in-ring appearances,[2] and since the early 1980s, his approach to the ring was usually heralded by the playing of the "Dawn" section of Richard Strauss' "Also sprach Zarathustra" (famous for being used in the motion picture 2001: A Space Odyssey).

Flair doing his trademark shout of "Woooooo"

On May 19, 2003 in Greenville, South Carolina, Triple H defended the World Heavyweight Championship in a match against Flair.[68] After Raw went off the air, most of the people who were backstage came out to honor Flair, including Vince McMahon, the Undertaker, Shane, and Stephanie McMahon.[68] Triple H then appeared, and after a stare down, he placed the World Heavyweight Championship belt on Flair's shoulder and embraced him. Flair then gave a speech thanking everyone for the tribute.[68]

Flair released his autobiography, To Be the Man, in July 2004.[69] The title is taken from one of his catch phrases, "To be the man, you gotta beat the man!"

Over the years, Flair has personally trained Stan Lane, Scott McGhee, and, David Flair, his son, to be professional wrestlers.

On the February 18, 2008 edition of Raw, Shawn Michaels announced Flair as the first inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2008. The induction ceremony took place on March 29, 2008, with Triple H inducting him. This made him the first, and, as of 2009, only, person to be inducted while still an active competitor.[70] On March 24, 2008, Mayor Bob Coble, of Columbia, South Carolina, declared March 24 to be Ric Flair Day in Columbia. Flair also received the key to the city.[71] Flair was later inducted into the NWA Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia, his second straight Hall of Fame induction in four months, but he did not participate in the event. He received the key to the city of Greensboro, North Carolina on December 5, 2008, to commemorate Flair's victory in a cage match against Harley Race at the inaugural Starrcade event.[72] April 18, 2009 was declared "Ric Flair Day" in Charleston, West Virginia and he was presented with the key to the city by the mayor.[73] Also, on June 12, 2009, Flair was presented with the key to the city of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina[74] and, in September, he received the key to the city in Marion County, South Carolina.[75]

On April 15, 2008 Flair was honored in Congress by a representative from North Carolina, Republican Sue Myrick, who praised his career and what he means to the state.[76] On September 29, 2008, it was announced that Flair's signature sequin covered robe that he wore at WrestleMania XXIV, in his last match, would be placed in the pop culture section of the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.[77]

Flair also lends his voice and image to the Carolina Hurricanes hockey team. During at home games he appears on the monitor giving his trademark "Wooooo" whenever the Canes score a goal.

In 2003, John Molinaro and other members of the Wrestling Observer staff picked Flair as the greatest wrestler who has ever lived.[78]

Personal life

In December 2005, a magistrate issued arrest warrants for Flair after a road rage incident that took place in Charlotte, in which Flair allegedly got out of his car, grabbed a motorist by the neck, and kicked the door of the motorist's sport utility vehicle.[79] Flair was charged with injury to personal property and simple assault and battery, both misdemeanors. This incident was ridiculed on WWE programming, most notably by the wrestler Edge.[80]

In September 2007, Flair opened a financial business called Ric Flair Finance.[81] In July 2008, Ric Flair Finance filed for bankruptcy.[82]


Flair's son David is a semi-retired professional wrestler. Flair's youngest son Reid, who signed a developmental contract with WWE near the end of 2007,[83] is an accomplished high school wrestler and made several appearances on WCW television along with his sister Ashley and half-sister Megan.[84]

In 2004, Flair became a grandfather at the age of 55, when his oldest daughter, Megan Fliehr-Ketzner, gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Morgan Lee Ketzner on May 9.[84][85]

On May 27, 2006, Ric married his third wife, fitness competitor Tiffany VanDemark.[86] On August 7, 2008, Tiffany announced that she had filed for divorce from Flair.[87] A month later, Flair's daughter Ashley was arrested on September 5, 2008 for assaulting a police officer.[88] The incident occurred after police were called to a fight involving Flair, Ashley, and her boyfriend.[88]

On November 11, 2009, Flair married his fourth wife, Jackie, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

On February 23, 2010, Flair and his fourth wife had an "unfortunate disagreement" in which his wife Jackie Beems was arrested for misdemeanor assault, causing very slight injuries to Ric Flair.

