Wrestling: Ric Flair

"If wrestling can be considered an art form, then [Ric Flair] is using oils, and the many others merely water colors."
Jim Ross, Starrcade 1988

The Nature Boy. Slick Ric. The Dirtiest Player in the Game. Naitch. The sixteen-time World Heavyweight Champion, and a limousine-ridin', jet-flyin', wheelin' dealin' kiss-stealin'WOOOOO! — SON-OF-A-GUN!

In the realm of Professional Wrestling, there are superstars, there are legends... and then there's Ric Flair. With a career spanning four decades (starting in 1972), 22 World Heavyweight Title reigns (10 NWA, 8 WCW, 2 WWE and 2 "WCW International" World Heavyweight), legendary matches and feuds with some of the biggest names in the business, and a retirement sendoff that will likely never be duplicated in either scope or emotional impact on the fans, Flair (real name Richard Morgan Fliehr, born 1949) is one of the most famous professional wrestlers who has ever lived, and is arguably one of the three biggest performers in the history of the industry (the other two being Hulk Hogan and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin).

Trained by Verne Gagne, he began life as Ramblin' Ricky Rhodes, a vanilla strongman and (kayfabe) cousin of Dusty Rhodes. When that didn't catch on, he lost weight and became Ric Flair, cousin to Arn & Ole Anderson and leader of The Four Horsemen. In 1978, he earned his nickname by beating the Golden Age "Nature Boy", Buddy Rogers, in the ring.note  With his Liberace robes, infectious voice (think Dustin Hoffman on amphetamines), and...how to put this? "Animated" promos, Ric's star was on the rise, becoming one of the industry's most demented —and endearing—heel wrestlers.

While still identified with WWE, most of his memorable matches took place in NWA and WCW, particularly his rivalries with Dusty and Sting. Later, when Hogan turned heel and joined the New World Order, Flair and his Horsemen saw the light and became good guys—and a chief impediment to the nWo. Being as the nWo were pushed for five straight years, this didn't work out so well for him. Nevertheless, Flair remained a headliner until the company shuttered its doors in 2001. Sting agreed to one last dance for the final broadcast.

Afterward, Flair continued to bounce between the independent circuit and various promotions, often times in the ring (reforming his old posse with Evolution and Fortune), but mostly as an authority figure. Despite many accomplishments in WWE and his stated intention to close out his career there, Flair's contract finally expired in 2009 (apparently he was a little too animated for today's scripted WWE) and he migrated to TNA; but within a year he'd had a bellyful and returned to WWE, thus fulfilling his wish.

For an in-depth look at his career, go check the article on him at That Other Wiki.

"Whether you like them or whether you don't, learn to love 'em, because they're the best tropes going today. Woo!":

  • 10-Minute Retirement
    • On and off following his "retirement" match with Shawn Michaels. While he obeyed the letter of the law (very Nature Boy, this) by declining another match in America, he wrestled against Hulk Hogan during the latter's 2009 tour of Australia. Then he signed with TNA, and while this naturally put a damper on his Tearjerker of a sendoff at WrestleMania 24 (putting off both longtime fans and newcomers to Impact), he definitely showed everyone that he's still got what it takes to work the crowd, if not the match.
    • He has apparently retired for real as of late 2012, citing the heart attack suffered by Jerry Lawler a few months earlier as driving home the dangers of even a physically fit man of his age continuing to subject himself to the rigors of the ring. (Cue sighs of relief from his family, to say nothing of the internet.) Nowadays Flair is settling into the role of statesman.
  • Answers to the Name of God:
    • In TNA, he literally thinks that he is a wrestling form of God. Not a god. God.
    • He was very nearly voted TIME magazine's Man of the Century in a stuffed ballot in 1999. By the time the editor finally caught on, he was trailing in second place just behind Jesus Christ. The Flair marks also rigged the People Magazine "Most Beautiful People" poll.
  • Appropriated Appellation:
    • At an NWA TV taping in 1986, Flair, Ole, and Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, and manager JJ Dillon were placed in an impromptu interview spot together due to time constraints. The four wrestlers had been working as something akin to a stable before this, but then Arn said "The only time this much havoc had been wreaked by this few a number of people, you need to go all the way back to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse!" during the interview; just weeks later, fans were carrying "Four Horsemen" signs to NWA events. The name stuck, and the Four Horsemen went on to become arguably the most successful and powerful stable in pro wrestling (until the New World Order came along).
    • WWE would try and duplicate this with Evolution and the Authority but neither ever took off with the fans, so they had to start telling them what the groups were called.
    • The widespread "Woos" after using one of Flair's moves. It began as a form of mockery by Shane Douglas, who derided Flair and the other NWA alums (of which Shane was one) as dinosaurs; but it became an endearing Shout-Out, and is guaranteed to be heard whenever a wrestler chops an opponent in the corner.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Quite a few, but his most memorable opponents were Dusty Rhodes (the common man to his "Golden Spoon"), Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, Sting, Terry Funk, Lex Luger, "The Franchise" Shane Douglas, Eric Bischoff, Mick Foley, and, of course, Hulk Hogan.
    • Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes had many great feuds that defined their characters, right down to their purported favorite Basketball teams. Ric (dropping the "K" from his name, a chic and stylish spelling) represents the high life many wish they could live. Ric is a fan of the LA Lakers. The Lakers were (and still are) the team of the beautiful people, with players named "Magic" and A-List celebrities attending each game. On to Dusty Rhodes, the son of a plumber and the American Dream. Dusty is the common working man who knows "hard times". Even his name conjures images of the dust bowl from The Grapes of Wraith. And whose jacket did he wear? The Boston Celtics, whose star was nicknamed the "Hick from French Lick." And since the majority of their feud was in the 80's, it provided a great mirror of Wall Street vs. Main Street with the rise of yuppie culture.
    • Flair sparked the little "war" between himself and Foley by taking a potshot at garbage wrestlers; Mick let him have it in his bestselling book, The Hardcore Diaries. This went back and forth for a while, and they are now friends.
    • ECW's first mainstay champion was Shane Douglas, a man who, for no discernible reason (Shane claims that one time he asked Ric what he thought of his match, and Ric said "keep doing what you're doing", and it turned out Ric hadn't actually watched the match), publicly blasted Flair every chance he got.
    • Ric Flair was absolutely buried when Bischoff and the NWO took over WCW, to the point where Flair successfully sued TNT for defamation. He had previously helped install Bischoff as Vice-President and scouted Hulk Hogan (and later Randy Savage) on behalf of WCW, and what was his reward? a) receiving a tenth of the pay Hogan did, b) jobbing to both Hogan and Savage multiple times, and c) being openly ridiculed by Nash and Bischoff, both backstage and on television. The pair reunited on Impact as the brain trusts behind Immortal and Fortune — and time had not healed all wounds.
  • Artifact Title: Buddy Rogers was given the nickname "Nature Boy" by a colorful promoter named Jack Pfefer. It didn't really "mean" anything: Pfefer liked the idea of combining theater with pro wrestling to make it more entertaining, hence Pfefer's penchant for giving his performers weird gimmicks and catchy names. Long story short, Pfefer heard the song "Nature Boy" on the radio in the late 1940's, liked the name and gave it to Buddy Rogers. Rogers bore a resemblance to Johnny Weissmuller who played Tarzan in the films at that time. (See also The Fabulous Moolah, another Pfefer client.) Tarzan being a "Nature Boy", Rogers adopted the name and it took off from there.
    Stone Cold: I'm assuming it's because they either like nature, or they like boys.
  • Badass Grandpa:
    • As AJ Styles intimated, Ric Flair may be older than him but acts younger. He would talk about Flair going to bed later than him, getting up earlier, partying all night and still finding time for the gym while on the road.
    • It's hard to remember, what with his leaps from the top rope always failing, but one of Ric Flair's quirks when he was NWA World Champion was to flip over the top rope to the apron after being Irish Whipped. In some ways he displayed more agility when he was older, such as adding a roll to his jumping knee drop after connecting.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: He really loved his suits. They cost more than most people make in a year, you know. Also, this was "Evolution's" gimmick in a nutshell: They gang up on people and they wear suits.
  • Badass Normal: Unlike some of his most famous opponents, he didn't possess super-strength (Luger, Sting, Hogan) or fly off the top much (Steamboat, Sting.) He instead was just the greatest wrestler of his era.
  • Bash Brothers: Greg Valentine, Blackjack Mulligan, Arn Anderson, Sting
  • Berserk Button:
  • Bittersweet Ending
  • Blasphemous Boast: One of his catchphrases below.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: For most of his career, Flair dyed his hair blond while using villainous tactics. Any resemblance to Geese Howard is coincidental.
  • Blood Is the New Black:
    • Whole hospital refrigerators could be filled with the bags of blood Ric Flair has bled over the course of his career. One of the most common images of him is with his hair dyed solid red and his face a red mask.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Flair would often telegraph his figure-four leglock by exclaiming, "Now, we go to school!" Some of his best opponents, such as Bret Hart, were Genre Savvy enough to reverse when he did that, though.
  • Captain Ersatz: On the handheld console additions of Fire Pro Wrestling
  • Casualty in the Ring: According to popular opinion, and apparently his own desire, his most likely ultimate fate. He can't run a business and his attempts to invest money resulted in him getting swindled. So if he wants to live, he's gotta sing for his supper.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • A ton. Being in the business for four decades tends to allow you that luxury. Among his most famous:
    • "To be the man (WOOO!), you gotta beat the man!"
    • "Time to go to school!" (usually just prior to whooping somebody's ass)
    • "What's 'CAUSin' all o' this?"
    • "Fat boy!"
    • "...limousine-riding, jet-flying, stylin', profilin', whiskey drinking, wheelin' dealin' kiss-stealin' son of a gun!"
    • "You gotta....WALK THAT AISLE"
    • "The BIGGEST house, on the BIGGEST hill, on the BIGGEST side o' town...!"
    • "Time to ride Space Mountain!"
      • "It may be the oldest ride in the park, but it still has the longest line!"
