“NATURE BOY”: ESPN 30 FOR 30 DOCUMENTARY REVIEW
Ahead of its airing on November 7th, Wrestling-News.Net were granted early access to the almost 80 minute ESPN 30 For 30 documentary on “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair that goes in-depth on Flair’s life from his life as a child to a two-time WWE Hall of Famer and 16-time World Champion.
While it should be noted that the documentary does not feature interviews with Flair’s former bosses Eric Bischoff and Vince McMahon, it is still a very emotional documentary, which we will detail more of below and does feature interviews with The Undertaker, Jim Cornette, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, Sting, Arn Anderson, Triple H, Tony Schiavone, Shawn Michaels, Jim Ross and more.
Flair opens the documentary by noting that The Nature Boy was his wrestling character and wasn’t fake, as that was him all day, every day. Flair said that he sacrificed everything for wrestling and lived his gimmick. Director Rory Karpf then asks Flair how man women he has slept with, to which Flair said that realistically, it’s probably around 10,000 women, which amazes Karpf before there is a big pause after the question is answered and Flair noting that he knows that is a terrible number. The documentary then cuts to WWE Hall of Famer Sting, who notes that Flair took him under his wing when he was coming up as a wrestler in NWA and WCW and appreciates what Flair done for his career. Sting then said that when anyone looks back, no one can say that they have seen a guy having his pants pulled down more than Ric Flair.
Flair noted that he was not your typical stay at home dad and he hated staying at home, stating that he was bored at home and could not wait to be with the guys. It was noted that Flair’s lifestyle involved him going from town to town, where he would wrestle, drink, find a women and do the same thing day by day. Flair’s first wife Leslie is then shown as she describes that Flair loved his kids, before she noted that Flair is not a family man and she can not bad mouth him as he loves their kids and he’s Ric Flair. Flair said that for 27 years between 1972 and 1999, he was rarely at home and that his kids hated the fact that he was never at home, where as in his own mind, he was selfish and wanted to be “The Nature Boy”.
Flair discussed surviving the plane crash and said that he is still lucky to be alive to this day. Flair then talked about his drinking issues, noting that it became a big problem. Former WCW wrestler and valet Nickla “Baby Doll” Roberts was interviewed stating that she does not know how Flair still had a liver. The interview then turns back to Flair who says that there is no way that he should be alive after the stuff that he has done. Flair then talked about his various feuds over the years, including Dusty Rhodes, Hulk Hogan, Ricky Steamboat and Sting, as well as the creation of The Four Horsemen. Flair then discussed more on Hulk Hogan being the main star of the WWF at the time and Flair being the main star of WCW. Flair said that both men were on the opposite sides of the spectrum, stating that Hogan was all about saying your prayers and eating your vitamins, where as he himself was selling being a person who drinks a lot and has sex. Hogan is shown stating that Flair is 10 times better than he is and that is a no brainer.
The documentary then touches on other items before the passing of Ric’s son Reid is discussed. Triple H noted that the problems with Reid Flair were evident, however Ric was in denial. Triple H said that Reid failed a few tests before trying to get hired by the WWE and that when Reid confronted his father about what happened, Ric stated that it must be a mistake in the testing. Triple H said that because of Ric being Ric, he told him that he would re-test Reid and that unfortunately, Reid failed the subsequent test more than the first one. Ric said that the passing of his son drove him to drink hard and said that he was drinking hard for up to a year. The documentary shows Triple H telling Ric to straighten up before then discussing that Flair’s daughter Ashley (WWE superstar Charlotte Flair) carried on her brother’s dream. Flair is then shown with a big smile on his face stating that Ashley was never interested in wrestling, but knew that she had to do it for her brother and said that the greatest moment of his wrestling career was not getting into the WWE Hall of Fame or winning his 16 World Titles, but that it was instead seeing Ashley winning the title, as nothing in his career ever gave him that feeling.
Flair touches on various other subjects throughout the interview. I will self-admit that as I said above, this is a very emotional documentary that made me laugh and cry throughout when subjects of Flair being Flair are discussed, before more tragic events, including the passing of his son are discussed. The documentary is a real eye-opener to what makes Ric Flair the man he has been for more than 40 years, is well worth going out of your way to see if you are or you are not a fan of the wrestling business.
“Nature Boy” airs this Tuesday, November 7th at 10pm Eastern on ESPN.