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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Ric Flair: The Real World's Champion
March 3, 2006 by Thomas Covenant


Rewind to a simpler time in the WWF, one filled with a crazy cast of characters including some outright bizarre people such as Skinner, Repo Man, and the IRS; as well as legends such as the Macho Man, Roddy Piper, Sid Justice, and the Superfly. In these simpler times, Sgt. Slaughter had finally seen the light and come back on the side of the USA, and Hulk Hogan still ruled the world.

But there was a storm brewing, a tingling in the air; times were about to change forever. The WWF was about to bear witness to the Real World's Champion, Ric Flair. Who was this man who claimed to have been winning world titles while our hero Hulk Hogan was making the movies we all adored" Who was this man that possessed an arrogance and ambition like no other" For that matter, what was this title belt he wore all about" Where did it come from, and what did it mean for the WWF" Looking back now at the impact the Nature Boy made in the WWF, it is inconceivable that it lasted a mere eighteen months. This is the story of Ric Flair, the Real World's Champion.

All of this began unbeknown to the WWF fans on September 9th, 1991. The president of the WWE, Jack Tunney, had hired a man who would make one of the biggest impacts on the WWF in such a short period of time. The lack of publication of these closed door meetings meant that the fans had no idea what was to come, or anything else about this man for that matter. It was only on WWF TV, late '91, when Bobby Heenan appeared during a segment on WWF Superstars, holding a mysterious massive gold title belt, that the WWF fans found out about this bombshell. Heenan announced that the "Real World's Champion" was coming to the WWF, and that this title was the real world title. Fans were left gasping; some were intrigued, some even seemed to have some knowledge of this mans background, but all were anticipating his debut. Roddy Piper seemed to have knowledge of this belt, spitting on it in front of a surprised Heenan.

Then a few short weeks later, with the Brain eagerly preparing the red carpet treatment, Ric Flair debuted, insulted the immortal Hulk Hogan, declared himself the real world champion, and claimed that Hogan has turned down his challenges for 10 years. Ric immediately began to make his first point; he targeted veteran Roddy Piper, for his disrespect of the "Real World's Title". Roddy Piper, as primarily a color commentator, was tempered by the play by play man, Vince McMahon, which kept things civil for a time.

That is, until the Royal Rumble was looming in the beginning of the New Year, 1992. Flair had some altercations with Piper, but now had his sights focused, along with his management team - now joined by Mr. Perfect - on becoming the undisputed WWF Champion. He still wore his World Heavyweight Title, but he wanted the legitimacy, the recognition, and the prestige that proving all the unbelievers wrong would bring him. Flair wanted the WWF World Heavyweight Title.

So imagine the distress Heenan displayed when Flair drew number 3 in the Royal Rumble, making his chances of winning almost nil due to the high level of exertion required for such a Herculean feat. History had proven this to be true, as Gorilla Monsoon commented to Heenan several times during the match that no one had ever entered first in the Royal Rumble and won. Flair made a strong showing, using every opportunity to rest, take cheap shots, and he DID survive for quite a long while, which prompted the announcers to comment that he was approaching Rick Martel's Royal Rumble record. The final four were Hogan and his ally Sid, Flair, and Randy Savage. Sids betrayal cost Hogan his title, and Hogan then in retaliation helped Flair eliminate Sid, to make flair the NEW undisputed champion of the world!

Flair reigned supreme until April 5th, WrestleMania VIII, where he was defeated by Randy Savage for the WWF title. Flair had claimed that before Macho Man met Elizabeth, that she had been "had" by Flair, and that she was damaged goods. The two men then feuded bitterly with each other over the title until September 1st, when an assist from Razor Ramon helped Flair regain the title. But the new empire Flair had built was beginning to fade. Firstly, a rising star by the name of the The Hitman Bret Hart, who took Flair's title at a house show in Saskatchewan. Then Mr. Perfect betrayed his employer, which began a long and dragged out rivalry that lasted until January 25rd 1993, on WWF RAW. On this show, the score was to be settled once and for all, for Flair to move on past this deception and regain his throne, or for Mr. Perfect to elevate himself up with a win over this dominant former champion.

But on this night, the Perfect one scored an upset win over his former boss, and Ric Flair honored the stipulation of the match, which was that the loser would leave town. Ric Flair was not seen in a WWF ring ever again, until much later, when he made a clever investment to buy 50% ownership of the then WWE from Shane and Stephanie McMahon.

