He is the Nature Boy.
“Slick” Ric Flair is the greatest showman in the sport of Professional Wrestling today.. and maybe of all time. From the devastating plane crash in which he suffered a broken back, Flair has climbed the highest rungs of the sport, winning titles in every organization in which he has wrestled. In doing so, he has changed the course of the sport in many ways.
Real Name: Richard Fliehr
Stats: 6′ 1″ 243 lbs.
Born: February 25, 1949
Considered by many to be the greatest Professional Wrestling star of the 1980’s, Richard Fliehr combined his superior wrestling skill with unmatched desire and unparralelled arrogance to create the greatest show on earth – the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair.
Hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Flair trained for a while under the great Verne Gagne and Billy Robinson and began his pro wrestling career in 1972. His career took off in the Mid-Atlantic region where he won that regions title, the regions Tag Team title, the U.S. Title and the World Tag Team title. In the midst of this success, his career and his life almost ended.
While on an airplane flight with Johnny Valentine and promoter David Crockett, Flair suffered a broken back (and supposedly a broken neck) when the plane crashed. Although it would not have been hard to speculate that this would have ended his career, Flair returned to the Ring within 6 months and a short time later teamed up with Greg “the Hammer” Valentine to win the NWA Tag Team title. He went on to win the NWA World Title when he defeated Dusty Rhodes in 1981. He later won the same belt by defeating the legendary Harley Race in 1983. After losing the belt to Kerry Von Erich in Texas, Flair travelled to Japan a month later where he recaptured the World Title from Von Erich.
Flair then returned to the United States where he wrestled in some of the finest matches in the 1980’s, including two against Ricky “the Dragon” Steamboat, first losing and then regaining the title belt. Eventually Flair left the NWA/WCW and moved to the WWF taking the WCW belt with him. After returning the belt to WCW (after a monterary settlement,) he defeated Randy Savage for the WWF Heavyweight championship, after which he returned to the WCW where he has once again recaptured the title as World’s Heavyweight champion.
Ric Flair has been able to thrive and survive for over 25 years in the sport of Professional Wrestling. He has never been the biggest wrestler and probably not even the most talented – but no one has been able to duplicate his showmanlike ability to play the role of the Jet-setting, wheeling dealing woman stealing playboy, a role which has caused him to be despised by many but loved by most. His “styling and profiling” has given him the ability to do what few villians have been able to over their career – being the crowd favorite and the one whom the fans come to see. He has recited the statement many times that “to be the man, you have to beat the man” – a number of men have defeated him in the Ring over the years, but no one else has been able to be the man like Ric Flair has. In his own words to wrestling viewers, Flair advised “whether you like it, or you don’t like it – learn to love it ’cause it’s the best thing going!”