Posted By admin on August 14, 2009
History and Biography of Ric Flair
Real Name: Richard Fliehr
Wrestling Debut: December 10, 1972
Weight: 245 pounds
Greatest Match: Ricky Steamboat, Clash of the Champions, 1989, 2 out of 3 falls
Titles Held: WCW World Champ (8), WCW International Champ, U.S. Champ (6) WWE champ (2), WWE Tag Champ (1).
Resides: Charlotte, North Carolina
Billed from: Charlotte, North Carolina
Trained by: Verne Gagne, Hiro Matsuda
Retired: March 30, 2008
“I’M A LIMOUSINE RIDING, JET AIR PLANE FLYING, STYLIN’ AND PROFILIN’ KISS STEALIN’, WHEELIN’AND DEALIN’, SON OF A GUN!” This was Ric Flair’s mantra in all of his promos back in the 80’s as he ruled the wrestling world in the NWA and later, in WCW and the WWE. “Slick” Ric Flair was born in 1949 and adopted as Richard Morgan Fliehr. In 1972, he began his illustrious wrestling career in the AWA after being trained by Verne Gagne. In 1974, he began wrestling in the Mid-Atlantic territory in North Carolina and in 1975; he was in a plane crash that broke his back in three different places. A few years later, he was back to wrestling ands on his way to making history. He went on to hold the U.S. title which was the most important title for the region at the time. Once in awhile the NWA World Champion would come into town and defend his belt but the World Championship belt was not as easy to win as it is today. However, he did win the NWA World Tag Team belts on several occasions with Black Jack Mulligan and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine as his partners.
In 1981, Ric Flair finally defeated the NWA World Champion, Dusty Rhodes for the belt and he would travel to different regions and defend the belt against the top talent in those regions. Before the NWA became the WCW, Ric Flair would go on to hold the NWA World title seven more times. In 1985, the Four Horsemen were formed because of an interview segment that the four men, Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Arn and Ole Anderson had to share. When they realized that they had common enemies in Dusty Rhodes and Magnum T.A., they formed their faction. J.J. Dillon became the manager of the group because he was Tully Blanchard’s manager at the time but Ric Flair was always the “leader” of the faction. They brutally destroyed the competition and ruled the NWA for the mid-1980’s. However, in 1986, Magnum T.A. was in a near fatal car collision that ended his wrestling career. There have been different faces in the Horsemen over the years to include the likes of Lex Luger, Barry Windham, Chris Benoit and even Sting.
Ric Flair has impacted the world of professional wrestling like no other and has dominated the sport for more than thirty years and has held numerous titles including holding the NWA World Title, the WCW World Title and the WWE World title collectively for an unprecedented sixteen times. His finishing maneuver is a figure four leg lock and he delivers a shot across an opponent’s chest with the side of his hand called a “knife edge chop” and when he delivers it, the crowd yells, “WHOOO!” In fact, when any wrestler delivers this devastating chop, the crowd yells “WHOO!” in homage to the one called the “Nature Boy”. He has impacted the sport that much and so much more that you cannot even talk about professional wrestling without mentioning the name of Ric Flair.
Ric Flair is the most decorated world champion in history. The 16-time world champ (depending on what is counted as a title win) is known as the dirtiest player in the game. With his jet-flying, limousine-riding “Nature Boy” persona, he has headlined the sport for over a quarter of a century. His trademarked “Woooo!” can be heard by the fans whenever any wrestler chops another wrestler.
Richard Fliehr was born in Memphis, Tennessee on February 25, 1949. He moved to Edina, Minnesota, grew up there and went on to play offensive guard in college at Minnesota.
Ric Flair debuted in professional wrestling in the AWA in 1972, after being trained by the legendary Verne Gagne. After about 2 years in the AWA, Flair left for the NWA. In 1975, Flair and a few other wrestlers were in a plane crash somewhere in North Carolina. Flair’s back was broken in the crash, but he returned to the ring the next year.
The Late ’70s
Ric Flair returned to the ring a few years later. He was a frequent U.S. title holder. That belt was the number one belt of the region. In those days, the regional belt was the most important belt in the area. Occasionally, the NWA World Champ would come to town and fight someone in the region. In addition, he won the NWA World Tag Team Championship on a few occasions with both Blackjack Mulligan and Greg Valentine as his partners.
