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The championship title links will bring you to the appropriate pages in The Great Hisa's Puroresu Dojo, while links for various supercards come from Professional Wrestling Supercards and Tournaments. I highly recommend an extensive exploration of both of those sites. Just in case you forget to do so, there are some reminders at the bottom of the page.

And now, on with the show ...

Ric Flair made his in-ring debut in 1972, wrestling an undercard opponent to a time limit draw. He went on to become one of the AWA's least known jobbers.
The End

Shyeah! As if!

Flair entered the Mid-Atlantic territory of the NWA after only a brief stint in the AWA. His first championship was the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team title, won with Rip Hawk on the fourth of July in 1974. They dropped the straps to Paul Jones (who would become a longtime foe of Flair in the area) and future "Jive Tones" member, Tiger Conway Jr. Flair won the Mid-Atlantic TV Title from Jones on June 3, 1975, but lost this, his very first singles title, back to him just one week later.

Flair moved on to the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title, trading it back and forth with Wahoo McDaniel throughout 1976. Flair's battles with the tough Indian were possibly the development stages of his now-famous backhand chop. ({SMACK!} "Wooooh!")

On October 4, 1975, Ric Flair suffered a variety of injuries in the infamous plane crash which ended the career of the Mid-Atlantic area's top star, Johnny Valentine. To this very day, any Ric Flair match on TV will contain at least some vague commentary about this tragedy. However, the accurate details are seldom found. The facts are best described in the Ric Flair FAQ. To make a long story short, Ric Flair returned to the ring on Februray 1, 1976 against Wahoo McDaniel. Ever since then, Flair graced the ring with performances not thought possible for a man involved in such an accident.

On Christmas Night, 1976, Flair and fellow figure-four master Greg Valentine (the son of the same Johnny Valentine who shared the plane disaster with Flair) won the NWA "World" Tag Team Titles ... well, the Mid-Atlantic version at least. They had beaten Minnesota Wrecking Crew, Gene & Ole Anderson. In fact, Ole ended up on a stretcher while Flair, Valentine, and Blackjack Mulligan all went to town on Gene. Flair's rival, Wahoo McDaniel surprised everyone by rescuing The Andersons. Wahoo continued to meddle in Flair's life as a guest referee for a match which saw Valentine and Flair lose the titles back to the Wrecking Crew in May of 1977. The blond duo rebounded by beating Tiger Conway Jr and Dino Bravo for the Mid-Atlantic straps, but lost them to Paul Jones and another Flair rival, Rick Steamboat. In May of 1977, Flair beat Rufus R Jones for another Mid-Atlantic TV Title, but was upended by the skillful Steamboat about a month later.

On July 29, 1977, Flair beat the legendary Bobo Brazil for the Mid-Atlantic version of the United States Heavyweight Title - the most prestigious title in the area. Not only did this victory indicate that Flair was destined for greatness, but it also signified the emergence of the Mid-Atlantic area as the premiere territory of the National Wrestling Alliance. (A few fans might recall that Brazil was one of the most decorated titlists in the history of the Detroit version of the US Title, which became defunct a few years later. The Mid-Atlantic version continues today in WCW.) His most diligent nemesis, Ricky Steamboat, took this piece of gold from Flair on November 11, in Richmond, VA, the same town in which Flair had won it, but not before Flair and Valentine beat the Andersons for the NWA Tag Title again. This time, they even put Ole on the disabled list with a neck injury. The champs held the titles until they were stripped of them for "unprofessional conduct." They were allowed to enter the tournament to crown new champions, but the team of Wahoo McDaniel & Andre The Giant, defeated them in the first round.

In 1978, Flair re-set his sights on the US Title, defeating Mr Wrestling [Tim Woods] on May 9 but again losing it to Steamboat on December 18. Although he dropped another match to Steamboat on the undercard of the unsuccessful WWWF/AWA Unification Match, the joke was on Steamboat when Flair regained it on April Fool's Day, 1979. Amidst all of this activity, Flair teamed with Big John Studd for a brief stint as Mid-Atlantic Tag Champs in late 1978. For both the title win and the title loss, the duo of Jones and Steamboat were the opponents for Studd and Flair.

