Like any good book, Ric, yours is
full of things that the reader would
never know about unless you made the
point of bringing them out and
highlighting them for us. Just a
couple come off of the top of my head.
for instance, who would have ever
known that Art Nelson was the wrestler
that taught you the importance of
bleeding during a match…
And that Tim Woods saved
Mid-Atlantic Wrestling by his actions
after the plane crash?
And he never got paid a dime.
He just went in there and gutted
Certainly, the book is
illustrative of how important your
family is to you.
And as fans, we knew virtually
nothing about your family during the
And you also talk about you and
Blackjack Mulligan, one of your best
friends, buying the Knoxville
territory in 1981 and it failing…and
that your relationship with Blackjack
was never quite the same after that.
And that to this day you miss
proud to say that Blackjack is a good
friend of the Mid-Atlantic
Gateway…if we can link you all up
down the road, we would be delighted!
Do you ever talk to him?
Yes, we’re in touch frequently.
Oh really? Please say ‘hi’ to
him. I just miss that relationship.
Mulligan and Ric Flair in the WRAL
studio, Raleigh NC, 1976 | ©
Greg Stewart / NCDCR
just never saw Jack for so long, you
know? It’s funny, because I know
I’ve been in towns and he’s been
there…but I got the impression he
was just pretty much through with the
Well, yes and no. I think Jack is
comfortable now with his life outside
of wrestling…but we did a nearly 50
page wrestling interview a couple of
months ago! What a super guy…
Let me tell you, Jack Mulligan and
I…believe me, I wish I could have
written about him and I all day long.
Jack was the kind of guy; he was just
so powerful. Personality wise…in
every way. I could have told more
stories…I could talk about Jack all
Having talked with Jack myself, I
ABSOLUTELY believe that!
We became best friends, we were
neighbors…we did everything there
was to do. Then all of a sudden, you
know, some of the problems took
place…which I didn’t touch on a
hurt me, that a guy that was such a
big part of my life…was gone. You
know what I mean?
I’m sure that had to be
I had to go my way, and he had to
go his, you know what I mean?
Yeah, just sort of that fork in
Yes…and there were never any
words between us, nothing like that.
and I had nothing but fun!
(laughs) And, apparently, a lot of
I could write some fabulous
stories about him!
When I interviewed Blackjack, he
had to cut me off after two Ric Flair
stories…he said otherwise we’d be
on the phone for days! (laughs)
He’s an awesome guy.
Why did you write Ric Flair: To
Be The Man?
Actually, I didn’t really want
to do it…they put a lot of pressure
on me to do it.
Yep. And then they put even more
pressure on me to be honest…
I think it’s important to say
here that the book covers your whole
life and career…and goes far beyond
the Mid-Atlantic territory. And you
don’t pull any punches on a bunch of
people you’ve dealt with over the
There are no punches to
pull…it’s nothing I wouldn’t,
and haven’t, said to them. And the
thing of it is, it’s all documented.
It’s just my opinion.
I think a lot of people will be
very surprised by much of what you
write towards the end of the book,
when you were having to endure the
dying days of WCW and everything that
was going on with that. You were
having a real crisis of self-doubt…
Seeing you in Richmond on RAW last Monday night, you had
that same strut again coming down the
aisle of the Coliseum just like you
did in the Mid-Atlantic days!
But was it tough writing about
those down times in the book?
It was, because it was a very
difficult period of my life.
you know what, the problem with this
is that when I look at people that
have problems in life…I think of
people that have children that are
handicapped, people that have been in
car wrecks and are paralyzed.
There’s a difference between having
a hard time in life, and having some
issues. Does that make sense?
Without a doubt…sometimes we all
have to keep things in perspective.
I’ve had issues. But my life has
never been hard from the standpoint
that I’ve never lost a child; I’ve
never had one of my children get real
sick. You know, I had some rough times
with my parents, but they were in
their 80s…those things happen at
don’t want anybody to think that I
ever had a tough time, you know. I had
some issues that I had a hard time
dealing with…but in the realm of my
life in terms of it ever being BAD,
compared to people that really have
problems, that’s not what I was
trying to say in the book.
Yes…your book, in its essence,
is a book about wrestling.
I was merely telling wrestling
stories. And telling about some of the
things that I went through, both as a
performer and as a person. And some of
the things that got under my
skin…which in a lot of cases I
should have dealt with differently. If
I’m mad at anybody about those
things, I’m mad at myself.
the end with WCW, I just didn’t want
to go through another lawsuit,
spending more money on attorneys…I
mean, otherwise, I would have left WCW
This is when Eric Bischoff fired
you in 1998 for breach of contract,
allegedly for your going to your son
Reid’s AAU wrestling tournament. And
as you said in the book, at that point
you didn’t even have a contract with
WCW! And then you counter sued
him…and later you finally decided to
I know they would have gone out of
their way to make my life
If I had been smart, really
smart, and not wanted back in the
business…like I said in the book, I
should have keep my lawsuit in place
and I would have been rich---rich
Well, Ric, you were flat out in a
tough position there. I mean, any
decision you made, probably had some
downsides for you.