NWA World Heavyweight Championship and Four Horsemen
On September 17, 1981 history was made. Ric Flair defeated Dusty Rhodes in Kansas City, Missouri to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. This was just the beginning of the now famous Flair/Rhodes feud. Dusty was suspended from the NWA in late1982 or early 1983. Then a masked man, known as the Midnight Rider, came onto the scene (who everyone knew was Rhodes). The Midnight Rider won the title from Flair on February 9, 1983. When the President of the NWA told the Midnight Rider to remove the mask, the title was returned to Ric Flair. Then, on June 8, 1982, Harley Race defeated Flair for the World Title in St. Louis, Missouri.
On November 24, 1983, the NWA held the first ever Starrcade in Greensboro, North Carolina. It was here, where Flair won the NWA Title for the second time from Harley Race. During an International tour, on March 21, 1984, Race regained the title in New Zealand. But, just two nights later, Flair won the World Title for a third time by defeating Race in Singapore.
At a show in Irving, Texas, Flair lost the Championship to Kerry Von Erich on May 6, 1984. Just a few weeks later, on May 24, Flair regained the title during their tour of Japan. This time, Flair kept the World Title for over two years. Then, on July 25, 1986, Flair’s long time nemesis, Dusty Rhodes, defeated Ric in Greensboro, North Carolina. After holding the title for only 13 days, Rhodes lost the title to Flair on August 7 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Nature Boy’s fifth title reign lasted a little over a year. Then on September 25, 1987, Ron Garvin won the title in Detroit, Michigan. It took Flair only two months to regain the title from Garvin. He started his sixth title reign in Chicago, Illinois on November 26, 1987.
After holding the World Title for a little more than a year, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat ended Flair’s sixth title reign on February 20, 1989 in the same city where he started it, Chicago, IL. On May 7, at Wrestle War ’89, Flair won the title back from Steamboat in Nashville, Tennessee. After this match, Terry Funk attacked The Nature Boy. Flair was out of action for about 6 months, after Funk piledrove him through a time keeper’s table. Flair returned to battle Funk and the rest of Gary Hart’s stable. Not able to take them on alone, Flair recruited Sting, Ole and Arn Anderson to reform the 4-Horsemen.
The Horsemen battled Hart’s men on many occasions, almost always coming out on top. After they had taken care of Hart’s stable, the NWA Championship Commitee awarded Sting a shot at the World Title. The Horsemen confronted Sting, and told him to refuse the title shot or leavethe Horsemen. When he refused, and demanded the match, the Horsemen warned him to watch his back. Soon there after, Sting was sneak attacked in the locker rooms and had a seriously damaged knee. When Sting returned to the ring, at the 1990 Great American Bash (July 7), he won the World Heavyweight Championship in Baltimore, Maryland.
The Formation of World Championship Wrestling
On January 11, 1991, Ric Flair defeated Sting to win the World Title for the eighth time. This wrestling organization the left the NWA and formed World Championship Wrestling. Flair was then recognized as the first WCW Heavyweight Champion of the World, taking place of his NWA World Title. While touring Japan, Flair lost to Tatsumi Fujinami on March 21 in controversial fashion. The decision was later reversed and the WCW Title returned to Flair, but World Championship Wrestling recognized Fujinami as the NWA champion. On May 19, 1991, Flair won the NWA Title for the ninth time by defeating Fujinami in St. Petersburg, Florida. After a conflict with Virgil Runnels (who we know as Dusty Rhodes), the top booker for WCW at that time, Flair signed a contract with the World Wrestling Federation in mid-1991. After doing this, he was stripped of both the WCW and the NWA World Titles. This was the first time the NWA Title had ever been vacant.
Ric Flair joins the WWE
The first few years of the Turner led company were marred by bad decisions. The worst one involved Ric Flair leaving WCW with the title belt. The belt appeared on WWE television until legal actions forced them to stop. Ric Flair took on Bobby “The Brain” Heenan as his executive consultant and Mr. Perfect as his trainer. Eventually, Flair sold his belt back to WCW. After a couple of controversial WWF Title changes between the Undertaker and Hulk Hogan, the President of the WWF declared the title vacant and announced that the winner of the 1992 Royal Rumble would be the new WWF World Heavyweight Champion.
