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Ric Flair’s “30 For 30”: A Sad Story of a Lonely Man

Ric Flair’s “30 For 30”:  A Sad Story of a Lonely Man

Posted: Nov 12th 2017 By: Clearingouttheclutter.com

For the better part of the past 40 years, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair was, "The Stylin', profilin', limousine riding, jet-flying, kiss-stealing, wheelin' n' dealin' son of a gun!" The professional wrestling legend entertained audiences around the world. He wore fancy suits outside the ring that were matched by his outlandish in-ring robes. He cut promos explaining how he lived the life of the rich and famous every day (which included an endless number of beautiful women) and that he could do it because he was the best wrestler in the world. He made countless opponents look good in the ring in front of audiences who paid to see him get beat up. In the 1980's, Hulk Hogan was the cartoon character for kids, while Ric Flair was the guy bringing the sex and booze to the show. He was one of the best performers to ever step into the ring.

Behind all of that was a man named Richard Fleihr who was adopted as an infant by a Minnesota doctor and his wife following the loss of their daughter. Richard Fleihr paid a heavy price to become "Ric Flair," and that's the subject of ESPN's latest 30 for 30 documentary" "Nature Boy."

Nature Boy" starts off by discussing Flair's adoption and his strained relationship from his parents. Going by the film, it doesn't sound like they ever understood each other. Ric Flair is clearly a man who has low self-esteem (a subject which also repeatedly appears in his autobiography.) To play "armchair psychologist" for a minute, one has to wonder if this lack of a fundamental attachment from childhood is what created the gaping hole in Flair's psyche and fueled his never-ending need for attention.

Flair found an outlet for his need for the spotlight through professional wrestling. He was trained by Verne Gagne (longtime champion/promoter who was the father of Greg Gagne, Flair's college football teammate who also eventually became a wrestler.) Going by the film, the early Flair was a rather boring character in the ring. However, after surviving a plane crash in 1975 that left him with a broken back, he revamped his persona in the ring, and took the character of "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers to the next level, which is when his career took off. As time went on, there was no difference between man and wrestler.

Pro wrestling provided an opportunity for Flair to live the life of a rock star 24/7 as he fed off the energy of the audiences. He claims that he slept with about 10,000 women over his lifetime. It's easy to mock, and we're not saying we can prove it's true, but consider this: 10,000 over 40 years is only 250 women a year. Flair was easily on the road at least 250 nights a year (which we get to when talking about his family), and it's clear that he could never stand being alone, so that's one woman a night. As with everything re: pro wrestling, all claims should be taken with a grain of salt, but this isn't as outlandish as it might seem.

However, being on the road so much by definition means not being at home, and everyone will agree that Ric Flair was an absent father. There are clips in "Nature Boy" from his children, Megan, David, and Ashley (now known as "Charlotte Flair" in WWE.) They all make it clear that dad was nowhere to be found when they were growing up, and you can see and feel their anger and sadness when talking about it.

The most emotional part of "Nature Boy" is the discussion of Reid Fliehr, Ric's son, who died of a heroin overdose at age 25. Reid seemed to idolize his largely absentee father (who treated him more like a peer when he was around.) He got into the pro wrestling business to follow in his father's footsteps, but his life was cut short. Flair cries when talking about Reid's death, clearly overcome by the pain. Ashley talks about going into wrestling because it was Reid's dream, and Ric discusses his overwhelming pride in her success. It feels like "Nature Boy" wants this to be a positive segment, but given the family dynamics involved, one might wish Ashely could find her own happiness in another field.

Flair talks about drinking 10 bears and five mixed drinks a night, every night, for decades. Whether that's an exaggeration or not, you can see on his face that the man has been living on the edge for his entire adult life. One would think that would come back to bite him in the ass, and it did earlier this year, when he was in a crisis that involved doctors temporarily putting him into a medically induced coma. It's odd that this part of the story is told by director Rory Karpf while coming out of a commercial break, instead of at the end of the film.

Near the end, Flair is asked what he'd like his legacy to be. He knows he can't ask to be remembered as a good husband or a good father, so he hopes he'll be seen as the greatest pro wrestler of all time. He sees no other lens by which he can be viewed. Given that his recent health problems have made it pretty clear he'll never be back in the wrestling ring again, one hopes that he can find some opportunity to finally try life as Richard Fleihr, but it doesn't seem likely. The parallels between Flair and Mickey Rourke's character in The Wrestler are overwhelming. "Nature Boy" is the sad story of a lonely man who doesn't know any other way to live.

