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Old 05-01-2011, 10:14 PM
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Default Ric Flair

The WrestleZone Hall of Fame Presents
Ric Flair

Known for his trademark "Woo!", knife edge chops, figure four leg lock, and signature style, Ric Flair's name nears the top of any respectable list of all time wrestling greats. Few men could make an audience hate their character so much that they eventually fall in love with him, but that's exactly what Ric Flair was able to do.

Ric Flair's childhood was more complicated than most. He was illegally removed from his mother and spent the earliest years of his life in the Tennessee Children's Home Society, an orphanage that is no infamous for black market adoptions. He was adopted and brought to Edina, Minnesota where he spent most of his youth before being sent to boarding school in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. While attending boarding school Flair participated in interscholastic wrestling and football.

Ric Flair was first exposed to the world of professional wrestling when he met the legendary Vachon brothers while working as a life guard at a local pool. However, he wouldn't get into the wrestling business until he met Verne Gagne through Olympic weightlifter Ken Patera. Flair, who had recently dropped out of the University of Minnesota where he was playing football, asked to be part of Gagne's training class, and Gagne accepted him.

When Flair began wrestling in Gagne's AWA, he hardly resembled the Nature Boy we all know and love; he weighed three hundred pounds and had short, dark hair. However, despite missing what would become his signature look, his charisma still managed to shine through and crowds were impressed with his ability to put on long matches with the likes of Dusty Rhodes and Andre the Giant.

Flair wrestled in the AWA for two years before he decided to head east and wrestle for the NWA. He quickly became popular in the Mid-Atlantic territory and even won their Television Title, but his career was nearly cut short when he was in a plane crash that broke his back in three different places. Doctor's told Flair that he would never wrestle again. However, through rigorous physical therapy, Flair was able to return to the ring six months after the crash took place.

As he continued wrestling, NWA promoter Jim Crockett Jr. grew more and more impressed with Flair and began grooming him to become the next top star. Flair began feuding over the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship with such legends as Jimmy Snuka, Roddy Piper, and Ricky Steamboat. He soon adopted the "Nature Boy" gimmick from Buddy Rogers who put Flair over after one encounter.

After nearly nine years of professional wrestling, Ric Flair captured his first of sixteen World Championships when he beat Dusty Rhodes for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. It was during this reign that Ric Flair transitioned from a regional star to a star that shined across the nation. Audiences loved Flair's elegant wardrobe, his flashy jewelry, seemingly lavish lifestyle, and his now famous line, "To be the man, you gotta beat the man!"

Flair would feud with various talent over the NWA World Heavyweight Championship for about 5 years before he accomplished his next major feat, and that was forming the most famous and influential stable in the history of professional wrestling: The Four Horsemen. This group, made up of Ric Flair, Ole and Arn Anderson, and Tully Blanchard, began running over the entire NWA card, taking out all the NWA faces and capturing all the major titles, almost always through nefarious deeds.

Flair would continue to be the biggest heel in professional wrestling for years, competing at the highest levels in both WCW and WWF for seven years before moving to a less main event role, but was always a fan favorite. He has competed and thrived in every major wrestling promotion and to this day is revered by fans as one of the all time greats. Every time a wrestler taunts his opponent, you can thank Ric Flair. Every time a wrestler screams out in pain so the world can here, you can thank Ric Flair. Every time a wrestler gets so riled up talking he begins shouting into the microphone, you can thank Ric Flair. Without Ric Flair, wrestling would not be the spectacle it is, and thanks to Ric Flair it remains one of the most entertaining spectacles.

Did you know?

What position did Ric Flair play in football? Offensive guard!

Flair had held a title of some sort for every year from 1974 to 1998. That means he went 24 years where he held some sort of champion gold.

Flair has been in the main event of every Starrcade that heís wrestled in.

Flair got fired from WCW in 1991 for refusing to change his gimmick, cut his hair, and taking a lower spot on the card. He was the current NWA Champion at the time of the firing, and the company demanded that he gave the title back without returning the $25,000 deposit to Flair (NWA Champions had to pay the company $25,000 to ensure that they didnít take the belt to other companies). Flair refused to give the belt back and took it to the WWF, but he eventually returned the belt. He still claims that the NWA owes him his money.
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