We’ve reached the Editor’s Award portion of the JMRA Hall of Fame. We honor one of the key figures for one of the most viewed posts ever on JMRA.
Ric Flair (Editor’s Award)
The Tale of Woo
“Hello young man, how are you?”
That’s how Mr. Flair greeted me when I met him in a New Jersey Walmart back in 2004.
He appeared to be some guy that got lost after being on vacation in the Caribbean for four weeks.
Appearing tan and far more imposing than how he looks on TV, Flair’s face sported one rather large blemish.
He was wearing over 30 years of battles with Dusty Rhodes, Wahoo McDaniel, Ricky Steamboat, Hulk Hogan, Terry Funk, and a host of others on his face.
Years of blading (cutting oneself with a blade to draw blood) during those battles with the aforementioned wrestlers left substantial discoloration toward the middle of his forehead.
He still appeared as if he could wrestle for another 15 years though when I saw him. However, seeing someone you idolized at nine-years-old on television and seeing them in-person at 24 is far different.
He was not that same guy anymore.
Rocky Balboa offered a rather succinct explanation of that concept during his impassioned plea to his soon-to-be-dead best friend Apollo Creed not to fight the younger and much stronger Ivan Drago in Rocky IV.
“You don’t want to believe this but that…that ain’t us up there no more Apollo. We can’t do it that the way we did it before. We’re changing. We’re like…turning into regular people.”
Eventually, Ric Flair has become a regular person in the ring too.
As a wrestler for TNA, he is slow, sloppy, balding, and pudgy, which serves as a rapidly depressing conclusion to one of the great figures in the history of the “sports-entertainment” field.
Now, I have a greater appreciation over why people were saddened by the last few fights of Muhammad Ali including his 1980 pummeling at the hands of Larry Holmes.
It never ends well for the great ones that stay too long.
No longer as cool as the other side of the pillow, Flair is now seen in TNA icing bros and chugging Smirnoff Ice.
My earliest memory of Flair came right around five years old. One of the old NWA television shows happened to show his entrance from Starrcade ’83.
He walked out in the darkened Greensboro Coliseum sporting a large light blue robe and became engulfed by smoke to further enhance his rock star-esque.
Not understanding any of this, I hid under the table at of my grandmother’s house because this entrance made him seem like he was an alien. I thought we were under attack.
That is how I want to remember Flair though; as an illuminating, awesome figure that entertained and at times, frightened me as a kid; not as a 62-year-old man trying to chug Smirnoff Ice with 20-year-old dudes.
Leave that to the regular people.
Moments of Flair:
1. The New King:
2. Flair & The Mannequin:
3. Flair Spits Hot Fire In Texas:
4. Man With The Golden Spoon:
5. I Am Better Than The System:
And…one more for the road.