Real Name: Richard Morgan Fliehr
Date of Birth: 25th February 1949
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
Other Names: “The Dirtiest Player in the game”, “The Nature Boy”
Debut Year: 1972
Trademark Moves: Figure Four Leg Lock
Titles Held: World Tag Team Champion (w/)Batista; NWA Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Champion (w/Rip Hawk, Greg Valentine & Big John Studd); NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight; NWA Mid-Atlantic TV Champion; NWA World Tag Team Champion (w/Greg Valentine & Blackjack Mulligan); NWA Missouri Heavyweight Champion; NWA/WCW United States Heavyweight Championship; NWA/WCW Champion; WWE Champion
- Vs. Ricky Steamboat (WCW/NWA Chi -Town Rumble 1989)
- Vs. Ricky Steamboat (WCW/NWA Clash of the Champions VI)
- Vs. Ricky Steamboat (WCW/NWA Wrestle War 89)
- WWF Royal Rumble 1992
- Vs. Triple H (WWE Raw 19th May 2003)
Born in Minnesota, Ric Flair was an all round sports person in his youth, being part of his high schools basketball team, football team, and of course, being part of the school’s amateur wrestling team, he would then go onto the University of Minnesota where he would be part of the football team. Flair would then start off his wrestling career, as he trained with Verne Gagne and Billy Robinson. Flair then joined the Minneapolis based American Wrestling Association (AWA), Flair trained there and had his first official match on 10th March 1972, with “Scrap Iron” Gadaski, which ended in a draw.
After wrestling in the AWA for a short time, Flair moved to the North Carolina area, and joined the National Wrestling Alliance’s (NWA) Mid Atlantic territory. Initially Flair was introduced to the territory as a tag team wrestler, as he paired with RIP Hawk to win the Mid Atlantic tag team championship belts from Paul Jones and Bob Bruggers. Flair also experienced singles success as he won Mid Atlantic T V Championship from Paul Jones and also the Mid Atlantic Heavyweight title by beating Wahoo McDaniel.
On 4th October 1974, Ric Flair, Johnny Valentine, Tim Woods and Bob Bruggers along with promoter David Crockett chartered a private jet to fly from one show to another. The flight took a tragic turn for the worst when the engines started to cut out due to a lack of fuel, the plane crashed, with horrific consequences. The pilot of the plane died, Flair, Valentine and Bruggers all suffered serious injuries, while Crockett and Woods only had minor injuries. Flair was told that he had broken his back, and it would take at least one year for him to fully recover, and it was thought he would never be able to wrestle again.
Flair would recover in less than half the time the doctors had expected, and what was even more amazing was Flair would then go onto return to the wrestling ring, when he made his comeback by defeating Wahoo McDaniel for the Mid Atlantic Heavyweight Championship. After his comeback, Flair went onto win the NWA World and Mid Atlantic Tag Team Championship belts with Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, he also experienced more singles success as he captured the NWA Television Championship and the NWA US Championship belts. Throughout the late 1970’s Flair would go onto win many tag team championship belts, and even more singles championships, feuding with the likes of Jimmy Snuka and Rowdy Roddy Piper.
In 1981, Ric Flair would win his first World Heavyweight Championship belt as he defeated Dusty Rhodes. Flair held the title for some time, he even faced then WWF Champion Bob Backlund, but the match ended in in a double DQ. However Flair wouldn’t be so lucky when he faced Harley Race, who was able to beat Flair.
At the first ever NWA Starrcade in 1983, Ric Flair was able to recapture his NWA World Championship from Harley Race in a tremendous steel cage match. However, the feud between Race and Flair would rage on, as in March 1984 Race defeated Flair again for the championship in New Zealand, however, 2 days later Flair captured the Championship back from Race in Singapore. In the May of 1984, Flair lost the World Championship belt to Kerry Von Erich in Irvine Texas, but he would win the title back some weeks later in Japan.
Back in the United States, Flair entered a feud with the man who he won the championship off the first time, Dusty Rhodes. Flair managed to fend off Dusty, along with the help off the newly established Four Horsemen, which featured Ole and Arn Anderson, and Tully Blanchard, and manager JJ Dillon. However, 25th July 1986, Ric Flair lost the Championship belt to “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, but in true Ric Flair style, he was able to capture the World Championship belt two weeks later. After which Flair dominated the belt for around 2 years only losing it once to Ronnie Garvin.
