Ric Flair is regarded as the greatest professional wrestler of all time by many and his two WWE Hall Of Fame rings can support that belief. He survived a devastating illness last summer which caused a portion of his bowels to be removed during an emergency surgery less than a week before SummerSlam. At this point in his life, Flair is enjoying his popularity more than ever as he looks toward the future with a renewed vigor.
As part of his recovery, Flair needed to give up alcohol which he said wasn't a problem at all, now he can focus on the next chapter in his life. Wrestling Inc. President Raj Giri spoke to The Nature Boy on the one-year anniversary of his life-saving surgery where Flair discussed giving up alcohol and how it was an easy decision to comply with his doctor's orders.
"You know, not at all," Flair replied when asked if it was difficult changing his lifestyle. "I only had to go through that one time. I had the doctor tell me when I got out that it wouldn't work. I'm not the smartest guy in the world but if they're blaming that on alcohol then I don't need to have alcohol again.
"He told me I can drink now at weddings or something like champagne or a beer or something because my bloodwork and everything is back up like nothing ever happened, but I'm not gonna push that. It's not because I think if I have one I'll have two, I don't need it.
"I went through whatever I went through which I guess was from the DDTs or they call them the DT's. People thought that I lost my mind."
Flair recovered from a medical emergency where doctors gave him a 20% chance of survival. He is happy to get another lease on life, although the effects of his crisis lasted for months after his initial hospitalization.
"They did twenty-one brain scans on me because it wasn't working," Flair said. "Finally the guy said, 'he's a little strange when he's normal' -- ya think?
"The second operation, it took eight days to kick in. I almost gave up because it's not 100% chance that it's gonna work and it's a high-risk operation for infection and stuff like that and then they have to go back and open you up again and re-attach so. The doctor kept coming in and hurting my stomach -- pushing on me to see if I was sore -- but the eighth day it started to work.
"I knock on wood every day and say my prayers and you know the difference now is I've been raised to say my prayers my whole life. The problem is I would say them and ask for forgiveness and pretty much turn around and do it again the same day. Does that make sense? Yeah it's a strange thought process but it's not that I had no conscience, I lived like as I wanted to do, there was no responsibility."
Flair has become a hero in many communities as his character is still relevant in pop culture. Songs like Ric Flair Drip and using his entrance music at sporting events keeps his name in the public eye which is incredibly helpful. The Nature Boy's list of friends includes platinum-selling recording artists along with athletes and other celebrities which only adds to his name's value.
"I did talk to Snoop Dogg on Saturday," Flair revealed. "I love those guys, the rap music, I feel like I'm part of the culture. I was with a bunch of the guys at the soccer match, Waka Flaka, and Ludacris, and Big Mike and Lil Wayne was there. You know it was like we're all brothers, and of course, Offset, he's like my son. I got so close to him and Cardi B, she's a fabulous person... you know they've got some stuff going on right now but they'll work it out."
Flair is enjoying his sobriety and looking forward to what life brings him next. He hopes to live for another decade at least as he continues to stay busy. His goal is for people to remember his renewed outlook on life rather than some of the demons from his past, even though he made a special point to discredit a lot of Flair folklore out there.
"Gosh, I hope I get that," Flair responded when asked about his goals for the next ten years. "I hope people will judge me for the next ten years or however long I'm around rather than -- let's just let the 80's go, please.
"I mean, I love what the 80's did for my career -- my resurgence -- thank you to the [WWE] Network and thank you to YouTube and all that, but you know there's gotta to be a time when you draw the line. I'm not talking about the positive aspect of it, I'm talking about the negative, you know what I mean?
"Because half the stories and the things you hear, you know they're not accurate, they're embellished. I mean everybody in the world, and I'm sure you've heard this, has a Ric Flair story. Well, not everybody in the world can have one. I got more cousins, brothers, sisters, aunts than anybody alive and I'm an only child."
Flair's fiance Wendy Barlow was there for the 16-time World Champion during his time of need. She took responsibility for Flair's care and her own children while he recuperated, learning essential medical techniques and information in the process. Through it all, Flair revealed Barlow was imperative to his recovery as he struggled to become healthy once again.
"Wendy literally became a nurse," Flair recalled. "We had someone here full-time and it wasn't working out so [Wendy] went over to the hospital and worked with a nurse and Wendy became a nurse. So on top of taking of four kids, she's down there taking care of me. "
You can listen to the full interview with Flair in the video above.