Flair's United States championship led to a split between himself and Blackjack Mulligan. How does one compete against a giant? Simple. Send another giant to fight for you. Thus, Flair enlisted Studd to battle Mulligan in a series of bloody wars. Although Mulligan eventually emerged from this detour to challenge Flair, the beatings from Studd made Mulligan easy pickings for the Nature Boy. Ricky Steamboat, on the other hand, was an opponent Flair wanted to deal with by himself. The Flair-Steamboat war grew even hotter when Flair attacked The Steamer and ground his face into the arena floor. Steamboat responded weeks later by paying Flair a visit during a TV interview. Steamboat dragged Flair away from two beautiful women and stipped him down to his boxer shorts! Even without all of these shenanigans, Flair and Steamboat produced yet another series of evenly-matched bouts.

The flambouyant Dusty Rhodes made an attempt at Flair's US Title on June 26. At first, it seemed as though Rhodes had won the belt, but the decision was reversed. Offcials had decided that guest referee was biased against Flair. The questionable refereeing was performed by the "Nature Boy" of the 1960's, Buddy Rogers. Apparently, the once-retired Rogers was getting jealous of Flair's success and popularity. Flair's third US Title reign officially ended when he surrendered the title after winning the NWA Tag Team Titles with Blackjack Mulligan, defeating Jones and clawhold master, Baron Von Raschke. Upon losing the belts back to them two weeks later, Flair remained focused on singles accomplishments. November of 1979 saw the "Battle Of The Nature Boys". Ric Flair gained revenge for the refereeing incident by defeating Buddy Rogers, using the very hold both men were noted for, the figure-four leglock. With this and several subsequent victories, Flair emerged as the Nature Boy. To this day, though, he still has a great deal of respect for his predecessor.

On May 4, he beat the dangerous Jimmy Snuka and reclaimed the US Title he had relinquished after Snuka had won it in a tournament. By this time, Flair's skills had earned him respect, and, along with that respect came popularity amongst the fans in spite of the fact that he still teamed up with the sadistic Valentine. Even that came to an end in July when Greg Valentine decided to abandon Flair in the middle of a tag match against Snuka and The Iron Sheik. As a result, the favors of the crowd swung entirely in Flair's favor. Later that year, Valentine snatched the United States title, but Flair regained it on November 24, 1980, in what many feel was the precursor to the Starrcade tradition. The outrageous Roddy Piper (the reigning Mid-Atlantic TV Champion) used a foreign object in order to take Flair's gold in January of 1981. He even had the audacicity to giftwrap his TV belt and offer it as a consolation prize to Flair, claiming that he would never again win another championship. However, Ric Flair was ready to move on to a title even bigger than the US Belt. He wanted the biggest thing in the business at the time, the NWA World Title.

As one of the premiere wrestlers of the Mid-Atlantic area, he was virtually guaranteed a title shot whenever the touring World Champion passed through. Oddly enough, Flair won his first NWA World Title in the Central States wrestling area, Kansas City to be exact, on September 17, 1981. The losing incumbent was Dusty Rhodes - a name that would haunt Flair for many years. As was expected by any NWA World Titlist at that time, Flair traveled from one wrestling hotbed to the next taking on the toughest challengers in each area.

In Louisiana, it was double-tough Ted DiBiase. In Alabama, it was Continental Wrestling's "Universal Hearthrob" Austin Idol. Central States favorite Bruiser Brody came very close to toppling the new champ when he returned to that area. At "home" in the Mid-Atlantic, Flair put away Ole Anderson in November. On New Year's Day, he defeated Dusty Rhodes again at the Sam Muchnick Retirement Show. In Georgia, Flair waged war with the likes of Paul Orndorff and former champ Tommy Rich. In the Pacific Northwest, he took on strongman Billy Jack Haynes. In Memphis (which wasn't even directly affiliated with the NWA!), Flair would face The King himself, Jerry Lawler. Proving that he'd take on all comers, Ric Flair met WWF Champion Bob Backlund in Atlanta's Omni in a WWF/NWA World Title Unification Match on the Fourth of July, 1982. The result was a double countout, and no attempt to contest both such titles in one match ever happened again.

