OFF THE RECORD: RIC FLAIR
Off The Record celebrates Wrestlemania complete with wrestlers. Chris celebrates, having something to recap.
Today - the greatest wrestler of all time, Ric Flair! Bring it on.
Off The Record is brought to you by The Keg steakhouse and bar.
Later in the show, Lansberg plans on asking Flair if he's the greatest of all time.
At 53 years of age, why is he still doing it and is he surprised? Yeah, he's surprised, and much like most of his career he was just in the right place at the right time.
What put him in the right place to return to the WWF? There was an opening and a place for him that was a comfortable fit for him and the WWF.
It's not about money anymore - and he's had a nice life. But if you love the business like he does it's hard to get away from it. He enjoys going to work and hopes to do it as long as he can.
Here's a clip from eons ago. Classic Ric Flair being only as he can be (with a couple of ladies and champagne). Flair's always had a ball doing what he does, and he performs better if he's happy. If he didn't love this business, he wouldn't be back.
1975 he was in a plane crash. Did that change his attitude? He thinks it did at the time - but he hasn't even really thought about the crash a whole lot since then. He'd love to say he's spent his whole life remembering that, but it's something in the back of his mind. He's been lucky and loves what he's done.
Does he regret ever pushing too hard? Absolutely not. In the old days they wrestled 380 times a year and that's how it was.
Was it difficult to be a nice guy to everyone around them? It wasn't a hardship for him because he loved it so much. He's guilty of putting his family on the backburner at times because he loves the business so much - and this time around made sure he could spend more time at home. When you see guys like McMahon who has a work ethic like none other - you strive to keep up with the guy. He's completely immersed in the sport.
Does he try to be a leader to the guys who get as focused as that? That would be very difficult for him to do - and he doesn't think it's wrong to be absorbed in the business. It's really hard to keep the rest of the world straight.
How difficult is it to play a character and be yourself? It's really changed a lot - but if a guy is committed he'll make it.
Here's another clip. It's Ric Flair's debut from right after the Survivor Series.
Is he a better wrestler or promo guy? He's equal on both ends.
Is he making up his promos as he goes along? How much is on the fly? About 95% is on the fly. Up until just recently - there are pinpoints that have to be made with buildings and dates.
Lansberg wants him to cut a promo off the top of his head. Flair then cuts a classic Nature Boy promo vs. Michael Lansberg. Hilarious!
How did he feel about McMahon purchasing WCW? He wishes he'd bought it a year ahead of time - and it was fabulous. He was happy because WCW was going to hell. The company he saw grow to be very successful became very diluted and off the mark.
Was he ever close to quitting? And if so was it Bischoff? No - when he started out they agreed to disagree. There was always a place for Ric Flair.
Was the WCW locker room really a disaster? Yeah - and without a leader and direction, you have a bunch of stallions wanting to run as fast as they can but without a quarterback it's pointless.
Hulk Hogan was one of the leaders. Who's the better of the two? Hogan or Flair? Hulk Hogan is the biggest name in the history of wrestling - no two ways about it. They have very different job descriptions. Hogan will be the first to admit Flair is a far better wrestler. Flair's the guy who had to go into an arena with 2000 people and wrestle a guy for an hour. Hogan was a star attraction.
Lansberg feels there's no comparison and if Hogan was standing right there, he'd say the same thing. Ric Flair is the greatest of all time.
He had two programs with Hogan - and Hogan won both. Does it bother him? The only thing that's ever bothered him is having someone say "there's not a place for you here".
Is there anyone he didn't want to lose to? No. He just wanted time to perform. All he wanted to do was have the people go home and say "I want to see him wrestle again". He doesn't think anyone remembers who wins or loses.
Play the veteran who offers advice. Is honesty the best policy? Yes - beyond a shadow of a doubt. Don't be afraid to ask questions and find out what others think. There is nothing that makes a wrestler feel any better than having someone say "that was great" and get a pat on the back. He can look in the eyes of people and see if he's done well. Ray Stevens was the greatest he ever saw - and he told Ric "the day you're not nervous walking out that door, don't walk out".
QUIRKY FACT: Before Ric Flair was the "Nature Boy", he was a "Golden Gopher". Ric Flair was a 2 time all-state lineman at the University of Minnesota.
Let's hit today's e-mail.
He doesn't know what the answer is - he always thought it was Wooo! Since it's his call, it's Wooo!
He says if you see Flair in the ring you're going to see blood. The networks are always worried about stuff, and they stop other sports because of blood, except hockey. If any company has made the adjustment well enough, it is the WWF.
He'd be a liar if he said he didn't, and it's possible. He knows a few guys who could be Horsemen.
He thinks competition is good - but he doesn't think the WWF will go down without it. Any company that opens up tomorrow is going to take 5 years to get a name across the board, with Bill Goldberg being the only exception. Not everyone can beat 174 guys in a row. It's hard to build star status in a short period of time.
He's seeing some problems with guys moving up - but he doesn't think WCW did it properly over the final few years any better. He thinks competition is good, and Vince thrives on competition. It'll be awhile before we see it.
As he looks back on his career, what's changed and what won't? Marketing is the biggest difference for sure. Taking a person and making them a star.
Who's the next Ric Flair? He's flattered that Michael's said a lot of nice things about him. He thinks there's a lot of guys focused on being the best. HHH, Jericho, Austin, and The Rock are all guys like that. Anyone who's done well has to have a love for it.
Thanks for being here Ric!