Ric Flair’s Reddit Interview: Evolution, Eric Bischoff, longevity, Dolph Ziggler, Charlotte, more
WWE Hall of Famer and 16-time World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair gave an interview to the guys at r/SquaredCircle over on Reddit. Here are a few notes from the interview:
Question: Could you go into a bit of detail on your near-defection to WWF in 1998 (where rumor has it you were going to appear at the Unforgiven PPV)? In hindsight, how do you think your career would have been altered if you jumped ship then?
Flair: Are we talking about during the lawsuit with Bischoff? Man, at that point, my self-confidence was all gone. I had two lawyers and a lawsuit against WCW. If I had stayed out, I would have made so much money because as everyone knows, Bischoff went in front of 80 people and threatened to bury me. I would have been rich. The other side of it was the WWF called me and wanted me to come to the PPV in the front row with my son Reid, and they were going to interview my son about winning the national championship, but I was still loyal to the WCW guys. It would have been really cool, but had I kept the lawsuit it would have taken years to resolve, but one thing everyone knows about Turner is that they always pay their bills and I would have been rich. Sitting out those two years would have cost me my chance to return when I did, and to have the experiences I had.
Question: How were you received in the locker room during your first WWF run?
Flair: They loved me, those were all my boys. Those were my guys and they loved me there… Curt, DiBiase, The Nasty Boys.. shit, you’ve gotta be kidding me. I helped Savage break into the business! Everyone loves a little bit of Flair haha. I’ve had some issues and I know that, but I am back on top now. I’m making more money than I made during my time with the WWE, and that’s thanks in part to Conrad, he’s one of my best friends.
Question: Did you receive anything in the way of backlash from your peers when you continued to wrestle after being retired by Shawn Michaels?
Flair: Yes. My problem when I went home was that I was bored. When you do something for close to four decades and you go home, you just get bored… I don’t play golf, I don’t do anything else… I was making a lot of money for 56 days a year, and looking back on it I wish I had not have done it, but everyone makes mistakes.
Question: Who is a guy that you loved working with that fans rarely bring up?
Flair: I can’t answer that question, because I loved working with so many guys and the fans bring them all up all the time… Steamboat, Hogan, Sting, Hunter, HBK, Randy Orton… I am leaving some names out, I was very fortunate to work with so many great people. I wrestled everyone; the only guy I didn’t get to wrestle during my prime was John Cena, who I think the world of.
Question: If you could have one more match in the WWE with someone on the current roster (RAW or SmackDown,) who would it be with? Where?
Flair: It would be if John Cena wins my title, give me five months to get ready, and of course I’d put him over and he’d break the record. If they gave me until Mania to get in shape, I could give John a helluva match, put him over and it’d be worth it. And people would buy tickets to see that, too.
Question: Can you still take a back body drop or a press slam?Also your match with Vader at Starrcade 93 is one of my all time favourites. Do you have any stories about the match or Vader or returning to WCW?
Flair: It was supposed to be Vader and Sid, and Sid got himself in trouble getting into that fight with Arn. Vader didn’t want to lose and he tried to rough me up a bit, and I had to black his eyes and fight back. After Bruiser Brody and others, Vader was nothing. I don’t get intimidated, ask him. Vader was a bully. Ask Vader about Paul Orndorff…
Question: Any good Bobby Heenan stories?
Flair: The greatest manager of all time, one of my best friends ever. I feel awful for the condition he’s in, every time I see him I start crying. The greatest story I can tell is that Bobby was walking to the bathroom in first class when I first started and he put some toilet paper in his pants and let it unravel, and people didn’t know him so they were like, “What the hell?” Bobby was the best.
Question: What are you feelings on the constant ‘wooing’ at wrestling shows today after chops are used.
Flair: I’m flattered. They’ll never stop. Wrestling is stuck with that for the rest of my life, or your life. It’s not going away any time soon, and it’s happening in hockey, football, baseball.. I can’t tell you how many arenas it’s happening in that I’m not getting paid for. That’s a disappointment.
Question: On the last night of Nitro were you offered a deal straight away or were you just as in the dark as everyone else? Did Hunter give you a call or how did that come about you coming back to the WWE?
Flair: I was never offered a deal until I went back. I was forced to wrestle that night with Sting. He wasn’t himself, we both just had surgery, and we argued all day with Shane about it. But Vince wanted the match. And it was the happiest night of my life to shut that place down. That product was so diluted and I was just so embarrassed to even be associated with it.
Question: Thoughts on AJ Styles? I know you two have worked together in the past, but I would love to know your opinion on his current WWE run.
Flair: I think he’s incredible, and I am very happy for him. He’s one of the really good guys in the business and he has Shawn Michael’s technical ability, but not his charisma. I am very happy that he’s in the spot he’s in, he’s a great family man.
Question: Ric, out of your 16 title wins, which victory meant the most to you?
Flair: Wow.. Obviously, my second with Harley Race. Starcade, Greensboro. I wasn’t as good as I thought I was the first time, and I dropped it back to Harley. When I won it the second time around I was ready to go and my self-confidence couldn’t have been higher.
Question: What did it personally mean to you that guys like Triple H, Chris Jericho and The Rock helped remind you of the true legend that you are and helped bring back your self-confidence through genuine reassurance during your first year back in the WWE into 2002?
Flair: It meant the world to me, because I’d lost all of my self-confidence. The Undertaker was involved in that sequence too, as was Vince. When I agreed to come back to work for them, I wasn’t there to wrestle. I wasn’t ready for it then, and my match with Vince at the Rumble was not very good. After my match with the Undertaker in Toronto at WrestleMania, that’s what got me going again.
Question: Thank for doing this, Ric. What was your favourite Evolution moment?
