"Nature Boy" Ric Flair for years has been my favorite wrestler. Admittedly the last couple years his actions in and outside the ring have made it a bit rough to be a fan of his. However it cannot diminish how awesome he was in the ring and on the mic which made me be a fan of his.
Growing up in Maine the opportunity to see Ric Flair live was simply non-existent as he worked primarily for the southern promotions of the NWA and later WCW. Even after WCW's closure when he joined the WWE he never worked the house shows when WWE came to Maine.
Here are a list of all the times that I have seen the Nature Boy Live and in Living Color:
Keep in mind the photos taken before December 2005 where with a film camera with only a small zoom and I scanned them to post on this blog so the quality is not the best.
April 10, 1997
WCW Autograph Signing, Natick Mall, Natick, Massachusetts
"Nature Boy" Ric Flair and The Giant
My buddy Jay and I went to Boston to buy Nitro tickets, standing in line overnight. After getting the tickets we went to the Natick Mall where Ric Flair was scheduled for an appearance at Filene's. I know, Filene's right. So we get the the mall, which has a bigger line than the box office at The FleetCenter. Filene's did good as they aired Great American Bash 1996 on the in house TV's. We weren't allowed to take photo's with Flair or The Giant, I got an autographed photo from both that was supplied by WCW and Flair signed a trading card for me.
June 9, 1997
WCW Monday Nitro, The FleetCenter, Boston, Massachusetts
Flair main evented the show teaming with "Rowdy" Roddy Piper facing the WCW Tag Team Champions: The Outsiders: Kevin Nash & Scott Hall with Cruiserweight Champion: Syxx in their corner, in a non-title match. Flair and Piper won after four minutes by disqualification when Syxx interfered.
A huge brawl erupted with eventually the entire locker room coming out. Eventually Sting came down from the rafters hooking onto an unconscious DDP and taking him back up with him. This happened right in front of us.
October 19, 2003
WWE Raw Brand House Show, Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland, Maine
Ric Flair managed Randy Orton who lost to Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam
This is the first time I saw Flair in the WWE since he joined them after WCW closed. He only managed Orton in this match but I had a fantastic interaction with him. He was cutting a promo putting down Maine and the Boston Red Sox for some cheap heat. I yelled out, "That's right, give us hell Ric!" Flair spun around, pointed right at me and shouted "Shut your mouth fat boy!" I popped big time even throwing both my arms in the air in excitement.
July 13, 2004
Book Signing, Borders Books, Nashua, New Hampshire
Flairs book had just come out, my buddy Jay and I made the long drive down getting there early, we third and fourth in line. The guy at the front managed to grab a picture with Naitch, however after that they wouldn't allow anyone else to do the same. Denied again! I did manage the get not only my book, but a PWI magazine and my Mello Yello can signed. The soda can was a promotion that the NWA did back 1988.
I've been to a few other books signing since this one, Triple H, & William Regal for example, and this was the only one where the author got a big introduction and they played his entrance music.
February 27, 2005
WWE Raw Brand House Show, Agganis Arena, Boston, Massachusetts
Steel Cage: Batista & Randy Orton defeated World Champion: Triple H and "Nature Boy" Ric Flair
My buddy Rood and I made the trip to Boston for this loaded matinee house show. I bought tickets the second they went on sale because they advertised Ric Flair wrestling in a steel cage. There was no way I was going to miss my opportunity to see the Nature Boy inside a cage.
It was well worth it because Flair was busted wide open! At one point Flair was at the top of the cage and as I snapped a photo Randy Orton pulled Flair's trunks down exposing his ass, to which Rood likes to keep reminding how I took a picture of Flair's naked ass. This was a film camera so once I got it developed sure enough, there it was. I did not save the photo.
After this show we went to Barnes and Noble up the street for a Triple H book signing, at this one they had it set up so you could get a picture with him, however he would only sign the book.
May 1, 2005
WWE Backlash PPV, Verizon Wireless Arena, Manchester, New Hampshire
World Champion: Batista defeated Triple H w/ "Nature Boy" Ric Flair
This is the only PPV to date to be held at the venue, Rood and I manged to get 6th row tickets on the floor next to the entrance ramp. I believe this was the last time they used the big swinging hook like props on the stage.
Flair only manged Triple H in this WrestleMania rematch with Batista, and his involvement was minimal, but it was nice to see Flair at ringside.
December 12, 2005
WWE Monday Night Raw Live, TD Banknorth Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Kurt Angle defeated Intercontinental Champion: "Nature Boy" Ric Flair in a non-title match
A lot had changed since I saw Flair in May. He had turned baby face and defeated Carlito for the Intercontinental Championship. This was a good match, and it was great even though Flair lost. Most importantly I got to see Flair with gold around his waist. This would be the last singles championship that Flair would hold in his career.
August 20, 2006
WWE SummerSlam PPV, TD Banknorth Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
I Quit Match: "Nature Boy" Ric Flair defeated Mick Foley
This is a match I never thought I would ever see as they had legit heat with each other because of comments made in their respective autobiographies. They used thumbtacks, barbed-wire and an assortment of weapons. Both men got very bloody, Flair even wrapped his hand in barbed wire delivering a series of chops Foley. It was awesome!
