Asian mist refers to the illegal maneuver of spitting a colored liquid in the face of an opponent in professional wrestling. By doing so, the opponent will (in storyline) be blinded and experience intense stinging in the eyes. Asian mist originated in Japan where it is known as dokugiri, or "Poison Fog" although it is used by a select few wrestlers around the world. The first wrestler to use the Asian mist was The Great Kabuki, but the maneuver was handed down to his (on-screen) son, The Great Muta. Killer Khan and Kendo Nagasaki introduced the mist to the U.S. in the late 1980s. it was also associated with former WWE superstars Kwang and Yoshihiro Tajiri. Today, the mist is still utilized by the likes of MsChif, RelliK and Kiyoshi.
Asian mist can come in almost any color, but the most common one used is green. In storyline, red ("burning mist") is said to burn more, while black ("poison mist") blinds. Other colors used are blue, which sends the opponent to sleep, yellow, which paralyzes the opponent, and green, which obscures an opponent's vision and apparently causes great discomfort.
Wrestlers who use the mist often make a show of rubbing their throats with their thumb and forefinger before spitting, as if to extract the mist from some secret gland. In reality, the mist is water and food coloring or, alternatively, a powdered drink mix such as Kool-Aid, which is stored in a small bag or balloon. The bag is placed into the mouth shortly before spitting. Wrestlers will sometimes carry the bag in their mouth throughout the entire match, but this is discouraged, due to the possible choking hazard. Another concealment method is to keep a capsule that contains the mixture in the wrestlers trunks, and then put the capsule in their mouths when the camera is not focused on the wrestler about to perform the mist.
A variant of the Asian mist was used by Gangrel, however, the mist was billed as blood (later, "viscous liquid") to fit Gangrel's vampire gimmick and he carried it to the ring in a goblet. It should also be noted that Gangrel drank the liquid in the goblet prior to the match, meaning that he wasn't trying to conceal the mist. While Luna Vachon was acting as Gangrel's valet, she frequently used the mist as well.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Youssuf Ishmaelo was a Turkish professional wrestler who competed in Europe and the United States as Yusuf Ismail, the Terrible Turk during the 1890s. Widely known for his massive size and brute strength, he was recognized as one of the top three strongmen in the world by Alan Calvert, pioneer of American weight training, and photographer Edmond Desbonnet during the turn of the century.
Prior to his arrival in the United States, he remained undefeated in his near four-year career and successfully challenged Evan "Strangler" Lewis for the American Heavyweight Championship in 1898. Ishmaelo was the original wrestler to be known as "the Terrible Turk", however several others also used the name throughout the first half of the 20th century.
Little is known of his early life prior to his first wrestling appearance in 1894, however, according to Scottish wrestling historian William Baxter, Yusuf Ismail was born Youssuf Ishmaelo in Bulgaria (then part of the Ottoman Empire) in 1857. In A Pictorial History of Wrestling, the English wrestling writer Graeme Kent incorrectly wrote that Yusuf Ismail was not Turkish, but French. Ismail first came to prominence when he won the Kirkpinar tournament in 1887. Edmond Desbonnet claimed in his book Les Rois de la Lutte (1910), the Turkish invasion began in 1894 after a wrestler named Joseph Doublier was defeated by a rival, Sabès. In a search to find someone who could defeat Sabès, Doublier visited Turkey and brought back three wrestlers: Kara Osman, Filiz Nurullah, and the 6’2", 250-pound Youssuf Ishmaelo. In his Paris debut, Ishmaelo defeated Sabès in four seconds. Sabès had attempted to use a front belt hold, but Ishmaelo withstood the hold and pinned him using a chokehold.
Ismail spent the next three years in France where he dominated opponents. A colorful figure, he was also known for his fierce pride. When rivals Antonio Pierri and Tom Cannon threatened to bring in a wrestler to defeat him, Ismail reportedly said he would cut his throat if he was ever beaten. His match against another fellow Turk, Ibrahim Mahmout, was said to be one of the "most brutal bouts ever seen on the mat" at the Cirque d'Hiver in Paris. Youssuf became so enraged during the match that he tore Mahmout's nostrils, broke his ribs and twisted his arms. Although referee Tom Cannon had attempted to stop the match, only the intervention of a police inspector and six officers along with several spectators were able to separate the two. Kara Osman had been originally scheduled to face Ismail, but fell ill and Mahmout had taken his place. According to a rumor heard by French promoter Joseph Doublier, Osman had withdrawn from the match fearing his life because of an unspecified grudge between them.
He continued to managed by Doublier until 1898 when Antonio Pierri took him to New York. Taken on by promoter William A. Brady, the two appeared at the London Theatre in New York offering $100 to anyone who could stay in the ring with him for 15 minutes. George Bothner, a well known lightweight wrestler, was the only one to accept the challenge. Although being outweighed by at least 100 pounds, Bothner claimed "there wasn't a man alive who could pin him on his back in 15 minutes" and accused Ismail of being an impostor "like so many other so-called terrors". Despite his bravado, Bothner was defeated several days later and suffered a neck injury during the match. He described their encounter years later to Nat Fleischer in his book From Milo to Londos (1937).
"He was a modern Hercules and he knew how to apply his punishing strength, as he was as quick as a jungle cat and master of all holds. Youssuf came at me like a bull. He rushed me right off the mat into a bunch of chorus girls in the wing. The first thing I knew I found myself helpless. The Turk picked me up as if I was a kitten. Never before have I felt such terrible strength. Before I could give a wiggle or squirm he dashed me down on the boards with terrific force, knocking all the strength and wits out of me."
"They told me that after I had landed, Youssuf rolled me over with his foot, looked out over the audience, gave a contemptuous snort and walked off the stage. When I came to, I was a sadder, but wiser young man. Somehow or other I got into my clothes, hobbled out into the street and started to walk up Third Avenue towards my home. Youssuf had given my neck such a wrench that he almost tore it from my shoulders. It was several days before I could look in the direction I was headed."
He was undefeated prior to his arrival in New York until his disqualification in a match against World Greco-Roman Heavyweight Champion Ernest Roeber at Madison Square Garden on March 26, 1898. Ismail, who may have intentionally fouled himself, caused the crowd to riot when he pushed Roeber out of the ring, a raised platform, and who fell head first to the ground five feet below. Roeber was unconscious for several minutes and many in the crowd believed he had been killed causing spectators to charge into the ring. Only a small police guard under Chief of Police John McCullagh were able to block the main body from entering.
Roeber was revived after a few minutes and examined by physicians for injuries. Having landing on his shoulder, it was announced that he had suffered a back injury and decided that he would not be able to continue. Referee Hugh Leonard awarded the match to Roeber and, with calls to "Kill the Turk" and threats of lynching from those in attendance, Ismail was escorted by police to his dressing room. Ismail's manager, William Brady, offered to stage an exhibition bout between Ismail and Tom Cannon but McCullagh refused to allow the event to continue due to concerns of rioting. The match was described in the 1907 novel The Substitute: A Football Story by sports writer Walter Camp.
A rematch between the two was held at the Metropolitan Opera House on April 30. During the bout, the two began a shoving match which caused their managers, William Brady and Martin Julian, to enter the ring. Brady and Julian, who also managed rival heavyweight boxing champions Jim Corbett and Bob Fitzsimmons, began arguing over the management of their respective men. When Fitzsimmons attempted to intervene, several fans stormed the ring and referee Herman Wolff declared the match a no-contest before the event once again ended in a near riot. Opera House management closed the venue to wrestling events soon after.
Months later, he defeated Evan "Strangler" Lewis for the American Heavyweight Championship in Chicago, Illinois. Lewis was unable to overcome Ismail's massive size and strength nor manage to use his sleeper hold during the match. Ismail had the $5,000 prize money converted to gold and carried it in a money belt along with the title.