If the year 1989 will be remembered for anything by wrestling fans, it has to be the series of matches Ric Flair had with Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. Steamboat had returned to the NWA after some time with the WWF, where he was able to capture the WWF Intercontinental Championship from Randy Savage. Steamboat and Flair entered a feud, seemly due to their class of lifestyles clashing, Flair the flamboyant Playboy and Steamboat, the traditional family man, there life styles may have clashed, but the quality of their wrestling ability was second to none. In the first encounter, Flair was defeated by Ricky Steamboat at the Chi-Town Rumble event, in Chicago. In the second match, at the Clash of the Champions VI event, Ricky Steamboat defeated Flair in the 2 out 3 falls match, however, Flair’s foot was apparently on the rope during the final fall, so another rematch was in order. The final match came at WrestleWar 1989, in which Flair was finally able to recapture his championship belt, in another astonishing match. The 3 matches with Flair and Steamboat are probably considered the greatest matches in wrestling history.
In the late 1980’s Flair entered a feud with Terry Funk, in which he was involved in some memorable matches, most notable the “I Quit” Match from Clash of the Champions IX, in which Flair was able to beat the Funk with the Four Figure leg lock. As the 1990’s began, major things began to change in the NWA or WCW as it was now called. In 1988, Jim Crockett sold Crockett Promotions to WTBS, part of Ted Turners media empire. By the early 1990’s NWA was hardly referred to anymore, and World Championship Wrestling was created. By the Great American Bash 1990, Ric Flair was involved in a feud with a young superstar named Sting, who went on to defeat Flair for the World Championship belt. In early 1991, Flair did become champion once again, when Flair defeated Sting, he was also regarded as the first WCW World Heavyweight Champion, as well as being the NWA Champion.
In Summer 1991, the relationship Flair had with WCW management took a tumble. He was entering contract negations and its reported that WCW offered him substantially a lot less than the previous contract, also WCW management wanted him to drop his title to Lex Luger, and for Flair to change his current look, and become more in keeping with the future of WCW. Plus Flair didn’t really like WCW President Jim Herd, so in the summer of 1991 Ric Flair left WCW, and headed over to the WWF. WCW management stripped him of the World Championship, but he still had his old NWA Championship belt, which he owned from the old NWA days when Crockett promotions made the superstars put a deposit down on the belt. Flair took the championship to the WWF and named himself “The Real World’s Champion”. Its believed that WCW paid Flair his deposit back, or effectively bought the Championship belt off Flair.
Flair initially came into the WWF and started feuding with Roddy Piper, he was also involved in some matches with Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker and Sid Justice. At 1992 Royal Rumble, Ric Flair won his first ever WWF World Championship, when he won the vacant title by winning the 30-Man Royal Rumble. Flair entered the Rumble as number 2, the final 4 men were Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan and Sid Justice. After Savage was eliminated, Sid Justice soon eliminated Hulk Hogan, which led to a confrontation between the two, where Flair was able to capitalise, and eliminate Sid. Flair was then involved in a programme with “Macho Man” Randy Savage, where Flair claimed he had some centre fold pictures of Savage’s wife, Miss Elizabeth. The pair had an excellent match at Wrestlemania VIII, where Savage regained the Championship belt. Flair was able to recapture the Championship in September of 1992, when he beat Savage, however this title run would only last a month, when he lost the belt to Bret Hart. In January 1993, Ric Flair left the WWF, after losing a “Loser leaves town” match with Mr. Perfect on WWF Monday Night Raw. Its thought both McMahon and Flair mutually agreed that Flair had nothing more to contribute to the WWF, and Flair wanted to go back to WCW, so he was released from the WWF.
