Let’s get one thing straight: Even the greatest guys at what they do aren’t right all the time.
The quote in this headline…Clearly one of those times.
Ric Flair was a guest this week on The Wrestling Inc. Daily Podcast where he claimed he doesn’t believe any of his WrestleMania matches were great.
His first WrestleMania match was in 1992 at WrestleMania 8 against ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage. Of that match he said:
“I don’t think I had a good Mania match. Nothing that Ric Flair could deliver on. I think I could have been really good with Randy [Savage] but he was so preoccupied, that was the last time he and Liz were together. That day was the last time they were together – they went their separate ways. They weren’t living together at that time. I’m not 100 percent sure on what the exact living conditions were but, to my knowledge, they weren’t together and Randy was so upset. We got through it and it was okay. But I would never want to be remembered for that match by any means.”
Flair would not appear again at WrestleMania for another decade until he faced The Undertaker at WrestleMania X-8 in a classic No Disqualification match.
Famously, Flair’s self confidence was at a low ebb going into that match and he credits The Undertaker and Triple H for making him feel like the old Nature Boy once again at that time.
His final match at WrestleMania was his most famous of all, and also his last under the WWE umbrella.
He faced Shawn Michaels in his retirement match in 2008 in one of the most emotional WrestleMania matches of all time. However, Flair was again not pleased with his performance in the bout:
“Well, that would be my favourite with Shawn, of course. But, once again, I had no self-confidence going into that ring and he made it so easy for me. But once again, I walked out of that ring saying to myself, ‘Why couldn’t I have been me for just 30 minutes?’ I don’t have any aches or pains. I already know that I’m a cosmetic nightmare walking in, so that’s on your mind.”
Flair wasn’t finished there. Elaborating on the self-confidence issues that seem to have plagued him on WWE’s biggest stage, he said:
“To be so preoccupied with not being good that you forget something that you normally do – I wasn’t in it. Afterwards I was great. I had a couple of beers and I was Ric Flair. But it’s one of those things that’s impossible to explain and I’ve tried a thousand times. Until you’ve felt that that sensation of a lack of self-confidence… Right now, Wendy’s sitting with me and Wendy talks to me like Hunter used to. ‘You need to know who you are…’ But if I had had someone with the approach that Wendy has with me, you know, where I was happy and content and in love and that was one side of my life I could lean on rather than trying to be Ric Flair all the time, I would have been so much better for so much longer.”
Whilst most wrestling fans can comfortably disagree with The Dirtiest Player In The Game on this one, these quotes give a fascinating insight into the mind of one of the most interesting characters in wrestling history. Without his self-confidence issues, could Flair have been even greater? Or was it that drive to constantly to better his self-critical analysis that allowed him to scale such heights for so many years?