I caught it. Ugh, I wish that I'd taped it... but to be honest, I thought it was a very
I fully expected the guy interviewing him to be, at the very least, subtly disrespectful, because we know that “legitimate” sports reporters tend to look down on professional wrestlers. But instead, the interviewer seemed to take his job very seriously and displayed good knowledge of the subject... which was very refreshing.
Flair came off very well, too.
Lemme see if I can recall some of the questions and answers. And damn, I wish I could remember the interviewer's name, because he seriously did a very good job. Please keep in mind that this is paraphrased-- I don't vouch for its accuracy with anything but my sometimes-spotty memory.
Interviewer: “I know you've been in the ring and wrestled with countless other people, but is there anyone you'd like to get into the ring and simply beat up?”
Flair: “No... 99% of the guys I've been in the ring with have been very positive people.”
Interviewer: “What's something written in your book that the casual wrestling fan wouldn't know about Ric Flair?”
Flair: “There were days when I woke up and questioned whether I wanted to do this any more. I'd wake up, look in the mirror, and realize that I had self-confidence issues. Especially during the last couple years of WCW.”
Interviewer: “You've been in wrestling for 30 years, tell me... do you feel that wrestling is better now than when you began, or worse?”
Flair: “Oh, definitely better. Certainly in terms of money, and the lifestyle that wrestlers are afforded nowadays. But also we're on TV so much, in [x] different markets all over the world, and we're recognized as easily as many other sports stars. Maybe not like Tiger Woods, but... since we're not hiding behind helmets and our faces are splashed all over TV every week, the recognition is definitely there.”
Flair also told us that in 30 years of wrestling, he'd characterize his experience as being about 99% good and 1% bad... which I can't imagine is literally true, but I'm glad he sees it that way.
When the subject of retirement came up, Flair said that right now he doesn't want to stop what he's doing. “I'm having more fun right now than I had in the previous ten years,” he assured us.
Flair said he was inspired by individuals like Roger Clemens and Martina Narvatilova, who continue to do the things they love even at an age that's considered “past-their-prime” for their sport. Flair loves seeing so-called “old people” succeed in sports.
The subject of steroids was also brought up-- the interviewer pointed out that steroids was mentioned in Flair's book. And then he asked the question “Did you ever take steroids?” and since I haven't read the book, I was stunned when Flair answered yes.
But he stressed very heavily that he only ever took steroids to enhance his appearance,
never his level of performance... and in any case, he took them so randomly that it may or may not have done any good. He stopped taking them after he reached a certain age and decided it was no longer safe. The interviewer did
mention the fact that there have been steroids-related deaths in wrestling the past few years... but thankfully, he tactfully didn't name names.
Flair ended with one of his trademark “WHOO”s at the request of the interviewer.
Anyhoo. Like I said, I thought Flair came off very well, and the interviewer certainly seemed to have a good working knowledge of Flair's career and/or professional wrestling in general. He obviously isn't a W, but he did OK.
“It's not that bad... well, I'm not saying I'd like to build a summer home here, but the trees are actually quite lovely.”
--Westley, in the dreaded Fire Swamp, The Princess Bride
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