Shortly after his victory over Lewis, Ismail took the first ship back to Europe where he reportedly planned to open a coffee or bazar in his native village of Scutari. It was on the ill-fated SS La Bourgogne that he was one of the 600 passengers who drowned when the ship sank on the morning of July 4, 1898. According to colorful accounts from the New York press, Ismail fell overboard while passengers were being evacuated to the lifeboats. Dragged underwater by the weight of his money belt, supposedly containing between $8,000-10,000 gold coins, he drowned before the crew could get to him. It was also claimed by some journalists that "the Terrible Turk" threw women and children overboard trying to reach the lifeboats, however no mention of this was included in the official report and is generally assumed to have originated by Ismail's manager and promoter William Brady who later went on to become a successful Broadway producer.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Mitsuhiro Momota was a Japanese professional wrestler, known as the "Father of Puroresu" and one of the most influential men in wrestling history. He was credited with bringing the sport of professional wrestling to Japan at a time when the Japanese needed a local hero to emulate and was lauded as a national hero - although was not Japanese at all, but of Korean ethnicity. Rikidozan is of similar professional wrestling fame in Japan as Santo in Mexico, or Hulk Hogan in the United States.
He was born in South Hamgyong, in Japanese-occupied Korea, on November 14, 1924. His first name was Kim Sin-nak He became the adopted son of the farmer "Momota family" of Nagasaki Prefecture when he was young and trained to be a sumo wrestler. He joined Nishonoseki stable, and made his debut in May, 1940. Due to the discrimination against Koreans by the Japanese at the time, Sin-nak claimed that his name was Mitsuhiro Momota (Momota being the surname of the family which adopted, but later disowned, him) and listed his birthplace as Omura, Nagasaki. He was given the shikona of Rikidozan. He reached the top makuuchi division in 1946 and was runner-up to yokozuna Haguroyama in the tournament of June 1947, losing a playoff for the championship. He fought in 23 tournaments in total, with a win-loss record of 135-82. His highest rank was sekiwake.
Rikidozan gave up sumo in 1950. Although he claimed it was for financial reasons, discrimination against Koreans may have been a contributory factor. He made his professional wrestling debut in 1951 with a ten minute draw against Bobby Bruns. He established himself as Japan's biggest wrestling star by defeating one American wrestler after another. This was shortly after World War II, and the Japanese needed someone who could stand up to the Americans. Rikidozan thus became immensely popular in Japan. His American opponents assisted him by portraying themselves as villains who cheated in their matches. Rikidozan himself was always booked as a villain when he wrestled in America.
Rikidozan gained worldwide renown when he defeated Lou Thesz for the NWA International Heavyweight Championship on August 27, 1958. In another match, Thesz willingly agreed to put over Rikidozan at the expense of his own reputation. This built up mutual respect between the two wrestlers, and Rikidozan never forgot what Thesz did. He would go on to capture several NWA titles in matches both in Japan and overseas. Rikidozan also trained professional wrestling students, including soon-to-be wrestling legends Kanji "Antonio" Inoki, Ooki Kintaro, and Shohei "Giant" Baba.
His signature move was the karate chop, which was actually based on sumo's harite, rather than actual karate. It is rumoured that he had been coached by fellow Korean Masutatsu Oyama, but he is more likely to have been coached by another Korean karateka, Nakamura Hideo.
With his success in pro wrestling, Rikidozan began acquiring properties such as nightclubs, hotels, condominium and boxing promotions. He established the Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance (JWA), Japan's first professional wrestling promotion, in 1953. His first major feud was against Masahiko Kimura, the famous judoka who had been invited by Rikidozan to compete as a professional wrestler. Other famous feuds included those against Thesz in 1957-58, against Freddie Blassie in 1962, and against The Destroyer in 1963. Two of his matches are still (as of 2002[update]) in the top ten rated television programs of all time in Japan. His October 6, 1957 sixty-minute draw with Lou Thesz for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship drew an 87.0 rating, and his May 24, 1963 sixty-minute two out of three falls draw with The Destroyer drew a 67.0 rating, but a larger viewing audience (the largest in Japanese history) than the previous match, since by 1963 more people had television sets.
On December 8, 1963, while partying in a Tokyo nightclub, Rikidozan was stabbed with a urine-soaked blade by gangster Katsuji Murata who belongs to Boryokudan Sumiyoshi-ikka. Reportedly, Rikidozan threw Murata out of the club and continued to party, refusing to seek medical help. Another report states that Rikidozan did indeed see his physician shortly after the incident, and was told the wound was not serious. He died a week later of peritonitis on December 15.
One of his sons, Mitsuo Momota, followed his father into the ring in 1970 and still competes in Pro Wrestling Noah, but was never able to earn the recognition that once made his father famous.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Paul Perschmann better known by his ring-name, "Playboy" Buddy Rose, was a American professional wrestler.
Rose was trained by Verne Gagne and Billy Robinson in the early 1970s. He wrestled primarily for the AWA, WWF, and for promoter Don Owen in Pacific Northwest Wrestling.
One of the most legendary feuds in the Pacific Northwest pitted Rose against "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. According to Piper in his autobiography, this was the feud that really made him a name in the business, and it cemented Rose's status as an icon of the region. Rose also had a long feud with "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka. His long-time tag team parter, Ed Wiskoski, stood by his side for three decades.
When in the WWF during 1982-83, he would often work 90 days in a row. When he had a day off, he would fly back to the West Coast and headline cards there. At the peak of his WWF run, he was main eventing at Madison Square Garden against Bob Backlund for the WWF World Heavyweight title. Rose, who also had some fantastic bouts with Pedro Morales during this period, was managed by the Grand Wizard.
Rose and Doug Somers engaged in an epic feud with the Midnight Rockers over the AWA Tag Team Titles in 1986 and 1987. During this run, Rose was never pinned.
A consummate heel, Rose was well respected for his great ability to both work the microphone along with being a ring general. He even turned his weight gain during the later part of his career into a gimmick. When the ring announcer listed his weight as 271 lbs., Rose would take the microphone away from him and say, "I do not weigh 271 pounds. I weigh a slim, trim 217." This would, of course, bait the crowd into a booing frenzy. On occasion, he would also do one-handed push-ups & kip ups in the ring, and challenge other more muscular opponents to a "pose-down."
Rose was a solid all-around athlete. He was proficient at baseball, softball and hockey. In 1981 he skated against 5 of the fastest members of a minor league hockey team, beating one of them. (The players all went on to the NHL.)
Rose, wrestling as the masked Executioner, lost to Tito Santana in the opening match of WrestleMania 1985.
His last match took place at Wrestle Reunion 2005 in Tampa, Florida. He competed in a six-man tag team bout pitting himself, Col. DeBeers (Ed Wiskoski) and Bob Orton, Jr. against Jimmy Valiant, Roddy Piper and Jimmy Snuka. This was billed as Jimmy Valiant's retirement match, but Rose (who took the biggest bump of the night) basically retired after this as a wrestler, and now only makes personal appearances.
In the mid-to-late 1990s, Rose Hosted a call-in talk show on a Portland radio station.
On April 28, 2009, Rose was found dead in his home in Portland, Oregon by his wife. No cause of death has been determined.
Monday, April 13, 2009
is an American professional wrestler, stand-up comedian and actor, better known by his ring name, King Kong Bundy. During his wrestling career he became a 2 time WCWA "Champion" and a 1 time AWA Southern Heavyweight "Champion." He has also "won" many other championships.
Weighing upwards of 444 pounds (202 kilograms) in his heyday (and sometimes billed as heavy as 503 pounds), King Kong Bundy was an imposing – if never cartoonish – grappler. With awesome pale skin and a completely hairless body, he was often compared to the Michelin Man, and the contrast of his light complexion with his usual jet-black singlet led color commentator Bobby "The Brain" Heenan to dub him "Shamu"; play-by-play announcer Gorilla Monsoon preferred to describe Bundy as "a condominium with legs." At the inaugural WrestleMania event in 1985, color commentator Jesse Ventura remarked that "Bundy's back could be used as the west screen at a drive-in."
