Awesome Men Throughout History: Ric Flair
I’m taking a slightly different approach with Awesome Men Throughout History this week, because I know that the lifestyle of our subject?professional wrestler ?Nature Boy? Ric Flair?has taken a heavy toll on his physical and financial health. In fact, Grantland.com put up a feature article chronicling Flair’s lifetime of bad decisions, many of which are the result of him being unable to put his partying playboy ways behind him and act like a responsible adult.
However, Flair was the undisputed King of Partiers in his prime, a man who could drink until 4 in the morning and wrestle an hour the next night before doing it all again, and that’s what I want to focus on this week. You think you know how to have a good time? Flair’s probably had more fun blacked out drunk than you’ve had in your entire life.
For starters, he could accomplish an awful lot on no sleep. Him staying out until 4am throwing down Kamikazes and buying the entire bar rounds of drinks (as the World Champion, he felt obligated to pick up the tab for less accomplished wrestlers) was pretty common, and didn’t stop him from getting on planes or into cars as early as 6:30am to get to the next show. Fellow wrestler Terry Taylor tells a story about Flair showing up to an event so hungover he could barely walk, napping for an hour, then putting Taylor through a 50-minute match that had the younger man begging to lose before he dropped dead from exhaustion.
Jim Cornette, a colorful wrestling personality in his own right, has hypothesized that Flair is from Mars, because while his fellow carousers could barely see when morning came around, Flair would be dancing around in his three-piece suit like he’d gone to bed at sundown with a glass of Ovaltine. Cornette has also pointed out that Flair had better conditioning than guys 15 years younger than him who didn’t drink every night.
He may have had more stamina outside the ring, too. Bobby ?The Brain? Heenan compared traveling with Flair to hitting the road with Larry Flynt. Flair himself has admitted that his habit of peppering his wrestling interviews with frequent calls for women to stop by his hotel room were legit, and they always worked. His tastes ran towards ladies with ?a full sweater and an empty head? back then, and probably still do today, but there were no shortage of them.
He handled bar stories the same way; if Ric Flair went on TV and talked about a specific bar, or series of them, he’d really been there. Flair’s limo driver had a heart attack after three days of driving the Nature Boy around at all hours of the night.
Yes, Ric’s life is a mess, but it is a big beautiful mess, and his ability to have a good time under any circumstances should be celebrated for the gift it is. Don’t ever lend the guy money, but feel free to buy him a drink if you see him around town.
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About Dave Kiefaber Dave Kiefaber is a Baltimore-based writer who regularly contributes to Adfreak and the Gettysburg Times. His personal website is at www.beeohdee.blogspot.com.