The Royal Rumble was held in Albany, New York on January 19, 1992. After drawing number three, Flair proved why he has been called “the 60-minute man”. Flair outlasted the other 29 WWF superstars (eliminating the British Bulldog, Big Boss Man, Randy Savage & Sid Justice) to win the Royal Rumble and the WWF World Title for the first time. He was in the ring for just over an hour, setting the record for the longest time in the ring in a Royal Rumble. He held the title until April 5 that same year, when he lost to “Macho Man” Randy Savage in Indianapolis, Indiana.
In Hershey, PA, Flair won the title back from Savage on September 1, 1992 with a little help from newcomer Razor Ramon. He held the title for just over a month, when Bret “The Hitman” Hart defeated him on October 12. After this, Mr. Perfect and Ric Flair had a dispute and split up. Flair and his new discovery, Razor Ramon, had a series of matches with Mr. Perfect and Savage. This feud eventually led to a loser leaves WWF match between Flair and Perfect. Flair lost this match and made his way back to World Championship Wrestling.
Flair returns to WCW
When Flair returned to World Championship Wrestling, Barry Windham, former partner in the 4-Horsemen, held the NWA Title and Big Van Vader was the WCW champion. Flair first went after the title which he had held nine times before, the NWA World Title. He won it from Barry Windham in Biloxi, Mississippi on July 18, 1993 for his tenth and final NWA title reign. He then lost it to Rick Rude in Houston, Texas on September 19 of that same year. In September of 1993, the NWA Title became known as WCW International World Title. Flair had several rematches with Rude, but was never able to beat him for the title due to disqualification finishes.
Ric Flair then got into a feud with Big Van Vader, which led to their big match at Starrcade 1993. Flair put his career on the line against Vader’s World Title. On December 27, in front of his hometown audience, Flair defeated Vader to win the WCW Title for the second time. Then on June 23, 1994, “The Nature Boy” beat Sting for the WCW International World Title in Charleston, South Carolina. This was the first time Flair won the International World Title, but this match unified the two titles into the World Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Title. Flair kept the WCW Title until he was defeated by Hulk Hogan on July 17, 1994 in Orlando, Florida.
Flair and Hogan had a series of matches, leading to Flair putting his career on the line for a shot at the World Title. Hogan defeated Flair in this very controversial match. Flair reappeared on the scene, managing Vader during his feud with Hogan early in 1995. Because of Flair’s constant interference in Hogan’s matches, he asked the WCW Executive Commitee to reinstate Flair as an active wrestler.
After Vader was defeated by Hogan at the Bash at the Beach ’95, Flair came into the ring and verbally attacked Vader. Arn Anderson, Ric’s long time friend, came to Flair’s aid when Vader started to attack. This led to a handicap match at the Clash of the Champions – Ric Flair & Arn Anderson vs. Vader. Vader defeated Flair/Anderson, getting the pin on Arn. Flair was furious that they had lost and verbally attacked his best friend.
The New 4-Horsemen
Over the next few months we were brought to believe that Flair and Anderson’s longtime friendship had come to an abrupt end. At Fall Brawl ’95, we saw the first match between “The Nature Boy” and “The Enforcer”. This match was a see-saw battle. When it appeared that Flair was about to apply the figure-four. Brian Pillman came to the ringside area and jumped on the apron. Flair went over and punched Pillman. Brian retaliated by kicking Flair in the head with his cowboy boot, setting up Flair for the DDT. Over the next month, Flair begged Sting to be his partner against Anderson and Pillman. After figting them alone, Sting saw that Flair was a man of his word. The match was signed for Halloween Havoc.
Early that evening, Flair was supposedly attacked by Arn and Brian. When it came time for the match, Sting came to the ring alone. Sting controlled the beginning of the match but, as time went on, Anderson and Pillman took control. Then the croud erupted as “The Nature Boy” came running down the aisle in his street clothes, with his head bandaged. When Sting was able to get to his corner and make the tag, Flair entered the ring, ran off of the ropes and nailed his partner. They triple-teamed Sting and left him lying in the ring. On their way back to the locker rooms they did an interview with Mean Gene, stating that the Horsemen were back!