Bundy took the King Kong Bundy name during a storyline while working with World Class Championship Wrestling. Bundy was discovered and developed as Big Daddy Bundy by the Von Erich family. He wore blue jeans with a rope belt and was a fan favorite. After a dispute with the Von Erich family, Bundy was recruited by manager Gary Hart and dramatically reintroduced as King Kong Bundy, wearing the black singlet for the first time to signify his change. He lost his hair during the feud, adding to his signature look.
While he competed in various territories such as the American Wrestling Association and National Wrestling Alliance, Bundy is best known for his stint in the World Wrestling Federation between 1985 and 1988, when he feuded with André the Giant and WWF World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan.
Bundy is remembered for his tendency to ask the referee for a five count (as opposed to the usual three count) for pinfalls whenever he dominated his opponent in a squash match, a gimmick he began while wrestling for Mid-South Wrestling. He is also remembered for winning the second shortest match in WrestleMania history, when he mauled S.D. "Special Delivery" Jones in what was announced as only nine seconds at the first WrestleMania. The actual time clocks in at 23 seconds from bell to bell.
In 1985 Bundy feuded extensively with André the Giant, a feud which started during an angle where Bundy interfered in one of André's matches and delivered several splashes, giving the Giant a kayfabe broken sternum. They would feud for several months, most notably in a pair of tag team matches on Saturday Night's Main Event in late 1985, where Bundy and André's other nemesis, Big John Studd, first faced André and Tony Atlas and then André and Hulk Hogan.
On a nationally televised match on Saturday Night's Main Event, Hogan was wrestling challenger Don Muraco when he was ambushed by Bundy and his then manager, Bobby Heenan, thus setting up a feud between Hogan and Bundy. Hogan "required medical attention" from the beating sustained at the hands of the three attackers (according to Hulk Hogan's autobiography, Hollywood Hulk Hogan, although the serious injury was not legitimate, and served to make Bundy look like a monster heel, Hogan did in fact, receive minor injuries from the incident, because Bundy had to legitimately hit him full force or it would have looked fake, and because Muraco had hold of his arms, Hogan couldn't properly protect himself and all he could do was hold his breath and flex all his muscles. As a result, Hogan said that all his ribs popped in the same way that one might normally pop their knuckles, with the pain causing Hogan to legitimately black out. Hogan also said that he was diagnosed at the hospital with only some minor hairline fractures of his ribs.) The feud culminated with a steel cage match for Hogan's WWF Championship as the main event of WrestleMania 2 in Los Angeles, which was won by Hogan. On the (now out-of-print) DVD, "Hollywood Hulk Hogan: Hulk Still Rules", Hogan spoke about how he knew that when he went in the ring with Bundy, that he would come out in different physical condition than when he started the match. Hogan also called Bundy "A great guy, but strong as hell." During their feud, Bundy would frequently refer to "Bundymania" a play on the term Hulkamainia.
One year later at WrestleMania III, Bundy bodyslammed midget wrestler Little Beaver (Lionel Giroux), and then delivered a big elbow causing a disqualification in a mixed 6-man and midget tag team match. In a 1998 interview with King Kong Bundy, Bundy said he hoped that he wasn't responsible for Giroux's early death, saying he wouldn't want that on his conscience. This is unlikely, as Giroux died of emphysema. In November 1987, Bundy defeated Hulk Hogan via count-out on an episode of Saturday Night's Main Event. Bundy left the WWF in 1988 following a loss to Hogan in a rematch on the next episode of the series.
In 1994, King Kong Bundy made his return to WWF as a member of Ted DiBiase's stable, the Million Dollar Corporation. Despite a feud with The Undertaker which culminated in a match at WrestleMania XI, Bundy failed to achieve the same amount of success as he did in the 1980s.
Pallies' stage name inspired the name of the main family on the FOX sitcom Married... with Children, and he made two appearances on that show. When asked if the family had actually been named after serial killer Ted Bundy, the producers responded that they had named them after "the good Bundy."
King Kong Bundy currently wrestles for several independent promotions in the United States. In April 1997, King Kong Bundy resurfaced in magazines when he joined a faction managed by Kenny Casanova called "Camp Casanova" along with "Danger" Dave DeJohn and The Masked Maniac at times in USWF, NBW, and USA Power Pro Wrestling. In a match against "The Seven Foot Tall" Primo Canara III, Bundy knee dropped his opponent and then "Bundy-Splashed" him. The impact actually broke the ring, leaving the two grapplers in a pit in the center of the squared circle. This independent footage was picked up by many top magazines like PWI Wrestling who typically covered very little independent show footage at a time when fans were mostly interested in the big leagues.
King Kong Bundy continues to wrestle for several independent promotions in the United States. His notable feuds against "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka, Doink the Clown, and Tom Brandi are among many main events in the northeast independent circuit. In 1999, he won the AWA Superstars of Wrestling Heavyweight Championship from Jon A. Stewart aka Jonnie Stewart, in a match that Stewart claimed "was the most brutal beating I have ever taken".
More recently, Bundy has turned towards a career in stand-up comedy, seemingly with success. On April 24, 2008, King Kong Bundy was on a Norwegian TV show called Golden GOAL!.
Friday, April 10, 2009
was a Choctaw-Chickasaw Native American who achieved fame as a professional American football player and later as a professional wrestler. Wahoo was born in the small town of Bernice, Oklahoma in 1938. His father worked in oil and he moved to several towns before settling down in Midland, Texas while Wahoo was in middle school. One of his baseball coaches was George H. W. Bush. The name "Wahoo" actually came from his father who was known as "Big Wahoo." He was a problematic teenager but he was accepted to the University of Oklahoma to be part of Bud Wilkinson's Sooners football program.
McDaniel's college career was somewhat marred by injuries early on but by his senior year, he was one of the top players on the Oklahoma team despite being caught drinking after games and skipping classes. He played linebacker for the American Football League's Houston Oilers and Denver Broncos but really became a star with when he was traded to the New York Jets in 1964. He was a crowd favorite and made 23 tackles in a single game against his former Denver Broncos. He was picked by the Miami Dolphins in the 1966 American Football League expansion draft, as the team's major name player. During the 1968 season, he knocked out two police officers in an altercation and was traded to the San Diego Chargers. Wahoo never played a game for San Diego and started wrestling full-time.
Wahoo wrestled during the off-season, a common practice at the time due to low player salaries, for Dory Funk in Amarillo, Texas while he played for Houston and Denver. When he was playing for the New York Jets, Vince McMahon, Sr. brought him in for a run in the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF). During his run, he wrestled with stars like Boris Malenko, Dr. Jerry Graham and Waldo Von Erich. When he played in Miami, Eddie Graham booked him and used him as a tag team wrestler with Jose Lothario.
After leaving football, Wahoo wrestled some in Hawaii but really made his mark and had his greatest success in Houston. He feuded with Boris Malenko, eventually winning his hair, and was a frequent challenger for Dory Funk, Jr.'s NWA World Heavyweight Championship. The feud sold out the Sam Houston Coliseum on several occasion with Wahoo going time limit draws with the champ but ultimately coming up short. After Houston, he went to the American Wrestling Association and had a very successful feud with "Superstar" Billy Graham after Graham could not defeat Wahoo in an arm wrestling challenge and attacked him. Eventually, the feud turned into a tag feud with Wahoo teaming with the Crusher (another legitimate tough guy) against Graham and Ivan Koloff.
In 1974, Wahoo came to Mid-Atlantic to wrestle for Jim Crockett Promotions and help build up the territory as a singles territory in a feud with a rival from Texas, Johnny Valentine. The feud evolved into a tag feud with Wahoo and Paul Jones taking on Johnny Valentine and Ric Flair, who Wahoo met in the AWA.