 

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Spotlight in History

  • 1997 Rocco Valentino def. Jimmy Kane for the OPW Oklahoma Heavyweight Champion
  • 2003 Ian St. James & Renegade def. Northern Threat (Luc Lapointe & Dexter Hardaway) for the SRPW Tag Team Champions
  • 2003 Brian Lakewood & Butch Dalton def. The Heatseekers (Rick Styles & Karl Davis) for the TPW Tag Team Champions
  • 2003 Deuce Rodriguez def. Outcast for the TPW Light Heavyweight Champion
  • 2003 Poo Bear became the TPW Hardcore Champion
  • 2003 Luc Lapointe def. Big Daddy Moore for the SRPW Hardcore Champion
  • 2003 John O'Malley def. Luc Lapointe for the SRPW Hardcore Champion
  • 2008 Legion 13 (Dutch Hagen & Jesus Rodriguez) def. The Gentlemen Thugs (Cast-Iron Cothern & Shane Morbid) for the ComPro Tag Team Champions
  • 2014 Diamond became the SRPW United States Champion
  • 2014 The Old School Studs (Randy Price & Gary Tool) def. Jermaine Johnson & Double D for the IZW Tag Team Champions

Week of Sun 11-19 to Sat: 11-25

  • 11-19 2002 John O'Malley & Jef Tiger def. The Professionals (John Zorthos & Julian Wolfenbarger) for the ACW Tag Team Champions
  • 11-19 2004 Dexter Hardaway def. Cade Sydal for the SRPW Light Heavyweight Champion
  • 11-19 2004 Bobby Dalton def. Beau Dalton for the SRPW Hardcore Champion
  • 11-19 2004 The Old School Assassins (Jimmy Cruize & Viper) def. The Real Impact Players (Aaron Neil & Se7en) for the MSWA Mid-South Tag Team Champion
  • 11-19 2005 The Old School Assassins (Dexter Hardaway & Brad Michaels) def. Impact Inc. (John Zorthos & Bernie Donderwitz) for the IZW Tag Team Champions
  • 11-19 2005 Romero Contreras def. Anthony Jackson for the TPW Oklahoma Heavyweight Champion
  • 11-19 2005 Jon Davis def. Romero Contreras for the TPW Heavyweight Champion
  • 11-19 2016 Nemesis (Rage Logan & Damien Morte) became the IZW Tag Team Champions
  • 11-19 2016 Erica became the IZW Womens Champion
  • 11-19 2016 Randy Price became the IZW Impact Division Champion
  • 11-19 2016 Aaron Neil became the IZW Heavyweight Champion
  • 11-20 2004 Sonny C def. Beau Dalton for the TPW Heavyweight Champion
  • 11-20 2010 Michael H became the NCW Heavyweight Champion
  • 11-20 2010 Noah Terrella & The Superstar became the ACW Tag Team Champions
  • 11-20 2011 BMG (D Money & K-Ro & Montego Seeka) became the UWF06 Tag Team Champions
  • 11-20 2011 Drake Gallows became the SWCW All-American Champion
  • 11-20 2011 Les Mayne def. Se7en for the SWCW Hardcore Champion
  • 11-20 2011 John E. Stone def. Les Mayne for the SWCW Hardcore Champion
  • 11-20 2015 The Rising (Riker & Abel) def. The Pen Palz (Skyler Fayden & Dimitri Alexandrov) for the SRPW Tag Team Champions
  • 11-21 1966 Joe Blanchard def. Fritz Von Erich for the WCCW Texas Heavyweight Champion
  • 11-21 1969 The Medics (Medic 1 & Medic 2) def. Skandar Akbar & Danny Hodge for the TSW United States Tag Team Champion
  • 11-21 1998 The Sin City Assassins (Vito Casanova & Jack O'Toole) def. The VIP Crew (Rocco Valentino & Vinnie Valentino) for the OPW Oklahoma Tag Team Champion
  • 11-21 2009 Maniac Mike def. Chris Chaos for the BYEW Caution Champion
  • 11-21 2015 Kareem Sadat became the EmpCW Independent Hardcore Champion
  • 11-22 1997 Rocco Valentino def. Jimmy Kane for the OPW Oklahoma Heavyweight Champion
  • 11-22 2003 Ian St. James & Renegade def. Northern Threat (Luc Lapointe & Dexter Hardaway) for the SRPW Tag Team Champions
