Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sportsology: Ric Flair Q&A

By Rick Morris

As part of our content-sharing agreement with our buddies at Sportsology, we proudly bring you an interview with the man voted The Greatest Pro Wrestler of All Time!!! by The Dignitaries of The FDH Lounge, Nature Boy Ric Flair.

Flair Hits Gotham (original story link with pictures here)
By Steve Cirvello

On Saturday, November 1st, Nature Boy Ric Flair made a very rare autograph signing appearance in New York City at "Ringside Fest 2008". The event was held in the heart of Times Square at Caroline's Comedy Club, a venue famous for helping many of the world's top earning actors and comedians on their path to fame and fortune. They say anyone who's anyone in the entertainment industry has worked the room, and now Ric Flair's name can be added to that long, illustrious list.

Sponsored by Ringside Collectibles of Long Island, Ringside Fest brought together four of the biggest names in Pro Wrestling over the last 25 years, with Flair being joined by "The Hardcore Legend" Terry Funk, Joe "Road Warrior Animal" Laurinaitis, and former WCW Executive Eric Bischoff, whose production company has developed Celebrity Championship Wrestling, or CCW, currently running on the Country Music Television network.

In addition to the autograph signing, all four men took part in a special half-hour Q&A session with a packed room of hundreds of fans in attendance. Ric Flair's Q&A was solo, while Funk, Animal and Bischoff made theirs a tag-team effort, so to speak.

With some of his classic NWA promos playing on a TV screen prior to his arrival, the 16-time World Champion strolled out to his familiar 2001 theme music, gave a hearty "Wooooo" to the attendees, then sat down to answer any and all questions the fans could throw at him. Here are the highlights of the event:

Q: What was your first big moment when you knew you wanted to be a wrestler?

RF: I was living with Ken Patera, who had just competed in the Olympics in Munich, in Minneapolis, and we were talking about wrestling growing up. I always loved it when I was a kid. The rest is history.

Q: How was your relationship with the late Curt Hennig?

RF: It was very good. I got along very well with Curt Hennig. I saw him growing up back in Minnesota when his dad was a Wrestler there. I wrestled Curt back when I was NWA World Champion and he was AWA World Champion then. And then when Bobby Heenan didn't want to go on the road with me anymore, Curt became my advisor. Curt was a great guy.

Q: In your book, you said that when you heard how much Vince (McMahon) bought WCW for, you would have bought it.

RF: Had I known it was available, I would have bought it.

Q: Do you still like Shawn Michaels even though he retired you? [EDITOR'S NOTE: Maaaaaark!]

RF: I still like Shawn Michaels, even though he kicked me. (Referring to the finish of their match at WM 24.)

Q: Will we ever see you back in a WWE ring again?

RF: No, not wrestling. The only thing is if it's with my son who's breaking into the business now. After the way I was celebrated that night -- it's a great honor to be inducted. It was the proudest three days of my life.

Q: Was Bruiser Brody difficult to work with?

RF: He was not difficult to work with, he was difficult to do business with.

Q: If they were going to make your life story, who would you want to play you?

RF: Let's see. They're gonna need someone like Sean Connery, Brad Pitt, (the late) Paul Newman. I don't think there's anyone out there who can make my life story.

Q: What was it like working with the Von Erichs in Texas?

RF: It was a great time in my life, but it was sad. They were doing business down there. It was a great time I had working with all of them. The father, Fritz, could not......he was in denial. I watched it disintegrate before my eyes.

Q: What are you doing after the show?

RF: I've got a lady in town, and I'm gonna show her the bright lights and big city.

Q: Why did you always wear your knee pads below your knees?

RF: I wore knee pads below my knees because I have small calves.

Q: Were you disappointed with your run with Hogan in the WWF?

RF: I wasn't disappointed. It was what it was. We never had a chance to do anything. We just didn't have a real long run. He was in the process of leaving the WWF as I was coming in.

Q: I'm going to try to break into the business. Do you have any advice?

RF: Who's your trainer? If I don't know who the guy is, he's not qualified to train you. There's only two places to work, and if the guy who's training you can't call Stamford (WWE) or Nashville (TNA), you shouldn't be with him. It's very hard. It's a very serious, competitive business. I would say tell him to call John Laurinitas (head of WWE talent relations), or Jim Cornette, or Harley. (Both Jim Cornette and Harley Race run training schools.)

Q: After you went back to WCW in 1993, and they didn't use you right, did you wish you should have stayed in the WWF?

RF: No. I have no animosity. Look at where I am today. There's a reason things played out the way they did.

Q: How did you feel about being inducted into the Hall of Fame by Triple H?

RF: I cannot tell you. I'm still crying. It was the greatest induction I've ever had in my life.

Q: Why did you retire?

RF: It was time to quit wrestling. What really made me feel better about retiring was Brett Favre, he really screwed that up, huh? (Flair also briefly mentioned Roger Clemens' comeback with the Yankees in 2007)

Q: Are you still close with Sting?

RF: No. I have not talked to Steve (Borden) since we walked out of Panama City. (Very last WCW Nitro show.)

Q: How do you feel about Sting in TNA always mentioning you about how he respects you and how you paved the way?

RF: I can only tell you this. Whatever your endeavor is in life, if you walk away with the respect of your peers, it means you've had a great life.

Q: I know there are kids here, but I gotta know.......How many pretty ladies have their been throughout the years?

RF: I had a lot of fun. But it was enhancement, it was part of my job!

Q: Who was the greatest tag partner that you ever teamed with?

RF: Arn Anderson.

Q: How did you physically feel after your very first match?

RF: I felt great, just like I feel now. I can go all night.

Q: How would you like everyone to remember you? (Family, fans, fellow wrestlers.)

RF: They've already expressed that. I couldn't ask for more. The expressions on their faces says it all.

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