In Texas, Flair's battles with the Von Erich Brothers was the backdrop for the most heated rivalry in the history of the territory. After Flair had retained the gold by the skin of his teeth in a best of three falls match on August 15, challenger Kerry Von Erich made several demands concerning their rematch. It would be held in steel cage, on Christmas Night. Freebirds Michael Hayes and Terry Gordy, who were friends of the Von Erichs at that time, were to be guest referee and door guard, respectively. In order to help their friend, Hayes and Gordy saw nothing wrong with breaking a rule or two - even as referees! As it turned out, the noble Kerry wouldn't let the Freebirds give him an unfair advantage, so they decided to turn on Kerry instead and save Flair's title. Flair walked out the champ, and Texas saw a wrestling war unlike any before or since.

On February 9, 1983, Flair left the ring without the title in one of the most controversial matches ever. Florida's greatest wrestling hero, Dusty Rhodes had been banned from the arena, but his masked alter-ego, The Midnight Rider, managed to defeat Flair in a title match. NWA President Bob Geigel, however, would not allow the Rider to keep the title unless he could identify himself as someone other than the banished Rhodes. When all the shenanigans were over, Flair's title was promptly returned to him.

Flair's World Title reign would end on June 10, 1983, as he lost to Harley Race in St. Louis, MO. This win would cement Race's place in history, as it broke Lou Thesz's record of six NWA World Titles. As expected, Flair wanted the title back, but Race was in no hurry to step into the ring with the young blond lion. On July 10, 20,000 fans watched their rematch in Toronto wherein Race preserved the title in a DQ loss. Five days later, Flair captured the Missouri Heavyweight Title, by defeating David Von Erich in the finals of a one-night tournament. (Interesting sidenote: the same tournament included a very charismatic young wrestler named "Hulk Hogan.") The significance of this title was that Race had won the same belt in his quest to regain the World Title. Even international boundries could not seperate these two, as they made both their way to Puerto Rico for the WWC's 10th Anniversary Show (though they did not wrestle each other - Flair lost to Pedro Morales.)

Race responded to the chase by allegedly sending "bounty hunters" to stop the Nature Boy and offering cash prizes to anyone who could knock Flair out of contention. Dick Slater, Bob Orton Jr. and others spent their free time attacking Flair and coming close to breaking his neck on one occasion. The end result? Flair continued to meet all comers and remained the number-one contender to the NWA World Title. The warring duo returned to Toronto in July, when Flair's temper only gained him a disqualification. The cagey Race would soon face his Waterloo, geographically centered at Flair's backyard. Promoters cornered Race into defending the World Title against Flair in a steel cage match on Thanksgiving night in Greensboro, NC. Nobody knows who, but somebody thought that the name "Starrcade" had a good ring to it ....

The music stopped. Flair's glimmering robe was removed. Tough-as-nails referee Gene Kiniski (a former NWA World Champion himself) warned each man to adhere to his authority. The bell rang and nothing short of a war erupted, confined in steel. After nearly half an hour of brutality, Flair dashed to the top turnbuckle and tackled Race for the three-count. The crowd spontaneously chanted "YOU! YOU! YOU! YOU!" as wrestlers, friends, and Flair's wife congratulated a modest and tearful new champion. The very first Starrcade created an indelible mark on how wrestling was perceived from that moment on.

"No rest for the wicked" could have been Flair's motto as he entered his second reign as World Champion. He circled the globe and became, quite literally, the "World's" Champion. He returned to Texas on Christmas Night to defend against David Von Erich despite losing via disqualification. His travels did not go without any misfortune, as he lost the title back to Race late in March of 1984 while in New Zealand, but he regained the title three days later in Singapore. However, Race's unmatched eighth NWA Title and Flair's recapture went pretty much unnoticed by wrestling fans and TV programs in North America. This brief flip-flop of the belt remains little more than an obscure bit of wrestling trivia.

