I had a chance to interview Ric Flair for WrestlingNews.co earlier today. There are names that fans are vaguely familiar with and then there are names that fans know regardless of what generation they’re from. The name Ric Flair gets a reaction from non-fans, ex-fans, women, children, and he has managed to stay relevant even after his final WWE match in 2008. Flair was even featured on ESPN SportsCenter during SuperBowl Sunday. He’s been the spokesman for the North Carolina lottery, teased a run for governor in North Carolina, has been invited to NFL and NBA locker rooms, and there’s even a music video titled “Ric Flair.” If you go to a WWE event then you’ll likely hear the “Woooooos” from the fans in the arena.
To most fans, Flair’s retirement match was in 2008 at WrestleMania 24 in Orlando, Florida in front of 74,000+ fans. Although he is finished in the ring, Flair is still the Rolex wearin’, diamond ring wearin’, kiss stealin’, wheelin’ dealin’, limousine ridin’, jet flyin’ son of a gun. He’s also very humble about his career, the fans, and the wrestlers that helped him become who he is today. When he talks about his match with Shawn Michaels in 2008, he gives Michaels the credit for carrying him in that match. Flair also talked about the chances of having one more match in Dallas at WrestleMania 32, staying in shape, Vince McMahon, Charlotte, Ronda Rousey, his podcast, and more. Flair will be signing autographs in the South Florida area at Celebrity Sports. Click here or scroll down or check out the banner for more information.
On Shawn Michaels:
“He won’t wrestle again. You know why? He wants to be remembered as who he was [as the] greatest in-ring performer of all-time. Shawn, first of all, he doesn’t need the money. Number two…he’s wrapped up with his family, and number three…he doesn’t want to be in a diminished role. I couldn’t carry the ball when I retired but I got to work with him. Who’s gonna carry him like he carried me? They want Shawn to be in the role of carrying someone…he’s done doing that. I’m glad he said no. He carried me in the match in Orlando. Bottom line. I’m the first to admit it. I was just lucky to be there. I just went through the motions and followed his lead which i’ve never done.”
Flair downplays the notion that he had good matches in TNA after his match with Shawn:
“Good by whose standards? Ric Flair standards or TNA standards? Could I entertain them, yeah. I was far from being Ric Flair back then. I just got bored. I missed the business. There are nice people there. Dixie’s [Carter] a nice person. Hulk [Hogan] talked me into it and I went with it. I love Kurt Angle, I love Sting, and I love James Storm. I have a lot of friends [in TNA] that I still think the world of. It wasn’t like I was working. It wasn’t like I was Ric Flair. I can always talk. I can talk tomorrow if they want me to and I can get bumped around. I just have to keep my clothes on because cosmetics is a major issue at this point (laughs). Even though I look good, I look really good for my age. I hate that saying more than anything else … ‘you really look good for your age.’ Hey, how about ‘screw you buddy (laughs).’ I want to look good because I look good not just for my age. It’s a cosmetic issue, not a health issue. I could wrestle tomorrow. I wouldn’t want to be in the main event of WrestleMania but if I had to wrestle Hogan tomorrow I could pull that off or a guy like Kane. He’s the best in the world. I could wrestle Randy Orton blindfolded.”
On being more relevant now than he’s ever been:
“I would agree with that totally, yeah. All of those sayings are coming back man. The kids love it.” On the Wooos at WWE events, “well they hate that [but] they can’t lose it though. That’s their problem not mine [laughs].” He added, “for all of the things that I did wrong, I probably did some right because I worked really hard in that time and era. I was selfish in my personal life with family members only cuz I was so goal orientated and basically anything I said back then [is what] I did (laughs). So if I was buying 25 pairs of alligator shoes a year and 30 suits at $2,000 a piece, that was right. I tried never to wear the same thing on TBS twice. Isn’t that amazing? That’s a lot of money. I love the business and I loved being where I was at and I appreciated the respect. Now the respect has come around ten fold thanks to YouTube and stuff like that so when I got a guy like Lebron James saying ‘you’re the originator of swag’ and Mike Miller and those guys…it’s just awesome.”
