Of all wrestlers, Ric Flair struggled with a lack of confidence upon joining WWE in 2001. He mentioned on his 30 for 30 that his WrestleMania match against the Undertaker helped restore his confidence after the sour ending of WCW.
Flair discussed how he needed a pick-me-up back then when he joined The Wrestling Inc Daily podcast.
“Oh my God; you have no idea. I can’t put it into words. You know, the dressing room was a long ways from where everybody was and my go-to guy for a pat on the back was Hunter and he was on the other side of the building [laughs],” Flair said of WrestleMania X8. “Trust me, long before he was saying to Taker, ‘You know who the F you are, right?’ He would say that to me long before Taker. I texted him, ‘You’re not the only guy he said that too.’
“So, it was in Toronto at the dome and I couldn’t run over there on the way to Gorilla. So, I said to hell with it. If you’re gonna make a fool out of yourself, you’re gonna do it in front of a big crowd [laughs].”
Flair also recalled getting some advice from The Great One himself regarding his match with the Undertaker.
“I can remember The Rock walked over to me. He’s getting ready to go to the ring with Hogan for what was a phenomenal part of our history and he goes over to me and he said, ‘I heard you’re taking a big bump tonight. Be careful out there.’ I went, ‘Ok. Did you just say that to me? You’re in the main event.’ Like I’m going to take a Superplex but I mean, I appreciate it. It’s funny how things catch you off guard, right,” said Flair.
“Here’s The Rock. You got 60,000 people turning away at the door and he’s going, ‘I heard you’re gonna take a big bump out there. Take it easy.’ [Laughs] Okay. Thanks Rock. Get me in one of your movies [laughs].”
Flair and Undertaker battled it out in a no-disqualification match that was actually the longest match on the WrestleMania X8 card. Undertaker won to push his streak to 10 wins and Flair recalled the match.
“You heard all these things about having a wrestling match with Taker? That’s so far off, you know what I mean? Taker is the all-time Phenom and my job out there is just to make him look like who he is,” stated Flair.
“If he goes to his knees, then I’m lucky. He’s my size. Then I can punch him or chop him two times. But the idea of doing anything with, that ? in my estimation ? is not what people pay to see. They pay to see him kick ass. Suplexing him or taking him over in a headlock ? really? Come on. We’re past that when the lights go out when he comes in.
“So, that’s just my opinion. But I’ve wrestled a lot of big guys and that seems to be the theme and to be that great an athlete at that size, and jump over the top rope and all that? And FYI, if he’s diving over the top rope ladies and gentlemen, nobody else needs to? Try and leave that off your resume please.”
Flair had many WrestleMania matches counting his first stint with the company in the early 1990s to his second stint in the 2000s. But he says that he never had a great performance at WrestleMania when asked what his favorite Mania match was.
“No, I don’t think I had a good Mania match. Nothing that Ric Flair could deliver on. I think I could have been really good with Randy [Savage] but he was so preoccupied,” Flair said of his match vs. Savage at WrestleMania VIII. “That was the last time he and Liz were together. That day was the last time they were together ? they went their separate ways. They weren’t living together at that time. I’m not 100 percent sure on what the exact living conditions were but, to my knowledge, they weren’t together and Randy was so upset. We got through it and it was okay. But I would never want to be remembered for that match by any means.”
The match Flair is remembered for is his WrestleMania XXIV retirement match against Shawn Michaels. He talked about that and why it wasn’t as good as he thought it should have been.
“Well, that would be my favorite with Shawn, of course. But, once again, I had no self-confidence going into that ring and he made it so easy for me. But once again, I walked out of that ring saying to myself, ‘Why couldn’t I have been me for just 30 minutes?’ I don’t have any aches or pains. I already know that I’m a cosmetic nightmare walking in, so that’s on your mind.
“But to be so preoccupied with not being good that you forget something that you normally do ? I wasn’t in it. Afterwards I was great. I had a couple of beers and I was Ric Flair. But it’s one of those things that’s impossible to explain and I’ve tried a thousand times. Until you’ve felt that that sensation of a lack of self-confidence? Right now, Wendy’s sitting with me and Wendy talks to me like Hunter used to. ‘You need to know who you are?’ But if I had had someone with the approach that Wendy has with me, you know, where I was happy and content and in love and that was one side of my life I could lean on rather than trying to be Ric Flair all the time, I would have been so much better for so much longer.”
Flair notoriously went through some scary health issues a couple of years ago and he talked about how he’s holding up today.
“I don’t have hip issues but I knock on wood every time I have this conversation,” said Flair. “We were in Alabama and I was seeing a heart surgeon. He said, ‘You’re better than new.’ You wanna know what the heart surgeon said to me? ‘You wanna go have a beer?’ I said I’ve gotta go home. I thought he was kidding but he was serious [laughs].
“Breaking news: he put me on Cialis today for my heart [laughs]. This was two months ago he put me on it and the pressure in my heart that would be considered bad is better [laughs]. So, one Cialis a today keeps The Nature Boy and Wendy on the carpet to matrimony. She’s going to Wyoming to see Old Faithful and she lives with Old Faithful [laughs]. What heart doctor puts you on Cialis? Are you kidding me? Wendy can’t leave me now. Wendy Barlow, are you in the house?”
You can get your official Ric Flair merchandise at www.RicFlairShop.com. Flair’s full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here.