ESPN recently released another documentary as part of their 30 for 30 series, this time focusing on the life and career of professional wrestling legend Ric Flair. The film, called Nature Boy, after Flair's in-ring nickname, takes a candid look at the career of one of the most celebrated wrestlers of all time.
Richard Morgan Fliehr began his career in 1971, adopting the stage name Ric Flair in 1972. Throughout the following decade, he would continue to evolve his in-ring persona and wrestling style. In 1975, he was in a plane crash that broke his back in three places and threatened his career. Determined to return, he altered his technique into a more striking-based style. He continued his evolution into his iconic character when in 1978, he started calling himself "The Nature Boy," stealing the nickname from another wrestler called "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers, during a feud.
The "Nature Boy" character was loud, eccentric, and always bragging. He was always referring to himself with phrases like "The Stylin', profilin', limousine riding, jet flying, kiss-stealing, wheelin' n' dealin' son of a gun!" He would brag about his extravagant wealth, his partying lifestyle, and his libido, often inviting fans to come and "take a ride on Space Mountain."
While modern audiences are well-aware of the scripted nature of professional wrestling storylines, during the time that Flair was becoming a legend in the industry, wrestling's secrets were tightly kept. Wrestlers were encouraged to maintain "kayfabe," meaning that they needed to stay in character whenever they were in public.
For a man whose entire persona was based on partying and womanizing, you can imagine how this could set someone down a dark path.
Head to the Next Page to find out the secrets Flair revealed in his 30 for 30.