The Road Back to the Title
At Starrcade 1995, in Nashville, Tennessee, the WCW Championship Commitee decided to have a triangle match of the top contenders (the winner getting a title shot immediately after). The match was set…the winner of Sting vs. Lex Luger vs. Ric Flair would receive the shot at Randy Savage’s World Title. Flair started the match against Sting, then battled against Luger. Then trapped between Sting and Luger, Flair tagged in Sting to fight his best friend. Nearing the end of the match, Luger got Sting in the Human Torture Rack. When Lex lifted Sting, the ref was hit and knocked out. Flair came into the ring, clipping the knee of Luger from behind, knocking his opponents out onto the floor. Flair helped the referee up and he gave them the ten-count.
Jimmy Hart came down to ringside and offered to be in Flair’s corner during the World Title match. Flair accepted. Flair and Savage battled back and forth, until the Macho Man got Jimmy Hart’s megaphone. He nailed Flair on the head and climbed the ropes. He nailed a bloody Ric Flair with the flying elbow. As Jimmy Hart distracted the referee, Pillman, Chris Benoit (the newest member of the Horsemen), and Anderson entered the ring. “Double A” nailed Savage with a foreign object, and layed Flair on top for the pin. Flair was now the WCW Heavyweight Champion of the World for the third time.
At the January, 1996 Clash of the Champions, Hogan and Savage surprised everyone with the appearance of Woman and Miss Elizabeth. Woman turned on them that night, another set up by the Horsemen. On the January 22 edition of Monday Nitro, Savage won the World Title back from Flair in Las Vegas, NV. A rematch was scheduled for Superbrawl VI, in St. Petersburg, Florida, in a steel cage. Flair came to the ring with Woman, and Savage with Elizabeth. Late in the match, Woman had Savage and the referee distracted at one side of the cage. Flair walks over to the door, to Miss Elizabeth, who gives him her high-heel shoe. Flair nails Savage and gets the pin. He leaves the ring with the World Title, Woman, and Elizabeth. Flair’s fourth title reign lasted until April 22, 1996, when the Giant defeated him on Monday Nitro in Albany, Georgia.
1996 to Flair’s Disappearance (early 1998)
On Monday Nitro, Ric Flair taunted and flirted with Deborah McMichael (wife of former Chicago Bear Steve McMichael) for weeks. After this, and verbally attacking McMichael himself on several occasions, McMichael recruited Kevin Greene of the Carolina Panthers to help him battle the 4-Horsemen. The match was set – Flair & Anderson vs. McMichael & Greene.
McMichael & Greene were accompanied to the ring by Randy Savage and their wives. Flair & Anderson were accompanied by Benoit, Elizabeth & Woman (Pillman left WCW after a dispute with booker, Kevin Sullivan). About halfway through the match, Liz and Woman chased Deborah & Greene’s wife back to the locker rooms. As Kevin Greene was in the ring getting pummeled by the Horsemen, Liz and Woman came back to the ring along with Deborah McMichael. Deborah was carrying a briefcase which she handed to her husband on the outside of the ring. Steve opened it to find a 4-Horseman T-shirt and it was full of money. About that time Greene was crawling to the corner to get the tag. McMichael looked at his friend, looked at the money, then nailed Greene with the briefcase. Flair got the pin, then the 4-Horsemen pounded on Greene and Savage, and left them lying helpless in the ring.
Soon thereafter, Flair was awarded a shot at the U.S. Heavyweight Title. On July 7, 1996, in Daytona Beach, Florida, Ric Flair defeated Konnan to win the U.S. Title for the sixth time. All of this happened just about the same time that Scott Hall & Kevin Nash started the New World Order. The Horsemen were given the chance to destroy the NWO in the WARGAMES, but Sting & Luger asked to be part of the team so they could help in defeating NWO before it got too strong. Benoit and McMichael agreed to step down and let Sting and Luger be on the team. Then, at Fall Brawl, after Sting came down and entered the ring, he left his three teammates to fight four men. Luger eventually gave up and the Horsemen were cost the win because of Sting & Luger.