      Urban Dictionary: Space Mountain is good because it is in the dark, has head choppers as well as cool effects.
    • "I am GOD!"
  • The Chew Toy:
    • Being the Champ so much, and primarily a heel who went out of his way to make people hate him, inevitably led to having a LOT of guys lining up to beat up Flair. In Inside Wrestling's "100 Greatest Wrestlers of the Century" special issue from Summer 2000, the photos for Jerry Lawler, Lex Luger, Roddy Piper, Ricky Steamboat and Sting are all of them battling Flair. Sting and Luger are also included in the "Best of the 1990s" special color section, and the photos for them are also of them beating on Flair. The photo for Flair is of him about to chop Rick Steiner, who, as per his usual for many of his opponents, doesn't look too interested in selling it.
    • There is nothing Ric Flair will not do to put over his opponents. Unscrupulous bookers at WCW/TNA would often take advantage of this:
      1. Wearing a polka dot dress and rouge to ambush Hogan,
      2. Dancing the Fargo Strut in a mental hospital...while Also Sprach Zarathustra spews from a broken radio
      3. Kissing Dusty's ass (read: mule)
  • Chick Magnet:
    • His entourage. He's famous for his ability to draw women for years and years.
    • In his younger days, Flair's trash talk would invariably end in promises to "take your momma for a ride on Space Mountain, fat boy! WOOOOOOOOO!"
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder:
    Scott Steiner: Mean, WOO, Gene! I'm a limo riding, jet flying, backstabbing son of a bitch!note 
    • Flair turned on Sting more times than almost humanly possible. He turned on Vader, Mr. Perfect, Randy Orton, Batista, and even turned on fellow Horsemen Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko, in a way, with his David-centric behavior. Perhaps the most triumphant example of this trope, though, was during the 1992 Royal Rumble, when he gave The Barbarian a high-five, circled around in front of him and immediately gave him a knife-edge chop. Raised to funny by commentator Bobby Heenan, who had previously managed Barbarian, pleading with Ric not to turn on Barbarian.
    • Also, Fourtune. He formed them specifically to be his future expy of the Horsemen motivated by taking back prominence in the company they helped build, but then as soon as that purpose turned them against Hulk Hogan's blatant new-generation nWo ripoff, he would show that for him it's all about the power.
  • Cloudcuckoolander
    • Most of Ric Flair's promos sometimes gave off this vibe. But really, anybody who calls himself God in dead seriousness is probably an example.
      Wrestle! Wrestle!: You think a second of the Nature Boy was fucking scripted? Hell no. Nowadays? Still no! I think if they handed Ric Flair a script, he would tear it in half and elbow drop it.
    • One of Nitro's more eccentric commentators, Mongo McMichaels, liked to carry his little Chihuahua Pepe to matches. When Pepe started yapping at Flair, what he did he do? SNARLED RIGHT BACK.
    • He once yelled at Piper that he was the President of the United States. (He meant he was President of WCW.) He also began decorating his office with a Presidential Seal and War Room phone.
    • President Ric Flair was this overall.
  • The Coats Are Off:
    • When Ric Flair whips his jacket off, that's when shit gets real.
    • Elbow drop optional.
    • If he rips off his pants, like he did on the December 28, 1998 Nitro in a promo where he demanded a rematch against Bischoff after Bischoff beat him the night before at Starrcade, RUN!
  • Combat Pragmatist: As "The Dirtiest Player in the Game" as well as an avid fan of nut-shots, this trope fits him to a T.
  • Compliment Backfire: Calling Austin Aries a fair hand who might become another Shawn Michaels or Nature Boy while Ric Flair was trying to put over Ring of Honor and HD Net. Aries believed he was already that good and that notable.
  • Conspicuous Consumption:
    • From the WWE: Ultimate Superstar Guide: "The Nature Boy's majestic robes cost more than the average car."
    • At the very height of his career in the late 80s, he spent over $60,000 a year of his own money on limousines alone for himself and the Four Horsemen.
    • Just read through his biography, To Be The Man. Every other page has an example of real life indulgences beyond the dreams of avarice.
  • Consummate Liar: One of the most infamous running story gags in all of wrestling is how Flair's natural charisma would start to win over Sting's trust before Flair would, of course, screw Sting over in some dastardly way. Rinse & repeat for infinity.
  • Cool Old Guy: Later in his career, all his dirty cheating and condescending ways had given way to nostalgia, meaning he no longer got booed except when he was associated with guys like Triple H or Hulk Hogan. Notably, he got cheered in the ECW arena after calling the promotion a "glorified stunt show".
  • Cue the Flying Pigs
    • Flair and Dusty teamed up in the 1980s against Dick Slater and a heel-turned Chief Wahoo McDaniel.
    • Flair and Hulk Hogan's characters being friends for the Immortal scam.
  • Defiant to the End: Ric's final WrestleMania match. Facing a mandate that he would be fired the next time he lost, Ric specifically chose to face Shawn Michaels, Mr. WrestleMania, because if he didn't face the best then it didn't mean anything. At the end of the match, Flair (legitimately, if tales are to be believed) had trouble even standing and holding his fists up, telling Shawn to "Come on! Pull the trigger!" He knew it was his last match, and it would end in nothing short of an epic climax.