Real life feuds

Bret Hart

Flair engaged in an off-screen rivalry with Bret Hart. In Flair's autobiography, Flair criticizes Hart for over-exploiting the death of his brother, Owen Hart, and the controversy surrounding the Montreal Screwjob.[89] Flair also claimed in his autobiography that, despite Hart's popularity in Canada, he was not a formidable money-making draw elsewhere, a claim which Hart dismissed as "plain ridiculous" in a column written for the Calgary Sun.[90] Hart claimed that he drew greater revenue than Flair, citing his headlining performances on consistently sold out tours throughout his WWF career, while Flair wrestled to allegedly near-empty arenas. He also criticized Flair on what he perceived as insults to fellow wrestlers Mick Foley and Randy Savage, both personal friends of Hart's. Hart did acknowledge a decline in the WWF's popularity during the mid 1990s, but he and others felt that this was largely attributed to the WWF's well publicised sex and steroid scandals, as well as WCW's acquisition of former top WWF stars.[90][91][92] Vince McMahon reinforced Hart's drawing power, asserting that any company who hired him could have built their entire franchise around him.[93]

Shane Douglas

Flair also had a long running feud with Shane Douglas, who would refer to him as "Dick Flair" and accuse him of sabotaging his push in the NWA/WCW after getting a solid push and a rub from his tag partner Ricky Steamboat.[94] Flair, in turn, responded that Douglas was always the guy that would blame his shortcomings on others. He called Douglas out as well as accused him of steroid abuse during a broadcast of the Internet radio show WCW Live! in which he said that he would meet him anytime and anywhere if he "took the needle out of his ass." They were able to come to a working relationship during Douglas' last stint with WCW.

Mick Foley

Flair has also had issues with Mick Foley. In his 1999 autobiography Have a Nice Day!, Foley said, "Flair was every bit as bad on the booking side of things as he was great on the wrestling side of it."[95] This was in reference to how poorly Foley thought he was booked during his WCW career when Flair was on the booking committee. Flair responded in his autobiography, writing, "I do not care how many thumbtacks Mick Foley has fallen on, how many ladders he's fallen off, how many continents he's supposedly bled on, he will always be known as a glorified stuntman."[96] They have since buried the hatchet and are now friends.[13]

Altercation with Eric Bischoff

Flair described in his autobiography how he attacked Eric Bischoff backstage at a WWE house show, saying it was due to hating how Bischoff treated him in WCW. Flair stated that Arn Anderson kept watch while he tried to get Bischoff to fight him, but that the confrontation was interrupted by Sgt. Slaughter, who promptly informed Vince McMahon of the incident. McMahon then scolded Flair, telling him that his actions were unprofessional and that it couldn't happen again.

Tension with Hulk Hogan

In his book, Flair also touched on some real life tension between himself and Hulk Hogan which largely stemmed from an incident that followed the conclusion of a tag match between Flair and his son, David, and the team of Curt Hennig and Barry Windham at WCW's Souled Out pay-per-view on January 17, 1999, in Charleston, WV.[97] Flair described Hogan and members of the New World Order coming out to attack them, as well as Hogan whipping an incapacitated David with a leather belt as Flair was forced to look on. "What no one had told me was that Hogan would try to be cute and whip David over and over again....there was Hogan -- with all his experience, and all his celebrity -- trying to be cute. He whipped David like a dog. It was sickening, and I'll never forgive him for it", Flair wrote of the incident.

