Whenever the question, "Who is the greatest professional wrestler of all-time?" is asked, the name of Ric Flair always seems to appear.
Richard Morgan Fliehr was born on February 25, 1949 in Memphis, Tennessee. Flair was trained by Verne Gagne and made his pro debut on December 10, 1972. A plane crash in 1975 nearly ended his career. Despite injuries suffered in the plane crash, Flair was able to mount comeback to the ring and establish himself as a top singles wrestler for the following three decades!
The dirtiest player in the game won his first National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Title on September 17, 1981, defeating Dusty Rhodes. Flair defended the title throughout the world. Flair lost the belt to Harley Race in June of 1983 as the set-up for the first Starrcade on November 24, 1983. In a bloody steel cage match, Flair regained the gold from Race.
Flair has wrestled a virtual “Who's Who” of wrestlers throughout his career. The names are endless but Ricky Steamboat, the late Andre the Giant, the late Kerry Von Erich, the late Bruiser Brody, the late Jumbo Tsuruta, Terry Funk, Ted DiBiase, Dr D David Shults, Ronnie Garvin, Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan, Sting, Barry Windham, The Great Muta, Lex Luger, Blackjack Mulligan, Roddy Piper, the late Wahoo McDaniel, Jake Roberts, Antonio Inoki, Tatsumi Fujinami are but a few of the top stars Flair met in his illustrious career.
Flair worked for Jim Crockett Promotions for the majority of his career. Flair was a founding member of The Four Horsemen along with J.J. Dillon, Arn Anderson, Ole Anderson, and Tully Blanchard. The early years of the Four Horsemen was a very successful time for Flair and the company in terms of profitability.
Jim Crockett, Jr. eventually sold his promotion to Ted Turner and the company later became known as World Championship Wrestling. Besides continuing to wrestle, Flair was moved into a front office position. 1989 was a great year for Flair with major feuds against Ricky Steamboat and Terry Funk. In 1990, Flair dropped the NWA World Heavyweight Title to Sting on July 7, 1990. At one point, Flair cut off his long blond locks of hair and hid his face under a mask as The Black Scorpion.
Flair left the WCW for presumably greener pastures in the World wrestling Federation. In September 1991, Flair made his debut for Vince McMahon's promotion as the Real World's Champion. Flair would begin a rivalry with both Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan. On January 19, 1992 in Albany, New York, Flair proved to the world that he was indeed a sixty-minute man by winning the World Wrestling
Federation Championship at the Royal Rumble. Flair's tenure with the company was brief and Flair eventually returned to WCW in 1993.
Flair stayed with WCW long enough to wrestle Sting one last time during the final WCW Monday Nitro in March 2001. In November 2001, Flair signed a contract with the World Wrestling Federation and has continued to be a headliner for the WWE ever since.
Some of the titles Flair has held include the following: NWA Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Title- (3), NWA Mid-Atlantic Television Title-(2), NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title-(2), NWA World Tag Team Title-(3)
NWA United States Heavyweight Title-(5), NWA World Heavyweight Title-(10),NWA Missouri Heavyweight Title
WCW World Heavyweight Title-(8), WWE World Heavyweight Title-(2), WCW International World Heavyweight Title-(2), WCW United States Heavyweight Title, WWE World Tag Team Title-(2), WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Title.
Flair has always been a consummate professional. His cardiovascular conditioning is legendary. Flair was known for wrestling his opponents to sixty and ninety-minute time limit draws. Promoters so believed in Flair's ability for delivering the goods that he was constantly chosen
by the NWA Board of Directors to be the NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
Long live the Nature Boy!
- Brian Westcott