  • Demoted to Extra: Especially after Hulk Hogan joined WCW, and during the Monday Night Wars.
  • Dirty Old Man: Due to playing the "ladykiller" gimmick well into his sixties he comes across as this. According to insider information, he's this in Real Life too, apparently flashing women is a backstage trademark of his.
  • Disappeared Dad: Was abandoned by unknown parents and was adopted by the Fliher family.
  • The Dog Bites Back: His most treasured memory from WCW? Watching it go out of business!
  • Early Installment Weirdness
    • When Flair was beginning his career he was a 300lb brawler with brown hair. Even after he began bleaching his hair, he was noticeably bulkier than his later leaner appearance as US and World champ. Not to worry though, his stupidly-giant capes and collars make up the 100 lb weight difference.
    • The sight of Flair with huge '80s Hair held in place by a headband, compared to his much more modest hairstyle he'd be known for most of his career.
  • Easily Distracted Referee: Flair utilized this trope to its fullest advantage.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Ask Scott McGhee and Stan Lane, whom Flair had a hand in training. McGhee got training from both Ric Flair and Buddy Rogers, since we're on the topic.
  • Evil Old Folks: Just like other WCW vets who turned up on Raw & Impact — but Ric is the oldest heel by five years. As an authority figure, he was a thorn in the sides of Mr. McMahon, Dixie Carter and Eric Bischoff. He stepped on many young wrestlers to get a foothold back in power; all that aside, the audience was more inclined to root for him.
  • Expy
  • Eye Poke: One of his signature moves
  • Face Fault
    • The "Flair Flop", in which Flair would get hit a few times, stagger forward, then fall flat on his face while his legs went back and up in the air a bit. As time when on his opponents would often back off to watch the inevitable flop. Some would even visibly geek out over the spectacle.
    • He's even Flair Flopped onto a board covered in barbed wire.
  • The Fighting Narcissist: The original Narcissist of wrestling might have been "Natural Guy" Buddy Rogers, which, at the time was not so much its own gimmick as it was a subversion of the original Gorgeous George, real name George Wagner. Buddy looked and acted similar, but instead of any suggestions toward homosexuality, he outraged audiences with his obliviously inflated ego, such as his insistence his bleached head was naturally that way. 30 years later, Rogers was succeeded by a rubber-faced blond who dressed like Elton John, but added-on claims of having a ludicrous fortune and lady-killing record, paying tribute to both Gorgeous George and the more recent narcissist gimmick.
  • Finishing Move: The Figure Four Leglock.
  • Flanderization:
    • 1998 was the year he started being booked by Eric Bischoff (really Hogan and Nash), and Ric stopped being the lovable, "crazy" uncle who rips off his jacket when agitated, and became the senile relative who strips to his underwear on television and has to be escorted away by Roddy Piper. What, that doesn't happen in your family?
    • Even in the loony bin, Naitch is still pulling hot nurses.
    • TNA Flair blurred the line between "legend" and "dangerous old man", believing himself to be God — as in Jehova, Yahweh etc.
      • Turns out, Slick Ric doesn't draw the line at thoroughbreds when selecting his dates. (Compared to how others were booked, like Orlando Jordan, he still got off easy.)
    • Forgot Flanders Could Do That: Best known for cheating and gurning and flopping around, Flair was a really good technical wrestler...when he felt like showing it.
  • Flung Clothing
    • Some of his promos towards the end of WCW would see him rip off his suit until he was down to his underwear... and to add salt to the would, he would drop elbows on his suit jacket.
    • According to pretty much everyone, Flair was fond of doing this while partying too.
      Triple H: "Ric, I know I've told you this a thousand times but for God's sake, man, put your pants on!"
  • A Fool and His New Money Are Soon Parted:
    • Nature Boy was always rollin' in dollas and hot women, whereas Ric has had problems with both money and women.
    • "I have spent MORE MONEY! On BAR TABS! Than ALL THREE of you! WILL EVER! MAKE!"
    • That is no exaggeration. In the olden days, the champ was expected to buy rounds for everybody. Naitch being who he is (prideful and a bit lonely), he got taken advantage of regularly by people who just wanted free drinks. Uneasy lies The Man who wears the belt.
    • According to his common-law stepson on Celebrity Wife Swap, you would need a six-figure salary to pay for the nightly cost of Ric's restaurant bills. Yes, a pre-teen boy with a legal pad is a better accountant than Mr. Flair.
    • Between leaving WWE for the second time and joining TNA, he started a financial advice company. This is not a joke. It actually existed: Ric Flair Finance. It went bust, unsurprisingly. Getting financial advice from Naitch is like hiring David Duchovny as your marriage counselor.
  • Four Horsemen: Much like in Street Fighter II, you had to plow through three sub-bosses (Ole, Arn, and Tully) to face the main boss. The Horsemen ruled NWA but never quite reached the same level of prominence in the other two companies.
