Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Thank You Ric Flair

We're going down to the squared circle, so if you don't like wrestling, come back tomorrow.

I don't watch much wrestling anymore. It used to be a staple of my television diet, first on Saturday afternoons, then through the Monday Night wars and then all the WWE programming once they laid WCW to rest. Now I only turn it on when there is something I want to see.

Something like last night on Raw.

"The Nature Boy" Ric Flair said his goodbyes yesterday evening and then a whole host of superstars, past and present, came down to the ring to share in the moment and pay tribute to the man that is easily, despite any claim Bret Hart may make to the contrary, the best there ever was in the wrestling business.

Flair fought'em all and beat'em all for that matter. Who else went toe-to-toe with the best from four generations? He battled Harley Race in the '70s, Dusty Rhodes and Ricky Steamboat in the '80s, Sting, Hulk Hogan and ever other star on the scene in the '90s, all the way through Triple H, Cena and Shawn Michaels today. No one has a resume like "The Dirtiest Player in the Game" and the send off he received last night was fitting.

You want a measure of the impact Ric Flair had, not only on wrestling, but in a pop culture sense as well? Ask 100 guys the question, "Can I get a Ric Flair?" and I would wager that at least 85% of them will respond with a thunderous "WOOOOOOOOO!" Not too bad for an average sized guy who made his living in "sports entertainment" eh?

Need more proof?

LeBron James and his three best friends refer to themselves as, you guessed it, The Four Horsemen. Not bad when the greatest basketball player on planet Earth bogarts the name of your crew for himself.

Personally, I've loved Flair from the minute I first heard him cut a promo. There was no one better on the mic. And in the ring, Flair was one of the best showman around, with the strut and the crazy bumps in the corner and the way his peroxide hair turned reddish-pink whenever he bled in the ring.

Flair always said, "To be the man, you've got to beat the man."

Well, The Man has hung up the boots. Thanks for the memories Nature Boy!

No comments: