Ric Flair at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 1/11/19
The Untold Tales of Pro Wrestling with Ric Flair at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre last night was as much story-time as it was opinion-time.
For an hour and a half, the legendary “Nature Boy” shared memories that spanned the beginning of his career in 1972 to now watching his daughter Charlotte Flair forge her own wrestling legacy in WWE.
But over the decades, he has shared many of the night’s stories before, with varying veracity. (Wrestling is a business in which heights, weights, bicep and pec measurements, box office numbers, and title reign stats are commonly exaggerated, after all.)
Flair recalled quitting Verne Gagne’s wrestling school twice. The thrill of receiving his first thousand-dollar cheque from wrestling rushed back to him. So did the trauma of the 1975 plane crash that almost ended his career. He cited Jerry Lee Lewis’s “Great Balls of Fire” as the inspiration for his famous “Woo!”
Flair further betrayed the promise of untold stories by spending half his set giving his opinions of various wrestlers. Iconic wrestling manager “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart prompted him with name associations.
Harley Race: “Great performer, had his own style, and you wrestled his style ‘cause that’s what he told you you were gonna do.”
Haku: “The human Veg-O-Matic.”
Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat: “In the ring, the best.”
“The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes: “The single most charismatic person I’ve ever met.”
As for today’s top talents, he called Seth Rollins a working machine. Flair also disclosed that he tells the infamously temperamental Randy Orton to his face that Orton’s the best – when he wants to be.
The night could have used more stories about Vancouver, or even just the Pacific Northwest. Flair’s lone story about Vancouver involved wrestling “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Flair did not say which venue they wrestled in or in what year. He did, however, recall Savage being out of his mind because he could not find his wife and onscreen manager Miss Elizabeth. Flair looked at Hart.
“You know that story.”
Flair did not elaborate, however. This was one of multiple times he winked at a story but left it untold.
The night ended with an audience Q&A. As a barrage of brutally inane and redundant questions flew at Flair, the rest of the audience became restless. They booed people who took too long prefacing their questions. The audience left in droves. Flair always brags about being able to go all night long – in the ring, at the bar, and in the hotel room – but he, too, grew impatient. His responses became curter.
Although the Untold Tales of Pro Wrestling with Ric Flair was not all it could have been (or even all it was advertised to have been), listening to “Naitch” mostly rehash stories, reveal little more than well-known wrestling trivia, and speak his mind about various topics was like listening to an old relative retell familiar stories at a family gathering: Sometimes, it is just more entertaining to hear those stories in person. It helped that the jet-flyin’, limousine-ridin’, stylin’ and profilin’ “Nature Boy” Ric Flair possesses one of the greatest gifts of gab in the history of pro wrestling.