Is Ric Flair the best and most entertaining wrestler of all time?
“Nature Boy” – the “30 for 30” documentary that premieres 10-11:30 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN – actually makes that argument, whereas additionally depicting him as deeply flawed in his private life.
“In some ways, he transcends the business,” says buddy and colleague “Triple H” (aka Paul Levesque, a prime WWE government) late within the movie. “His legacy can even be most likely what not to do within the enterprise, in some methods. Right? I exploit Ric for example typically with younger expertise – of ‘You can have it all and end up in a really precarious spot.’ ”
Triple H was amongst a bunch of 46 wrestling personalities, relations, badociates and pop-culture pundits who had been interviewed for the movie by Rory Karpf, the Charlotte resident who directed “Nature Boy”; arguably essentially the most shocking will get had been Flair’s first spouse, Leslie Jacobs (who had by no means completed an on-camera interview) and Mark “The Undertaker” Calaway (who very not often breaks character in public).
Flair himself was interviewed twice for the movie, first in October 2015 and once more in April of this previous yr. He was the primary and final individual Karpf interviewed.
The 90-minute documentary (together with commercials) hits all the key factors in his wrestling profession, but additionally spends a great deal of time making an attempt to discover his incapability to be a trustworthy husband and a gift father, his insatiable urge for food for alcohol, and his common obsession with dwelling as much as his wrestling character’s braggadocio.
We watched “Nature Boy” a number of occasions over the previous week and determined these are the 16 quotes from the movie that can make viewers both go “Woooooooo!” … or, extra seemingly, “Whooaa!” And sure, spoilers lie forward:
1. Flair, on whether or not or not wrestling is actual: “It’s not fake. It’s choreographed. … We started using the word ‘choreographed’ probably in the past 15 years.”
2. On how he acquired so good at throwing a punch that didn’t join: “I hung a string in the doorway and I hit that string as hard as I could for three years, until it didn’t move.”
three. How he “sells” a match: “I enhanced other people’s offensive skills. If a guy takes you over in a headlock, if you just lay there, nobody gives a s—. But if you’re kicking your feet, and your body’s moving … people in the audience, they follow the action. (If) they think it hurts, you better make ’em believe it hurts.”
four. On his obsession with ladies (he has 4 ex-wives): “Let me tell you something, if you’re wrestling and you’re in Hutchinson, Kansas, and you’re gonna spend the night there, I’m gonna find something to do. I’m not going through that night by myself.”
5. After guess-timating the variety of ladies he’s been with at “10,000, maybe,” he says of monogamy: “I probably took it real serious for about a day. … I mean, I tried, but it just – I was miserable.”
6. Jacobs, his first spouse, concurring: “He would come home and then he’d say, ‘I can’t stand this.’ And then he’d leave. And then I’d find out later that he would go over to (wrestler) Greg Valentine’s house – who lived a couple miles away from us. And that’s where Beth was staying.” (Beth Fliehr was married to Flair from 1983-2006; she is mom to his daughter Ashley and his late son Reid.)
7. Megan Fliehr, Flair’s older daughter, on what he was like as a father: “Most of the time I’d get issues from my dad as a substitute of time. He would carry me again like 16 to 20 Cabbage Patch Kids at a time. He would say, ‘I’m gonna come to your basketball sport subsequent Friday,’ and he wouldn’t come. Things like that. So – and yeah, as a child, it’s disappointing.”
eight. Flair, on his preliminary go to to a sports activities psychologist, again within the 1980s: “(He requested) ‘How much do you drink a day?’ I mentioned, ‘I’ll drink at the very least 10 beers, and possibly 5 blended drinks.’ He mentioned, ‘Well, how many days a week do you do that?’ I mentioned, ‘Every day.’ He mentioned, ‘Well, how do you mean every day?’ I mentioned, ‘I work every day. I drink a beer in the car, I get to the hotel and I drink vodka.’ He got here out of his chair and (he mentioned), ‘You drink each day, seven days per week, 365 days a yr, and also you’ve been doing that for how lengthy?’ I mentioned, ‘Well, let me see. It’s 1989, I began in ’72, you do the mathematics. Almost 20 years.’ He mentioned, ‘That’s not doable.’ I mentioned, ‘Oh yeah, it is.’ By the time I acquired via with that son of a b—-, he was laying on the sofa and I used to be on the chair speaking to him.”