Disagreement with Bruno Sammartino

Flair and wrestler Bruno Sammartino have a real life disagreement over what reports call "the infamous backstage 'snub' where Flair claims that Sammartino refused to shake his hand at a live event."[98]. While Flair claims Sammartino ignored him due to comments made in his book stating Sammartino was "a Northeast star who couldn’t draw fans outside New York,"[98] Sammartino disagrees. Sammartino referred to Flair as a "liar," stating, "No, I don’t respect Ric Flair. I don’t respect him at all."[99]. Sammartino contends that Flair violated him, and not vice versa.


Flair has long supported Republican political candidates in North Carolina politics.[100] In 2000, Flair explored the possibility of running for governor of North Carolina,[100] but he never filed the papers.[101]

In the 2008 presidential race, Ric Flair declared his support for the Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. He said of Huckabee, "[Huckabee] is a quality person, self-made, a great family man and he has a great vision for our country. And I'm here to excite the crowd."[102]

In wrestling

Flair performing his signature Figure 4 Leglock on Hulk Hogan during the Hulkamania Tour.
Flair and Shawn Michaels delivering Knife edge chops to Mikey
  • Nicknames
    • "(The) Nature Boy"
    • "Naitch (Short for "Nature Boy")"
    • "The Dirtiest (Damn) Player in the Game"
    • "Stylin' and Profilin'"
    • "I Da! Ba-Loot!"
    • "The Man"
    • "The Limousine Ridin', Jet Flying, Kiss Stealin', Wheelin' Dealin', Son of a Gun"
    • "Space Mountain"
    • "The Sixty-Minute Man"
    • "Slick Ric"
    • "The Master of the Figure Four"[104]
    • "The Golden Stallion"[105]

Championships and accomplishments

Flair at the 2009 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony.

1Flair did win the Mid-Atlantic version of the NWA United States Championships five times and the five reigns were recognized even after World Championship Wrestling took control over the championship and renamed it the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship in 1991. After WCW's purchase by WWE, the lineage of the championships were kept and used to give the WWE United States Championship a prestigious history. However, WWE does not recognize some of the reigns of some wrestlers when the title was still the Mid-Atlantic NWA United States Championship. As of now, only four of Flair's five reigns with the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship (Mid-Atlantic version) are officially recognized by WWE.
2His last four reigns with the championship were after Jim Crockett, Jr. sold his promotion to Ted Turner in November 1988, which became World Championship Wrestling. The NWA World Heavyweight Championship was defended exclusively in WCW until WCW's withdrawal from the National Wrestling Alliance in 1993.
3Title reigns aren't recognized by World Wrestling Entertainment.
4He won the title for the third time in Kallang, Singapore. Records are unclear as to which promotion hosted the event.


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External links

Simple English

Ric Flair
Ring name(s) Ric Flair
The Black Scorpion
Height6 ft. 0 in. (185 cm)[1]
Weight230 lb. (105 kg)[1]
Billed height6 ft. 1 in. (185 cm)[2]
Billed weight243 lb. (110 kg)[2]
BornFebruary 25, 1949 (1949-02-25) (age 62)[3]
Minneapolis, Minnesota[3]
ResidesCharlotte, North Carolina
Billed fromCharlotte, North Carolina[2]
Trained byVerne Gagne[2][4]
Hiro Matsuda
DebutDecember 10, 1972
RetiredMarch 30, 2008

Richard Morgan Fliehr[3] (born February 25, 1949, in Minneapolis, Minnesota[3]) better known by his ring name, Ric Flair, is a semi-retired American professional wrestler that is currently signed to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. He wrestled for 36 years. His last WWE match was against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXIV. He is a WWE Hall of Famer.

His nickname is "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair.


  1. 1.0 1.1 ""Office of the Sheriff: Mecklenburg County, North Carolina"". Retrieved 2007-09-05. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Ric Flair Bio". WWE. Retrieved 2007-11-13. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Power Slam". This Month in History: February (SW Publishing): p. 28. January 1999. 55. 
  4. "Ric Flair". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2007-11-13. 

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