Flair held on to the U.S. Title for four months, until he received a shoulder injury while facing Kensuki Sasaki in Japan. In a lame attempt to make the NWO look stronger, Bischoff made it appear that Flair was attacked by the NWO on Monday Nitro. On television, He still claims that the NWO put Flair out of wrestling. Because of this injury, Flair had to vacate the U.S. Title in November of ’96.
Flair had surgery to repair his shoulder and has been rehabilitating for the last three months. On the March 10 edition of Monday Nitro, during Piper’s interview, the Horsemen came out and confronted Piper. Flair asked Piper to take the Horsemen as his partners at Uncensored and Piper accepted. Now Piper, McMichael, Benoit & Jarrett will be the Independent team in the 12-Man match. After this match, Flair came out on Nitro, saying that Piper dropped the ball. It now appears that instead of getting his deserved shot at Hogan, he will be stuck in a pointless feud with Roddy Piper. Let’s hope that WCW thinks on this one and gives Flair a clean win over Hogan before he has to retire.
At Slamboree, in Charlotte, Ric Flair made his return to the ring. He, Roddy Piper & Kevin Greene (of the Carolina Panthers) faced Kevin Nash, Scott Hall & Syxx. In this match, Flair was in his old form. He started the match and dominated while he was in the ring. NWO took control for a few minutes, but Flair/Piper/Greene ended up on top. The match ended by Flair applying the figure-4 on Hall, Piper applied the sleeper on Nash, and Greene powerslammed Syxx. On Nitro the next night, Flair agreed to wrestle Syxx one on one. During the match, the NWO attacked Flair. The Horsemen had been kicked out of the building earlier that night, so Flair was left helpless. After the beating, Nash said he wouldn’t rest until he put Flair and Piper out of wrestling. The next week on Nitro, Hall and Nash came out and said they wanted to defend the Tag Team Titles against Flair and Piper. This match happened at The Great American Bash. During the match Flair chased Syxx back to the locker room, leaving Piper alone to be defeated by Hall and Nash.
When confronted by Piper on Nitro, Flair told him the decision he made was best for Piper, himself, and the team. The next week, Piper questioned Flair again. This time, it not only brought Flair to the ring, but also Benoit and McMichael. When Mongo and Benoit confronted Piper, The Hot Rod attacked the 2 men, leaving Flair to choose between the Horsemen or his friend. Flair went after Piper, and was knocked down…when he did his famous beg in the corner…keeping Piper distracted long enough for Mongo to nail him with the briefcase. Benoit applied the Crippler Crossface while Flair and Mongo stomped away at Piper’s head. As Nitro went to a commercial, the Horsemen were leaving the ring…and Piper was out. After weeks of each member being on their own, this appears to be the rebirth of The Four Horsemen.
Return to the WWF
When the WCW was sold to the WWE, Flair wasn’t the same man anymore. According to his autobiography, he had lost confidence in his abilities due to the constant problems he faced in WCW. He credits Vince McMahon and Triple H with helping him to regain his confidence.
Triple H has made no secret in saying that Ric Flair was his favorite wrestler. In late 2002, the stable of Evolution was formed with Triple H as the leader. The concept was that Flair was the greatest of the last generation, Triple H was the greatest wrestler at the moment and the future of wrestling was Batista & Randy Orton. Even though Evolution has broken up, there is no doubt that Ric Flair will still be a main player in WWE.
Hall of Fame and Retirement
At the end of 2006, Vince McMahon decreed that the next time Ric Flair lost a match that he would be forced to retire. Ric Flair lost his match at WrestleMania XXIV to Shawn Michaels. However, the night before being forced to retire, Ric became the first active wrestler to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
“Retirement” and part–time appearances
On the March 31, 2008 edition of Raw, Flair delivered his farewell address. Afterward, Triple H brought out many current and retired superstars to thank Flair for all he has done, including Shawn Michaels, some of the Four Horsemen and Chris Jericho, followed by The Undertaker and then Vince McMahon. Along with the wrestlers, the fans gave Ric a standing ovation. This event represented a rare moment in WWE as both the heels and the faces broke character and came out to the ring together. The Undertaker’s and McMahon’s entrances, however, were not shown on the TV taping of Raw for the week in order to preserve their characters, more in the case of the Undertaker as it involved him hugging Ric Flair and then raising his arm in victory, but were included in Nature Boy Ric Flair: The Definitive Collection DVD as extras.