McDaniel and John Valentine went on to have a feud remembered to this day for the sheer force of their punch/chop exchanges, both men widely known for their hard-hitting style. Wahoo won the Mid-Atlantic title from Valentine on June 29, 1975, in Asheville, North Carolina.
McDaniel and Flair entered into a legendary feud over the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship title throughout 1975 and 1976 after Johnny Valentine's career was ended in a plane crash. Flair won the title for the first time on September 20, 1975, in Hampton, Virginia. Wahoo regained the title in the Charlotte (NC) Coliseum in May of the following year.
Flair regained the title three weeks later in a match remembered as the "table leg" match. Wahoo and Flair shattered a table at ringside, and Flair picked up one of table legs to hit Wahoo in the head, not realizing a nail was sticking out of the table leg. McDaniel was legitimately injured and the match quickly ended with Flair pinning McDaniel for the title.
McDaniel and Flair would swap the title one more time before the final exchange of the Mid-Atlantic title between the two happened on December 27, 1976, when Wahoo defeated Flair for the belt in a "No Disqualification" match in the Richmond (VA) Coliseum. Flair went on to win the United States title and matches for the U.S. belt between Wahoo and Flair drew huge houses, with Flair holding on to the championship.
In 1977, Johnny Valentine's son Greg Valentine attacked Wahoo and broke his leg in an angle to establish Greg as Johnny's successor. Greg Valentine originally won the title on June 11, 1977, with Wahoo regaining it in Raleigh, NC two months later. On September 7, 1977, Greg Valentine regained the title at the WRAL-TV studio tapings. This angle is particularly remembered for a followup interview weeks later with Flair and Valentine throwing change at Wahoo, and Valentine asking Wahoo if he needed a custom-made wheelchair for his fat body.
Wahoo won the Mid-Atlantic title for the final time in a match against Valentine in Greensboro, NC on April 2, 1978. Unusually enough for that decade, the title reign lasted only a week, with Wahoo dropping the title to Olympic weightlifter Ken Patera in Charlotte, NC.
Other than his work in Mid-Atlantic, he wrestled in Florida, usually against then NWA World champion Harley Race. He also split his time wrestling in Georgia and the AWA. He went to Japan several times but never really caught on although he did wrestle major names like Giant Baba, Antonio Inoki and Jumbo Tsuruta. By 1980, he was wrestling in San Antonio in a feud with Tully Blanchard and his regular tag partner, "Georgous" Gino Hernandez. When the promoter in Houston broke away from the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and recognized the AWA World champion Nick Bockwinkel, Wahoo was the regular challenger.
He returned to Mid-Atlantic in 1981 and feuded with Roddy Piper over the United States title which ended when Piper brought in Abdullah the Butcher and Abby put Wahoo out on injury. Wahoo returned and had another bloody feud with Sgt. Slaughter for the U.S. title when Slaughter won the title while Wahoo was injured. In 1984, he turned on Ricky Steamboat, taking the U.S. title for the fourth time when Tully Blanchard came to Wahoo's assistance with a steel chair. He was stripped of the title but regained it in a tournament later that year. Wahoo successfully defended it at Starrcade of that year against Billy Graham but lost it to Magnum T.A. in early 1985 in a steel cage match. Wahoo feuded again with the now babyface Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight title at various times before Flair turned heel again. After losing the U.S. title, he booked and wrestled mostly for Championship Wrestling from Florida. He made a tag team with Billy Jack Haynes which won the promotion's version of the NWA United States Tag Team title from Rick Rude and Jesse Barr (aka Jimmy Jack Funk). Wahoo wrestled some high profile matches in Florida like an unsuccessful world title bid against Ric Flair and a draw against Bruiser Brody at the Florida promotion's nationally syndicated big show, Battle of the Belts.
In 1986, he returned as a face to Mid-Atlantic wrestling in some of his famous Indian Strap Matches with Jimmy Garvin and Rick Rude. He won the NWA National Heavyweight Championship from Tully Blanchard in front of a packed house of 11,000 fans in Los Angeles at The Forum (Inglewood, California) on August 28, 1986 during a wild and bloody match, but lost a unification match against NWA U.S. champion Nikita Koloff.
For the rest of the 1980s, he wrestled mainly for the AWA and for WWC in Puerto Rico. He was a perennial top contender for the AWA World Title from 1987-1989, challenging Curt Hennig, Jerry Lawler, and Larry Zbyszko during that time. McDaniel initially retired following a match against Mike Enos and Wayne Bloom, where he supposedly suffered a detached retina.
But his retirement was brief and he returned to wrestling the following year. He continued to wrestle into the 1990s mostly for independent promotions throughout the south. In 1993 he teamed with Jim Brunzell and Blackjack Mulligan against Don Muraco, Jimmy Snuka, and Dick Murdoch in a legends match at the inaugural WCW Slamboree: A Legend's Reunion. The following year, he participated in an angle where he and Jay Strongbow supposedly passed the torch to WWF's Tatanka. He wrestled until 1996 when he officially retired. Had notable feuds in the indies with Ivan Koloff. He settled down in Houston, near his daughter, where he died from complications related to diabetes in 2002.
Wahoo is often compared to Jay Strongbow, who played a Native American wrestler at the time, but most wrestlers and critics agree that Wahoo was a better wrestler and a more versatile draw although Strongbow was successful in the Northeast. Wahoo was respected by other wrestlers and football players for his toughness, physical style and his crazy antics outside of the ring. The respect as a legitimate athlete made it easy for him to go to different territories and be successful when many babyfaces had trouble doing so. Although his playing ability in football is often overshadowed by his wild lifestyle. Joe Namath and Larry Csonka, who played with him early in their careers, both printed stories about him in their autobiographies. Along that same line, Len Dawson has been quoted as saying "The hardest hit I ever received on a football field was by Wahoo McDaniel"
In 1995, he was also inducted into the WCW Hall of Fame.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Richard Morgan Fliehr better known by his ring name, Ric Flair, is a retired professional wrestler. Also known as "The Nature Boy," Flair is one of the most well known professional wrestlers in the world.
Flair is recognized by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) as a 16-time World Heavyweight Champion (8-time NWA Champion, 6-time WCW Champion, and 2-time WWE Champion) although his actual tally of World Championship reigns varies by source - some totaling as high as 22. In World Championship Wrestling (WCW), he also had two stints as a booker—from 1989–1990 and again in 1994. Flair also won the 1992 Royal Rumble and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008, the first active wrestler to be inducted in the Hall of Fame. Flair ended his 36-year career in 2008 at WrestleMania XXIV.
Flair was born on February 25, 1949. Various places have been given for his birthplace. In his autobiography Flair claims he was born in Memphis, Tennessee. In the opening chapter of his autobiography To Be the Man, titled "Black Market Baby," he notes that his birth name is given on different documents as Fred. At the time of his adoption, his father was completing a residency in gynaecology in Detroit. Shortly afterward, the family settled in Edina, Minnesota, where the young Richard Fliehr lived throughout his childhood. He later attended Wayland Academy, a coeducational boarding school in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.
As a teen, Flair took a job as a lifeguard at a local pool, where he received his first exposure to the wrestling business when he met the legendary Vachon brothers. In both 1966 and 1968, Flair won the state private school wrestling championship and was recruited to the University of Minnesota on a football scholarship, where he played alongside Greg Gagne, the son of Verne Gagne. Flair dropped out of college before receiving his degree, and he then worked as a bouncer at a nearby club, where he met Olympic weightlifter Ken Patera, who was preparing for a ring career at Verne Gagne's wrestling school. Patera introduced Flair to Verne Gagne, who agreed to take him on as a member of his training class.