Upon his return, Ric Flair recaptured the NWA Championship, but WCW finally pulled away totally from the NWA, and they dropped the NWA Championship renaming the belt WCW International Championship. Flair feuded with the likes of Rick Rude and Sting for the best part of a year, and in June 1994 at WCW Clash of the Champions XXVII, Flair unified the WCW International Championship and WCW World Championship belts to become one. After the match, Hulk Hogan came to the ring and the long awaited Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan feud began. Fans had been wanting to see Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair for along time, although the WWF never capitalised on this for various reasons, WCW did. At Bash at the Beach 1994, after a lot of hype, Hulk Hogan won the WCW Championship belt from Ric Flair. For the next few years Flair would continue to feud with Hogan and also recapture his feud with Randy Savage, as Savage moved to WCW from the WWF.
Flair kept moving up and down of the WCW roster, winning World Championship belts and also being involved with mid card feuds. In 1996, the New World Order formed, with Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, it would be evident that the New World Order would clash with Ric Flair. For some months the New World Order clashed with Flair as he was representing WCW, in matches such as Fall Brawl 96, where Flair teamed with Luger, Sting and Arn Anderson. As the New World Order constantly grew and grew, it seemed that no one could win. Flair and his group The Horsemen, this time featuring Mongo McMichael, Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko battled the New World Order throughout the 1996 – 1997 period. Flair would also go onto have many great matches with Roddy Piper, Curt Henning and Bret Hart throughout this period.
In 1998, another dispute with WCW management was on the horizon. Its reported that in 1998, Flair was written out of WCW storylines while he was going through contract negations. Its reported that Flair decided to take time off from the TV tapings as he wasn’t needed, while away from TV, WCW management decided to reform the Four Horsemen, and advertised that Flair would be on the show, however he never turned up, so WCW filed a $2 Million law suit against Flair. Its not known how Flair and WCW resolved the situation, but on the 14th September 1998, Ric Flair made his way back to WCW and reformed the Four Horsemen with Arn Anderson, Mongo McMichael, Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko. When Flair made his WCW return, he immediately went into a feud with WCW President Eric Bischoff. The feud lead into various confrontations between Flair and Bischoff, a notable match was at WCW Starrcade 1998, where Bischoff was victorious. However, the next night on WCW Nitro, Flair challenged Bischoff to a rematch, in which the winner would become President of World Championship Wrestling, Flair won the match and became the new president of the company.
After Flair became WCW President, he entered in a series of matches with Hulk Hogan, the pair had a WCW World Championship match at Superbrawl 1999, where Hogan was victorious, however Flair arranged a rematch, with the stipulation being that if Flair won, he would become WCW President for life and also become the World Champion. The match would be a “First Blood“ match, which would take place inside a cage. Flair won the match at WCW Uncensored 1999 and he became WCW President for life, as well as being the World Champion, yet again. This title reign would not last long, as Flair dropped the belt to DDP at Spring Stampede 1999, in a 4 Corners match featuring Hulk Hogan, Sting, DDP and with Macho Man Randy Savage special referee.
After this, Flair became a “heel” and he broke up the Four Horsemen, feuding with Benoit and Malenko, he even created his own committee, with Roddy Piper, Arn Anderson, David Flair and Charles Robinson, the groups own referee. Flair was then involved in yet another programme with Sting, this time for the control of WCW, he lost control of WCW on a Monday Nitro show on July 19th 1999. Flair lost the match, and thus lost presidency of the company. For a few more months Flair was feuding with DDP, Luger and Sting. He then left WCW screens for a time.
In Spring 2000, Flair was back on WCW television, this time he was involved in a number of feuds with old rivals Hulk Hogan, Sting and even Terry Funk, although Flair was involved in a lot of main event feuds, WCW was a sinking ship, and the company looked doomed. However, Eric Bischoff was brought back, along with WWF Writer Vince Russo to try and turn the company around, their initial idea looked promising, with “The Millionaires Club” featuring Flair, Hulk Hogan and Sting and the more older and established stars taking on “The New Blood” with the likes of Billy Kidman, Booker T and Jeff Jarrett. Flair manages to recapture the World Championship belt in some strange situation, where he is stripped of the belt, then given it back by Kevin Nash, anyway, Flair loses the belt to Jeff Jarrett on an episode of Nitro. Flair is then involved with the company feuding with his son David Flair for a short time. Flair then disappears from WCW screens once again. While Flair is gone, WCW management again reshuffles, and Russo and Bischoff lose control.
