Thursday, March 27, 2008


This Saturday night, a great American will be inducted into his “sport’s” hall of fame. This hero has been at or near the top of his “profession” for more than 30 years, and has been recognized as the best in the business by more than a few major publications. Am I talking about some NBA superstar? Nope. How about an MLB ace? Absolutely not! Of course, I’m talkin’ about “The Nature Boy,” Ric Flair!

“Who,” many of you not familiar with the “art” of professional wrasslin’ may be asking yourselves. And now that you know I’m talking about a wrestler, many of you are probably either tuning out or falling asleep. Please, give me a chance!

Let’s just say that Mr. Flair is like the Babe Ruth of the squared circle, or the Wilt Chamberlin of the ring. The guy practically invented “mic skills” in wrestling, and certainly was a trailblazer when it came to ring attire. He was the king of catchphrases before anybody in wrestling knew what they were. Some of his classics include “To be the man, ya gotta be the man,” and “I’m a limosine driving, jet-plane flyin’, kiss stealin’, wheelin’ dealin’ son of a gun,” and of course, “Wooooooo!”

The man successfully married charisma and wrestling in-ring skills, and made ring psychologoy an art form. He was really the first bad guy or “heel” that many wrestling fans actually cheered for. His 16 world championships, as well as many other “minor” championships speak for themselves. Sure, when you look at him now, you’ll probably say that he probably should’ve retired at least 10 years ago. Well, maybe you’re right – but the fact is, that this 58-year-old over-the-hill performer is still probably better than many other wrestlers on the WWE roster, and the reason he’s still around is to try and “teach” these punks the ins and outs of being a successful wrassler.

When I first got into watching pro wrestling in the mid 1980’s, it was right during the beginning of the “rock and wrestling” movement, with such stars as Hulk Hogan, Tito Santana, Roddy Piper, Superfly, and Andre the Giant. The WWF was rapidly gaining in popularity, while the other regional promotions were slowly wasting away. The only real competition the WWF had was a group of regional wrestling promotions that “acted” as one promotion under the umbrella of the NWA. Ric Flair was its champion when Hogan reigned in the WWF. The NWA always seemed to be more about wrestling, while the WWF was more about glitz and gimmicks.

I remember absolutely hating Flair at the time because he was a bad guy, and he always seemed to cheat in order to win his matches. In looking back at those times, Flair was a master at his craft – I was supposed to hate the guy, and man, did I ever! Only one other wrestler was able to wrangle that kind of negative emotion out of me – Roddy Piper (he was basically made in the same mold as Flair).

As time went on, I got to appreciate Flair more and more – he had this “bad guy” thing down to a science. He had the fans in the palm of his hand, and he could literally wrestle a broom-stick, and get the broomstick “over” with the fans. His legendary matches with Dusty Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat, Sting, and Randy Savage are probably still being viewed by aspiring wrestlers to this day

In case anyone is interested, the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony will be televised on USA this Saturday night at 11:00 p.m.


Jeff said...

Dude, if you think the NWA bore any resemblence to wrestling, then I need to take you to a real wrestling match.

Or you could go to YouTube for any of these:
Scott vs Slaton
Rohn vs Lambrecht
Lang - Caldwell
Gallick spladle

The spladle is far more pain than Flair ever put anyone in.

Steph said...

My nephews got me into wrestling. Ric Flair actually looks like my DAD.

Anyhoo, I wanna shag John Cena and Batista...what a tag team threeway that would be!!!

Steve and Des said...

I've been wearing a black armband since Owen Hart took a fall.

Sandi said...

Um, isn't "professional" wrestling totally fake. They have a Hall of Fame for it?

Ink and Stone said...

Rowdy Roddy Piper will always be better than Flair in my book!
Flair was a bad guy and psychological. Piper was a bad guy and psycho!

El Padrino said...

you know, i could argue he was G.O.A.T


snowelf said...

Oh yea. My friend Jeff is THRILLED!!

Also, as a side note, he met Kurt Angle (curt?) coming out of the gym the other night on his b-day. and you are the only other guy I know who is as big of a wrestling fan as he is, I had to pass that along. He got to talk to him for a minute and shake his hand and that was it. Said he was a real nice guy. :)


The Rev said...

Whether you like it, or don't like it... learn to love it, because it's the best going today!


Lisa said...

I was certain you'd have a pic of yourself in the Ric Flair costume posted!! ... babs

Los said...

Jeff - I know pro wrasslin' ain't real wrasslin'. It's my soap opera.

Steph - I knew I liked you for a reason (many, actually).

Steve and Des - I was watching the PPV the night Owen died ... very surreal.

Sandi - We all have our vices, right?

Ink - Piper's my number two favorite of all time.

ELP - Flair is without argument the greatest ever.

SnowElf - I've met a few wrestlers over the years - Don Muraco, King Kong Bundy ... they all seemed pretty cool.

Rev - "I AM THE LINE!"

Babs - I don't have any of those pics on my computer! That would've been a great idea, though!

Reverse said...

Go Flair!