Ric Flair

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Ric Flair on WWE Raw.

The "Nature Boy" Ric Flair (born February 25, 1949 in Memphis, Tennessee) is an American professional wrestler currently with WWE on its RAW brand. He has been one of the leading personalities in professional wrestling since the mid 1970s and is considered to be among the elite names in the history of the industry, having been a 21-time World champion in three different organizations -- clearly the most World championship reigns of any wrestler in modern history.

Contents

Profile

Early life

His birth name, depending on the particular documents examined, was either Fred Phillips, Fred Demaree, or Fred Stewart. He was one of several thousand children adopted through the Tennessee Children's Home Society, an agency that was revealed in 1950 to have fraudulently induced numerous mothers to give up their children for adoption. His adoptive parents, who received him when he was less than a month old, were a physician (father) and a theater writer (mother) who named him Richard Morgan Fliehr. At the time of his adoption, his father was finishing his residency in gynecology in Detroit; soon afterwards, his parents settled with the young Richard in the Minneapolis suburb of Edina, Minnesota.

Flair played football at the University of Minnesota while in a pre-medical academic program, but he dropped out before receiving a degree. He then worked as a bouncer before meeting Ken Patera, a former Olympic weightlifter who had established himself in professional wrestling. Patera encouraged Flair to pursue a pro wrestling career, and Flair soon joined the Minneapolis-based American Wrestling Association (AWA), working his first match for that promotion on December 10, 1972.

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Ric_Flair_I.jpg
Ric Flair in the NWA.

NWA/WCW Career

After three years with AWA, Flair joined the NWA affiliated Jim Crockett Promotions based in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. On the rise, he suffered a severe back injury in a October 4, 1975 plane crash in Wilmington, North Carolina. Doctors told Flair that he would never wrestle again but Flair proved them wrong by returning to active wrestling the next year. Flair went as far as suing the estate of the pilot who caused his 1975 plane crash and actually won.

Ric Flair won the United States Heavyweight Championship five times, then won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship for the first time by defeating Dusty Rhodes in 1981. Harley Race won the title from Flair in 1983. Flair regained the title at StarrCade '83 in Greensboro, North Carolina in a steel cage match. Flair would go one to win the NWA title 8 more times. As the NWA champion, he defended his belt around the world, including frequent stops in the Carolinas, Georgia, Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, Japan, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand.

Throughout the 1980s Flair became affiliated with The Four Horsemen stable, who in various incarnations consisted of manager James J. Dillon, Ole Anderson, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Sid Vicious, Sting, Lex Luger, Chris Benoit, Brian Pillman, Paul Roma, Steve "Mongo" McMichael, Dean Malenko and Barry Windham. Flair's main rivals for the NWA title were Dusty Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat, Lex Luger, and Sting. Flair also feuded with Magnum T.A., Nikita Koloff, Ricky Morton of the Rock 'N Roll Express, and Kerry von Erich, among countless others. He was constantly seen with various valets such as Woman, Miss Elizabeth, Fifi, Sherri Martel and Baby Doll.

After a contract dispute with WCW head Jim Herd, while still WCW/NWA champion, Flair left WCW (a group run by Ted Turner which had just abdicated from the NWA alliance) in July 1991. Flair has offered a 50% pay cut and no longer got the option of booking power. WCW officials wanted to make Lex Luger their top star and wanted to make Ric Flair a midcard star. Flair disagreed and a week before 1991 Great American Bash he either quit or was fired by WCW. According to Flair, Jim Herd wanted Flair to change his appearance (i.e. by cutting his hair and wearing a diamond earring) in order to "change with the times."

During Ric Flair's first run in the WWF, he took the WCW/NWA World title belt with him. Flair could get away with it because his simply owned the title. Jim Crockett had the belt specially made for Ric Flair in 1985 for $10,000. Flair in return, received ownership of the belt instead of getting bonus money that he was originally supposed to receive. Owning the belt meant that Flair could take the belt with him wherever he went and he did take it when he went to WWF (with the blessing of WWF chariman Vince McMahon). WCW soon filed a lawsuit against the WWF and Flair with the end result having Ted Turner buy the belt back for $23,000.

In October of 1991, Flair began his first run in the WWF including winning the WWF Title in a 30-man Royal Rumble. Flair also won another WWF Title before leaving the company. Vince McMahon and Flair himself simply felt that Flair was no longer needed in the WWF. McMahon thought Flair did everything he could in the WWF and Flair was ready to go back to WCW. McMahon and Flair amicably ended Flair's contract with Flair ultimately losing a "loser leaves town match" to Mr. Perfect on Monday Night Raw.

Flair returned 'home' to WCW in February 1993, feuding with the likes of Vader, Sting, Hulk Hogan, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, and Eric Bischoff, gaining the WCW Title 8 more times before the company was bought out by Vince McMahon's WWF.

Ric Flair also was also sued by WCW in 1998 for failure to show for a wrestling event. Flair had been working without a contract since February and had refused to sign a new one, citing differences between the document and the terms he had previously agreed to work under. Seeing that he wasn't needed for any WCW television tapings at the time Flair he decided to not show up at a particular WCW Thunder taping. Flair was instead, busy watching his son Reid's amateur wrestling tournament.