9. Former wrestler “Baby Doll” (Nickla Roberts), on Flair’s consuming: “There was hardly a day that he went without having at least several drinks. You can be an alcoholic and be fully functional. I never saw him show up at the show inebriated, but Flair could drink. How he still has a liver, I don’t know.”
10. Hip-hop artist Snoop Dogg, on Flair’s flashy picture: “As a kid growing up and watching Ric Flair, he was very inspirational to myself and a lot of other hip-hop artists, because he represented what we wanted to be. We wanted to be Ric Flair. We wanted to be flamboyant and, you know, the kiss-stealin’, wheelin’ and dealin’. We wanted to be all of that. He was a part of our culture and our life. That’s why we love him and we cherish him, and we’ve always held him high in the black community – because Ric is one of us.”
11. WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels, on why Flair continued to wrestle into his 60s (even after Michaels defeated Flair in a 2008 Wrestlemania match that was purported to mark Flair’s retirement): “Ric is my friend, for better or worse. I knew he couldn’t stay away from this stuff. And again, I knew when they wanted him to go that he didn’t want to go. … Ric doesn’t love Richard Fliehr. I don’t know that he’s ever taken the time to get to know him, or to find out who in the world he is. He only knows who he is through the image and gimmick of Ric Flair.”
Ric Flair takes a success from Shawn Michaels of their legendary match that marked Flair’s retirement, at Wrestlemania 23 in Orlando.
Jeff Siner [email protected]
12. WWE Hall of Fame broadcaster Jim Ross, on the identical subject: “He needs the money. He didn’t save. He’d forget little things, like paying his taxes. Uncle Sam may really love Nature Boy, but he really wants Richard Fliehr to pay his taxes.”
13. Flair, combating via tears, on what he would say to his late son Reid, who was making an attempt to comply with in his dad’s skilled footsteps however died of a drug overdose in 2013: “I say it day-after-day: ‘God, I wish you were here. I had so much fun with you. And I regret the fact that I sometimes was your best friend instead of your dad.’ ”
14. Triple H, on coping with Flair after he spiraled into despair and alcoholism after Reid’s loss of life: “I used to be actually frightened about him on the time. I needed to get on the cellphone with him and actually say, ‘You shut the f— up,’ and, ‘You’re gonna f—— do what I’m telling you or I’ll come down there and make you f—— do what I’m telling you.’ Against his will, so to talk, I compelled him to go get badist.”
15. WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan, on how he ought to stack as much as Flair within the historical past books: “Ric Flair has had a whole bunch and a whole bunch and a whole bunch of one-hour matches. I’ve by no means had one. He’s 10 occasions higher than I’m. I imply … it’s a no brainer. I’ve acquired a sure factor that works, and I’ve acquired completely different styles of it. I used to joke, ‘I’ve acquired Plan A, B, C and D. Which match do you wanna do?’ And, you already know, there’s thousands and thousands of the way to have matches with thousands and thousands of wrestlers. But Ric’s simply so a lot better. Some individuals level to me and go, ‘Oh my God, you changed the business, you did this, you did that.’ But ‘No,’ I mentioned, ‘You guys, you mean the guy next to me: Ric Flair.’ ”
16. Flair, on how he hopes to be remembered: “It’s easy to say you want to be thought of as the best father that ever lived, but I wasn’t. And I certainly wasn’t the best husband. So I guess I’ll just have to settle for wanting to be thought of as the greatest wrestler and the most entertaining wrestler that ever lived.”