Stone Cold Podcast/Steve Austin Show
Guest: Ric Flair
Aired: January 11 on WWE Network
Released: January 12 on PodcastOne.com
Recap by Corey Freedman
Top Newsworthy Items
– Austin’s guest today is Ric Flair. This is the episode that aired on the WWE Network the previous night after Raw.
– Flair and Austin talk about how Flair got into the business with the push of Verne Gagne.
– Flair talks openly about choosing to devote himself fully to professional wrestling, even if that meant his family life would suffer. He found his calling in wrestling and chose to pursue it to the fullest.
– Flair says that Charlotte winning the Divas Title was the best moment of his career.
– Flair talks about his work with Dusty Rhodes and how they often one-upped each other in the spending department.
– Flair also talks candidly about his relationship with Vince McMahon and how often Vince has helped him out of financial trouble.
Subjects Covered (w/timestamps)
0:00 – Sponsor ads
2:20 – Introduction
11:35 – Sponsor ad
12:45 – Interview w/Ric Flair introduction
15:15 – Ric’s childhood
20:10 – Getting into the business
29:15 – Becoming the Nature Boy
32:45 – Extracurricular activities
33:40 – Sponsor ad
35:15 – Audio of Flair promos
35:37 – Living the gimmick
38:20 – Dusty Rhodes
44:10 – Coming to WWF
48:15 – WM24 with Shawn Michaels
50:10 – Life after wrestling/Ric’s family
55:00 – Triple H
58:27 – Vince McMahon
1:03:25 – Camp WWE
1:04:42 – Favorite story
1:06:25 – Legacy
1:08:20 – Interview ends
1:08:25 – Sponsor Ad
1:09:25 – Conclusion
1:14:55 – Show ends
Introduction: Austin says he is going to tell some travel stories on his Unleashed show this Thursday. He is back in L.A. after spending a few months at the Broken Skull Ranch. He misses the peace and quiet, but is happy to have more dining options that LA provides. He talks about not drinking as much now that he is not on the ranch going hunting. Austin also talks about the Broken Skull Challenge that’s airing on CMT. He talks specifically about the badass women who take on the challenge this season. He also talks about the travel involved in getting Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair out to the ranch to do these podcasts.
Intro w/Flair: Austin starts by introducing the “greatest professional wrestler to ever grace God’s green earth,” Ric Flair. The two joke about how the Broken Skull Ranch is in the middle of nowhere.
Ric’s Childhood: Ric talks about being a “black market” baby. He says he was stolen from a hospital and put in an orphanage. He was adopted by a couple in Detroit and then moved to Minnesota. Ric says that he never really thought about all that growing up. He had no desire to look for his real parents or investigate that situation further. He loved his adopted parents and had no reason to open that vault. Ric tells some stories of his time in boarding school. He talks a bit about selling life insurance.
Getting into the business: Ric talks about meeting Verne Gagne through his relationship with Ken Patera. Verne was subsidizing Patera’s weightlifting career and after the Olympics planned to promote him as the “world’s strongest man.” He joined Ken on Verne’s farm to workout/train. When Ric tried to quit, Verne showed up at his house, pushed him onto the front lawn, and slapped him. He told Ric that he was not going to quit this so easily. Ric originally wanted to call himself “Ramblin Ricky Rhodes” but Gagne told him to just go with Ric Flair. George Scott asked Ric to come to Carolina. Ric asked his father and Verne for money to make the trip, but neither would give it to him. He asked Jim Crockett for the money to bring his family to Carolina, and he gave it to him. Within a month, Flair was making 1000 dollars a week. He says the first thing he bought was a Cadillac. Flair and Austin talk about the plane crash Ric was in. He was initially told that he would never wrestle again after the crash, but he was back in the ring in eight months. They talk about the people in the industry not being too sympathetic to Ric’s injuries and immediately pushing him to do the work to get back in the ring. George Scott told to wrestle Tim Woods one hour every night until he was able to take a back bump again.
Becoming the Nature Boy: Austin talks about the similarities between Ric and Buddy Rogers. Ric says Olivia Rogers told him she could make him new attire that ended up being Ric’s jeweled robes. He says the “woo” thing came from listening to Jerry Lewis. Austin brings up that Ric’s family life suffered once his career started taking off. Ric talks about finding something that he was good at in wrestling and he made the decision to commit to the wrestling business even if it meant his family life would fall apart. He says if he was going to commit to the wrestling business and be on the road all the time, he could either be the best or the second best, but it wouldn’t have made a difference as far as his family life was concerned. So, obviously, Flair committed to being the best since this was the path he chose to go down.
Extracurricular activities: Austin asks how Flair kept his sanity on the road. Ric responds that Austin is “going to get him in trouble.” He jokes that he learned from hanging around Ray Stevens that there was always something going on somewhere and Ric would find it. He jokes about wrestling for an hour, and he would always find somewhere and someone to drink with after no matter what.
