Ric Flair, Wrestling Legend, World Wrestling Entertainment
Wrestling Legend Ric Flair recently
took time out his busy schedule to talk to us.
Here is what he had to say:
made you decide to train for a career in pro wrestling
and what was Verne Gagne like as a trainer?
1972. Because I was living with the fellow who
was training for the '72 Olympic games called
Ken Patera, He had already made a deal with Verne
Gagne who sponsored him in his training period
to become a professional wrestler, and he and
I became very close friends. Verne Gagne was the
ultimate professional, as a trainer, very committed
promoter / wrestler to the sport of professional
wrestling, he had been an Olympic wrestler himself
in 1948, a great guy to be involved with. I was
very fortunate to start out with him.
there any things that you learnt from him, that
you will take on when you train other people?
don't think I really absorbed one thing, at that
point in time I was just learning my craft. The
thing he really instilled, was work ethic and
you broke your back in a plane crash in 1975,
did you start thinking about a career away from
wrestling or was a return to the ring always your
was told that they didn't know if I would get
back in the ring. Sports medicine was not nearly
as sophisticated as it is now so, the answer was
time will tell. It did heal and it didn't become
an issue (knock on wood) and hasn't so far.
you think coming back from an injury has changed
you as a person?
I was young then you don't really think about
the consequences on making a career as citizens.
I was focused and determined to be a wrestler.
I don't think back then I would have accepted
no for an answer.
was it like to win your first world title from
Dusty Rhodes in 1981?
was an awesome feeling; it was the epitome of
what I wanted to be then in wrestling. That particular
evening was really not a great night for me because
I was in Kansas City and either Dusty or myself
were very well received in that town, not well
known. It was a political deal! Bob Geigel was
the president of NWA . I couldn't really tell
anyone about the fact that I was going to win
because that was the nature of the business. The
promoter that sponsored me was there, the guy
that worked with him, my mum and dad came from
Minneapolis, and it was a relatively quite night,
with no fanfare there really. That particular
night was not over the top for me, it was a nice
feeling afterwards but with so many politics going
on, at that point in time-it really was not the
most rewarding feeling I have ever had, but yeah
it was an important win for me.
was it like when you first wrestled in front of
liked wrestling but they never watched it on TV.
They respected what I accomplished but they never
lived and died for it, or watched it every day.
you lost that title you then won it back from
Harley Race-did you fight a different sort of
fight against Harley Race than you did against
was a big night in my back yard. It was built
up for months in advance, a huge night, our first
Starrcade, it was billed as a "Flair for
the Gold" and Dusty Rhodes had put together
a phenomenal promotional scheme to make it work
and it did. That was one of those nights that
is over the top in terms of memory and feeling.
I knowing that I had achieved something big.
that your success was huge. Did you have the confidence
at that stage to know that you could go all the
it the second time told me I had the ability to
go as far as I wanted to go. Winning it the second
time meant I wasn't a short-term success.
idea was it to form the Four Horsemen and who
chose the members?
was Arn Anderson's idea. It was just four guys
who got along great and it was a pretty cool concept.
We actually were together before we had a name,
and then Arn came up with the name one day. The
best combination was Arn, Barry Windham Terry
Blanchard and myself. Ole was very good he was
the original, but he was at the stage of his career
where his heart wasn't in the wrestling. He was
a great wrestler and a great part of the history
of the Four Horsemen.
1989 you had 3 sensational world title matches
with Ricky Steamboat at the Chi-Town Rumble, Clash
of the Champions 6 and Music City Showdown - which
would you consider to be the best of the 3?
couldn't say. I don't think I ever had a bad one
with him. He was the best I ever wrestled against.
A phenomenal performer. We had great chemistry
and a lot of respect for each other and that good
guy bad guy thing worked really well, it was awesome.
you prefer being a heel or a face?
prefer being a bad guy. Why would you say heel
or face? Are you a wrestler? You're not so why
would you use that terminology?
that the wrong terminology? It's a question from
a fan actually.
fans who use terms like that I have no respect
for, because they're not wrestlers. That's a wrestlers
terminology. See that's inside talk - I don't
like outsiders using inside talk - I have no respect
for it whatsoever. Everybody wants to think that
they're a wrestler. The guy who wrote my book
the first time, I'd go on record as saying is
a *%$^£&$ idiot - it had to be re-written.
He took everything I said and wrote it like he
was on the inside. He will go down in history
and I will make sure he does, as the biggest idiot
ever be given an opportunity and completely ^%$&
it up, 'cos he talked like he was on the inside.
You know fans want to talk to us using our terminology
and it's a lot of our guys faults, cos they want
to talk to the fans and get their opinions. They
want to talk to them like they're on the inside.
So that's why I'm asking you why you said that,
but it's ok, you're asking me questions the fans
have asked. I do have a lot of respect for the
fans but I don't like the fans who think they
can talk like they're on the inside, cos they're
not. We've got too many guys in our businesses
that rely on the opinion of some fan who thinks
he's smart - it's a real issue for me.
that been a problem throughout the industry then,
people who don't know what they're talking about
having too much influence?
have a lot of people who think that the end result
of what we do lives and breaths on what the Internet
thinks is right. I mean that would be like me
trying to write an article on Mercedes Benz. Do
I like four doors? Yeah, but do I really know
anything about it? No. I wouldn't know anything
about the design of a Mercedes Benz from the inside.