But resolving it any other way
would have been a terrible way to end
up my career. Being in a huge lawsuit
with Time-Warner over somebody that
treated me like sh*t. I mean, that
would have been hardly the way, the
last way, anybody would have wanted to
end up their career. You know what I
Surely…that would have
undoubtedly been even worse on you.
great to read in the book, how things
have been so much more positive for
you since you returned to WWE after
WCW bit the dust in 2001.
Yeah, that’s entirely true. I
had no idea that I still had that kind
of respect from those kind of people.
I had no idea that I had that kind of
rapport with people.
mean, when somebody has convinced you
that you’re not worth anything to
anybody anymore, and they spend a lot
of time doing it…you start believing
it yourself. Does that make sense?
Of course. And it’s very clear
from the book that Bischoff and those
later years in WCW took quite a toll
on you. Still, for all of us fans who
always think of Ric Flair as the
epitome of self-confidence, it’s
pretty amazing to now know that you
battled that significant period of
self-doubt. But I think it just goes
to show that we’re all human…even
Like I wrote in the book…the
first time I talked to
about that I’m sure they were going,
Well, I think that’s what makes
the book so fascinating. Because
people are going to see a side of you
that they never knew existed. And very
few people at the time knew about.
Well, yes, and it’s the truth.
I’m not sure how it will all play
out. None of this was written to hurt
You mean your book as a whole?
Yes. Anybody I said something
about…said something about me. And
if they’re mad about it, then
they’re a hypocrite. Those people
had no problems saying things about
That’s right…in the book your
comments are almost always in direct
response to what someone has already
said about you.
Like the stuff with Hulk Hogan.
You know Hogan and I…the best thing
about Hogan and I is that we agree to
Hulk…I make no bones about Hulk
Hogan---he always took care of
himself. I mean, that’s always the
way he operated.
No doubt about that.
He was that way, always has
been…and I’m sure he’ll continue
to be that way. But he doesn’t care!
the difference between Hogan and I.
When I leave, I’d rather have the
respect of and the relationships I
have with all these people…from the
McMahons to the wrestlers. And have
that level of respect and
self-esteem…that I have for the
conversation I’m having with you
than walking out the door, you know,
angry or mad or upset over a payoff,
or an amount of money, or a position,
or a match I had to win or lose…it
isn’t worth that to me.
The differences between you and
Hogan are striking, to say the
It isn’t worth it…that’s
what I was trying to say. But, it
wasn’t that I was knocking Hulk.
He’s a businessman, and wrestling
comes second to him.
In the book, what really seems to
have gotten to you on Hogan, is when
Hogan got your son
in there in a NWO angle in WCW during
1999 and legitimately whipped the
‘you know what’ out of him with a
belt. He just went too far with it.
You were handcuffed to the ring ropes
as part of the angle, and had to watch
Yeah, and anybody that watched
that, knows that too.
I couldn’t even say anything to
Hogan after that. You’d be surprised
how that would translate into, ‘Oh,
you’re whining for your kid.’
Yeah…pressing it too hard
probably would have made things even
worse for David. .
Well Ric, I know we need to wrap
this up soon, you have another
interview scheduled shortly…but I did want to ask
you if you have any book signings
lined up in Virginia and the
Carolinas---the Mid-Atlantic area!
(laughs) Can I tell you something?
(laughs) This is a sad thing, but
about half of the WWE staff here
doesn’t understand who I am.
Richmond, Norfolk, Charlotte, Columbia,
Greenville, Charleston, Greensboro,
Charleston, West Virginia…the staff
doesn’t know who I am!
Instead of having me in those
towns, they have me going off to
Podunk, Rhode Island, or somewhere,
We could sell 100,000 books in
Richmond if I go there…in one day! I
keep trying to tell them that!
You got that right!!
I have seen a couple of your signings
already set in North Carolina,
including Charlotte…so I know the
Mid-Atlantic area will be well
represented! And the good folks at WWE
got you into Richmond for RAW last Monday, and I saw
the Smackdown Pay Per View the night
before in Norfolk, so I’m confident
they’ll get you back down to
talked to your publicity folks, and
hopefully we’ll be able to post your
upcoming book signings, particularly
in Virginia and the Carolinas, on our
In closing Ric, could you give a
shout-out to all of your old Crockett
fans that we sort of cater to on our
Through the Mid-Atlantic Gateway?
Yes, that would be fantastic!
(pauses) Hey, this is the Nature
Boy Ric Flair and I’ll never forget
the 25 years I spent in the
Mid-Atlantic. And thanks to all of you
at the Mid-Atlantic Gateway, the
memories will continue forever. Thank
Wow, I hope that recorded well!
Because we can make that an audio clip
that visitors to the site will hear
when they access your interview. If
that’s permissible, we’ll try to
Oh sure! No problem.
I think that will be a great
addition to your interview…an audio
greeting from ‘The Man’ himself!
Thank you, sir, very much.
Ric, we are honored that you would
take time to be a part of our website.
We really appreciate you and everyone
at WWE for making us a part of this
publicity tour for your book. We’re
certainly delighted to help spread the
good word to the Mid-Atlantic
community about Ric Flair: To Be
Thank you. Thank you very much,