By BOB BOYER, JarryPark.com contributor
Last week, I watched Ric Flair cry on my television screen for three straight days. He cried at the WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony last Saturday night. He wept as Shawn Michaels uttered the now infamous line: “I’m sorry….I love you.” And he shed more tears during Monday Night RAW’s final segment – one of the greatest I have ever seen. In the aftermath of all this drama, I read a lot of articles and listened to various people talk about the dying days of Flair’s career. Many have mentioned that they cried with Naitch throughout those epic three days.
So, why can’t I stop wondering whether Ric Flair was really that special?
You see, most of my recent memories of Flair have come in the “post-kayfabe” era. Sadly, those times saw the Flair aura cheapened some horrendous WCW booking. While Flair was in a mental ward or reincarnating the Horsemen for the 12th time, the likes of Bret Hart, Steve Austin, The Rock, “Hollywood” Hogan and Bill Goldberg were at the center of the wrestling world.
However, if I think a little harder I can remember watching Saturday evening wrestling on TBS as a young child. It feels like just yesterday when I was admiring Ric Flair while he strutting down to the ring in his elaborate robes and that big gold belt around his waist. It would anger my father every time Flair would pull the ropes while torturing somebody in the figure-four leg lock or delivering a low blow behind the referee’s back. I started to look back on all the great emotional rollercoaster rides he led me through while sitting on my living room couch. Fast forward to the present and I can’t recall too many emotional present-day wrestling angles.
It was then that I was reminded of the beauty that is watching Ric Flair perform in front of a live audience.
While Bret Hart may have performed the moves better and Hulk Hogan attracted bigger crowds, no one could get you more emotionally involved in a wrestling match or angle like The Nature Boy. And, wouldn’t you know it, he was able to pull it off on his way out too.