I could use the terminology but I wouldn't know
anything about it. Dave Melzer and Mark Madden
are the only guys I've ever thought who were non-wrestlers
who had the knowledge enough and the overall perspective
of our business to talk like they were on the
inside and use the terminology.
you ever thought about joining WWE before you
did in 1991?
was in my mind but nothing I ever thought would
happen. Jim Herd is the total reason I left. He
did a lot to make we want to leave-things to this
day, I'm not angry about but I can certainly recollect,
and I've written a lot about him in my book. He
is a good example of a guy who came along and
thought he was on the inside, and was so far on
the outside, which is so far from the truth. He
had a lot to do with the destruction and bankruptcy
of the company 10 years before it did bankrupt.
He will go down as the biggest idiot of all time.
entering WWE you had with you the world title
from WCW - how did that come about?
came about over $25,000. When the NWA was in existence
it was controlled by a board of directors who
ran the NWA. Whoever the champion was, had to
put up a $25,000 bond. It was a statement to say
that the champion wouldn't leave with the belt.
I put up a bond for 25 grand and when I asked
for my money back Herd said &%$£ you
and the belt. I said it's not &%$£ me
its &%$£ you - watch where the belt
is next Monday. I called Vince and I said I'll
come there as the champion if you want me to be.
All over a lousy 25 grand. A multi million pound
contract and, and ultimately when I came back
they gave me the 25 grand plus interest. That's
how ignorant Herd was - he was so ignorant it
was embarrassing, and he knew so little about
anything. I said to him, I'll give you three months,
and guess what, ninety days later he was gone!
I sent the belt to WWE and Bobby Heenan took it
out on TV the next week. As soon as WCW realised
the damage they filed a lawsuit to have me send
back the belt. All over 25 grand!!! I was really
hurt by all what happened especially after I'd
been there so long
Hulk Hogan and yourself now in WWE many fans thought
the dream match they had hope for would happen.
Why did a high profile feud between the 2 of you
never happen in WWE?
don't know for sure but there were political issues
and things going on with the company. That was
the original game plan and I've heard a number
of reasons why it didn't happen but it was nothing
I was too upset about. I enjoyed my year and a
half at WWE then I went back and carried on where
I left off at WCW. While I was there the title
went from Piper to Hogan, Hogan to Savage, Savage
to Bret Hart. I just enjoyed the working environment
- I was amongst good friends. What I didn't realise
when I went back was the animosity it had caused.
I've explained in my book that my leaving the
WCW created animosity 'cos it hurt the company.
It was nothing I did - you know you have a right
to protect yourself - here you have a company
spending millions of pounds on nothing, and they
couldn't give me my 25 grand. Herd was so arrogant
that he wouldn't even ask Barnett about my situation,
he just said &%$£ Barnett and &%$£
the belt - those were his ways of talking. He
thought he was a tough guy. There was a time in
my life when I thought I was invincible. I knew
I was the best at what I did - I never thought
of myself better than other people in any other
way apart from the wrestling where I knew I was
the best wrestler alive. I went from that character
to a guy who was forced to cut his hair, a guy
who Jim Herd wanted to wear an earring. He wanted
to make me into a gladiator!! He was taking an
established commodity, who'd been the flagship
of the company and changing it stupidly.
determined your departure from WWE and your return
to WCW in late 1992?
had been calling me and I think WWE were looking
to downscale me, and I had a great relationship
with Vince. I told him that WCW had offered me
a great deal. He told me that I had done a great
job, had been a great businessman and that I should
do what was best for me. So I went back straight
back into the turmoil and it got worse instead
the Monday Night War were the ratings of Raw and
Nitro a topic of discussion among the wrestlers
in the locker room? (James Pendle)
all we ever talked about! There were serious concerns
that the guy we worked for was obsessed with beating
McMahon. Everybody could see that McMahon was
building up a great billing while we were all
just getting ready to self-destruct.
was it like to be part of the very last Nitro
in March 2001 and to wrestle in the very last
WCW match against Sting? (Lesley Weight)
felt glad - I wanted to throw a party. We should
have closed down a year before. We had turned
into such a mockery - we had become the laughing
stock. The guys in the WWE were just laughing
at us. It was an embarrassing nightmare to anyone
that had ever become successful in our business.
It was terrible. I was emotionally upset for the
people who had worked there for years, like the
production people, wrestlers losing their jobs.
When there is two entities and it becomes one,
the market place becomes a lot smaller. Everybody
got a month of severance pay for each year they
had been there, so a guy who was there for ten
years would only get paid for a year in severance.
150 people went out of business in one day - some
of them made it and some of them didn't. Nobody
gave a shit - it was pretty sad and very insensitive.
over a decade in WCW you feuded on and off with
Sting. Do you think the two of you will ever meet
in a WWE ring and would you like this to happen?