Flair made his first post-retirement appearance on the June 16, 2008 edition of Raw to confront Chris Jericho about his actions from the previous week, when Jericho brutalized Shawn Michaels. Flair did not want to come out of retirement and have an official match, but challenged Jericho to a fight in the parking lot, until he was ejected from the building by Vince McMahon.
On the February 9, 2009 episode of Raw, Flair made an appearance to once again confront Chris Jericho, telling him to respect the WWE Legends and the fans. The segment ended with Flair punching Jericho. Exactly one month later, on the March 9, 2009 episode of Raw, Flair appeared during a Money in the Bank qualifier match between Jericho and Kofi Kingston, distracting Jericho which cost him the match. Flair distracted Jericho as revenge for Jericho’s attacks on Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka and Ricky Steamboat. Jericho subsequently suggested Flair come out of retirement and challenged him to a match on the March 16, 2009 Raw.
That week, Flair declined Jericho’s challenge to come out of retirement. Instead he, along with Ricky Steamboat, Roddy Piper and Jimmy Snuka attacked Jericho. Flair made another appearance the next week, to accept Jericho’s challenge on behalf of Steamboat, Piper and Snuka for a 3-on-1 handicap match at WrestleMania XXV. Jericho then proceeded to brutally attack Flair, causing him to bleed and even destroying the watch that was given to Flair from Michaels after Wrestlemania.
At the 2009 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Flair inducted Ricky Steamboat whom Flair called the hardest competition he ever fought. The next day at Wrestlemania XXV, Flair was in the corner of Piper, Snuka, and Steamboat for the match against Jericho. Jericho went on to win the match, and then went after Flair. While Flair was knocked down, Mickey Rourke came into the ring and nailed Jericho with an upper left hook, at which time Flair came in and held up Rourke’s hand in victory.
On May 17, 2009, Flair returned to WWE during the Judgment Day pay-per-view, coming to the aid of Batista, who was being attacked by The Legacy faction (Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase). He also appeared the following night on Raw, in a verbal confrontation with Orton. He then went on to compete in a Backstage Brawl with Orton on the June 1st Edition of Raw, after an interference from the rest of The Legacy, the fight ended with Flair trapped inside a steel cage as he was punted by Orton.
In December 2005, a magistrate issued arrest warrants for Flair after a road rage incident that took place in Charlotte, in which Flair allegedly got out of his car, grabbed a motorist by the neck, and kicked the door of the motorist’s sport utility vehicle. Flair was charged with injury to personal property and simple assault and battery, both misdemeanors. This incident was ridiculed on WWE programming, most notably by the wrestler Edge. The charges were dropped after the witnesses failed to show for a scheduled court appearance.
In the 80s, Flair was an outspoken fan of the Los Angeles Lakers. When the Charlotte Hornets debuted in 1988, however, he then announced that they would be his favorite team. His loyalties lie with them even after they relocated to New Orleans. Whenever Chris Paul scores at Hornets home games, A clip of Ric Flair holding a basketball and wearing his signature robe plays with Flair saying his trademark “Woooo!”. The crowd usually repeats the “Wooo!”
Flair is sometimes seen attending the Carolina Hurricanes National Hockey League ice hockey games at the RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. When the Hurricanes score, one of a couple of videos appears on the scoreboard. One shows Flair in a Hurricanes jersey saying, “That’s another Carolina Hurricanes goal! Woooooo!” Flair is also seen in the open segments of every Carolina Panthers home game. He ends his segment with his trademark “Woooooo” in which the crowd usually imitates. Flair is also a big fan of the South Carolina Gamecocks and has appeared in their pregame video. His “Wooooo!” is played at Carolina Stadium after a Gamecock pitcher records a strikeout.
In September 2007, Flair opened a financial business called Ric Flair Finance. In July 2008, Ric Flair Finance filed for bankruptcy.
Flair’s son David is a semi-retired professional wrestler. Flair’s younger son Reid, who signed a developmental contract with WWE near the end of 2007, is an accomplished high school wrestler and made several appearances on WCW television along with his sister Ashley and half-sister Megan.