Under the tutelage of Verne Gagne and Billy Robinson, Flair made fast progress; and in 1970, he made his debut in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, battling George Gadaski to a 10-minute draw while adopting the ring name "Ric Flair." Then weighing nearly 300 pounds with short brown hair, Flair scarcely resembled his future "Nature Boy" image; but he drew attention with his charismatic personality and ring endurance. During his time in the American Wrestling Association, Flair had matches with Dusty Rhodes, André the Giant, Larry Hennig, and Wahoo McDaniel.
when he was in a serious plane crash in Wilmington, North Carolina that took the life of the pilot and paralyzed Johnny Valentine (also on board were "Mr. Wrestling I" Tim Woods, Bob Bruggers, and promoter David Crockett). Flair broke his back in three places; and at age 26, he was told by doctors that he would never wrestle again. Flair conducted a rigorous physical therapy schedule, however, and he returned to the ring just six months later, where he resumed his feud with Wahoo McDaniel in February 1976. The crash did force Flair to change his wrestling technique away from the power brawling style he had used early on, which led him to adopt the "Nature Boy" style he would use throughout his career.
Groomed by Jim Crockett Jr. as his future top star, Flair won the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship when he defeated Bobo Brazil on July 29, 1977; and during the next three years, he held five reigns as U.S. Champion while feuding with Ricky Steamboat, Roddy Piper, Mr. Wrestling II, Jimmy Snuka, and Greg Valentine (with whom he also formed a championship tag team). Flair, however, reached elite status when he began referring to himself as "The Nature Boy," which incited a 1978 feud with the original "Nature Boy," Buddy Rogers, who put Flair over in one encounter.
In 1974, Flair left the AWA for Jim Crockett's Mid-Atlantic region in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA); and he soon captured his first title when, on February 8, 1975, he beat Paul Jones for the Mid-Atlantic TV Championship. On October 4, 1975, however, Flair's career nearly ended Then on September 17, 1981, Flair reached the top of the mountain when he beat Dusty Rhodes for his first NWA World Heavyweight Championship. In the following years, Flair eventually established himself as the promotion's main franchise in the midst of emerging competition from Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation. With his outlandish wit and entertaining interview style, Flair embodied the role of the World Champion—sporting bleached blond hair, elegant jewelry, designer suits, and elaborate custom robes while dishing out his trademark chops and figure four leglock. All the while, Flair taunted his opponents with his "Wooo!" shout (for which, Flair claims to have drawn inspiration from Jerry Lee Lewis' song "Great Balls of Fire") while boasting that "To be 'The Man,' you gotta beat the man!" and "Whether you like it or not, learn to love it, learn to live with it 'cause it's the best thing going today!"
In 1982, Jack Veneno and Flair had a series of matches. Veneno defeated Flair for the World Title, but the NWA did not recognize this change. Flair also wrestled matches with Ricky Steamboat throughout the year. Harley Race won the title from Flair in 1983, but Flair regained the title at Starrcade in Greensboro, North Carolina in a Steel Cage match; afterward, Race and Flair fought in many different matches in early 1984. Flair won the NWA title, officially, eight more times. As the NWA champion, he defended his belt around the world. Flair lost the title to Race and won it back in the span of three days in New Zealand in March 1984. At the first David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions at Texas Stadium, Flair was pinned by Kerry Von Erich. Flair regained the title eighteen days later in Japan.
He then reigned for two years, two months, and two days, losing his title to Dusty Rhodes on July 26, 1986 at The Great American Bash; Rhodes had been a ever-present foe in Flair's career after Flair helped break Rhodes's leg on September 29, 1985. Flair regained the title two weeks later. Flair defended his titles against opponents like Harley Race, Ricky Steamboat, Roddy Piper, Kerry Von Erich, Jay Youngblood, Sting, Ronnie Garvin, Magnum T.A., and Rhodes throughout his career, as well.
In the spring of 1985, the tag team of Ole Anderson and Arn Anderson began aiding Ric Flair (whom they claimed as a "cousin") in attacks against Dusty Rhodes, Magnum T.A., and Sam Houston. A few weeks later, the Andersons interrupted Houston's match against Tully Blanchard, and the three villains combined to rough up the youngster while sending a message to the rest of the NWA. Shortly thereafter, Flair, Blanchard, and the Andersons formalized their alliance, calling themselves the Four Horsemen, with Blanchard's manager J.J. Dillon also coming on board. Upon the group's inception, it was clear that the Horsemen were unlike any villainous alliance that had ever existed. The four rule breakers immediately used their strength in numbers to decimate the NWA's top fan favorites while controlling the majority of the championship titles; and over the years, there would be various incarnations of the group, including Paul Roma, Lex Luger, Steve McMichael, Barry Windham, Sid Vicious, Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit, Brian Pillman and Sting.
By 1986, wrestling promoter Jim Crockett had consolidated the various NWA member promotions he owned into a single entity, running under the banner of the National Wrestling Alliance. Controlling much of the traditional NWA territories in the southeast and Midwestern United States, Crockett looked to expand nationally and built his promotion around Flair as champion. During this time, Flair's bookings as champion were tightly controlled by Crockett, and a custom championship belt was created for Flair. In 1987, Flair and Barry Windham had a series of matches for the NWA World Championship. Flair defeated Windham at the Crockett Cup tournament and they fought to a time limit draw in January. Flair lost the NWA World Championship due to his flamboyant ways in Detroit to Ron Garvin on September 25, 1987. Garvin held the title for two months before losing to Flair on November 26, 1987 at WCW's first pay-per-view event, Starrcade, in Chicago.
In early 1988, rising star Sting had challenged Flair to a match at the first ever Clash of Champions. Flair accepted and fought Sting to a 45 minute time-limit draw. In late 1988, booker Dusty Rhodes proposed that Flair lose the NWA World Heavyweight Championship to Rick Steiner in a short match at Starrcade when no agreement could be met regarding the finish to the scheduled main event between him and Lex Luger. Rhodes was fired for various issues within the company, and former JCP booker George Scott was given his role as a booker. Scott immediately negotiated to bring in Ricky Steamboat for a series of matches. On February 20, 1989, at Chi-Town Rumble in Chicago, Steamboat pinned Flair to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. This prompted a series of rematches, where Steamboat was presented as a "family man" (often accompanied by his wife and young son), while Flair opposed him as an immoral, fast-living "ladies man". Following a best-of-three falls match with Steamboat that lasted just short of the sixty-minute time limit (and ended with a disputed finish where Steamboat retained the title) at Clash of the Champions VI: Ragin' Cajun on April 2, Flair regained the title from Steamboat on May 7, 1989 at WrestleWar. This match was voted 1989's "Match of the Year" by Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Flair was attacked by Terry Funk (serving as a judge for the match, as per its stipulations) after the match when Flair refused to grant Funk a title match, telling Funk that he had spent too much time in Hollywood and out of wrestling, and was not a listed title contender. The attack reached its conclusion when Funk gave Flair a piledriver onto the judges' table.
Months later, a "recovered" Flair returned to competition in an emotional match against Funk at The Great American Bash. The two continued feuding through the summer and eventually Flair reformed the Four Horsemen, with the surprise addition of longtime rival Sting, to combat Funk's J-Tex Corporation. This led to an "I Quit" match at Clash of the Champions IX: New York Knockout. Before the match, Funk stated that he would shake Flair's hand if he lost, a promise he kept when he shouted, "Yes, I quit!" after being in Flair's figure four leglock. Flair then kicked Sting out of the Horsemen upon his challenge for the NWA Championship, resulting in a revived feud between the two which had to be delayed due to Sting injuring his knee, forcing WCW to slot Lex Luger as Flair's main challenger until Sting returned. On July 7, 1990, Flair dropped the title to Sting at The Great American Bash. After being unmasked as the Black Scorpion at Starrcade in 1990, Flair regained the title from Sting on January 11, 1991, in front of a near empty house due to the blizzard conditions in the New York City area. Prior to this reign, WCW split their recognition of a World Heavyweight Champion from the NWA, and Flair was subsequently recognized as the first WCW World Heavyweight Champion, while still being recognized as NWA World Champion. At the Clash of the Champions XIV: Dixie Dynamite on January 30, he wrestled Scott Steiner to a draw. On March 21, 1991, Tatsumi Fujinami defeated Flair in a controversial match in Tokyo at the WCW/New Japan Supershow. While the NWA recognized Fujinami as their new champion, WCW did not because Fujinami had backdropped Flair over the top rope in a violation of WCW rules. On May 19, 1991, Flair defeated Fujinami at SuperBrawl in St. Petersburg, Florida to reclaim the NWA title and retain the WCW Title. In doing so, he became an nine time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, breaking Harley Race's record of eight reigns. On June 14, at the Clash of the Champions XV: Knocksville USA, he defeated Bobby Eaton in a two out of three falls match.