March 29, 2008
WWE Hall of Fame, Amway Arena, Orlando, Florida
Triple H inducted "Nature Boy" Ric Flair
My buddies Rood, Jay and I bought the silver package from the WWE in July 2007 for this event based on the rumor that Flair was going to retire and we just had to be there for his final match. Plus it's a big vacation to sunny Orlando for WrestleMania weekend!
Tickets to the Hall of Fame were included in our package, we had great seats, Flair was very emotional and I got emotional about it. Flair did wrestle again, however this is the only time he individually could be entered in the WWE Hall of Fame and I'm grateful that I was there.
March 30, 2008
WWE WrestleMania XXIV, Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Florida
"Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels defeated "Nature Boy" Ric Flair in a career threatening match
At the time we thought that this was going to be Ric Flair's final match. The emotions that we felt that night was immeasurable. First off the match was just amazing with both Flair and Michaels giving it everything that they had.
Just prior to the finish, and this wasn't on the broadcast as the camera was on HBK, Flair was face down on the mat and was openly crying. When I saw that I immediately starting crying myself because I knew that it was about to be over. Then Flair picked himself up and you see that shot of him telling Michaels to "come one" with both hands clenched tears coming down his face.
It's so odd to admit being that emotional about something that you watch, but man it really did me in.
The seats we had were nothing short of amazing. We were in the first front of row of the first section in the football stands directly on the 50 yard line.
March 29, 2009
Big Time Wrestling, Town Hall, Webster, MA
Jay, Rood, and I made the 200 mile one way drive to Webster Town Hall, we got there about 11am for a 1pm door and were in the front of the line. The line was tremendously long, especially considering it was cold and drizzling. The turn out was way more than the promoter expected which isn't that surprising considering this was on of Flairs first appearances of this kind as he was still under a part-time contract with the WWE.
We got in the building and they set it up that you first got your picture taken with Flair and then would go through again to get your item signed. This way Flair was standing for the photos and then he could sit for the autographs.
I finally got my photo with Flair and I'm not ashamed to admit that my legs were shaking and I was so nervous. Rood thought it was hilarious! After getting our photos with Flair they had us sit in order in the seats then once everyone had gone through we got in line again to get our autographs.
I also got my photo with and a signed photo of Reid Flair.
After getting our autographs it was 3:30pm with the matches scheduled to start at 4pm. Based on how long it took to get photos we surmised it would be close to six when the autographs where done and then the matches, plus we had a 200 mile drive home. So we left and part of me regrets that because I never had another chance to see Reid wrestle live before his death.
On the ride home we stopped at the Cracker Barrel in Tewskbury, Mass and this is when I learned about the Sunday only boneless Fried Chicken special that they do, and it is amazing!
August 6 - 8, 2009
NWA Legends Fanfest, Hilton University Place Hotel, Charlotte, North Carolina
August 6th Starrcade 25 Years Later with Harley Race & "Nature Boy" Ric Flair
Jay and I made the Journey to the NWA Legends Fanfest in Charlotte. This was Thursday, the first day of the convention, we flew in, checked in, got out badges and enjoyed a panel featuring Harley Race and Flair talking about their famous Starrcade 1983 match and then some questions from the audience. After the sessions if you paid it, we could get your picture taken with Flair, Race, and they NWA World Championship Belt that they both wore and defended.
I got this photo op and was not nervous at all, in fact I was so excited that I put my arms around both of them. Love this photo!
August 7th Four Horsemen Photo Op & Hall of Heroes "Nature Boy" Ric Flair inducted Black Jack Mulligan
Friday found yet another photo op with the legendary Four Horsemen. In one photo it was myself with Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Ole Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham & JJ Dillon. It was amazing! Truly once in a life time! That night at the Hall of Heroes Banquet we sat with Baby Doll who fed me cake and we watch Flair induct BlackJack Mulligan into the Hall of Heroes, accepted by Barry Windham.
August 8th Four Horsemen signing
Saturday was the day we got the Photo ops signed as well as other Autrographs from the Horsemen. We were entitled to 2 signatures with our VIP badge plus out photo ops signed. I had Flair sign my picture of him and Harley as well as The group Horsemen shot and the photo of us from the above Big Time Wrestling show in Webster and the poster I made for the show. Awesome!
A lot more happened this weekend, you can read bout it here: NWA Legends Fanfest 2009
March 24, 2013
Big Time Wrestling, Civic Center, Augusta, Maine
Pre-show meet & greet with "Nature Boy" Ric Flair and he cut a promo to open the show
This show was less than 10 miles from my home, there was no way I could pass this up. Alex and I went to the Civic Center for this show where I got my photo with Flair and got him to sign a couple trading cards for me. Flair cut an in ring promo at the beginning of the show that was pretty awesome.
So these are all the times I saw "Nature Boy" in person both in and out of the ring. I can't imagine I'll ever have the opportunity again to meet him, and honestly I wouldn't go out of my way at this point. There are so many other wrestlers that I want to see and meet that I same my money for those opportunities.
I know a lot of negative things have been said and written about Flair these last few years, and for some of them he only has his actions to blame. However, each and every interaction I have had with Flair has been amazing. He has been gracious, kind, and a pleasure to be around.
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