Flair became a grandfather in 2004 when his eldest daughter, Megan Fliehr-Ketzner, gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Morgan Lee Ketzner on May 9.
On May 27, 2006, Ric married his third wife, fitness competitor Tiffany VanDemark. On August 7, 2008, Tiffany announced that she had filed for divorce from Flair.
Flair’s daughter Ashley was arrested on September 5, 2008 for assaulting a police officer. The incident occurred after police were called to a fight involving Flair, Ashley, and her boyfriend.
In 2004, Flair engaged in an off-screen rivalry with Bret Hart. In Flair’s autobiography, Flair criticizes Hart for over-exploiting the death of his brother, Owen Hart, and the controversy surrounding the Montreal Screwjob. Flair also claimed in his autobiography that, despite Hart’s popularity throughout Canada and Europe, he was not a formidable money-making draw in the United States, a claim which Hart dismissed in a column written for the Calgary Sun. Hart claimed that he drew greater revenue than Flair, citing his headlining performances on consistently sold out tours throughout the United States during his career. He also criticized Flair on what he perceived as insults to fellow wrestlers Mick Foley and Randy Savage, both personal friends of Hart’s. Hart did acknowledge a decline in the WWF’s popularity during the mid 1990s, but he – and others – felt that this was largely attributed to the WWF’s well publicised sex and steroid scandals, as well as WCW’s acquisition of former top WWF stars.
Flair also had a long running feud with Shane Douglas, who would refer to him as “Dick Flair” and accuse him of sabotaging his push in the NWA/WCW after getting a solid push and a rub from his tag team partner Ricky Steamboat. Flair, in turn, responded that Douglas was always the guy that would blame his shortcomings on others. He called Douglas out as well as accused him of steroid abuse during a broadcast of the Internet radio show WCW Live! in which he said that he would meet him anytime and anywhere if he “took the needle out of his ass.” They were able to come to a working relationship during Douglas’ last stint with WCW.
Flair has also had issues with Mick Foley. In his 1999 autobiography Have a Nice Day!, Foley said, “Flair was every bit as bad on the booking side of things as he was great on the wrestling side of it.” This was in reference to how poorly Foley thought he was booked during his WCW career when Flair was on the booking committee. Flair responded in his autobiography, writing, “I do not care how many thumbtacks Mick Foley has fallen on, how many ladders he’s fallen off, how many continents he’s supposedly bled on, he will always be known as a glorified stuntman.” They have since buried the hatchet and are now friends.
Flair described in his autobiography how he attacked Eric Bischoff backstage at a WWE house show, saying it was due to hating how Bischoff treated him in WCW. Flair stated that Arn Anderson kept watch while he tried to get Bischoff to fight him, but that the confrontation was interrupted by Sgt. Slaughter, who promptly informed Vince McMahon of the incident. McMahon scolded Flair, telling him that his actions were unprofessional and that it couldn’t happen again.
In his book, Flair also touched on some real-life tension between himself and Hulk Hogan which largely stemmed from an incident that followed the conclusion of a tag match between Flair and his son, David, and the team of Curt Hennig and Barry Windham at WCW’s Souled Out pay-per-view on January 17, 1999, in Charleston, WV. Flair described Hogan and members of the New World Order coming out to attack them, as well as Hogan whipping an incapacitated David with a leather belt as Flair was forced to look on. “What no one had told me was that Hogan would try to be cute and whip David over and over again….there was Hogan — with all his experience, and all his celebrity — trying to be cute. He whipped David like a dog. It was sickening, and I’ll never forgive him for it”, Flair wrote of the incident.
Flair and wrestling legend Bruno Sammartino have a real-life disagreement over what reports call “the infamous backstage “snub” where Flair claims that Sammartino refused to shake his hand at a live event.”. The event took place on July 26, 2004 at Mellon Arena in Sammartino’s hometown of Pittsburgh. While Flair claims Sammartino ignored him due to comments made in his book stating Sammartino was “a Northeast star who couldn’t draw fans outside New York,” Sammartino disagrees. Sammartino referred to Flair as a “liar,” stating, “No, I don’t respect Ric Flair. I don’t respect him at all.”. Sammartino contends that Flair avoided him, and not vice versa.