Flair returns to WCW in a Chairman type role, and he soon assumes the position of a managerial type role, managing a group called “The Magnificent Seven”, Scott Steiner, Rick Steiner, Jeff Jarrett, Lex Luger, Buff Bagwell, and Road Warrior Animal. Flair was feuding with long time rival Dusty Rhodes and his son Dustin Rhodes, but something would change the WCW landscape forever.
By now it was early 2001, WCW was struggling, and rumours of it getting taken over were running rife. By March 16th 2001, WCW had been bought and taken over by Vince McMahon and the World Wrestling Federation. On the final ever WCW Nitro an emotional Ric Flair came down to the ring to address his fans, he challenged Sting to one last match, and the pair fought in an emotional match on the final ever WCW Nitro where Sting defeated “The Nature Boy”.
Flair stayed at home for many months while still under a Time-Warner AOL Contract, while Vince McMahon created a WCW vs. WWF feud, which was missing many key ingredients, one of them being Ric Flair. Eventually Flair did make a WWF return, but it wasn’t part of the Invasion angle. Flair made his return the night after Survivor Series 2001 on RAW, where he was revealed as a stakeholder of the WWF, after Shane and Stephanie had sold their shares of the WWF to him, so they could buy WCW and ECW. This led to an inventible feud between Ric Flair and Vince McMahon, which culminated in a “Street fight” at the 2002 Royal Rumble where Flair defeated McMahon. Flair also feuded with The Undertaker leading up to Wrestlemania X8, Undertaker had beaten up Flair’s son and his friend, this led to an extremely enjoyable match at Westlemania X8, where Ric Flair lost to “The Deadman”
With two owners of the WWE, Vince McMahon decided to “split” the WWE into two different companies, RAW & Smackdown. Flair was put in charge of RAW, while Vince McMahon took control of Smackdown. As the General Manager of RAW, Flair was embroiled in a feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin, in which Austin blamed Flair for being an unfair referee in a match with The Undertaker at Backlash 2002 and costing Austin a WWE Championship shot. In reality WWE ratings were on a tumble, Stone Cold Steve Austin had left the company, which left Flair at a loss of any angle on WWE TV. McMahon decided that Flair and himself would face one another for total control of the company, the match took place on WWE Raw, where Brock Lesnar interfered for McMahon and cost Flair the match and control of the WWE.
With Flair out of a role as a General Manager, he was put in a small programme with Eddie Guerrero, in which the pair wrestled at King of the Ring 2002. Over the summer of 2002, Flair was involved in a series of matches with Chris Jericho. It was in September 2002, after a confrontation with Triple H that Flair decided to change his act, he had became a failure to himself, so during the main event of Unforgiven 2002, featuring Triple H and RVD, Flair interfered and helped Triple H retain the championship belt. Flair became Triple H’s manager, and the two dominated WWE Raw for the remainder of the year, with Flair wrestling on a part time basis. As the year drew to an end, Flair also joined a young WWE superstar by the name of Batista, and he managed him, along with Triple H. By Spring 2003, another member joined Triple H, Flair and Batista, this time Randy Orton. The group named themselves “Evolution” and again dominated WWE Raw for months. Flair also became more active in his in ring, wrestling more on television and house shows. In May 2003 during a WWE Raw in Greenville, North Carolina, the WWE paid the ultimate tribute to Flair, as he was involved in a World Championship match with Triple H, while Flair failed to capture the belt, he was part of one of the best matches of 2003. After the match, when the camera’s stopped rolling live, the WWE locker room emptied to celebrate Flair’s life as a wrestler.
As 2003 progressed, Flair continued wrestling the likes of Goldberg and Shawn Michaels, and by December 2003, Flair and Batista won the World Tag Team Championship belts at Armageddon. The pair lost the belts to Booker T and RVD in February of 2004, but won the belts back on 22nd March 2004 on WWE Raw. Ric Flair continues to wrestle and be one of the most valuable members of the WWE roster.
Buy the DVD:
WWE: The Ultimate Ric Flair Collection
Buy the Book:
WWE – Ric Flair: To be the Man…