Tragedy struck the wrestling world when, on February 10, 1984, David Von Erich died while on a tour of Japan. The lanky cowboy was often viewed as a future World Champion, even by those who were not big fans of the Texas family of grapplers. On May 6, his brother Kerry carried the torch and met Flair for the title in front of an enormous crowd at Texas Stadium. It was the first annual Parade Of Champions event. In one of the most inspirational moments of the sport, Kerry achieved the NWA World Title. Although he defeated Flair in a handful of rematches, Kerry's reign ended after only a few weeks as Flair won a controversial pinfall in a Tokyo rematch. Nonetheless, the victory was a tribute to his brother, and a tribute that will last forever.

Immediately upon his return from Japan, somone was waiting for Flair ... Ricky Steamboat. The Hawaiian had retired a few months beforehand, but another match against Flair was a challenge that Steamboat just could not resist. The NWA and Jim Crockett Promotions invaded the New York area for the first time in years and presented its Night Of Champions, at which Flair met his old rival once again, but with higher stakes. Flair won ... this time! And when it comes to arch-rivals, Dusty Rhodes will always be near the top the list. In a best-of-three falls match at Maimi's Lords Of The Ring, Flair maintained his stranglehold on the NWA World Title, despite being pinned once, and then disqualified in the final fall.

Closer to his Mid-Atlantic roots, Flair was battling for his life against the dangerous Wahoo McDaniel, who, by this time, had started breaking the rules and became very adept at it. Apparently, Wahoo was unhappy about a lack of title opportunities, so he pled his case to the champ in person. As the argument escalated, TV Champion Tully Blanchard inexplicably attacked Flair from behind. Once thought to be Ric Flair's friend, Wahoo did nothing to help the champion. As for Wahoo's title aspirations, this matter did, of course, get The Nature Boy's full attention. In August, a dissatisfied Flair went home with a DQ win over Wahoo in Greensboro, but that was not good enough for Flair! The Nature Boy returned on September 1 with his former tag team championship partner, Blackjack Mulligan, and they trashed Wahoo and his cronie Blanchard.

Starrcade time was fast approching, and Dusty Rhodes sought the gold. In October, Rhodes paired up with Manny Fernandez to capture the NWA World Tag Team Titles from the nefarious Ivan Koloff & Don Kernodle. But this was not enough momentum to bring "The Dream" to reality, as Flair won the "Million Dollar Challenge" at Starrcade '84. Boxing great Joe Frazier was the guest referee. One might expect him to have less concern when it came to cuts, yet he stopped the match oddly short when he felt that Rhodes was bleeding too heavily over one eye. Flair's Starrcade streak continued and he had a million reasons to be happy. With this success still fresh in his mind, he spent his third Christmas in a row in Texas trying to defeat one of the Von Erichs. This time Kerry beat Flair by DQ, but the title was still intact.

Despite his battles with the ever-popular Rhodes, as 1985 began, Ric Flair was still one of the most loved stars in the Mid-Atlantic area and beyond. Some of his best-known battles included strap matches with McDaniel, rematches with Race, and a series of contests with the area's most hated wrestler at the time, Television Champion Tully Blanchard. Although Flair was the hero and McDaniel was booed when they clashed in "Flair Country," the roles were reversed months later. A rehabilitated Wahoo unsuccessfully challenged Ric Flair at Florida's Battle Of The Belts. Crockett Promotions, for which Flair did most of his work, returned to the New York area when the popular Flair held off Harley Race at the first big Star Wars event. In March, Flair even teamed up with Rhodes in a match against Tully & Wahoo. In May, Flair returned to Texas Stadium and defended against another Von Erich, Kevin, this time around. Kevin seemed to have won the title in a match months previous, but the decision was reversed. In their rematch at the Second Annual Parade Of Champions, Flair and Kevin brawled to a double countout. Flair left Texas with several bruises, but the title belt left with him too. From there, Flair went to Portland, Oregon, for the Owen Promotions' 60th Anniversary where he took Billy Jack Haynes to a time limit draw. Also appearing on the same card were AWA World Champion Rick Martel and WWF superstar Roddy Piper.

