Ric Flair needs no introduction. The flamboyance. The limos. The alligator shoes. The women. The sequined, feathered robes. The Nature Boy. The WOO!
He’s iconic. He’s infamous. And he’s got swagger for days.
As Flair has been known to say, “To beat the man, you gotta beat the man.” And he is most definitely The Man.
Ric Flair’s wrestling career has spanned over 40 years. From NWA to the WWE, he’s the best in the business. You can’t talk about wrestling without talking about this legend. We’re gonna take a look back at some of his most memorable moments. Let’s start with the early ones.
The Man, The Myth, The Legend
From the beginning, Ric Flair was a guy who demanded attention… even if he didn’t always have those flowing blonde locks and glitzy robes. Legend has it he flashed passersby from the fraternity house window to welcome them into parties. (Stories like this would trail him his whole life.) Then, after almost quitting wrestling training, he was roped back in by some guys who saw he was a “natural.”
So he kept at it, but he wasn’t yet the Ric Flair we know and love today. It was only after he was involved in a plane crash back in 1975, breaking his back in three places and pushing through physical therapy, that he truly became “The Nature Boy.”
Yeah, you survive a plane crash and you’ve gotta be destined for greatness right? Soon he became the slick, blonde bad guy he’d envisioned. Tan, well-dressed, rich, and surrounded by women. The man you either love or love to hate.
“Bright lights, big cities, pretty ladies, Nature Boy!”
Just check out Flair in action.
His brilliant showmanship was enviable, but his work ethic was crazy. He didn’t just talk the talk. The man was traveling across the country and wrestling hour-long matches every day. And twice on Sunday. He never missed a workout, even when he was drinking, partying, and meeting women on the reg. And he was always doing that.
The Ric Flair & Dusty Rhodes Rivalry
After unleashing his irresistible persona on the world, wrestling began to take hold across the country by having it piped into their living rooms on cable TV. Not only was Ric Flair a god among men, but he began to develop one of the best wrestling rivalries of all time with WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes. At the time, their rivalry was unmatched. Dusty was the big working man and Ric Flair was the envy-inducing guy with money, women, cars, and a big house. Their chemistry in and out of the ring was amazing and fans just ate it up – their arguments, their heated standoffs, and of course, their matches. They look over wrestling at the time.
Flair won the NWA World Heavyweight Title from Rhodes in Kansas City back in 1981 before the crazy fame had truly taken hold, but the duo continued their antics and matchups for years to come. Rhodes stole the Nature Boy’s robes, they got in each other’s faces, and fans genuinely took sides in their long-running feud.
Starrcade 1983 Match vs. Harley Race
Flair had been the title holder for almost two years before Harley Race defeated him in 1983 in St. Louis. But that just set up things up for a rematch down the road at the inaugural Starrcade in Greensboro, North Carolina. Their feud was played up in the months beforehand, with Harley putting a $25,000 bounty on Flair to have him taken out of wrestling permanently and Flair getting attacked and feigning retirement. But when the time came, Harley passed the torch to Flair with his defeat in this match. The Nature Boy’s win cemented him as the kingpin of the NWA for years – basically until he left for the WWE.
But just as Ric Flair helped so many other wrestlers find themselves and look good in the ring, Flair got a little help from Harley Race here. Their bloody match at Starrcade 1983 had Flair winning against all odds with a badass rivalry and real chemistry – a steel cage match for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Check out this old-school match.
And of course, the Promos
Known for his charisma and cockiness along with his exceptional wrestling skills, the way Ric Flair talked and acted behind the microphone as if he were literally made for this stuff is one of the reasons fans love Ric Flair… or at least hated him so much they tuned in to watch. You just can’t look away!
We had to cap off this post with a sequence of some of his best promos.
Stay tuned for a look back at Ric Flair moments from the 80s, 90s, and 2000s! We’ll be recapping more of this legendary wrestler’s best matches, promos, and memories!