Flair: Shooting the vignettes with the helicopter and the night clubs. We had so much fun in the ring, but the vignettes were the most fun to film. When Vince commits himself to something, he can make it great. Hunter came up with a lot of it. Batista, Orton, Hunter… great guys, all great friends.
Question: What did it mean to you to have Taker bow to you and break character at your retirement? He had never done anything like that for anyone.
Flair: It meant the world to me. He’s a special guy and a special friend, and a guy I think so highly of. He will go down in history as one of the greatest talents ever.
Question: How many times per autograph signing/photo op do you get people asking you to full on chop them in the chest? And does it ever happen just in the street?
Flair: It’s constant, and I won’t do it. I have a couple of times, but it’s very rare. First of all, it’s kind of cheesy to do it, but when I am working at a convention they want to monitor that too; I get what the fans want me to do but I can’t. I do get asked at every appearance.
Question: What is your secret in longetivity?
You are basically one of the biggest stars of the old school era, stayed relevant in the modern era and you are constantly getting more nostalgia spots than anyone else. Like Camp WWE.
Flair: God. [Laughs] Very simply, I was blessed by God with good health and good work ethics. It’s certainly not because I’ve lived a conservative lifestyle, I think God just thought I had something special and blessed me for so many years.
Question: What’s your favourite match that Charlotte/the Four Horsewomen has had?
Flair: The one where she lost the title to Sasha. She did things in that match that were unbelievable, as did Sasha. Their SummerSlam match was great, but that first match… wow. I mean, that moonsault? Come on! She’s the best athlete in the WWE today and I am so proud to be her dad, and I didn’t give her any of that, she worked hard for it. Four years in the business and look at where she’s at.
Question: Thanks for your time, and your charity. How did the Ric Flair Wooshi roll come into life on the Cowfish menu? Did you pick the ingredients? It’s such a great idea, and benefits so many.
Flair: They just asked me to do it, and it was a number one seller. It was for a great cause and I was happy to do it.
Question: Hello Mr. Flair, it’s an honour to be speaking with you, what was it like to walk Charlotte out at WrestleMania earlier this year?
Flair: The greatest experience of my entire wrestling career. Bigger than anything I’ve ever accomplished in my life.
Question: Thoughts on the CM Punk fight? Who are some guys from the 70’s/80’s you think could have found success in MMA?
Flair: Embarrassing. Well, Haku for sure. Of course, my next choice would be Kurt Angle, he would have done very well. 70s and 80s? It’s funny because we had so many tough guys back then who could have hurt people in the UFC; Dick Slater comes to mind. We had some really tough guys back there. Jack Briscoe would have been tougher than hell.
Question: What was it like managing Charlotte for a few months? Any funny stories traveling with your daughter?
Flair: No, we don’t travel well together… She thinks she’s better than me… It’s one thing for me to say it to you, but I’m not going to talk to her about it.
Question: What are your thoughts on Cena possibly tying your record?
Flair: I would have no problem with that, John’s an awesome guy. He’s worked hard, and I won my titles differently than Cena did. It was a different time, a different era than Cena’s in, but I’d have no problem with it.
Question: Thoughts on Kurt Angle? Do you think he’ll come back to WWE next year?
Flair: I don’t know. I don’t know if he’ll wrestle again, but I hope he is inducted into the Hall of Fame. He’s certainly worthy, and don’t forget at the end of the day, he has a gold medal. That pretty much says it all.
Question: Hey Ric! My question is, what did your jackets ever do to you for you to treat them that way? In all seriousness where did the elbow drop to the jacket idea first stem from?
Flair: Me, on the run and on the fly, but it got over. [Laughs] Nobody gave me that idea, it was all me.
Question: Do you still agree with giving the figure four leg lock to the miz? If you could give it to someone else who would you give it to? Also what do you think about Cedric Alexander? I see alot of you in him!
Flair: Of course, I love the Miz. He puts a lot of time into his character and into his overall work. And his beautiful wife is there… I wouldn’t take it back, why would I?
Question: What do you think about Dean Ambrose?
Flair: I love Dean, he’s a great guy. He’s got a different style that is unique, and in terms of being a man and respectful, he’s so great. His character and his personality have made him very popular.
Question: Who’s your #1 favourite person in your entire career to stand opposite in the ring between the ropes and just wrestle?
Flair: Ricky Steamboat. He and Shawn Michaels are the two greatest babyfaces in the history of the business, nobody else even compares.
Question: Thank you for everything you’ve given pro wrestling. What’s something that you think is missing in wrestling now from the old days?
Flair: Charisma. One word.
Question: How scary is Arn Anderson when he is pissed?
Flair: Scary! He’s very scary when he’s pissed. Nobody screwed around with Arn in his day.
Question: What match meant the most to you, win, lose or draw?
Flair: To be honest with you, off the top of my head – my match with HBK at WrestleMania when I retired.
Question: Not including yourself, who do you consider to be the greatest pro wrestler of all time?
Flair: Shawn Michaels.
Question: Most under utilized wrestler in your eyes?
Flair: Currently? Dolph Ziggler. Easy question, easy answer! He’s a great performer.
Question: How was wrestling Inoki in North-Korea? How was North-Korea in general?
Flair: Terrible. Worst experience in my life.
Question: Who is your current favorite NXT superstar?
Flair: Unfotunately I haven’t been following it – I’ve been so busy with my daughter and they brought up so many of the guys, it’s not a fair question haha.
Question: You are the master of the chop (WOOO!). Which opponent of yours had the hardest chops?
Flair: Wahoo McDaniel. Easy.
Question: Who did you used to travel with the most?
Flair: Arn Anderson. [Laughs] Greatest days of my life.