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Here Are the Most Eye-Opening Revelations From Peacock’s Ric Flair Documentary
From astonishing stories to heartbreaking moments, the film really has it all
Watching the Peacock original documentary “Woooooo! Becoming Ric Flair” is a visceral experience – whether you’re a pro wrestling fan or not. At times the film is incredibly uplifting and inspirational, and yet there are still plenty of moments that are more poignant.
If you’re a lifelong fan of Ric Flair, this documentary most likely didn’t change your opinion of arguably THE best wrestler of all time. If you’re a casual fan with just a passing knowledge of the Nature Boy, well, this might have been one of the most wild documentaries you’ve seen in a long time.
Here are some of the most eye-opening (and straight-up shocking!) revelations that we came across in “Woooooo! Becoming Ric Flair.”
He Really, Really Loved His Custom Suits
One of the running themes of the documentary was that Flair himself always felt the pressure to “live” the persona he presented on wrestling television – as in, even when the cameras stopped rolling, he needed to maintain the image of the wealthiest, classiest champion the world had ever known.
According to Flair, he never wore the same suit twice on TV, and estimated he bought four new suits a week every year for an astonishing 36 years. “I wanted to set the bar so high that nobody could ever get to it,” he said. “I lived the gimmick and I didn’t understand the word ‘moderation.’”
How was Flair able to afford such a lavish lifestyle?
“Because I wasn’t paying my taxes,” he said matter-of-factly.
A Plane Crash Couldn’t Kill Him
Although this particular part of Flair’s life is fairly well-known to the average wrestling fan, casual fans might be amazed to learn he survived a plane crash.
In 1975, when Flair was 26 years old, he and four other wrestlers crammed into a twin-engine Cessna to fly from Charlotte, North Carolina to Wilmington, N.C., about 200 miles away. Because the passengers – Flair, John Valentine, Bob Bruggers, Tim Woods, and David Crockett – were collectively so heavy, the pilot decided to reduce the fuel load to even get off the ground. As they were nearing their destination, the plane ran out of fuel. The pilot was forced to attempt an emergency landing, crashing near a railway embankment a few hundred yards away from the runway.
The pilot did not survive, but miraculously, all the wrestlers on board the flight did – Ric Flair included. Flair suffered a broken back which took him nearly a year to recover from, during which doctors told him he would never wrestle again. Not only did he make a full recovery, he went on to become a 16-time world champion – although he lost a few inches of his height in the process.
“I was 6’2” before the crash,” Flair said, referring to the fact that three vertebrae in his spine were so compacted that it took a full two inches off his height after he recovered.
It wasn’t the last time Ric Flair survived something that should’ve killed him.
…And Neither Could a Lightning Strike
Adding to his “cheating death” narrative, Flair recounted a time in the late '70s when he was traveling for the National Wrestling Alliance and experienced one of the closest calls imaginable – as he was walking through Richmond, Virginia, lightning struck the umbrella he was holding, redirecting the bolt and striking the man walking behind him, killing the man instantly.
If it weren’t for that umbrella, Flair’s life would’ve undoubtedly gone very, very different.
So for those keeping score at home, if you include his near-death hospitalization in 2017 that he was given a 15% chance of surviving, that makes three times to our knowledge that Ric Flair has cheated death – like only the Nature Boy can.
Triple H Gave Him a Rehab Ultimatum
Following the tragic loss of his son Reid in 2013, Ric Flair went down a very dangerous and self-destructive path. It was revealed in the documentary that Flair consumed upwards of 15 drinks per day, from morning until night. Flair’s drinking got so tumultuous and damaging that his then-wife Wendy made a desperate phone call to Triple H, begging him for help.
As somebody who patterned much of his own career after Ric Flair, Triple H stepped up in a big way, immediately contacting Flair and giving him an ultimatum: go to rehab immediately or never work for WWE again. It was tough love – but it was what Ric Flair needed to hear at the time. He revealed that he weighed his options and ultimately decided that rehab was the road he needed to take. After Triple H’s phone call, Flair recalled that he turned his car around and headed to the airport to travel to Tampa, where he would start his in-patient rehab for alcoholism.
Flair then revealed that during the short time – less than a day – between agreeing to rehab and actually checking himself into the facility, he consumed 30 alcoholic drinks.
He Lost Confidence During WWE Runs
Ric Flair made a name for himself in the NWA and WCW – it was during his time in these promotions that he managed to captivate entire fan bases with his unparalleled charisma and in-ring prowess. His matches with wrestlers like Ricky Steamboat, Sting, and Dusty Rhodes are stuff legends are made of – for good reason.
But the documentary revealed that both times he made the jump to WWE – in 1992 and 2002 – he suffered from bouts of anxiety and a loss of confidence in his character that nearly spelled doom for his WWE career. Leaving the familiar pastures of WCW – where he was beloved as a living legend since day one – for WWE wasn’t the easiest transition in the world. Even after he won the 1992 Royal Rumble, some fans regarded him as an outsider who didn’t belong in “their” wrestling promotion.
After WCW folded in the early 2000s, Ric Flair returned once again to WWE in 2002, when he came to the somber realization that he couldn’t compete at the level that he was accustomed to, especially when surrounded by talent like John Cena, Triple H, Randy Orton, and others – larger-than-life Superstars who made Ric Flair seem like a relic from a past life in comparison.
Fortunately, Flair always powered through these times of lost confidence – and in true “Nature Boy” fashion, he always ended up proving his doubters – and himself – wrong.
His Impact on Randy Orton and Batista
The WWE faction known as Evolution was one of the most powerful forces that fans had ever seen. On WWE TV, they represented the past, present, and future of professional wrestling. Behind the scenes, however, it was revealed by Orton and Batista themselves that Flair’s mentorship went a long way in teaching them everything about the wrestling business.
Speaking about Flair and Triple H, Batista acknowledged in the documentary how much of an impact the men had on his career. “I can tell you with complete honesty, if I hadn’t had access to their brains, I never would’ve made it to the level that I did. Not a chance,” he said.
Randy Orton shared a similar sentiment, saying, “I was young and I didn’t know what it was to be champion. It got thrust upon me, and I had a lot of learning on the job. But I was around the best guys in the business for that.”
Would the careers of Orton and Batista have reached such great heights if it wasn’t for the tutelage and impact of Ric Flair? Most likely not. Who would be a better professional wrestling mentor than the Nature Boy, in all honesty?
Hip-Hop Community Embraces Him
Even in retirement, Flair knows how to connect with anybody he encounters – and the documentary revealed that he has quite a following in the hip-hop community these days.
Phrases like “Ric Flair drip” – a reference to having an extravagant amount of expensive jewelry and clothing – have been introduced into the lexicon. In fact, Flair himself has been featured prominently in countless music videos in the last few years, his popularity seemingly still growing with each day. The documentary also revealed the unlikely friendship between Flair and music superstar Post Malone, who described Flair’s presentation as “Shakespearean swagger.”
Although the man himself is far removed from his prime, Flair continues to wear only the most expensive suits and jewelry – and he may singlehandedly be responsible for causing a spike in Rolex watch purchases in the rap world. It’s a testament to Flair’s legacy and his staying power that he still is idolized by not only the biggest stars in the music world, but fans all around the world.
We’re glad we all received some clarity about this, because for years, modern civilization had no idea how to spell Flair’s simple-yet-iconic catchphrase. Was there an 'H' in it? How many 'O's were appropriate?
Thanks to the documentary (well, the title of the documentary, to be fair) all speculation can finally be laid to rest. The official spelling is one 'W' followed by six 'O's – although we’re pretty sure the amount of exclamation points depends on the situation it’s used in!