In 1985, due to the overwhelming commercial success of the WWF, promoters from the NWA and the AWA decided to run a series of joint cards under the banner "Pro Wrestling USA." The NWA World Champion was now fair game for the stars of the AWA. Topping the list was the patriotic Sergeant Slaughter who met Flair in a war at the Star Wars show at the Meadowlands Arena. Using his famous Cobra Clutch, the Sarge seemed to have the title in his clutches. Luckily for Flair, Boris Zhukov decided to attack Slaughter and help The Nature Boy in a two-on-one beating. Flair and Zhukov were ousted from the ring by a handful of AWA wrestlers, including a young Curt Hennig, who would find his career intertwined with Flair's years later. As for the AWA's own World Champion, Rick Martel was a target of criticism for Flair. Ric Flair even described him as "a white bread and whole milk bore." Later in the year, however, Martel did not bore Flair at all. The two would eventually meet in a title-for-title match to decide a unified World Champion.

The wrestlers in the NWA's Mid-South promotion (as in any NWA territory) all had their sights on Flair's World Title. Top challenger and reigning North American Champion Terry Taylor declared that he had "discovered" the way to beat Ric Flair. His method? A special reversal of the figure-four leglock, a hold he himself had been applying with success. When Flair heard these comments, he decided to make Taylor make good on his bragging. Lo and behold, Taylor did just that, and skillfully reversed the World Champion's signiture hold! As a special receipt for this embarassment, Flair aided The Nightmare (Randy Colley) in his bid to capture Taylor's belt. Still, the Taylor - Flair match had already been set. At the New Orleans Superdome, Flair pinned Taylor, but only after forty minutes of warfare.

In the summer, Flair found himself challenged by another "Nature Boy," Buddy Landel. If you recall, Flair ousted his "Nature Boy" predecessor, Buddy Rogers, in 1979. Could this be the time for yet another new "Nature Boy" to replace the old? Not a chance! Flair fought Landel up and down the Atlantic coast in some of the toughest matches of either man's career. While Flair often had the unlikely companionship of Dusty Rhodes (another one of Landel's enemies), Landel was always handled by an enigmatic businessman named James J. Dillon. Who would ever think ... ?

In one of Flair's last well-known stints as a hero, the NWA World Champion found himself challenged by the awesome Nikita Koloff. Unlike his softer, gentler image years later, the 1985 version of Nikita was truly the "Russian Nightmare." Nikita Koloff truly struck fear in fans and opponants alike (back then), and he put himself on the top of the list of bad-asses by attacking TV commentator David Crockett, the long-time partner of Tony Schiavone. Flair met his powerful nemesis in the featured attraction of the first-ever Great American Bash event, drawing a huge crowd to the Charlotte Memorial Stadium. There, Flair pinned the Russian as the guest referee, none other than David Crockett himself, made the three-count.

Still, Flair was making his loudest waves as the man fans loved to hate. That same year, he engaged in a heated feud with the young United States Champion, Magnum T.A. The arrogant Flair refused to discuss a title shot for Magnum and responded with violence when push came to shove. In an effort to out-class Magnum, Flair purchased a luxurious three-piece suit for his rival, "just to show that there are no hard feelings" even after Flair's attack. Magnum calmly responded by tearing the suit to threads! When Flair lost his composure and rushed T.A., he was caught in a devastating belly-to-belly suplex and left prone in the ring. In another incident, Flair boasted that he could beat Magnum "in ten minutes." Magnum responded by offering Flair a $10,000 reward to hold up that claim. Flair failed to put away the young lion within the time limit, but he had two new friends - Ole and Arn Anderson - do a number on Magnum after the match. From then on, Flair felt much safer since he had the comradery (or was it protection?) of The Minnestota Wrecking Crew. Magnum T.A. had definitely captured Ric Flair's attention, but capturing the NWA World Title was another story. Following a series of thrilling matches, including a featured bout at the NWA/AWA Super Clash, Magnum never accomplished this task.

Stop the press! Why on earth would Ric Flair, the arrogant yet admirable World Champion, have anything to do with the dastardly Anderson Brothers? Flair was a bitter foe of the original version of the team, Ole & Gene Anderson, in previous years. The answer? Ole explained that Flair was a cousin of the family, tracing Flair's roots to his birthplace in the Minneapolis area. (Actually, Arn wasn't Ole's brother, but his son-in-law. Flair, on the other hand, has no blood relations to the Anderson family. Furthermore, neither Arn nor Ole were Andersons at all! Technically speaking, Gene was wrestling's only "true" Anderson.)

