Arts & Entertainment | November 8, 2017 9:00 am

7 Things We Learned From Ric Flair’s ‘30 for 30’ ESPN Documentary

Figure-four leglocks, woos and a whole lotta booze

Last night, ESPN debuted its 30 for 30 doc about the rise to the turnbuckle and fall to the mat of 16-time wrestling world champion Ric Flair.

Directed by Rory Karpf, The Nature Boy details Flair’s early life but spends the bulk of its 90 minutes examining how the wrestling icon spent time both inside and outside the ring when he was at the height of his popularity in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

With interviews with figures ranging from industry greats like Triple H and the undertaker, to Snoop Dogg and Leslie Jacobs (the first of four ex-wives), the best portions  of the doc are from the two extended interviews with Flair.

Spoilers can be found ahead, but, for better or worse, here are seven things we learned about the rolex-wearin’, diamond ring-wearin’, kiss-stealin’, wheelin’ dealin’, limousine-ridin’, jet-flyin’ son of a gun: “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. 

1. You can question his brains, but not his brawn.
Besides being a great showman, Flair was actually a skilled athlete and played football and ran track and field in high school. He was recruited by seven colleges and probably would’ve  seen success in college — except for his academics.

2. It’s not fake — it’s choreographed.
There’s nothing that gets Flair’s goat more than people saying his profession is phony. Watching Flair visibly bristle at questions about the validity of wrestling demonstrates just how much he believes in what he has spent his life selling. As the wrestler formerly known as Richard Fliehr’s explains, it takes a lot of hard work. About his “choreographed” punches, Flair says: “I hung a string in the doorway and I hit that string as hard as I could for three years, until it didn’t move.”

3. Snoop Dogg is a fan. A big fan.
“As a kid growing up and watching Ric Flair, he was very inspirational to myself and a lot of other hip-hop artists, because he represented what we wanted to be,” Snoop says in the doc. “We wanted to be Ric Flair. We wanted to be flamboyant and, you know, the kiss-stealin’, wheelin’ and dealin’. We wanted to be all of that. He was a part of our culture and our life. That’s why we love him and we cherish him, and we’ve always held him high in the black community — because Ric is one of us.” We can’t help but think one of the reasons The Nature Boy’s promos appealed to Snoop is Flair, as he indicates, lifted some of his rhyme stylings from the original trash talker — Muhammad Ali.

4. “If I said it on TV, I did it.”
When asked where he came up with all of the boasts about money and women, Flair’s response was “the night before.” He then went on to say it was “realistic” he’d slept with 10,000 women. “Let me tell you something, if you’re wrestling and you’re in Hutchinson, Kansas, and you’re gonna spend the night there, I’m gonna find something to do. I’m not going through that night by myself,” he says. 

5. To be the man … you must grow up
As the documentary makes clear, Flair’s successes on the mat were equaled, if not bested, by his failings as a father and a husband. In what is perhaps the darkest part of The Nature Boy, Flair and his family members explain how he more or less enabled his son’s fatal heroin overdose by trying to party and hang with him instead of being a parent. 

6. Wrestling is a helluva drug.
The fact that Flair claims he needed two masturbation sessions a day to get his head right might raise some eyebrows. However, it was his admitted intake of at least 10 beers and five mixed-drinks every day of the week for almost 20 years that had us doing the math … that’s 109,500 drinks.  At one point, Flair ordered 137 Kamikaze drinks for a bar that was filled with 10 people. Considering how he’s looking these days, those numbers ring a lot truer than the previous ones.

7. In his mind, it was worth it.
“It’s easy to say you want to be thought of as the best father that ever lived, but I wasn’t. And I certainly wasn’t the best husband. So I guess I’ll just have to settle for wanting to be thought of as the greatest wrestler and the most entertaining wrestler that ever lived.” 

Here’s the trailer for the film. Watch it when it re-airs on ESPN or on their app at your leisure. 

Main image courtesy of Paul Kane/Getty Images