WCW's booking committee decided out of nowhere to reform the Four Horsemen that particular night and announcers said he would be on the show over and over with a "big surprise." When Flair failed to show up WCW got upset and filed a $2 million dollar lawsuit against him for damages saying he signed a letter of intent to re-sign with WCW. He later filed a suit of his own in response, but the matter was settled out of court. Ric Flair finally returned to television in September of 1998.

When WCW was purchased by the WWF, Flair was the leader of the heel group called The Magnificent Seven with Jeff Jarrett, Scott Steiner, Road Warrior Animal, Rick Steiner, Lex Luger and Buff Bagwell. Flair lost WCW's final match on the March 26, 2001 edition of Nitro to his longtime rival Sting.

WWE Career

After a brief hiatus from pro wrestling Flair returned to the WWF in late 2001 as the on-camera "co-owner" of the company. He turned face by joining forces with Stone Cold Steve Austin. Flair later turned heel again by turning on Austin. When Austin walked out on the company, Flair turned face once again after an altercation with (then heel) Vince McMahon. McMahon, who purportedly only had control of SmackDown! at the time, challenged Flair (the onscreen owner of Raw) to a match. If Flair lost, he would surrender his ownership of to McMahon, giving him exclusive control of the WWE once more, whereas the opposite would apply if Flair was victorious. Flair lost the match when Brock Lesnar charged the ring, knocking him unconcious and allowing McMahon to make the cover.

Flair remained on Raw as an occasional wrestler, and eventually turned heel once more by betraying Rob Van Dam and joining forces with multi-time WWE Champion Triple H, with whom he later formed the stable Evolution.

In 2004, Flair engaged in an off-screen rivalry with Bret Hart, in which both claimed to be the best wrestler of all time. Flair has also had issues with Mick Foley, who he attacked in his autobiography, writing "I don’t 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’ll always be known as a glorified stuntman."

To Be the Man

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The Ultimate Ric Flair Collection DVD.

Despite his age and his less-than-chiseled physique, Ric Flair can still take on wrestlers half his age. Even though he is long past his prime as a "main-eventer," he still serves a purpose by getting in the ring and making the younger wrestlers look good. Flair is over in the ring due mostly to his in ring antics, such as his cheating ways (earning him the distinction of being "the dirtiest player in the game"), his trademark strut and his legendary shouting of "WOO!"

Note: In a tradition started by the very vocal fans of ECW during a time when the WCW management was thought to be unjustly holding Flair down, anytime a wrestler delivers a hard back hand chop to the chest of his opponent, fans yell "WOOOO!" in tribute to Flair, whose stiff chops often made his opponent's chest raw or even bloody. This tradition long outlived any controversy it was meant to protest and has carried over to WWE and just about other North American promotions.

Since the late 70s, he has worn ornate, fur lined robes of many colors with sequins, and since the mid 80s, his approach to the ring was often heralded by the playing of the Richard Strauss composition Also sprach Zarathustra (the theme of the film 2001: A Space Odyssey). The look and sound complement his cocky in-ring persona.

Late in 2003, WWE released a three-DVD retrospective of Flair's career (focusing mainly on his career prior to 1993), The Ultimate Ric Flair Collection. It became WWE's fastest-selling video package up to that time.

Flair released his autobiography, To Be the Man, in July 2004. The title is taken from one of his catchphrases, "To be the man, you gotta BEAT the man!" Flair is an icon in the Carolinas on a par with Michael Jordan and Richard Petty, and he has made the Charlotte area his home since the days of the Crockett promotion. His name has been mentioned from time to time as a possible candidate for governor of North Carolina.

Trademark quotes

  • "To be the man, you've got to beat the man!"
  • "Diamonds are forever, and so is Ric Flair!*"
  • "I'm a limousine-riding, jet-flying, kiss-stealing, wheeling-dealing son of a gun, who's kissed all the girls and made them cry."
  • "Whether you like it, or you don't like it, learn to love it, because it's the best thing going today. Whooooo!"
  • "Step back and see what's causin' all this!"
  • "Because I'm Ric Flair - and you're not!"

Finishing/Signature Moves

Title History

Major Titles won

NWA WORLD TITLE

  • 01. Defeated Dusty Rhodes September 17, 1981 in Kansas City, Missouri
  • 02. Defeated Carlitos Colon January 23, 1983 in San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • 03. Defeated Harley Race November 24, 1983 in Greensboro, North Carolina
  • 04. Defeated Harley Race March 23, 1984 in Kallang, Singapore
  • 05. Defeated Kerry Von Erich in Yokosuka, Japan on May 24, 1984
  • 06. Defeated Dusty Rhodes August 7, 1986 in St. Louis, Missouri
  • 07. Defeated Ronnie Garvin November 26, 1987 in Chicago, Illinois
  • 08. Defeated Ricky Steamboat May 7, 1989 in Nashville, Tennessee
  • 09. Defeated Sting January 11, 1991 in East Rutherford, New Jersey
  • 10. Defeated Tatsumi Fujinami May 19, 1991 in St. Petersburg, Florida
  • 11. Defeated Barry Windham July 18, 1993 in Biloxi, Mississippi