  • Game-Breaking Injury:
    • Nearly died in a serious plane crash in 1975 and broke his back in three places. He was told he'd never wrestle again. However after exhaustive comprehensive rehab, he returned to the ring six months later.
    • Flair would use chop blocks, kicks, ANYTHING that would weaken an opponent's legs and/or knees to soften them up for the Figure Four.
  • Genre Blindness: Crossed with an inversion and literalization of Heel Face Door Slam: Spent much of July and August 1997 trying to recruit Curt Hennig for the Four Horsemen, with Hennig finally agreeing after Arn Anderson's "I'll give you my spot" promo on the August 25 Nitro. At WCW Fall Brawl 97 on September 14, the NWO (Kevin Nash/Syxx [Sean Waltman]/Buff Bagwell/Konnan) defeated the Horsemen (Flair/Hennig/Chris Benoit/Steve "Mongo" McMichael) in War Games when Mongo submitted after Hennig had turned heel, handcuffed Benoit and Mongo to the cage and finished the job by literally slamming the cage door on Flair's head.

    What makes this genre blindness is that Hennig had already proven two months earlier that he couldn't be trusted when he turned on Diamond Dallas Page in their match against Scott Hall and Randy Savage at Bash at the Beach. On top of that, earlier at Fall Brawl, the NWO had attacked Hennig, and he had shown up for the match with a cast on his arm. This was a recycling of the angle from the October 21, 1996 Raw, where Triple H had "injured" Mr. Perfect prior to what was supposed to be Perfect's return to the ring after a three-year absence, leading to Perfect essentially suckering in WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion "Wildman" Marc Mero into defending his title, since Helmsley had said that he wouldn't wrestle Mero unless the title was on the line. Helmsley won the match and the title after Perfect turned on Mero and hit him with a chair.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!:
    • Due to being on TBS in prime time on November 27, 1986, the worst threat Flair could throw at Nikita Koloff during their Starrcade match was, "Now I'm gonna kick your butt, you son of a gun!"
    • "I'm gonna take your girlfriend home and make her say 'Mickey Mouse'!"
  • Groin Attack: Pretty much every heel during Flair's heyday used the Low Blow. Flair turned it into an art form.
  • Handsome Lech: In his prime. In a shoot interview with Missy Hyatt, she said that Flair has the manners of a subway flasher, but had the ability to get "uptight women dancing on tables with their skirts above their heads."
  • Handsome In Mink: Sometimes fur, too. They fit Sherri like a glove... which says as much about his deranged fashion sense as it does hers.
  • Happily Adopted: Flair was part of a "black market" baby brokerage scheme based out of the infamous Tennessee Children's Home society; he doesn't definitively know his birth name or the names of his biological parents.
  • Heel-Face Revolving Door: It Depends On The Booker, or on whoever Ric is feuding with at the time. From DDT:
    "He never changes his attitude, he's always been a bit of a prick, and he's damn good at it. He's a lot like Piper, never playing any different to the fans, just being the same guy all the time, and fucking with whomever gets in his way."
    "Good point. Flair is probably the ultimate "chameleon wrestler," able to smoothly transition from "face" to "heel" depending on who he's facing."
  • Hijacked by Ganon:
    • Flair was shoehorned into the infamous Black Scorpion angle in 1990. The reason you haven't heard of it is because WCW always managed to top itself (the Shockmaster).
    • Flair volunteered to be unmasked as the Black Scorpion, believing it wouldn't hurt him, whereas if Barry Windham (who had recently portrayed a Stingbot in the Halloween Havoc fiasco) went in his place, it would drive a stake in Windham's wrestling career and behead it for good measure.
  • I Ain't Got Time to Bleed: One of the more prolific bladers in this business, and certainly the most famous. He still ranks lowest on Bleacher Report's "Most Hideously Scarred Foreheads in Wrestling History" list, just under Dusty and well behind D-Von Dudley and Abdullah the Butcher.
    Taimapedia: The collective weight of his newfound fortune caused his personal chartered jet to crash, breaking his back in three places. But this accident uncovered his hidden talent, one that would allow Flair to stay in the wrestling business long past his time; he could bleed continuously with little ill effects.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Flair was pretty jacked in the eighties.
  • Identical Stranger:
    • Old joke: Charles Robinson, a referee currently signed with WWE, makes a far more convincing Heir to Flair than any of Ric's actual sons. This was really evident back in 1998 when Robinson was calling David Flair's matches.
    • A lifelong fan of the Nature Boy, Robinson's career is closely intertwined with the family, making him something of an honorary Flair. He was first introduced as the Horsemens' "crooked referee", and even wrestled under a gimmick where he WAS a Mini-Me of Ric Flair. He dropped the Heel Ref angle once he joined up with WWE. He can also be seen officiating Charlotte's title match in NXT. Ah the circle of life.
  • Inadequate Inheritor:
    • AJ Styles was pushed as a Nature Boy for a new millenium (his robe came with a hood, you see), but the gimmick was dropped when it became apparent that Flair had little on-screen chemistry with him. Then there's the "Real" Nature Boy Buddy Landel, whose big claim to fame is being drafted by Shane Douglas to be his training dummy. (Ric Flair once said he would lend him a robe but that Buddy would get lost in the arms.) And who can forget Paul Lee, an indie wrestler who paid a cash-strapped Flair to endorse him, and then claimed they went back years together?
