Ric Flair's First Official Wrestling Match Kicked Off An Incredible 50-Year Career

On December 10, 2022, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of his first match in professional wrestling — a night one of the most iconic wrestlers of all time made a rather inauspicious debut.

Flair has unsurprisingly discussed his first-ever wrestling match at length, which saw him compete against George Gadaski in the American Wrestling Association (AWA). "[AWA boss] Verne Gagne looked at me and said, 'Go out there and wrestle [Gadaski] for 10 minutes,'" Flair said on his podcast "Wooooo Nation Uncensored." "I said, 'What are we going to do?' He said, 'Go out there and show me what you got.' Swear to God that's how I started and I was, I was, I was the heel ... [Gadaski] treated me great. He knew that I absolutely knew nothing and we just did like a headlock, takeover, arm drag, stuff like that and at the end of 10 minutes, I was blown sky high."

Flair may have been exhausted after only 10 minutes in his first wrestling match, but his endurance would most certainly improve. It was not uncommon for Flair to work 60-minute matches as his career progressed, with one his most famous ever being a 60-minute classic against frequent rival Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat.

Ric Flair's debut set the stage for an amazing career

As uneventful as Ric Flair's wrestling debut was, it set the stage for an amazing career that turned him into one of the most accomplished and famous wrestlers in history. Over his time in the ring, Flair cultivated a massive following of fans, despite the "Nature Boy" commonly playing a heel character in companies such as WWE, Impact Wrestling, and the now-defunct WCW.

Flair has the unique distinction of being the only wrestler in history to win 16 World Championships, and has been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on two separate occasions; the first induction coming in 2008 for his individual accomplishments and the second in 2012 as part of the Four Horsemen alongside Arn Anderson, Barry Windham, JJ Dillon, and Tully Blanchard. Along with the WWE Hall of Fame, in 2008, Flair was inducted into the NWA Hall of Fame as well.

Recently, Flair wrestled what was billed as his final match, teaming with Andrade El Idolo against Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal. However, he's since hinted that even more matches may be yet to come.