Living the gimmick: Austin brings up Flair buying a limousine and driving it from town to town. They joke that the guy Flair paid to drive the limo was certainly always taken care of in each town. Ric jokes that he got a lot of heat from other wrestlers for driving around in a limo. Austin asks how Ric managed to keep up his tailored appearance while traveling so much. Ric says he bought enough clothes to the point where he didn’t have to wear the same clothes twice. Ric believes he could have made this gimmick work in any time period, for any company.
Dusty Rhodes: Flair talks about the two having an unusual chemistry. He says Dusty was supremely confident. He says people don’t give Dusty enough credit for being able to work really long, tough matches. Flair tells a story where he and Dusty are at the NWA convention outside of Vegas, and they both one up each other buying fur coats for themselves and their wives. He jokes that if Dusty bought a house, he would buy a bigger one. Austin and Flair talk about the night they broke Dusty’s legs in a steel cage and he and the other Four Horsemen got so much heat that night that fans were trying to get inside the cage to stop them. He talks about having to be inside the ring for almost an hour because the cops couldn’t subdue the crowd. Flair loved the heat, of course, but there were certainly times he genuinely believed something bad was going to happen.
WWF: Flair talks about being tired of Jim Herd, who wanted to repackage him as “Spartacus” with a diamond earring, so he was happy to make the move. He talks about being able to wrestle some of the best in the world during his early run in WWF (Hogan, Taker, Savage, Hart). He also talks about being able to work with Bobby Heenan. Flair says if he was only a performer, Bobby would have been one of the 25 best workers in history. Flair talks about Heenan having to travel with him and hating the lifestyle Flair lived. Heenan once said to Vince “if you want someone to travel with Larry Flynt, find someone else.”
WM24 vs. Michaels: Flair talks glowingly about his retirement match build-up. He says that very few, if any, athletes get to retire in the manner that he did. He mentions all of the talent he got to work with during the build up and how they let him talk endlessly at the Hall of Fame induction the night before. He says Shawn told him to shut up and let him call the match, and that he was devastated once the match was over and especially the next day.
Life after wrestling/family: Flair talks about living vicariously through his kids. Austin asks how Flair felt about his son Reid being used in a WWE storyline. Flair says he understands the business but that was particularly hard on Charlotte. Flair believes that Reid would have liked the notion that they are still talking about him on TV. Flair calls Charlotte winning the Divas Championship the best moment in his career. Austin asks if being his daughter is a pro or con for Charlotte. He says that he didn’t even ask people to get her into the business, but John Laurinaitis pushed her to make the move. He hopes that people have realized Charlotte can stand on her own and doesn’t need to be in his shadow.
Triple H: Flair calls Hunter his best friend. He says Hunter is the first person he called when Reid passed away. Flair says Hunter is in a tough spot sometimes because he works for Vince. He wasn’t crazy about Charlotte getting into the business, but he knew Hunter would take good care of her. Austin and Flair praise his work with NXT. Austin says he enjoys the stripped down nature of the show. He talks about Vince watching NXT in San Jose and Vince saying he was “bored.” They both praise the women’s work on NXT. Flair talks about how busy Hunter is with all of the different projects he is working on.
Vince McMahon: Flair says he can’t say anything bad about Vince because he has treated him like gold. He gave him so many opportunities. Flair says Vince helped him with financial woes when he was going through divorces. He says he once owed Vince 800k dollars, but he always paid him back no matter what. Austin praises Vince being a man of his word, and Flair agrees. Flair says Vince would never ask you to do something that he wouldn’t do himself. Austin believes the wrestling world was better with competition and perhaps he wishes WCW would have stayed in business to at least provide competition. Flair describes WCW as having several different camps and nobody ever knew what was going on.
Camp WWE: Flair talks about doing voice-over work for a kids show coming to the WWE Network. He talks about never imagining doing something like that back in the day.
Favorite story: Flair talks about renting a suite at the top of Cesar’s Palace in 1986. He talks about inviting some “entertainment” over to the suite to join he and some buddies in the hot tub. Flair says the “entertainment” cost 11 grand the next morning. He says that’s all he can say about it.
Legacy: Flair says he doesn’t concern himself about that. He talks about Austin being the biggest star in the industry’s history. Flair wants to be remembered as someone that work harder than everyone else, and someone that worked with everyone for multiple generations.
Conclusion: Austin talks about how great it was to talk to Flair. Austin again mentions that he thinks Flair is the greatest pro wrestler of all time. He talks about the women on Broken Skull Challenge. He also talks about his T-shirts and Broken Skull IPA.
Score and Review
Score (10): I think this is basically the same review as I gave for Austin’s interview with Shawn Michaels on the WWE Network. This was an excellent show. As I said with the Michaels interview, of course they could have talked about more or elaborated on certain things, but this was an extremely entertaining podcast. Two legends of the business shooting the breeze and touching on almost every era of Flair’s career. I enjoyed this episode immensely and I think anyone else will too. Rarely do I rate things as must-listens, but I think this episode was a must listen (or watch if you have the WWE Network).