Happy Woo Year!

by James De Medeiros




I confess to no longer watching wrestling, having long ago lost interest in the current product, both WWE and TNA. But Ric Flair continues to be the common thread that links us from today back to 1974, when Flair first made a big splash in the wrestling business right in front of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling fans. He took the wrestling world by storm, and hasn't let it go yet.

I suspect many of you don't watch the current product either. But I think we all still have an interest in the Champ. So occasionally Jim De Medeiros will update us on what's happening with our hometown boy, the "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. 

-D. Bourne


While many people spent New Year’s Eve reflecting on the year that was, wrestling fans spent the day reflecting on the greatest career in the history of the industry.

It was on New Year’s Eve that WWE Monday Night Raw aired what was unquestionably Ric Flair’s finest performance in 2007. It was Ric Flair versus Triple H. The stakes were high. As per usual, Flair’s career was on the line in the contest. However, to ensure that Triple H did not allow his mentor to defeat him, Triple H’s entry into the Royal Rumble was also hanging in the balance.

The WWE set the scene for an all-out leave-it-in-the-ring showdown. It was to have been another big night in sports entertainment. What they didn’t account for was the one intangible that has always made superior exhibitions of wrestling, and, indeed, all Ric Flair performances, special. What WWE didn’t account for was the one thing they couldn’t script – the pure, unbridled, raw human emotion that would captivate the audience and the performers.

It is well known that Ric Flair and Triple H are close behind the scenes. Prior to their New Year’s Eve match, they had one of the finest backstage segments since their classic contest in 2003. Their respect for each other and their desire to prove to everyone involved that each of them were still the leaders of the industry was never more apparent.

Flair conceded that, at 58, his time maybe nearing its end. But, as he’s said since his November return, the time to retire hasn’t come yet. “I’ve gotta be Ric Flair. I’m not going down with my head between my legs. You may be the best in the business today, but you ain’t the man yet until you put me away.”

Triple H responded by telling his mentor, “I have strived every day of my career to be the man that you were and still are.”

A visibly appreciative Flair corrected his adversary, “I’m not the man I was, but for one night, … I will rise to the occasion. I have to. Just like you have to bring it.”

© WWE.com


With the passionate backstage segment behind them, Greensboro, North Carolina was about to witness its last classic Ric Flair wrestling match. Both men were well received by the Greensboro Coliseum audience – an arena forever associated with Ric Flair due to the countless mat classics he wrestled in it over the last 35 years. For those memories that he provided them – and for the performer he still is – Flair was the recipient of the night’s only standing ovation. Fans expected to see something special, and they were not disappointed.

Flair took the early advantage in the contest, much to the delight of the partisan crowd affectionately and forever known as “Ric Flair Country.” With the same confidence that he showed during his early Mid Atlantic territory days in the 1970s, Flair strutted his stuff against his much younger opponent. He peppered Triple H with his trademark reverse knife-edge chops. It wasn’t until Triple H retaliated with an unexpected elbow that the “Nature Boy’s” offense was briefly stopped. The two men then traded the advantage over the course of the next five minutes. Flair countered Triple H’s Pedigree with a backslide for a near fall. An impressive double-arm butterfly suplex then returned the advantage decidedly in Flair’s favor. Soon, Flair locked in his legendary Figure Four Leglock. After a couple of frantic efforts, Triple H finally reached the ropes and the referee forced the break. The fans fiercely booed. Triple H immediately nailed Ric Flair with a Pedigree, but because of the knee pain from the Figure Four Leglock mere seconds before, he was unable to attempt a cover. When an interfering William Regal unexpectedly hit Flair with brass knuckles, the referee disqualified a bewildered Triple H.

© WWE.com

With the victory, Ric Flair’s celebrated career was extended. Days later, highlights were shown on the WWE Smackdown program. When they returned to live action, an already irate Montel Vontavious Porter vowed that in his next contest, Ric Flair would not be so lucky. With the New Year now well underway, Flair and his fans do not have long to savor the moment of the exceptional battle with Triple H. Even though everything else in professional wrestling may have drastically changed, on that incredible night in Greensboro, North Carolina, it was as if time stood still. At 58 years-old, Ric Flair entertained a worldwide audience in another main event classic, resoundingly giving them the crystal clear message that his career was far from over.


James De Medeiros
January 9, 2008

Photo: © WWE.com

Previous updates:

Ric Flair's Last Run Derailed?

Flair Promises to "Go Out in a Blaze of Glory"

Ric Flair: The Final Countdown


Links to Jim De Medeiros Flair updates can always be found in the Smoke Filled Rooms section of the website.

© 2008 Mid-Atlantic Gateway