On how his health is these days and whether he could convince Vince McMahon to let him wrestle one more match:
“Great. I’m in better shape now than when I wrestled Shawn Michaels.” He shot down the idea of another match. “No, that won’t happen. I mean, Hogan’s been pitching me and him for Dallas forever. I could pull it off…I need like 6 months of really serious training and dieting cuz i’ve never been exactly a cosmetic dream but if I had time I could pull it off. It’s not gonna happen…you know he respects us but he’s not gonna go back in time. They got kids now that they’ve got to work on because all I hear them talking about now for WrestleMania is Austin, Undertaker, Rock, Ronda Rousey, I mean…they’ve got a roster they’ve gotta figure out how to get in there, not the guys that aren’t working full time.”
On whether he’d consider doing something on the WWE Network:
“I think the network is awesome. I just did the first two hours of my podcast [on Tuesday]. Nobody has got more stories and had more fun wrestling more guys, wrestling longer than me. That’s my next venture.” Flair confirmed that the podcast airs a week from Friday and he wouldn’t reveal who he has on his list of guests but he teased that he would have some big names on. “I have an endless list. I just promise you before the year is out i’ll have from Pete Rose to Charles Barley. Charles Barkley is a buddy. I think the next one I’m gonna do is with Lawrence Taylor. He’s had some issues but he doesn’t mind talking about them. Everybody’s got drama man.”
Ric on his daughter Charlotte:
“My daughter is the best athlete in the company…man or woman. She’s been ready for 6 months. You ever watch her work..you tell me. She’s been ready for 6 months, I don’t know what the deal is.” He added, “I’m frustrated by it. I’m just a guy who’s proud of his daughter. I know the business enough to know when someone is so much better than anybody else. I’m just disappointed. I get it, it’s a political game and it’s structured and everybody’s got something going on. The company’s got agendas and they have things that they have to figure out. The least important thing [for them] is trying to figure out my daughter’s goals. For me it’s everything in life. Hunter’s my best friend and I trust him. Vince McMahon and I are very close…I trust him. Stephanie and I are close. I believe that they’ll always take care of Ashley. Not because they need to take care of her, because she’s the best. It’s just a matter of finding the right position for her.”
On the short-lived hippie gimmick from 1975:
“True story. When I went down to North Carolina I didn’t have a gimmick. I was trying to be different than anybody else. Nobody else was doing that. I was heavy…I was in good shape in terms of free squats after Verne’s [Gagne] camp and I stayed in the mode of training. It wasn’t until the airplane crash when George Scott pulled me aside and said ‘take a look at this Buddy Rogers thing.’ I think i took Buddy’s gimmick to another level. It all worked out.”
On the Royal Rumble 1992 being a career highlight and thoughts on Vince McMahon:
“People say that, i’ve never said that. People say that to me.” He said that he was lucky to be in the right place at the right time. On Vince McMahon he said, “any time you work with that guy…if you work hard he rewards you. That’s my take on him, always has been. He never asks you anything that he wouldn’t do himself. He just wants you to be honest and work hard and not be difficult to work with and he pays you a lot of money to do that (laughs). Vince McMahon is a great man. I got nothing but respect for him and his whole family.”
On Bobby Heenan:
“Bobby was tremendous. Bobby Heenan’s a great guy. His health issues are a tragedy of life. The stuff with his throat and his smoking..his smoking caused that. He’s such a great guy.” Flair added, “Bobby is a man and a half. His wife is absolutely gorgeous and beautiful and she’s had health issues too and they ride it out together. Cindy is awesome. Bobby Heenan is phenomenal.”
On whether or not he’s a UFC fan and thoughts on a possible Charlotte vs. Ronda Rousey match:
“I am when Brock Lesnar or Ronda Rousey [fight] otherwise I’m not. Actually I like Jon Jones. Yea, I like him. He’s tremendous. Brock doesn’t [fight] anymore and I’m a big fan of Ronda. I think Ronda is fantastic.” I tossed out the idea of a Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte match at WrestleMania 33. “Lets do it man, that’s what I wanna see. Charlotte’s not afraid to get in there. In all fairness, if she had a year to train, I’m not saying Ashley would win by any means, but if she had a year to get ready for it, it wouldn’t end in round 1…i’ll predict that. It wouldn’t be a 14 second tap out. Ashley would need to learn submission wrestling but Ashley is strong beyond belief. Today, think about it right, she could do 30 front handed pull ups and 100 push ups. She can run at level 9 for an hour on a treadmill and she weights 155 lbs with 3 percent body fat.”
Flair will be signing autographs in Plantation, Florida at Celebrity Sports. Click here for more information. His WOOOOONation podcast debuts a week from Friday. It will be available through the play.it app on iOS and Android devices and through iTunes on iOS devices.