I wish he would but he won't though. He doesn't
want to come out of retirement. He has made money
and is fine. He lives in California, which has
made his wife happy, and he is fine. It would
be a lot of commuting for him to get back into
it. He would be a huge addition but I don't think
he is prepared to commit the time.
there any match not on The Ultimate Ric Flair
Collection that would like to have seen included?
haven't even seen all of it. In fact the only
match I've seen is of me and Dusty. I'm not a
big ego man. I don't go home and watch myself
wrestle. Change of subject I know but going back
to that Internet thing before. I think a good
example of people giving advice it would be like
a doctor going home and getting medical advice
from random people who have posted something on
the net. You know, our guys are the worst for
it - they tell the fans what's going to happen.
Some of the Wrestlers are marks, you know, they're
catering for the guys on the Internet! "Please
say I'm good, say something good about me. I'll
tell you anything you want to know" they
have fans they will cater too, just so they say,
"You were great !" That's was why it
was so successful in the past and why we had riots
in stadiums, cos people didn't know. Now we have
guys tell the fans what's happening the week before
and they're like "don't tell anybody I told
you just say that I'm really good" (laughs)
It's a shame-it kills me. And if the fans are
honest with themselves they wouldn't want to know
either. It used to be riotous, people were so
wound up!! They couldn't punch it in on the Internet
and find out what's going on.
would you say is the single worst/most embarrassing
moment in your wrestling career? Can you look
back and laugh about it now? (Chris Harrison)
are few and far between. I can't think of anything
I'm embarrassed about.
you could sum up you whole career in one word
or sentence, what would it be? (Warren Kantor)
do you feel about the new direction of the business,
with Benoit and Guerrero being the respective
champions? (Bradley Gibson)
I'm very happy, very happy. When you go to work
you want to work in a professional environment.
Whether the environment is how you want it to
be, you can't control. But if your workplace is
friendly and professional, you can tolerate a
lot. WWE is the most professional, wholesome workplace
environment I've ever been in. Regardless of all
the politics that go on, it's like "yes sir",
"no sir", "thank you sir".
Everybody's on the same page-the production staff
get the same respect as the wrestlers do. That's
what makes life nice. That level of respect and
professionalism is excellent. It's tiring but
it's not hard to do because it's nice and it's
a professional place to work. You know, McMahon
will get mad but he won't show it-there is no
trickle down effect, and he won't tolerate unprofessionalism.
how do you keep yourself motivated?
didn't like the wrestling business after what
happened in the WCW, I didn't have any ill feeling,
cause they had been great to me over the years.
The only reason they competed was because they
spent millions and stole talent. There were no
controls, no respect and it was unhealthy, that
would never happen at WWE, and that keeps me motivated.
does it mean to you to have the best selling WWE
DVD of all time? (Lloyd Clarke)
means a lot. I'll be brutally honest-I think it's
based around me, but it gives people a chance
to see all these wrestlers from yester-year who
they never got to see and they've only ever heard
of. You get to see Dusty Rhodes, Harley Race,
Ricky Steamboat-a lot of these guys haven't been
on TV in years. So people have heard of them but
never seen them I know it's based around me but
I think a lot of the success is based on the opponents
and the people I'm wrestling.
your wrestling days are over, would you still
like to be part of the WWE in some other role?
yeah. I'd like to do promotional tours. I don't
know if I'd have the patience but maybe I'd like
to help put the shows together. The agents who
work at putting the matches are the hardest working
guys in the company and it's a bit of a thankless
job. When you try to put together a live show
it's hard work. We the wrestlers think we have
it hard, the agents have it ten times as hard.
opponent, past or present, would you like to have
wrestled but never have, or haven't for a long
time at least? (Martin Robb)
would really like to wrestle Triple H who I've
only got to wrestle one time. I would love to
wrestle Kurt Angle - I love wrestling Shawn Michaels,
I would love to wrestle The Rock in a one on one
match which I don't think will happen cos of his
commitment to Hollywood. I would love to have
wrestled Steve Austin, one on one. I'd like to
wrestle Eddie Guerrero who I have a lot of respect
for and Chris Benoit. I'd wrestle anybody!!! I'd
love to wrestle Sting but I don't think that's
do you feel when people call you the greatest
of all time? (Andrew Graham)
feel very rewarded. I don't know if that's true
or not-I think I'm in the top five but that would
be a very difficult call. I feel very honoured
and rewarded to be back now. I mean I felt like
I was in a tomb after WCW. I was a beaten man-not
in my personal lifestyle but in my professional
life, and even when I came back here I was very
very reluctant. And I was sure I wouldn't have
to wrestle. People have always seen Ric Flair
as this full of life person who just gets in the
ring and performs, laughs and then does it all
again. The big mind game when Crockett sold to
Turner. People who I thought might have informed
me of the situation that was going on at WCW didn't.
People who I trusted and confided in didn't tell
me anything. But I do feel great about being considered
the greatest of all time, and people considering
me as that makes it even more real. But there
have been a lot of great performers. When I was
honoured at Greenville. That was the best night
of my career. I didn't win any belts but I was
honoured by my peers, and that was very emotional.
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