In the spring of 1991, Flair had a contract dispute with WCW president Jim Herd, who wanted him to take a substantial pay cut. Herd had removed Flair as head booker in February 1990 and wanted to reduce Flair's role in the promotion even further, despite the fact that Flair was still a top draw. According to Flair, Herd also proposed changes in his appearance (i.e. by shaving his hair, wearing a diamond earring and going by the name "Spartacus") as well as his in-ring name in order to "change with the times". Flair disagreed with the proposals, and two weeks before the The Great American Bash, Herd fired him and vacated the WCW Championship. Flair's popularity in WCW was proven during his absence, as broadcasts were often punctuated by chants of "We want Flair!". While Flair had left for the WWF he was still recognized as the NWA World Champion until September 8, when the title was officially vacated.
Flair signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in August 1991 and began appearing on television the next month. Initially, he appeared on WWF shows with the "Big Gold Belt," calling himself "The Real World Heavyweight Champion." WCW sued Flair in an attempt to reclaim the belt, but Flair claimed that he owned the belt in lieu of the $25,000 deposit paid by NWA champions upon winning the title, which had not been returned to him when he was fired from WCW. The matter was settled later that year, with Flair's deposit being returned to him along with interest. Led by his "financial advisor" Bobby Heenan and his "executive consultant" Mr. Perfect, Flair repeatedly issued challenges to WWF wrestlers like Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan, wrestling a team led by Piper at Survivor Series in 1991 and helping The Undertaker defeat Hogan for the WWF Championship that same night.
At the Royal Rumble in 1992, he won the Rumble match to claim the vacant WWF Championship. Flair drew number three in the Rumble match and lasted a then-record 59 minutes, last eliminating Sid Justice with help from Hulk Hogan, who had been eliminated by Justice seconds earlier. In so doing, Flair joined Buddy Rogers as the only men to win the WWF and NWA World Championships in their careers.
After a planned program with Hogan was scrapped due to Hogan's hiatus following the WWF's steroid scandal, Randy Savage challenged Flair for the WWF title at WrestleMania VIII. In storyline, Flair taunted Savage by claiming that he had a prior relationship with Savage's wife, Elizabeth, and that he had the pictures to prove it (which were later revealed to be doctored photos). Savage defeated Flair for the title at WrestleMania. In July 1992, as Savage prepared to defend the title against The Ultimate Warrior at SummerSlam, Flair and Mr. Perfect sowed distrust between the two by suggesting that they would back one or the other during their match. They actually attacked both Savage and Warrior and injured Savage's knee sufficiently, an injury that Flair exploited to regain the title in a match with Savage on September 1. His second reign was be short-lived, however, as he lost the title to Bret Hart on October 12, 1992. Flair teamed with Razor Ramon to take on Savage and Perfect at the Survivor Series 1992. After losing a Loser Leaves the WWF match to Mr. Perfect on an episode of Monday Night Raw, Flair appeared in the Royal Rumble in 1993 (although the match with Perfect had been taped six days prior, it did not air until the following night) and then fulfilled his remaining house show commitments, making his last appearance on February 10, 1993, before returning to WCW. On The Ultimate Ric Flair Collection DVD, Flair described his first stint with the WWF as "the greatest year and a half of my career, outside the time I spent with Arn Anderson and The Four Horsemen."
Flair returned to WCW as a face in February 1993 and hosted a short-lived talk show in WCW called A Flair for the Gold. This was done to keep Flair busy as he at the time, had a no compete clause from the WWF. Arn Anderson usually appeared at the bar on the show's set, and Flair's maid, Fifi (portrayed by Wendy Barlow), cleaned or bore gifts. Once he returned to action, Flair briefly held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship for a tenth time after defeating Barry Windham at Beach Blast before WCW finally left the NWA in September 1993. WCW planned to have Sid Vicious face Vader for the WCW World title at Starrcade in 1993 but Sid was fired after a violent real-life altercation with Arn Anderson in London. Flair was placed in the match, which was held in his adopted hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. The match was billed that if Flair lost, he would retire from wrestling. The match ended with Flair using a chop block and roll-up on the gigantic Vader to win the title for the second time.
In June 1994, Flair defeated Sting in a unification match, merging the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship with the WCW World Championship. This concluded a slow heel turn for Flair that started when he defeated Ricky Steamboat in a controversial manner some months earlier. Flair later feuded with Hulk Hogan upon Hogan's arrival in WCW in June 1994, losing the WCW World Championship to him in July at Bash at the Beach. Flair lost a retirement match to Hogan at Halloween Havoc and took a few months off before returning as a wrestler and part-time manager in 1995 (explained on-air by having Flair nag Hogan for months until Hogan agreed to let Flair come back). He and Randy Savage renewed hostilities when Savage arrived in WCW late in 1994, and their feud continued off-and-on for almost two years with each wrestler winning the WCW World Championship from each other at different times. Flair defeated Savage in a steel cage at SuperBrawl VI to win the WCW World title, which saw Savage betrayed by Elizabeth in favor of Flair. Flair also defeated Konnan on July 7 at Bash at the Beach to win the United States Championship. He vacated it in November of that year due to an arm injury.
Flair played a major role in the New World Order storyline in late 1996 and throughout 1997. He and the Horsemen often took the lead in the war against Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Hulk Hogan. Flair feuded with Roddy Piper, Syxx, and his old nemesis, Curt Hennig, in 1997 after Hennig was offered a spot in the Four Horsemen only to turn on Flair and the Horsemen at Fall Brawl in 1997. Hennig punctuated the act by slamming the cage door onto Flair's head.
In April 1998, Flair became embroiled in a dispute with WCW president Eric Bischoff when he failed to appear at a televised event. Bischoff had placed Flair on the show only three days prior, and Flair had earlier requested time off on the same night to see his son, Reid, wrestle in a Greco-Roman wrestling tournament. He made a surprise return on September 14, 1998 to ceremoniously reform the Four Horsemen (along with Steve McMichael, Dean Malenko, and Chris Benoit). During Flair's time away from the ring, he came in second on People Online's 50 Most Beautiful People. Flair feuded with Bischoff for several months afterward, culminating in a First Blood cage match at Uncensored against Hulk Hogan where both Bischoff's presidency and Hogan's WCW World Heavyweight Championship were on the line. Despite being the first to bleed, Flair won the match by submission thanks to biased referee Charles Robinson, who counted Hogan out. Robinson would be nicknamed "Lil' Naitch," idolizing Flair and officiating all of Flair's matches in his favor. As on-air "president," Flair began abusing his power much like Bischoff had, favoring villains over fan favorites and even awarding the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship to his son David and resorting to whatever means necessary to keep David U.S. Champion. Flair eventually formed a stable of followers which included Roddy Piper, Arn Anderson, and the Jersey Triad to keep things in order. Flair's reign as president came to an end on the July 19 episode of Nitro, facing Sting for the WCW presidency. During the course of the match, Sting had Flair in his Scorpion Death Lock, but with the referee knocked out no decision could be reached. A returning Eric Bischoff came to the ring and began ordering the timekeeper to ring the bell, which he eventually did, awarding the match and the presidency to Sting (who promptly gave it up upon receiving it).