  • 11-22 2003 Brian Lakewood & Butch Dalton def. The Heatseekers (Rick Styles & Karl Davis) for the TPW Tag Team Champions
  • 11-22 2003 Deuce Rodriguez def. Outcast for the TPW Light Heavyweight Champion
  • 11-22 2003 Poo Bear became the TPW Hardcore Champion
  • 11-22 2003 Luc Lapointe def. Big Daddy Moore for the SRPW Hardcore Champion
  • 11-22 2003 John O'Malley def. Luc Lapointe for the SRPW Hardcore Champion
  • 11-22 2008 Legion 13 (Dutch Hagen & Jesus Rodriguez) def. The Gentlemen Thugs (Cast-Iron Cothern & Shane Morbid) for the ComPro Tag Team Champions
  • 11-22 2014 Diamond became the SRPW United States Champion
  • 11-22 2014 The Old School Studs (Randy Price & Gary Tool) def. Jermaine Johnson & Double D for the IZW Tag Team Champions
  • 11-23 1956 El Medico def. Bull Curry for the WCCW Texas Brass Knuckles Champion
  • 11-23 1976 The Brute became the TSW North American Champion
  • 11-23 2003 Tyler Bateman def. Outcast for the ACW Hardcore Champion
  • 11-23 2003 Outcast def. Tyler Bateman for the ACW Hardcore Champion
  • 11-24 1979 The Fabulous Freebirds (Terry Gordy & Michael Hayes) def. Bill Watts & Buck Robley for the MSW Mid-South Tag Team Champion
  • 11-24 1983 Chris Adams def. Jimmy Garvin for the WCCW American Heavyweight Champion
  • 11-24 1988 Jeff Jarrett def. Eric Embry for the WCCW World Light Heavyweight Champion
  • 11-24 2009 Texas Outlaws, Inc. (Tim Rockwell & Bobby Burns & J. W. Hardin) became the TAP Tag Team Champions
  • 11-24 2012 Big Business (Kevin Morgan & Damon Windsor) def. The Old School Suckas (Randy Price & Bryan Cruize) for the IZW Tag Team Champions
  • 11-24 2012 The K. C. Wolves (Graham Bell & Luke Langley) def. Jake O'Brien for the SRPW Tag Team Champions
  • 11-25 1982 Stagger Lee def. Ted DiBiase for the MSW North American Heavyweight Champion
  • 11-25 1987 The Von Erichs (Kerry Von Erich & Kevin Von Erich) def. Frankie Lancaster & Brian Adias for the WCCW World Tag Team Champion
  • 11-25 1987 Shaun Simpson def. Eric Embry for the WCCW World Light Heavyweight Champion
  • 11-25 2000 Joey Casanova def. Grenade for the OPW Oklahoma Light Heavyweight Champion
  • 11-25 2015 Richie Adams def. Wade Argento for the ComPro Showtime Champion
11-22
  • Ed Ferrara Nov 22nd Today!
  • Kooter Daniels Nov 22nd Today!
  • Crazy Horse Nov 22nd Today!
  • Grunt Nov 23rd
  • Selena Nov 23rd
  • Beth Phoenix Nov 24th
  • Javi Hernandez Nov 24th
  • Angel Williams Nov 24th
  • Jack Donovan Nov 24th
  • Wade Argento Nov 24th
  • Dominator Nov 26th
  • Brian Lee Nov 26th
  • Jeff Jackson Nov 26th
  • Jimmy Youngblood Nov 27th
  • Johnny Mantell Nov 27th
  • Mr. B Nov 27th
  • Brent Albright Nov 28th
  • Dane Griffin Nov 28th
  • Urn Stokes Nov 28th
  • Ernie Ladd Nov 28th
  • Dutch Mantell Nov 29th
  • Shae Connelly Nov 29th
  • Jerry Lawler Nov 29th
  • J. D. Nov 29th
  • Damien Morte Nov 30th
  • Boris Saarikoski Nov 30th
  • Michael H Dec 1st
  • Jason Jones Dec 1st
  • Dave Sullivan Dec 1st
  • Klondike Bill Dec 1st
  • Karl Davis Dec 1st
  • Gypsy Joe Dec 2nd
  • Slam Shady Dec 2nd
  • Terry Latham Dec 2nd
  • Buck Moore Dec 2nd
  • Jonah Turk Dec 3rd
  • Steve Simpson Dec 3rd
  • Ray Candy Dec 4th
  • Duke Swellington Dec 4th
  • Martin Justice Dec 4th
  • Shane Sanchez Dec 4th
  • Christopher Fox Dec 5th
  • Adrian Street Dec 5th
  • Kelly Kiniski Dec 5th
  • Chris Tolos Dec 5th
  • Larry Zbyszko Dec 5th

More Look Back In History