WCW WORLD TITLE

  • 01. Defeated Sting January 11, 1991 in East Rutherford, New Jersey
  • 02. Defeated Vader December 27, 1993 in Charlotte, North Carolina
  • 03. Defeated Ricky Steamboat May 14, 1994 in Atlanta, Georgia (title had been held up)
  • 04. Defeated Randy Savage December 27, 1995 in Nashville, Tennessee
  • 05. Defeated Randy Savage February 11, 1996 in St. Petersburg, Florida
  • 06. Defeated Hulk Hogan March 14, 1999 in Louisville, Kentucky
  • 07. Defeated Jeff Jarrett May 15, 2000 in Biloxi, Mississippi
  • 08. Awarded the title on May 29, 2000 in Salt Lake City, Utah


WWE/WWF WORLD TITLE

  • 01. Won the Royal Rumble on January 19, 1992 in Albany, New York
  • 02. Defeated Randy Savage September 1, 1992 in Hershey, Pennsylvania


WCW INTERNATIONAL TITLE

  • 01. Defeated Sting June 23, 1994 in Charleston, South Carolina


WCW/NWA/Mid-Atlantic United States Title

  • 01. Defeated Bobo Brazil July 29, 1977 in Richmond, Virginia
  • 02. Defeated Tim Woods April 9, 1978 in Charlotte, North Carolina
  • 03. Defeated Ricky Steamboat April 1, 1979 in Greensboro, North Carolina
  • 04. Defeated Jimmy Snuka April 19, 1980 in Greensboro, North Carolina
  • 05. Defeated Greg Valentine November 24, 1980 in Greenville, North Carolina
  • 06. Defeated Konnan July 7, 1996 in Daytona Beach, Florida


NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title

  • 01. Defeated Wahoo McDaniel September 20, 1975 in Hampton, Virginia
  • 02. Defeated Wahoo McDaniel May 24, 1976 in Charlotte, North Carolina
  • 03. Defeated Wahoo McDaniel October 16, 1976 in Greensboro, North Carolina


NWA/NWA Mid-Atlantic T.V. Title

  • 01. Defeated Paul Jones June 3, 1975 in Raleigh, North Carolina
  • 02. Defeated Rufus Jones May 1977


NWA Missouri Heavyweight Title

  • 01. Defeated David Von Erich July 15, 1983


NWA World Tag Team Titles

  • 01. Defeated Ole and Gene Anderson December 25, 1976 with partner Greg Valentine
  • 02. Defeated Ole and Gene Anderson October 30, 1977 with partner Greg Valentine
  • 03. Defeated Paul Jones and Baron Von Raschke August 8, 1979 with partner Blackjack Mulligan


NWA Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles

  • 01. Defeated Paul Jones and Bob Bruggers in 1974 with partner Rip Hawk
  • 02. Defeated Dino Bravo and Tiger Conway Jr. in 1977 with partner Greg Valentine
  • 03. Defeated Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat October 30, 1978 Greenville, South Carolina with partner John Studd


WWE World Tag Team Titles

  • 01. Defeated The Dudley Boyz December 14, 2003 in Orlando, Florida with partner Batista
  • 02. Defeated Rob Van Dam and Booker T on March 22, 2004 in Detroit, Michigan with partner Batista

Awards

  • He is a member of the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame (inducted in 1996) and the Wrestling Informer Hall of Fame (inducted in 2002).

Miscellaneous

  • Ric's son David Flair is also a professional wrestler.
  • Ric's youngest son Reid Fliehr is an accomplished high school wrestler and made a couple of appearances on WCW TV along with his sisters Ashley and Megan.
  • Ric hosted a short-lived talk show in WCW called A Flair For the Gold in 1993 as a compromise to get around a no compete clause in another contract. He could appear on TV, but not wrestle. Arn Anderson would sit at the bar and Flair's maid Fifi, would always be cleaning or bearing gifts.
  • Ric has appeared in three movies, The Wrestler (1974), Body Slam (1987) and Sting: Moment of Truth (2004).
  • Ric is not related to the Andersons. He has been called their cousin in the NWA and WCW.
  • Ric is sometimes seen attending the Carolina Hurricanes NHL hockey games. At many home games when the Hurricanes score a goal, a trademark Ric Flair "Carolina Goal! Woooo! Wooo Wooo!" is played.

External links


WWE Championship
Preceded by:
vacant
First reign Followed by:
Randy Savage
Preceded by:
Randy Savage
Second reign Followed by:
Bret Hart


World Tag Team Championship
Preceded by:
The Dudley Boyz
First reign
(with Batista)
Followed by:
Booker T and Rob Van Dam
Preceded by:
Booker T and Rob Van Dam
Second reign
(with Batista)
Followed by:
Chris Benoit and Edge


Template:WWEchampions Template:WCWchampions Template:WWEUSchampionsde:Ric Flair

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