    • The random passing of the Figure Four from Flair... to Miz.
      • It was also rumored that Flair was managing Ziggler for a time, but, well...it's Ziggler, the Nickelback of sports entertainment.
    • Parodied by the late "Playboy" Buddy Rose, whose big Buddha belly and silk robes were part of his gimmick. In fact, when Flair would boast of some "blonde waiting for him" in a limousine, Hogan and Nash would chirp, "Buddy Rose?"
      • With Landel, Rose, and TNA now gone, it seems Ric Flair is... the last surviving Nature Boy? Seems fitting. And oddly surprising. Unless we're counting "Lil' Naitch" Charles Robinson.
    • From his earliest days in the NWA, Lex Luger was seen as the heir to Flairís throne (he was actually an honorary member of The Horseman for a year) by fans and the office alike; Naitch thought differently. The pair would reunite in WCW during the eighties, again building toward a monumental Flair/Luger feud that would last until 1991, with Luger trying doggedly to beat Flair for the title, and the Horseman always managing to interfere/cheat their way to victory. At long last, Jim Herd booked Flair to drop the strap, so Ric took his ball and and went to WWF — but he would never fully recapture the glory of the decade he owned. As for Luger, somewhere along the line it started to go wrong for him, and despite chasing Flair from WCW to the WWF and back, he stayed a midcarder for the remainder of his career.
  • Intergenerational Friendship
    • With Shawn Michaels and Triple H, the former of which wrestled Flair in his WWE "retirement" match and the latter inducted him into the Hall of Fame.
    • Briefly had this with Carlito, until... well, it's Carlito.
  • Jobber Entrance: Not even Ric Flair was above these in WCW.
    Cewsh : We open the show greeted with the lovely calm visage of one Richard Flair, who isnít exactly happy about the fact that Eric Bischoff has named himself the special referee of the title match tonight. He daintily explains this to one Christina Hemme, and assures us all that though he and Eric have had difficulties in the past, they will put aside their issues like gentlemen so thÖ

    Wait, did I say calm visage? What I meant to say is that Ric Flair bursts through a random door like a crazy person, turning so red that you could use him to direct ships at sea, and screaming at the top of his lungs about how heís going to murderize Eric Bischoff and about how he and AJ have been screwed. Then he totters off somewhere to upset small children and get an ice cream cone.
  • Leitmotif: Also Sprach Zarathustra, Flair's famous entrance theme.
  • Like a Son to Me: In TNA he has AJ Styles and Kazarian, who even got into a fight for Ric's love until he decided to make them a part of Fourtune, where he was a Team Dad of sorts for about eight months.
  • Lost in Character:
    • Over half of Flair's career was spent in the days of kayfabe being unbroken. He's run into financial problems at times due to still living the Nature Boy lifestyle without the Nature Boy paycheck.
    • "Will Woo For Food".
  • Lovable Rogue: A status Raven has attributed to him, of all people.
  • Macho Camp: His whole schtick.
  • Macho Masochism: WWF had a "no-blading" policy by the time he joined up. How cute. He and Savage were both fined $500 (admittedly drop in the bucket) for their brutal display at 'Mania VIII.
  • Mad Eye: Oh my god, Naitch's crazy-eyes must be seen to be believed.
  • Manly Tears: Way too many to mention. At Night of the Champions, Ric opened the show by noting that a backstage worker told him not to cry about this being his last TNT show.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste:
  • Memetic Hand Gesture: The four-finger salute of the Horsemen. Also, pointing at his Rolex.
  • Motive Decay: Betraying Fortune for Immortal caused this big time for his role in TNA, both in-universe and out. In-universe he betrayed his own plans to both finally defeat Hogan once and for all and to remake the Horsemen with TNA homegrown talent and proved it was all about the power for him. Out-of-universe he seemed to float around with no purpose, as there wasn't exactly much potential to elevate amongst the Immortal ranks, what with the one young rising star in Gunner being lost in the shuffle up until 2012. He was such an ineffectual member with Immortal that people were speculating he was being a Reverse Mole to help either Fortune or Sting with taking out Hogan, but this never materialized.
  • No Indoor Voice/The Unintelligible:
    • Speaks a hitherto unknown language known as Flairglish, punctuated by Woos and pelvic thrusts.
  • Non Chalant Dodge:
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: Again, he wasn't called "The Dirtiest Player in the Game" for no reason.
  • Only the Worthy May Pass: Flair's career was built on carrying lesser opponents, as per his idiom. So huge is the hubris in thinking only those who defeat him are worthy of being a champion. On the other hand, Flair refused to no-sell, giving his all to ensure they seemed like a real match for him. The most famous example is, of course, Sting, who went over him at the very first Clash of the Champions. (Note that Sting didn't even win that match; it was a draw.)
