Ric Flair

August 28, 2007

I wrote the following for my “Storm Front” article for “Fighting Spirit” Magazine, back when Ric Flair retired, and it is being reproduced with permission from Uncooked Media Ltd.

I want to put Ric Flair on the Storm Front this month. With the retirement of Ric Flair I thought it would be great to look back at my experiences working with “Dirtiest Player in the Game”

I first met Flair in WCW in 2000. Ric and I hit it off right away, I think in part to a friendship I was forming with his son David, while Ric was off getting shoulder surgery. After his surgery Flair was leading the Magnificent Seven Faction and I got to do a couple backstage promo segments with him, which were a lot of fun.

My favourite promo was the first we did, because it was my first time doing anything with Ric Flair, and also comes with a funny story. This promo was done live back stage following a match I had on Nitro. Back in WCW a lot of guys used a bodybuilding oil called Hotstuff, which helped show your vascularity and also turned your skin a bit red, which highlighted a good tan. The oil tingled a bit on the skin much like a heat rub would, and during the match I got some in my eye, which burned like crazy. My one eye burned so bad I couldn’t open it, leaving me squinting in pain like an idiot. Like I said the backstage promo with Flair was right after this match and live. Most backstage segment like this were done live, on the off chance that I guy got a busted lip or black eye during his match.

When I got back stage there was Ric Flair, Buff Bagwell, and Lex Luger, waiting for me. As I approached Flair began giving me this heel pep talk encouraging me to challenge “The Cat” Ernest Miller for the WCW Commissionership at Fall Brawl (Did you guys remember I was once Commissioner of WCW?). As Flair went on talking about how I was the man for the job, I just stood there squinting at him like a Pirate who just lost his eye patch. All I needed was a parrot on my shoulder and a peg leg to complete the gimmick. I could have been Captain Jack, before Johnny Depp made him cool!

Flair and I would continue our streak of awesome back stage promos in WWF/WWE, when he was “co-owner” of the company and I had been fired at the end of the Invasion Angle. There were actually five consecutive promos as I continued to harass the poor Nature Boy into hiring me back with the WWF. Each promo got greater and great, certainly more due to Ric Flair’s skills than mine, as each week his frustration level got higher and higher. As great as Flair was in these segments I think I managed to steal the segment in our second promo when I surprised him back stage, and in an attempt to suck up to the greatest of all time, decided to impress him with my very own WOOOOO. This segment was live, and I was uncharacteristically nervous backstage. What I was worried about was that after years of being a Ric Fair fan and hearing his energetic and enthusiastic WOOOOO, I might put too much energy into mine, and screw things up. This was during my “serious” days and I was supposed to have an incredibly flat and monotone woo. Thankfully I succeeded and produced one of the worst WOOOOs of all time. I think there is even a DVD extra somewhere that has a bunch of the boys doing Flair like WOOOOs and mine is included. I hope people realize I was trying to be bad.

That was it for my promo experiences with Ric Flair but fortunately I would get to work with Ric one more time. My one and only Ric Flair match was on a house show in Pittsburgh, PA in August of 2002. Christian and I were the World Tag Team Champions and we defended the Titles against Ric Flair and The Undertaker. I have a lot of great memories of that match and one of the funniest was the long debate over the finish before the show. In WWE the live event line up and finishes are sent by the office and the road agents then put the show together using that layout. With this being a live event we weren’t going to be switching the Titles, so I expected a DQ finish of some kind so the Baby Faces got the win but not the Titles. I don’t remember who the agent was that night but a DQ was the desired finish. As we all sat around trying to come up with an appropriate DQ finish, Flair kept volunteering to get pinned. Taker and the Agent kept insisting we needed to stick with the planned DQ, while Flair kept asking if there was any specific reason we couldn’t just pin him. I’m not sure if everyone knows this or not but Ric Flair is the only person I’ve met in the business, who loves doing jobs.

Taker and the Agent seemed to be getting increasingly frustrated when after each time they pitched a new DQ finish, Flair would once again volunteer to get pinned. The best was when Flair finally agreed that we could do the DQ and suggested the age old finish where I’d knock him out with brass knuckles and pin him, but after doing so hide the brass knuckles under my arm so that when the ref raised my hand, in victory, the brass knuckles would fall out and the ref would see them and then disqualify us for cheating. Even in his DQ suggestion he managed to get pinned. Everyone vetoed this and eventually Flair agreed to not get pinned and we did some other kind of DQ for the finish. You’ve got to love Ric Flair.

When we finally got to the match I again found myself actually having to veto Flair, this time with spots. Flair is without a doubt the least selfish person I’ve ever been in the ring with and I found myself having to counter call every spot he called, because he kept trying to take all the bumps. Flair was born to be a Heel and so unselfish that I actually had to force him to take enough offense to be the baby face.

Without a doubt the highlight of the night for me was when I took the big Ric Flair like slam off the top rope from the Nature Boy himself. I asked him ahead of time if I could do his spot, and he said absolutely; I was grinning like an idiot, which is much better than squinting like a pirate, believe me. I did the entire spot, including the eye rake before climbing to the top for the slam, and did my best Ric Flair impression the entire way. I was in mark heaven, having the time of my life.

My congratulations to Ric Flair on his retirement and having the greatest career of all time, and my thanks to him for allowing me to share a small part of it. Ric Flair you will always be, THE MAN.

Lance Storm