But what of this man that steamrolled through everyone in the federation that dared to face him" What of this man who was only defeated by the betrayal of his own student" What about Hulk Hogan" During Flair's 14 month dominant tenure in the WWF, he and Hogan made next to no contact with each other. Only a tag match that ended in a DQ between Ramon and Flair vs Hogan and Sid ever surfaced. Why did Hogan refuse to fight this "Real World's Champion"" Was Hogan scared" Had he succumbed to the strain of representing the company night in, night out against all challengers" Did Hogan intentionally stay away from Flair" Did he fear he could not beat Flair" Hogan himself disappeared from the WWF during the latter part of Flair's run, only returning after Flair was gone...

Only time will tell why Hulk Hogan never stepped into the ring against Ric Flair in the WWF, and neither man has commented as to why up to now. One thing remains certain though, that for those 14 months, even with his despicable tactics, Ric Flair was THE man in the WWF, holding the belt against numerous challengers, and winning in the end against all of his rivals besides his trainer, Mr. Perfect. Who knows what the shape of the WWE would be today had Flair won that match. Would HHH have bloomed at an even earlier age with his idol in the ring next to him during his early years" Would he have had the opportunity to become a 50% owner of the company he once was the world champion of" All that's for sure is that Ric Flair made a mark on the WWF like few other men, and is surely hall of fame bound.

by Thomas Covenant ..


Dev Hassan wrote:
who gives a rats ass about Ric Flair" hes a bum. Chris Jericho is the first ever Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion.

If you get your facts right, your probley some fan who believes what you've heard from older people than you about this over-rated so called "greatest wrestler" he won over all his rivals..." let me correct you, one man who CAN wrestle and has more wrestling skill in his thumb than Flair has in his entire body and that was Bret "The Hitman" Hart. Bret easily out-wrestled him in that whole match and he carried Ric Flair. Even Stone Cold Steve Austin himself said the guy worked hard in his matches, and never had bad match and did what was best for the company always. I'm sure every wrestler would agree apart from Ric and Shawn Michaels of course.

I'd watch 100hrs of Bret's matches that were NOT boring, where he tried to make a good match and trust me he had very great matches, technical action, hard hitting action and all of it, than watch Ric Flair a chop then climb ontop of a turnbuckle and do one of his stupid moves hes done everyday of his wrestling history, he is like a circus, the same damn routine everytime.

If Ric Flair pulls off a DDT or even a Doube hook under arm butterfly suplex, I'll be shocked and probley end up with a heart attack.

Even classing Triple H to near Ric Flair is a joke. Triple H CAN wrestle, Triple H has beaten them all, Triple H has had far better matches than rubbing his head agaisnt a steel cage and then says "I busted my ass" just for blading everytime and pulling off maybe 1 moev in a match and that might be a suplex. Triple H has never had a boring match, with or without the title, like the one with Shawn Michaels, he wasnt the champ, but it came out as one of the best matches of the night (hell in the cell)

Compare that to lets say Ric Flair vs Orton = 110% boring.

So if everyone is going to convince me that being the greatest wrestler ever is to do the following moves:

Chop
Climb on a turnbuckle and do the most ridiclous jump off it.
Say "Woooooo!"
Chop Block

If those current 4 things make you the greatest wrestler ever, then I will ask Vince McMahon to hire me and convince him that I am the best there is out there, or I'll just go and learn how to wrestle like Bret, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho and become a TALENTED worker who can WRESTLE and do MOVES.

Enough is said. Thank you.
Eddie Foster wrote:
I am unfortunatly too young to have experienced Ric Flair's first tenure in the WWF, but you are probably talking about when he left WCW taking the World Heavyweight Title with him. It is rumoured that WCW paid Ric Flair an awful lot of money just to bring the belt back. Although Chris Jericho was the first Undisputed WWF Heavyweight Champion he was not the first wrestler to simutaneously hold the WCW and WWF Heavyweight Titles, because that was Ric Flair.
K Okie wrote:
Chris Jericho was NOT the first Undisputed Champion, Ric Flair was. When Flair won the WWE title at the 1992 Royal Rumble, he was still recognised by the National Wrestling Alliance as World Champion. He was stripped of the WCW title a few months before, which at the time was unified the the NWA championship. In 1994, Flair unified the WCW World Heavyweight and World International titles. Flair was 3 times an Undisputed Champion years ahead of Jericho. He deserved to be. He drew money, he could wrestle both face and heel, he could do a technical match, or a hardcore match. He put over opponents in ways that guys like Hogan wouldn't dream of. In fact, the list of people that Flair has faced is the same as those Hogan refused to work with.
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