The trio of Ole, Arn, and Ric brought mayhem through many wrestling hotbeds along the Atlantic Coast. Flair did double-duty as both defending World Champion and a key player in an escalating battle resembling gang warfare. Their rivals had banded together in a group which regularly included Dusty Rhodes, Manny Fernandez, Sam Houston and, of course, Magnum T.A. Some fans cheered for Flair, recognizing his status as a showstealing performer, while others loathed him for taking part in the brewing gang wars. It was as if he had become two different people. Everyone wondered, Just who is Ric Flair after all? The fans soon found a shocking answer.

The date: September 29, 1985.
The place: Atlanta's famed Omni Arena.
The setting: A steel cage.

Flair had held off the challenges of Nikita Koloff by making use of his deep mat knowledge and his ability to out-manuver his bigger foe. At the insistance of his legendary uncle, Ivan, Nikita Koloff arranged to have a shot at Flair where there was nowhere to run. In the cage, the match would naturally lend itself to brute force, giving Nikita the opportunity to capitalize on his prime asset. Ivan and Nikita had ambushed Flair at a TV taping just a few weeks before. Insulted by the attack, the angry champion was willing to fight Nikita Koloff with or without a cage (or even a ring for that matter!) Having just returned from a match against Hercules Ayala in Puerto Rico, Flair was ripe for the pickings. As luck would have it, Flair still won on this evening, but it seemed as though he wouldn't leave the arena unscathed. Nikita's comrades, Ivan Koloff and Krusher Khrushchev, ganged up on Flair after the match. Seeing as how the Russians were everybody's enemies (This was 1985.), Dusty Rhodes entered the cage and, at the risk of being the Russians' next victim, fended off Flair's attackers. In fact, Rhodes had also rescued Flair in the incident at the TV studio, making it this his second good deed toward Flair. These two rivals could not help but acknowledge that they were common enemies of the Koloffs. For a brief moment, it seemed as though the violence that had separated Flair and Rhodes could be set aside through this act of selfless altruism. It was not to be. As Rhodes extended his hand in a friendship that never was, he could hear the cage door shut behind him. Ole and Arn Anderson had entered the cage, but without any good deeds on their minds. Flair and The Andersons thanked Rhodes for his efforts by dealing out one of their most ruthless beatings ever. As Ole and Arn held Rhodes on the mat, Flair leapt from the turnbuckles and landed squarely on Rhodes ankle, shattering it. With the cage securely shut, Rhodes' allies were unable to save him in time. Ric Flair, on that night, decided just who he was going to be from that day forward.

Putting the whole incident behind him, a cold-hearted Ric Flair went about his way defending the crown, often in doubious fashion. The Mid-South area was next on his tour of defenses. Powerhouse Butch Reed was in line for a shot by virtue of his North American Championship. After Reed had come very close to beating Ric Flair in August, the Nature Boy did not want to go through it all over again. So, Flair allegedly offered Dick Slater a $25,000 bounty to eliminate Reed before the title was in jeopardy. When Reed interrogated Slater, he confessed his involvement, but "already gave the money back to Flair." Satisfied with Slater's answer, Reed proceeded to take on Flair in a non-title match. Before the contest ended, Slater hit the ring and nailed Reed with a piledriver on a steel chair! Flair then awarded a $50,000 bounty to Dick Slater -- the same man who had collected a similar bounty on Flair's head in 1983!! With Reed out of action, the title shot went to top contender Ted DiBiase. This decision was contested by the former North American Champ, "Captain Redneck" Dick Murdoch. As these two would-be champions argued before the big match, Flair tossed DiBiase to the floor where Murdoch applied a brainbuster on the cement. DiBiase was a bloody mess, and was no match for the World Champion. By hook or by crook, Flair's challengers were eliminating each other for him.