  • Out-Gambitted:
    • The Perfect Plan was one thing, but Randy Savage had the last laugh; he convinced Mr. Perfect to split from him and Flair chose Razor Ramon to be his partner at Survivor Series 1992. That decision would lead up to a Loser Leaves Town match on Raw between Flair and Mr. Perfect. Perfect won.
    • Years later, Naitch exacted revenge in the best way he knew how: he bought Raw. This put him on equal footing with Vince for a while.
  • Out of Focus: Both he and Sting would be consigned to jobber hell for the nWo years. At least they still had plenty of mic time, albeit between matches.
  • Paid Harem: Baby Doll (Nickla Ann Roberts), Sherri, Fifi (Wendy Barlow), Asya (Christi Wolf), Woman (Nancy Benoit), and Miss Elizabeth to name a few. The latter two added new tricks to Flair's arsenal: The coffee cup of doom and the shoe shuriken.
  • Pixellation: When Flair brought his NWA/WCW World Heavyweight Championship belt to the WWF, it ended up being shown as a mess of pixels due to legal reasons, and it was explained that Flair's NWA Title was not sanctioned by the WWF...The full story here is that Flair, like every NWA champion, had put down a $25,000 deposit on the belt. Since he kept winning, his deposit was never returned. When he was fired/resigned from WCW (without having been made to drop the title), the deposit was never returned, so Ric kept the belt and took it with him to WWF. WCW filed a lawsuit which led to the censoring of the NWA/WCW belt and Ric wearing what looked like a WWF tag title at house shows. In the end, WWF simply put their own world title on him. WCW later reacquired the belt from Flair for a hefty $38,000.
  • The Plan/Massive Multiplayer Scam: Let's just say it was the Perfect Plan. In the weeks leading up to theWWF/E World Heavyweight Champion Randy Savage vs.Ultimate Warrior SummerSlam 1992 match , Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect teased being in one of their corners. During the match, the two liberally attacked Savage and the Warrior, leaving more doubt into their (and the fans') heads. Warrior won the match by count out, but not the title. A few weeks later, Flair beat a weakened Macho Man for his second WWF Championship.
  • Plot Armor: You can tell the difference between face and heel Flair because the former's leg lock actually works.
  • Popularity Power:
    • WCW audiences proved how much this trope works via their sabotaging the Lex Luger vs. Barry Windham main event of The Great American Bash 1991; the crowd chanted "We want Flair!" practically non-stop during the match, in protest of Flair being fired from WCW.
    • This wasn't just sabotaging the main event; the crowd sat on its hands in protest for the entire undercard, resulting in just about everyone half-assing their matches, before launching into the deafening "We want Flair!" chants during the main event, which were loud enough to be heard despite WCW cutting the crowd microphones; they were even picked up on the ring and announcer mics. And all this when Flair had been the most hated heel in the company going into the pay-per-view!
    • To wit: The Horsemen were arguably the most famous and popular stable in wrestling history up until the rise of the nWo, and at the height of Evolution's success, all four members simultaneously held every men's title exclusive to Raw.
  • Power Stable:
    • The Four Horsemen in the NWA/WCW.
    • Evolution in WWE.
    • Following the Madness of Ric Flair segments, Ric finally turned up in the arena—still wearing his underwear—along with his 'stable': some mental patients and a 'roided up nurse (Asya).
    • Millionaire's Club, with Brian Adams, Bryan Clarke, Diamond Dallas Page, Horace Hogan, Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Lex Luger, Miss Elizabeth, Scott Steiner and Terry Funk
    • During Nitro's final lap in 2001, Flair put together another, less-notable heel stable, The Magnificent Seven (formerly known as The Elite), comprised of Buff Bagwell, Jeff Jarrett, Lex Luger, the Steiners, and Road Warrior Animal. In addition to Bischoff, the Seven also feuded with the Rhodes family, which ended up being Flair's final run-in with the Dream.
    • In TNA, he started Fourtune, basically a new-generation Four Horsemen of TNA Originals who for a while were the top heels in the company, delivering Horsemen-style beatdowns to everyone on the roster.
  • Prepare to Die: Yelled this(more or less) at Abyss after he was given a WWE Hall Of Fame Ring..
  • Pretender Diss: Through frequently on the hunt for the "next" Nature Boy, he has no time for losers who ape his style without his blessing.
    "When the World Champion walks down the aisle, referee always lifts the rope, boy. (You wouldn't know anything about that.)"
  • Real Life Writes the Plot
    • Happened a few times in Flair's career, notably his "Real World Champion" gimmick in his first WWF run and his firing/rehiring in WCW in 1998.
    • Also, the Horsemen's gimmick. According to Arn Anderson, it became a "full-blown shoot".
    • The plane crash that broke his back caused him to alter his style in-ring. To the end, he never took another bump directly on his back (he took them slightly to the side instead).
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech
    • Flair dismantles Carlito in one of the greatest examples in professional wrestling history.
    • The big return of the Horseman in the 9.14.98 Nitro episode capped with what is easily Ric's most famous shoot, the "FIRE ME!" rant, as Bischoff (who certainly deserved it) stood on the ramp and glowered. And yes, he actually told Eric that he "sucks."
