Get your “woos” ready because it’s wrestling legend Ric Flair’s birthday. The Nature Boy is celebrating his 72nd birthday today. Richard Morgan Fliehr was born on Feb. 25, 1949.
With his charismatic personality, Flair made a name for himself in the wrestling world. The wrestler rose to fame in the WCW before joining the WWF (later WWE). During his reign in the ring, Flair has held an estimated 16 world championships and shepherded young wrestlers across multiple eras. He’s also became the first person to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame twice.
To celebrate the wrestling legend’s birthday, Outsider took a look back at some of Flair’s biggest and brightest moments.
Ric Flair Vs Hulk Hogan
During the 1980s, you’d be hard-pressed to find two more iconic wrestlers than Flair and Hulk Hogan. The two wrestlers were titans of their respective promotions. Hogan wrestled for the WWF, and Flair was the heavyweight champion over at NWA. Fans long dreamed what it would have been like to see Flair take on Hogan.
In 1991, they finally got their chance – sort of. Flair and Hogan finally got in the ring together on Oct. 25, 1991, in Oakland. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a televised match-up. So unless you were in the crowd, you didn’t get to see the climactic battle of wills. Hogan ultimately won the match-up via a referee decision. This would kick off a string of rematches between Flair and Hogan, though the rivalry quietly died down without a grand Wrestlemania finale.
The Wrestler Fights Randy Savage
Going into WrestleMania VIII, Flair was as villainous as he ever was. The reigning champion decided to play mind games with his opponent “Macho Man” Randy Savage. He threatened to release NSFW photos of Miss Elizabeth, Savage’s wife, publicly. Flair also claimed he dated Miss Elizabeth before Savage as well. This all led to a climatic WrestleMania VIII where Flair got what was coming to him.
The fight was one for the decades. Macho Man was an unstoppable force of rage, that made Flair bleed for his insults. But the Nature Boy refused to go down for the count. He targeted Savage’s injured knee and controlled the pace of the fight for much of the match-up. It showed some of Flair’s best wrestling on display for the world to see.
Ric Flair Becomes the WWE’s New Owner
Perhaps one of Flair’s biggest opponents late into his career ended up being WWE owner Vince McMahon. Or should we say co-owner. Wrestling fans’ hearts everywhere jumped when Flair appeared after a nearly decade hiatus from the WWE. He revealed that Shane and Stephanie McMahon had sold their ownership in the company to him.
The moment cemented Flair’s return to the WWE fold in a big way. At that moment, he had Vince McMahon on the ropes, and every fan across the country was here for it. The feud between Flair and McMahon led to an emotionally bruising 2002 Royal Rumble Street Fight. McMahon had Flair beaten, but he made the mistake of taunting the wrestler in front of his children. Rising up, Flair fought back against McMahon and forced the CEO to submit in a Figure Four.
The Wrestler Wins the WWE Championship
This may be Ric Flair at one of his emotional moments. Rarely does winning the WWE Championship feel so tender and raw. Flair took home the title after winning the Royal Rumble in 1992. Prior to joining the WWE, the wrestler had a falling out with the WCW and was seemingly on his way out.
Flair’s stint during the 1990s at the WWE pushed the wrestler to even greater heights and helped secure his status as one of wrestling’s best. Flair perhaps puts it best, fighting back tears, “With a tear in my eye, this is the greatest moment of my life.”
Ric Flair Says ‘Goodbye’
Sometimes, endings are the hardest. Flair went out as a wrestler with dignity back in 2008. At least, for a little while but more on that in a moment. McMahon announced that Flair’s next loss in the ring would be his last, starting a ticking clock on the wrestler’s career.
Flair refused to go down to wrestlers MVP or Mr. Kennedy. Instead, it took a friend Shawn Michaels to bring Flair to retirement. At WrestleMania XXIV, the two had their climactic battle. Casting off his age, Flair showed he was still a formidable opponent in the ring. It took nothing less than a Sweet Chin Music from Michaels to bring Flair down for the count.
With that, one of wrestling’s best bowed out gracefully. Until 2012. You just can’t keep the Nature Boy down for long. Just when fans thought Flair was gone, he came back for more. Over the past decade, Flair has made multiple appearances in the WWE, proving he just really loves the organization.