Ric Flair, born Richard Morgan Fliehr, is and has been one of the most iconic individuals in the world of pro wrestling for a long, long time. His career has spanned from the early 1970s up until the present day. While he no longer wrestles, his body is just too worn out, he does manage other wrestlers and is part of the WWE’s Legends program. He’s a two-time Hall of Fame inductee in the WWE and he’s been around for so long that he’s seen people come and go while maintaining his status as The Nature Boy. Among all wrestlers he’s one of those that has more than earned his respect and has helped to guide younger wrestlers to greatness all along his career. When it comes to legends in this business Flair is one of the greats and also one of the most undisputed and entertaining champions to have ever graced the squared circle.
There are a few things to say about him that kind of go with the territory, but none of it takes away from his greatness.
He wasn’t always the most stable wrestler.
Between his cries of “Woo!” and actually claiming to be the president of the United States at one point Flair was an animated character in the ring. He trained under Verne Gagne and came up with some of the best like Dusty Rhodes and Andre the Giant. Throughout his career he’s had plenty of onscreen feuds and plenty of off screen problems with other wrestlers that were the result of ego, rate of pay, and just poor attitude between them. When you sift through Flair’s career it’s usually the metaphorical cream that rises to the top that many people want to remember. He was a great wrestler and played the part of the heel especially well since it seemed to be his calling. But if you decide to look below the good stuff and really get into the meat of what his life has been about outside of the ring you might be just a bit disappointed at times since his problems with the law and with his family have gone on for a number of years and have been anything but flattering. There’s no denying that Flair has been an icon in the business, but he’s also been a human being that has made a lot of mistakes, as he’s admitted in the recent past.
No matter what he’s done in his life he’s still one of the most respected wrestlers to ever set foot in the WWE.
Ask anyone about Ric Flair, any fan or co-worker at least, and they’ll likely tell you what they think about him and then go on to say that he’s a 16-time World Champion in the business and is one of the greatest individuals to ever grace professional wrestling. They’d be right of course, but many of them, especially those that worked with him, would probably go on to say that he had his own demons when it came to the job and how it affected his life. He wasn’t liked by everyone backstage but it was recognized that he was a major player and had a lot of pull when it came to business and was a great draw for fans and could fill arenas at one point in his career. However as ego got the better of him sometimes he would tend to overlook his fellow wrestlers and play himself up a bit too much now and again, tending to forget that it was better to get along with his co-workers. A lot of this that happened onscreen was the job, it was the business and as such a lot of it wasn’t real. He had his feuds with other wrestlers but with most of them he managed to patch things up and remained friends despite any differences.
Flair seems like the kind of guy that you take with a big grain of salt. You might wonder at times why you’re still friends with him but there’s no denying that when he’s having a good moment that he’s a very interesting and likable guy.
He had to stop wrestling for his health, but some said it was because he was tarnishing his legacy.
As he aged Flair did his best to keep his career moving forward but the quality of the matches was beginning to drop as his age continued to be a factor. Plus, he just couldn’t keep up with the younger talent and had to be carried in many matches to make them halfway entertaining. There was a lot of heart in staying employed and doing what he loved to entertain the crowd, but it was time for him to step aside and be more of a manager than a wrestler. Plus just recently he had to undergo surgery to reverse a procedure that had been done just a year before in order to alleviate his growing health concerns. Thankfully the surgery went just fine and he should be back on his feet in no time, in a back stage and managerial capacity of course if he decides to stick around.
Let it never be said that Ric Flair was never a true professional in the ring, even if in life he had a few less that favorable character quirks.