  • Red Baron: The Nature Boy (though not the first one), The Dirtiest Player in the Game, Slick Ric, the Man, and The Crimson Mask (THAT'S NOT PG)
    • To save time, you can call him Naitch.
  • Ring Oldies:
    • Wrestled his first match in the AWA in December of 1972. Times change, but the Nature Boy does not.
    • He retired from full-time competition from the WWE in a grandiose sendoff angle in March 2008 at the age of 59, but continued to wrestle part-time for TNA and other indie promotions until officially announcing his retirement in December 2012 at 63, almost exactly forty years after his debut.
  • Rule of Cool: Okay, those chops really do hurt but why bother when you can just punch a guy instead? Because the chop makes a louder noise, WOOO! To that matter, why keep using the figure four leg lock when it has an obvious counter and never won you a single of your sixteen titles? Because it looks cool, WOOO!
  • Running Gag: Flair's inability to hit a top rope maneuver without getting caught by his opponent. Subverted on the few times it actually works.
  • Serial Spouse: We could eliminate the national debt tomorrow if we totaled up Ric Flair's alimony payments. To his credit, he's owned up to it and even incorporated it into his schtick.
  • Signature Move: Besides his chops, there was the rolling knee drop. In WCW these got increasingly bizarre, such as failing a top turnbuckle move or begging for a timeout. Also, there's his famous strut.
    • He so thoroughly owns the the knife-edge chop that if anyone uses it today, the crowd will shout "Wooo!" in honor of Ric.
  • So Proud of You: Is rendered to tears after watching his daughter capture the NXT Women's championship and he later declares that she will be the best Flair ever.
    • And there's This Photo after Charlotte won her first big match on Raw.
  • Spell My Catchphrase Without an H: His catchphrase is often misspelled as "Whooooo!"
  • Tag Team: "Team Package" with Lex Luger in WCW
  • Take This Job And Shove It:
    • When Ric "Alimony" Flair wants nothing to do with your company something has gone horribly wrong.
    • In 1991, WCW decided that Flair was too old to build the company around, had suffered too much damage from bad angles to be an effective draw, and felt putting the belt on a newer star would draw more fans. Management attempted to renegotiate an already-signed contract (to the tune of a 50 percent pay cut in the two final years) and demand he put over Lex Luger, something he had steadfastly refused to do before; Flair protested and was fired, thereby keeping the belt. And yes: the belt actually belonged to him, as his boss was too cheap to repay the $25,000 deposit (with interest) which wrestlers customarily paid to wear the belt for a year.
  • Talk Show with Fists: "A Flair for the Gold," WCW 1993. His most famous guest by far was the Shockmaster. Ric, on the verge of corpsing ("I told you. Oh, God."), fled the set.
  • Theatrics Of Pain: If he wanted you to believe he was in pain, he would make you believe it. Ric Flair could probably out-sell Redd Foxx's heart attacks.
  • Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty: Flair was a master of this. He wasn't given the nickname "The Dirtiest Player in the Game" for nothing. Thumbs to the eye and kicks to the groin were among his favorite illegal tactics. When all else failed, he could just summon his Horsemen.
    Darren Stroud : Usually when you wrestle Flair heíll drag things out and the Horsemen will get involved, or Woman will throw coffee in your face or Miss Elizabeth will take off her shoe and use it like a machete. It becomes more and more complex and difficult the longer it goes, and if you donít have magical Hulk Hogan powers you canít win. Even Hogan loses to it sometimes.
  • Underwear of Power: For all that talk about his money and expensive clothing, this is all he wrestles in.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Wore a brand-new, sparkly, befeathered, occasionally-pink ring robe to each big event (we're talking pink, here; he should've driven to the ring in a Barbie Dream Car). Each robe was custom-made and cost more than the previous one, eventually totaling at $5000 a pop. And yet he still manages to look masculine.
  • Unrelated Brothers: Was originally introduced in the NWA as the "nephew" of veteran wrestler Rip Hawk, and later as a distant cousin of the Anderson wrestling family, which also consisted entirerly of unrelated relatives. The cousin aspect was eventually dropped as Flair became closely associated with Ole and Arn Anderson.
  • Verbal Tic: Rhymes with "boo".
  • We Can Rule Together: Exploited, as Flair would famously lure Sting (aka "the dumbest man in wrestling") into the Four Horsemen and then turn on him, kicking him out of the group. And he did it twice.
  • Wrestling Family:
    • His sons, David, known for his time in WCW from 1999 until the end, and Reid, who competed primarily in the North Carolina area and All Japan Pro Wrestling before dying on March 29, 2013, of what has since been determined to have been an accidental overdose of heroin and other drugs. Flair's daughter, Ashley, is in WWE NXT as Charlotte.note 
    • Scott McGhee is his brother in law and Bram, perhaps best known to USA viewers for his time in TNA, is his son in law.
  • Younger Than They Look: Flair is 65 as of 2014, but looks much, MUCH older. It's hard to believe that only 10 years had passed between this image and this one. A lifetime of alcohol and drug abuse and getting dropped on the head for a living took its toll.