Flair won the WCW World Championship twice during 2000, WCW's last full year of operation. When WCW was purchased by the WWF in March 2001, Flair was the leader of the villainous group called the Magnificent Seven. During the final episode of Nitro, he gave a speech regarding the company's greatness. Later in the night, Flair lost the final match in Nitro history to Sting on March 26, 2001. Nevertheless, Flair has repeatedly stated in various interviews how happy he was when WCW finally closed down, although at the same time he was sad that a lot of people were going to lose their jobs.
After a hiatus from professional wrestling, Flair returned to the WWF in November 2001 as the on-camera co-owner of the company. Flair reappeared on Raw following the end of the "WCW/ECW Invasion" that culminated in a "Winner Take All" match at Survivor Series won by the WWF. Flair's new on-screen role was that of the co-owner of the WWF, with the explanation that Shane and Stephanie McMahon had sold him their stock in the company to a consortium (namely Flair) prior to purchasing World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling. Flair's feud with Vince McMahon led them to a match at the Royal Rumble in 2002 in a Street Fight, where Flair defeated McMahon. Flair also wrestled The Undertaker at WrestleMania X8 in 2002 where Flair lost after a hard fought battle and interference by Arn Anderson. From then, the "co-owner" angle culminated in early 2002, when McMahon controlled SmackDown!, and Flair controlled Raw. After Steve Austin abruptly left WWE while in a program with Flair, a match was hotshotted between Flair and Vince for sole ownership of WWE, which McMahon won, thanks to interference by Brock Lesnar.
Flair later became a villain by joining Triple H's "Evolution" stable. Flair won the World Tag Team Championship with Batista twice in 2003 and 2004. Later, at Unforgiven in 2005, Flair defeated Carlito for the Intercontinental Championship. He defended the title in a feud with Triple H before losing it to Shelton Benjamin. Flair then took some time off in mid-2006 to rest and marry for the third time; he returned in June to work a program with Mick Foley that played off their legitimate past animosity. Flair defeated Foley at SummerSlam in an "I Quit" match.
Subsequently, he was involved in a rivalry with the Spirit Squad on Raw. On November 5, 2006 at Cyber Sunday, he captured the World Tag Team Championship from the Squad with Roddy Piper. On the November 13 edition of Raw, Flair and Piper lost the Tag Titles to Rated-RKO, due to a disc problem with Piper and had to be flown immediately back to the USA as soon as Raw was off the air. On November 26, 2006 at Survivor Series, Flair was the sole survivor of a match that featured himself, Ron Simmons (replacing an injured Piper), Dusty Rhodes and Sgt. Slaughter versus the Spirit Squad. Flair then left television due to his divorce hearings. On the December 11, 2006 edition of Raw, Flair returned to team up with DX again. They defeated Rated-RKO and Kenny Dykstra.
Flair then began teaming with Carlito after Flair said that Carlito had no heart. Flair defeated Carlito in a match after which Carlito realized that Flair was right. Flair and Carlito faced off against Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch in a number one contender's match for the World Tag Team Championship but were defeated. After weeks of conflict between Flair and Carlito, the team split up when Carlito attacked Flair during a match. At Judgment Day, Flair defeated Carlito with the figure four leglock. His career was put at risk following a match with Randy Orton on June 4, 2007.
On the June 11 edition of Raw, Flair was drafted from Raw to SmackDown! as part of the 2007 WWE Draft. He briefly feuded against Montel Vontavious Porter and rejoined forces with Batista to feud with The Great Khali; the alliance was shortlived, however, as Flair was "injured" during a match with Khali.
After a three month absence, Flair returned to WWE programming on the November 26 edition of Raw to announce that he would "never retire". Vince McMahon retaliated by announcing that the next match Flair lost would result in a forced retirement. Later in the night, Flair defeated Orton after a distraction by Chris Jericho. It was revealed on the 15th anniversary of Raw that the win or retire ultimatum only applied in singles matches. Flair won several "career threatening" matches against the opponents such as Triple H, Umaga, William Regal, Mr. Kennedy, and Vince McMahon himself among others. On March 29, 2008, Flair was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as a part of the Class of 2008 by Triple H. The day after, Flair wrestled his final match at WrestleMania XXIV in Orlando, Florida, losing to Shawn Michaels. This match was voted the 2008 PWI Match of the Year. Flair's fight to keep his career going garnered him the 2008 PWI Most Inspirational Wrestler of the Year award.
On the March 31 edition of Raw, Flair delivered his farewell address. Afterward, Triple H brought out many current and retired superstars to thank Flair for all he has done, including Shawn Michaels, some of the Four Horsemen, the Undertaker and Chris Jericho, followed by Vince McMahon. Along with the wrestlers, the fans gave Ric a standing ovation. This event represented a rare moment in WWE as both the heels and the faces broke character and came out to the ring together. The Undertaker's and McMahon's entrances, however, were not shown on the TV taping of Raw for the week in order to preserve their characters, but were included in Nature Boy Ric Flair: The Definitive Collection DVD as extras. Flair made an appearance on the June 16 edition of Raw to confront Chris Jericho and challenged him to a fight in the parking lot, but was ejected from the building by McMahon. Flair made another appearance the following week on the June 23 edition of Raw helping McMahon give away money during McMahon's Million Dollar Mania.
On August 3, 2008, Flair's management company, The Gillespie Agency of Columbia, South Carolina confirmed that he has parted ways with WWE under amicable terms. The release enabled Flair to pursue opportunities outside of WWE. Since leaving the WWE, Flair is open to working with other companies, as evident by his decision to accept a booking for an autograph session in Robstown, Texas on October 4, for the NWA Wrestling show, marking the first time in 20 years that Flair worked with the NWA. Flair appeared for UK wrestling company One Pro Wrestling on October 18 for their Third Anniversary Show at the Doncaster Dome. He also sat down with Highspots.com for his first "Shoot" interview; over 20 hours was filmed and 13 will be included of the 3-4 disc set. Flair also has inked deals with The Coca-Cola Company and Wal-Mart. On February 16, Ric Flair signed a multi-event contract with Ring of Honor. The deal includes autograph sessions at ROH events. Flair made his first ROH appearance on March 13, 2009 in Colinsville, Illinois, where he had a confrontation with World Heavyweight Champion Nigel McGuinness.
Meanwhile, on the February 9, 2009 episode of Raw, Flair made an appearance to once again confront Chris Jericho, telling him to respect the WWE Legends and the fans. On the February 23 episode of Raw, it was announced that Flair will be inducting Ricky Steamboat into the WWE Hall of Fame.
At the March 9, 2009 episode of Raw, Flair appeared during a Money in the Bank qualifier match between Jericho and Kofi Kingston, distracting Jericho which cost him the match. Jericho subsequently suggested Flair come out of retirement and challenged him to a match on the March 16 Raw. That week, Flair declined Jericho's challenge. Instead he, along with Piper, Steamboat and Jimmy Snuka attacked Jericho. On the March 23 episode of Raw, after telling Jericho he would be proud to stand tall with his fellow Hall of Famers at WrestleMania XXIV, he was attacked by Jericho. Jericho then took Flair's golden watch (which was given to him on the Raw after WrestleMania XXIV as a gift from Shawn Michaels) and destroyed it. At WrestleMania, Flair was in the corner of Piper, Snuka, and Steamboat for the match against Jericho, who won the match then, went after Flair. While Flair was knocked down, Mickey Rourke came into the ring and nailed Jericho with an upper left hook, at which time Flair came in and held up Rouke's hand in victory.
Flair was often popular with the crowd due to his in-ring antics, including rulebreaking (earning him the distinction of being "the dirtiest player in the game"), strutting and his shouting of "Woooooo!" Flair's moveset became limited in the last ten years of his career due mainly to his age and years of competition taking a toll on his body, but still remained one of the most entertaining parts of the show. The "Woooooo!" yell has since become a tribute to Flair, and is often shouted by the crowd whenever a wrestler performs a knife-edge chop, one of Flair's signature moves. From the late 1970s, Flair wore ornate fur-lined robes of many colors with sequins during in-ring appearances, and since the early 1980s, his approach to the ring was usually heralded by the playing of the "Dawn" section of Richard Strauss' "Also sprach Zarathustra" (famous for being used in the motion picture 2001: A Space Odyssey).
