Wrestling Inc’s Raj Giri caught up with WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair on The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast to not only talk about this year’s SummerSlam but also the first SummerSlam. Back in 1988, the plan was for Flair to come in from WCW to WWF at the time to take on Randy Savage. However, Flair backed out, and he explained why he did on The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast.
“All right up to where I had a couple days to make up my mind. When it came right down to it, I just couldn’t give myself to leave,” Flair admitted. “Here’s my problem, we’re going to talk about stuff that has effected my life. The thing with the Crockett’s and me being so close to Jimmy, this is right before the sale, I could see things falling apart, but I was so attached to Arn, Tully, Barry and Jay that even though I saw things falling apart a little bit with Jimmy opening an office in Dallas, and their talking about making movies, anybody could do the math.
“We weren’t drawing west of the Mississippi like we did when we first went out there because the saturation with TBS at that time wasn’t nearly like it is now. If we had stayed east of Chicago, then they still might be in business. I could see the problems, but I just couldn’t get myself to leave my friends. It’s not that I didn’t have friends up there because you know DiBiase and all those guys were there.
“I was friends with all of them, but The Four Horsemen thing was just something that was so unique, and the fact that it’s still held in such high regard today, you had to be there during that time frame. We were The Beatles and then to be there with the Road Warriors and Lex [Luger] and Sting and Dusty. It was a lot for me to decide, and I probably cost myself a fortune by staying, but I look back at it now and here I am talking to you today.”
With the main event of Flair vs. Savage close to happening, one would wonder if Vince McMahon and WWE had the finish planned out ahead of time. However, Flair revealed on the podcast that he had never discussed anything with McMahon in terms of creative.
“No, let me tell you something about Vince. We never even discussed creative, and I wouldn’t have worried about it,” Flair revealed. “I mean win, lose or draw I don’t care. I just want to have a good match. That never came up at all and just like it didn’t when I finally did go in. There was no promises. I didn’t say, well, do I get to wrestle Hogan?’ I just said, ‘can I be here?’ And he looked at me and said, ‘look it, I don’t want you to do anything. We all know who you are. We all know how much money they have. I’d rather have you not show people how much fun you can have, conduct yourself the way you should at all times and I’m going to sign Earl Hebner to take care of you.'”
Many former WCW wrestlers that have worked under former Executive Vice President Jim Herd have not had too many nice things to say about him. Fellow Four Horseman Arn Anderson has criticized Herd for not knowing anything about wrestling, and Flair detailed why he left WCW and his issues with Herd.
“Here’s the thing, and I’m glad we’re getting the chance to clarify this, I was in Daytona Beach, and he had promised me a new contract for a month,” Flair recalled. “He called me out and said da da da da. He talked to me as we all talk to each other as men sometimes. He didn’t talk to me as a boss. Vince McMahon would never talk to me like that. I left my family in Daytona. I said I’ll fly home, get my stuff and fly to Columbus, GA and drop the belt to Barry. Let’s do it, but I said I’m not going to work a PPV, doesn’t matter who it is, until you give me my contract which you promised me and kept promising me, and he said, ‘you’ll do what I tell you to do.’ I said no, I won’t. I’m giving you what I will do, what I won’t do.
“I’ll just quit. He said, ‘well, I’ll send someone over to get the belt.’ I said you probably won’t understand this because of your lack of knowledge, but we put up a deposit of $25,000 for the belt. I’ve never gotten back since Crockett took it over basically, and you owe me 25 grand plus interest over 10 years. ‘F you. F you.’ And I said really? I realized I was standing up Barry. I was standing up Lex, but at that point in time, I had never been exposed to politics. I’ve been exposed to people having to vote for the championship, but that wasn’t me calling him on the phone lobbying.
“I just knew that the Von Erichs, the Funks, Eddie Graham, Carlos Colon, Sam Muchnick [and] Jim Barnett, I worked hard for them. I didn’t have to get on the phone and lobby. For this guy to talk to me like that, I had to go home. I already cut my hair. What more do you want me to do, which almost killed me. So I bent into that, but I just drew the line, and I called Vince. And he goes, ‘oh God. Are you going to to come this time?’ I said I’m not only gonna come, but I got the belt, and he said, ‘no.’ I said, yeah. He said, ‘well, mail it to me.’ I did. Then I waited a couple weeks, and I went.”
While working under Herd, Flair cut his hair to undergo a new gimmick change as he was loyal to his friends in the company. He revealed that before joining WWE in 1991, McMahon told him that he could have time to grow his hair back.
“Yes, he said, ‘I want Ric Flair’s best,’ but I said, ‘well can’t grow back right away,’ and it never got back to where it was,” Flair revealed. “There was no guarantees then. He said, ‘I’ll shake your hand. You’re going to make more.’ The joke is, ‘well, do I get a guaranteed contract?’ He said, ‘no, I’ll give you the opportunity,’ and that’s what he’s done.”
Flair later stated on the podcast how grateful he was to sign back with WWE in 2001. He talked about where his legacy was at after his time in WCW with Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo.
“I’m just thankful that I got another shot when they brought me back in 2001 because my legacy and my career would be long far gone from what it is today,” Flair expressed. “After the Bischoff, Russo stuff [and] shaving my head, they were just intense.”
Flair’s full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily, which you can check out below. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here.