Leave The Memories Alone: It’s Best For Ric Flair And Wrestling To Leave “The Nature Boy” In The Past
Ric Flair might be in his 70s and hasn’t wrestled a match for years, but he is still connected to the business and is almost always in the news. That has never been truer than it has been recently, except The Nature Boy has been hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Dark Side of the Ring’s Plane Ride From Hell episode included a lot of input from Heidi Doyle, a flight attendant on that infamous plane ride, and she made some pretty serious allegations against Flair.
Doyle claims that Flair pinned her up against a door in the plane’s galley and forced her to touch him while he was wearing nothing but an open robe. This isn’t the first time these allegations have been there for all to see, but it seems not many people were aware of them or had conveniently forgotten they ever happened. Whether you knew before or heard about them for the first time recently, how Flair acted on that plane, whether he sexually assaulted anyone or not, is a sign that The Nature Boy needs to be left in wrestling’s past.
Wrestling Fans Became Desensitized To The Nature Boy
While the accusations made against Flair by Doyle haven’t resulted in other women stepping up and speaking out, the way he acted during the heyday of his career, and well after it, aren’t exactly a well-kept secret. It’s why Tommy Dreamer said the ill-thought-out things that he said on the same episode of Dark Side of the Ring referenced above. While this isn’t a defense of Dreamer’s comments, quite the contrary, he wasn’t condoning sexual assault. He was saying that Flair strutting around naked, performing a move called the helicopter with his penis, regardless of who was in the room had become the norm at that point.
Doing something like that, whether it’s in a room of desensitized and h-bombed wrestlers or on an airplane filled with flight attendants you’ve never met, should have never been okay. It doesn’t matter if it’s 2021 when realizing something like that is referred to as woke which is apparently a bad thing, 2002, or throughout the 80s and 90s when Naitch would have been Naitching on a nightly basis. Flair’s status in wrestling and beyond should also never have granted him a free pass to act the way that he did. As Jim Ross awkwardly put it on Dark Side when asked why Flair avoided the same punishment for his actions on the flight as Scott Hall and Curt Hennig. He was a “made man”.
There Is No Richard Fliehr Anymore
Flair has admitted on many occasions that he left Richard Fliehr, the man he was when not wrestling and Naitching, behind a long time ago. The man has admittedly been unable to distinguish the two for longer than he can remember. Since fans don’t know Richard Fliehr whatsoever, that distinguishing line between the real man and his wrestling persona is an even harder one to draw. It’s why fans chuckle when Flair speaks of his sexual exploits. Claims that he has slept with more than 10,000 women over the course of his life. An exaggerated number, of course, but probably not by as much as you might think. All the while he had a wife at home, the identity of whom differed depending on the era.
It doesn’t help that Flair might well be the best professional wrestler of all time. He is placed on a higher pedastal than anyone else in the business by fans because he is regarded as the best to ever do it by a large majority of them. For a lot of people, the work he does in the ring and with a mic in his hand is part and parcel of the drinking, partying, and womanizing he would do behind the scenes. It’s why it has been excused for the longest time, and also why when you hear tales of Flair cheating on his wife, or drinking himself into oblivion on a nightly basis, you shrug, laugh, and think it’s all okay, or even worse, it’s all a part of the act.
Flair might have retired from in-ring competition years ago, but he is yet to retire from his wrestling character because he doesn’t know how. He doesn’t know where it begins and the real him ends anymore since they became one and the same decades ago. Even a trip to the hospital where he was given a 20% chance of surviving, yet still managed to kick out, doesn’t seem to have made him see that distinction. Flair is addicted to wrestling. Not the physical act of getting in the ring and competing, but wrestling as a whole. Being around “the boys”, hearing the roar of the crowd, getting all of the attention whenever he walks into a room. However, it really is time for him to retire, and properly this time. The R word might not mean much in wrestling but it needs to mean something here. Flair has given his life to the business, so much so that he doesn’t know how to let it go. There’s no shortage of good, on-screen memories through which The Nature Boy can live on. It’s time that he left that persona behind, and the potentially damaging behavior that comes with it, so he can live out the rest of his life in peace.