On May 19, 2003, Triple H defended the World Heavyweight Championship in a match against Flair. After Raw went off the air, most of the people who were backstage came out to honor Flair, including Vince McMahon, the Undertaker, Shane, and Stephanie McMahon. Triple H then appeared, and after a stare down, he placed the World Heavyweight Championship belt on Flair's shoulder and embraced him. Flair then gave a speech thanking everyone for the tribute.
Flair released his autobiography, To Be the Man, in July 2004. The title is taken from one of his catchphrases, "To be the man, you gotta beat the man!"
On the February 18, 2008 edition of Raw, Shawn Michaels announced Flair as the first inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2008. The induction ceremony took place on March 29, 2008, with Triple H inducting him. This made him the only person to be inducted while still an active competitor as of 2008. On March 24, 2008, Mayor Bob Coble, of Columbia, South Carolina, declared March 24 to be Ric Flair Day in Columbia. Flair also received the key to the city. Flair was later inducted into the NWA Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia, his second straight Hall of Fame induction in four months, but he did not participate in the event. He received the key to the city of Greensboro, North Carolina on December 5, 2008, to commemorate Flair's victory in a cage match against Harley Race at the inaugral Starrcade event.
On September 29, 2008, wrestlinginc.com announced that Flair's signature sequin covered robe that he wore at WrestleMania XXIV, in his last match, would be placed in the pop culture section of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
In December 2005, a magistrate issued arrest warrants for Flair after a road rage incident that took place in Charlotte, in which Flair allegedly got out of his car, grabbed a motorist by the neck, and kicked the door of the motorist's sport utility vehicle. Flair was charged with injury to personal property and simple assault and battery, both misdemeanors. This incident was ridiculed on WWE programming, most notably by the wrestler Edge. The charges were dropped after the witnesses failed to show for a scheduled court appearance.
In the 80s, Flair was an outspoken fan of the Los Angeles Lakers. When the Charlotte Hornets debuted in 1988, however, he then announced that they would be his favorite team. His loyalties lie with them even after they relocated to New Orleans. Whenever Chris Paul scores at Hornets home games, A clip of Ric Flair holding a basketball and wearing his signature robe plays with Flair saying his trademark "Woooo!". The crowd usually repeats the "Wooo!"
Flair is sometimes seen attending the Carolina Hurricanes National Hockey League ice hockey games at the RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. When the Hurricanes score, one of a couple of videos appears on the scoreboard. One shows Flair in a Hurricanes jersey saying, "That's another Carolina Hurricanes goal! Woooooo!" Flair is also seen in the open segments of every Carolina Panthers home game. He ends his segment with his trademark "Woooooo" in which the crowd usually imitates. Flair is also a big fan of the South Carolina Gamecocks and has appeared in their pregame video. His "Wooooo!" is played at Carolina Stadium after a Gamecock pitcher records a strikeout.
In September 2007, Flair opened a financial business called Ric Flair Finance. In July 2008, Ric Flair Finance filed for bankruptcy.
Flair's son David is a semi-retired professional wrestler. Flair's younger son Reid, who signed a developmental contract with WWE near the end of 2007, is an accomplished high school wrestler and made several appearances on WCW television along with his sister Ashley and half-sister Megan.
Flair became a grandfather in 2004 when his eldest daughter, Megan Fliehr-Ketzner, gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Morgan Lee Ketzner on May 9.
On May 27, 2006, Ric married his third wife, fitness competitor Tiffany VanDemark. On August 7, 2008, Tiffany announced that she had filed for divorce from Flair.
Flair's daughter Ashley was arrested on September 5, 2008 for assaulting a police officer. The incident occurred after police were called to a fight involving Flair, Ashley, and her boyfriend.
Flair lives with his family in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In 2004, Flair engaged in an off-screen rivalry with Bret Hart. In Flair's autobiography, Flair criticizes Hart for over-exploiting the death of his brother, Owen Hart, and the controversy surrounding the Montreal Screwjob. Flair also claimed in his autobiography that, despite Hart's popularity throughout Canada and Europe, he was not a formidable money-making draw in the United States, a claim which Hart dismissed as "plain ridiculous" in a column written for the Calgary Sun. Hart claimed that he drew greater revenue than Flair and was "consistently main eventing in front of, not sold out buildings, but entirely sold out tours" throughout the United States during his career. He also criticized Flair on what he perceived as insults to fellow wrestlers Mick Foley and Randy Savage, both personal friends of Hart's. Hart did acknowledge a decline in the WWF's popularity during the mid 1990s, but he—and others—felt that this was largely attributed to the WWF's well publicised sex and steroid scandals.
Flair also had a long running feud with Shane Douglas, who would refer to him as "Dick Flair" and accuse him of sabotaging his push in the NWA/WCW after getting a solid push and a rub from his tag team partner Ricky Steamboat. Flair, in turn, responded that Douglas was always the guy that would blame his shortcomings on others. He called Douglas out as well as accused him of steroid abuse during a broadcast of the Internet radio show WCW Live! in which he said that he would meet him anytime and anywhere if he "took the needle out of his ass." They were able to come to a working relationship during Douglas' last stint with WCW.
Flair has also had issues with Mick Foley. In his 1999 autobiography Have a Nice Day!, Foley said, "Flair was every bit as bad on the booking side of things as he was great on the wrestling side of it." This was in reference to how poorly Foley thought he was booked during his WCW career when Flair was on the booking committee. Flair responded in his autobiography, writing, "I do not care how many thumbtacks Mick Foley has fallen on, how many ladders he's fallen off, how many continents he's supposedly bled on, he will always be known as a glorified stuntman." They have since buried the hatchet and are now friends.
Flair described in his autobiography how he attacked Eric Bischoff backstage at a WWE house show, saying it was due to hating how Bischoff treated him in WCW. Flair stated that Arn Anderson kept watch while he tried to get Bischoff to fight him, but that the confrontation was interrupted by Sgt. Slaughter, who promptly informed Vince McMahon of the incident.
In his book, Flair also touched on some real-life tension between himself and Hulk Hogan which largely stemmed from an incident that followed the conclusion of a tag match between Flair and his son, David, and the team of Curt Hennig and Barry Windham at WCW's Souled Out pay-per-view on January 17, 1999, in Charleston, WV. Flair described Hogan and members of the New World Order coming out to attack them, as well as Hogan whipping an incapacitated David with a leather belt as Flair was forced to look on. "What no one had told me was that Hogan would try to be cute and whip David over and over again....there was Hogan -- with all his experience, and all his celebrity -- trying to be cute. He whipped David like a dog. It was sickening, and I'll never forgive him for it", Flair wrote of the incident.
Flair and wrestling legend Bruno Sammartino have a real-life disagreement over what reports call "the infamous backstage “snub” where Flair claims that Sammartino refused to shake his hand at a live event.". The event took place on July 26, 2004 at Mellon Arena in Sammartino's hometown of Pittsburgh. While Flair claims Sammartino ignored him due to comments made in his book stating Sammartino was "a Northeast star who couldn’t draw fans outside New York," Sammartino disagrees. Sammartino referred to Flair as a "liar," stating, "No, I don’t respect Ric Flair. I don’t respect him at all.". Sammartino contends that Flair avoided him, and not vice versa.
Flair has long supported Republican political candidates in North Carolina politics. In 2000, Flair explored the possibility of running for governor of North Carolina, but he never filed the papers.
In the 2008 presidential race, Ric Flair declared his support for the Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. He said of Huckabee, "[Huckabee] is a quality person, self-made, a great family man and he has a great vision for our country. And I'm here to excite the crowd."