Ric Flair Interview From IGN.com
Ric Flair might be in a storyline where his next loss means retirement, but that doesn't mean that the "Nature Boy" is thinking about time off. The sixteen (or seventeen, depending upon the source) time world champion is set to wrestle Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXIV next Sunday.
We don't think we've ever been so excited about an interview in our whole lives.
IGN: Was the original plan all along for you to wrestle Shawn at WrestleMania?
Ric Flair: No. There was no original plan that I know of.
IGN: Interesting. Was there a point five or ten years ago where you started thinking about this moment and wondering what it would be like, or how you wanted it to go?
Ric Flair: I never thought about that ten years ago. I didn't start thinking about it until three years ago. I never thought of it because I was happy to be where I was. I was happy to be in the role I was in. People are asking me all the time now, but I'm still not thinking about it. I'm not thinking about losing next Sunday. I'm thinking about going to RAW in Orlando on Monday. I'm thinking about getting the biggest contract in the history of the business!
IGN: Would you preferred to have come into your last big run as a bad guy?
Ric Flair: Yes. [Emphatically] Yes. I could answer that question in two seconds. Yes.
IGN: Do you think it's possible to get the fans to boo you at this point?
Ric Flair: I don't think it's impossible, but the people I work with do. When I was younger, I didn't have to work at that, I could work how I wanted to work and talk how I wanted to talk. Everything's changed now.It's so rewarding to have the respect of the people, but I'm limited in that role. As the bad guy, there's no holds barred.
IGN: I know myself, you're so good at being the bad guy then when you play that role, I cheer for you because you're so good at it.
Ric Flair: With the Horsemen after a while, it became a level of respect. We said the same thing in our interviews, performed at the same level, and fans began to notice after a while that we were pretty good, that we were the best thing going today.
IGN: How do you think the fans have changed from the start of your career to now?
Ric Flair: For the most part, I don't see any difference. Fans think they know more than they know about the business, but that's true for everything. There was a point and time where I didn't like that, and I had no respect for that, but I got used to it. Times have changed and it's a process. I don't disrespect anybody for it. I don't like people coming up and talking to me like they know what's going on in my match, but I don't react [to that] like I did twenty years ago.
The business is like the NFL or anywhere else. I don't have that approach where I look on the Internet or anywhere else for anyone's approval; everyone wants to have the approval of everyone else, but at this point in my life, I want to know that I have everybody's respect every time I step into that ring or give an interview. Respect means more to me than money at this point.
IGN: How difficult do you think it is for wrestlers coming into WWE now to stand out in the current environment?
Ric Flair: Very difficult, extremely difficult. I think the bar has been raised, not on the level of skill, but on the level of persona. When you think about it, just about every gamut and curveball has been thrown and it's been up to the guys. No one should ever go as overboard as I did, but you have to find a way to be unique. They can give you 1000 suggestions but if you don't feel them inside, they won't work. What's happening now is that TV is scrutinized, and [the writers are] so much more involved because of network guidelines. Writers are very creative, but they can't make someone feel…they envision things and write things, but if you watch the show, you can see who feels it and who's uncomfortable. That goes with the growth of the business. It likes watching Allen Iverson or Michael Jordan do interviews; I still can't figure out why more guys don't want to be like Michael Jordan. I thought Iverson was real humble in an interview I just heard, but he's comfortable in his persona, and that's who he is.
IGN: Among the young guys in the company, who do you think the best chance of becoming the next Ric Flair?
Ric Flair: I hope nobody wrestles 35 years! If they do, they're healthy and do it for 35 years. The thing unique for me is my health, I feel great. I don't feel any different, I've lost a step, but the only issues I deal with are my own stuff. I think sometimes, I can't do what I used to do, but when I actually go and do things, I can.
IGN: Or things you've never done before, like Monday!
Ric Flair:…It's a long story, but I could be a lot better. It's funny, right now, I'm in the groove again now because I know I have to be. The last couple of years, for a couple of years in the 90's, I was out of the groove…you just have to be in there every night. You've just gotta get in that ring and go. Some of the greatest matches of my career, I didn't sleep the night before! If I could get that guy back, I wouldn't be worried about WrestleMania. I'd be good to go.
IGN: Is it true that you're going to be salsa dancing on television?
Ric Flair: That's just a rumor. That's just speculation.
IGN: What are your other plans for after retirement? Are you going to be writing any more books?
Ric Flair: I'm not thinking about retiring! I have a lot of opportunities going forward that happens, but right now, I'm thinking about being at RAW on the 31st in Orlando and not letting myself waver, I'm having emotional ups and downs, even for me, but I'm not thinking about retirement.
IGN: Final question: We have to know after all these years. What were those pictures of Miss Elizabeth that you kept teasing you had?
Ric Flair: I still have them! Just kidding -- I wish I did. Elizabeth was a wonderful woman.