Has the ‘Nature Boy’ persona gone to Ric Flairs head?


Alex Smith

Ric Flair is a legend in the professional wrestling industry. He is a sixteen-time world heavyweight champion with over forty years in professional wrestling—Flair’s well-known for his infamous personal habits and his ‘Nature Boy’ persona. In his prime, Flair had expensive robes, suits, women, and, most importantly, one hell of an ego. Finally, it looks like Ric Flair, at 73 years old, will have one more match. 

 Flair had impacted pop culture out of the ring over the past decade, with him making appearances in rap music videos and popularizing his catchphrase “Woo!” in the mainstream. However, along with those ups, he had his downs. He has had heart complications and, in 2017, suffered from kidney failure. Those complications are what is cause for concern at the announcement of his last match. On May eleventh (5/11/21), Flair posted a video of him training in the ring with AEW (All Elite Wrestling) star Jay Lethal on Instagram. 

The speculation and concern ran wild; people thought this led to an in-ring return. While others, like long-time wrestling manager Jim Cornette, wanted Flair to “settle down.” Flair took to social media again on May sixteenth (5/16/21), confirming the rumors about his in-ring return. Flair wrote,

“The rumors are true! I will walk that aisle, style, and profile, one last time! July thirty-first! Nashville, Tennessee! Jim Crockett Promotions! I will prove once again that to be the man, and you’ve gotta beat the man! Now we go to school! WOOOOO!”

The match is set to occur at the Nashville Fairgrounds as a part of the Starcast V wrestling convention, running the weekend of the WWE’s (World Wrestling Entertainment) SummerSlam event. Amazingly, with no undercard nor an opponent for Flair announced, the show managed to sell out in under 24 hours.

Like with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and his in-ring return that I wrote about earlier this year, my concern is very high. The aforementioned medical issues are my biggest concern. With his age and ability to move in the ring (or lack thereof), I am afraid Ric Flair will be a shell of his former self. My optimism is not so high with Flair as with Austin, the biggest thing for me being their ages. Austin’s 57 years old, and wrestlers such as Chris Jericho and Dustin Rhodes (Goldust in the WWE) are also in their 50’s and wrestling at a top level. Flair is 73, you rarely see wrestlers at that age in the ring, and if you do, it looks sad. So that makes me beg the question, has the ‘Nature Boy’ persona gone to Ric Flair’s head?