His issue with another champion was about to come to a head. The stylin' and profilin' champion traveled to Japan to meet the AWA World Titleholder, Rick Martel. The two technical wizards battled to a double-countout at All-Japan's 13th Anniversary Show. Meanwhile, half a world away, his problems with the American Dream went unsolved. Despite intense pain, Dusty Rhodes returned to wrestling action within a few weeks, wearing an orthopedic boot lined with steel. Not so coincidentally, Thanksgiving time was right around the corner and that very same Atlanta Omni would be one of two arenas for Starrcade '85, featuring Dusty Rhodes versus Ric Flair in a rematch from the previous year.

As if his reliance on the figure-four wasn't a regular strategy already, Flair sought out Rhodes' bad wheel like a wild animal. Still, the quest for revenge carried Rhodes to mount a comeback wherein he attempted to damage Flair's ankle in return. The real prize was, of course, the NWA World Title, and Flair's reign appeared to be in jeopardy until the referee was flattened in a mid-ring collision. Arn Anderson saw the opportunity to join the match unseen, but he was met in the face with Rhodes' special boot. Ole, however, managed to catch Dusty off-guard and kneed him in the back. Ole left the ring to tend to the wounded Arn while Flair, by now, had caught his breath. He seemed ready to put Rhodes away as a replacement referee ran into the ring. Miraculously, Rhodes cradled Flair with a small package and pinned Flair to win the title!

... or did he?

As fans learned a week later, the original referee noticed The Andersons' interference and declared Rhodes the winner, but only by a disqualification. Without delay, Flair's World Title belt was returned, much as it had been in Florida, nearly three years before. It was insult to injury for Rhodes and a lucky escape for Flair. Although Rhodes' attention was diverted towards the Andersons, Flair personally tried to help them cripple The American Dream. Rhodes drew first blood by enlisting The Road Warriors in an attempt to end the career of Ole Anderson on New Year's Day. Flair responded to this a month later by joining forces with Tully Blanchard and attacking Dusty during a cage match against Arn Anderson. Flair repaid Blanchard by doing TV commentary for his match against Rhodes, who was the defending National Champion. In addition to providing his voice for the television show, Flair also lent Tully a foreign object which was used to capture the National belt.

Despite these heinious acts, Ric Flair continued his job of being "The Man." As champion, he went on to defend his title against the NWA's top challengers. As number-one contender, the newly-recrowned United States Champion Magnum T.A. came within an eyelash of taking the title in a series of matches held throughout the Mid-Atlantic states. Barry Windham matched Flair hold for hold until being pinned at Florida's Battle Of The Belts II. The man with "Hands Of Stone," Ronnie Garvin put some dents in Flair's face before losing at the first Superstars On The Superstation event. Dusty Rhodes had rematches at the second Star Wars event and later at The First Annual Jim Crockett Sr Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournament. Unfortunately, Rhodes lost his composure and was disqaulified in both matches.

With each ambitious challenger, though, Flair seemed closer and closer to defeat. Especially after the Starrcade fiasco, this situation had a major impact on Ric Flair's sense of security. Something had to be done to prevent any other close calls. It was finally time for Flair to organize his allies into a colaborative unit. Without Ole around, Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson had been given the task of watching Flair's back throughout the Spring of 1986. During a Rhodes - Flair match in June, however, Dusty was holding his own against all three men. Just then, to the shock of everyone, Ole Anderson made a suprise return, and The Four Horsemen were officially born!


"... where credit is due ..."
So much has been said, written, and read about Ric Flair, it almost seems useless to add to the plethora of Ric Flair info available. While I hope that the preceding chronological write-up of "The Man" presented some value to the reader, two other documents, in my opinion, deserve special recognition.

First of all, there's the Ric Flair FAQ compiled by T-Bo. Some of the specific facts in this page are, of course, found in that file. If you have a Flair question, chances are you'll find the answer (and a whole lot more!) right there.

Also, try to recall (with some sadness) the match in which Hulk Hogan forced Flair into (his first) "retirement." This was in the Fall of 1994. At about that time, Herb Kunze, the presenter of the weekly Wrestling Tidbits, gave the readers of RSP-W a knowledgeable account of Flair's contributions to the sport accompanied by his own personal commentary. In contrast to my recap, his article focuses very little on specific angles and instead sheds a little light on the circumstances in which Flair rose to the top of the business and played the part of its savior on more than one occasion.

OK. If you're done with this, then go to ...



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