This is something I have been waiting for for a long time. For years ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary series has been talking about a Ric Flair special. It’s gone through many versions, including a super-hyped 80s style that ESPN reportedly turned down, but we finally have the premiere of “Ric Flair: The Nature Boy” to watch and thoroughly enjoy.
That’s right. I’m tipping my hand early here and letting you all know that I loved it. Honestly, LOVED it. It’s something I have already watched twice and can see myself watching over and over again. Of course, this may have to do with how much of a wrestling fan I am (and if you didn’t know, check out the spin-off Take Too Takedown where we break down wrestling every week). But I honestly do believe that even if you aren’t a fan of wrestling, the story of Ric Flair is so enthralling that anyone can enjoy it. The 30 for 30 documentary tells the full life story of Richard Fliehr, who the world knows as Ric Flair. From his struggles to break into wrestling, his near death plane crash and how that helped him build into the Flair persona we all love. But that’s just it. Flair was so polarizing that people either loved him & wanted to be him or they despised him with a passion. And THAT is why is was so great for the sport of wrestling. He could command an entire crowd to love him or hate him because his on the mic skills were just that good.
The documentary style was done really well too. With actual clips & still photos, tons of interviews from current & former wrestlers, fans like Charles Sonnen and Snoop Dogg, and even some animation for the more ridiculous parts. When you have Sting saying things like “ I’ve never seen a guy have his pants pulled down more than Ric Flair” only animation can bring that to life. The praise for Flair is universal, with even people like Hulk Hogan saying “he’s ten times better than I am.” But it definitely wasn’t all gator-wearing, jet-flying parties for Flair. His home and family life was shambles because his lived his wrestling image and that couldn’t survive. Flair reflecting on the mistakes he made with his wife and children, especially his son Reid, made for some gripping interviews. When you hear Flair today referring to Reid that “sometimes I regret that I was your best friend and not your dad like I shoulda been” the dust mysteriously fills the room. Covering his retirement and the rise of his daughter Charlotte in WWE are a great way to end the piece.
I can’t say enough about how good this 30 for 30 is. It should be required watching for anyone who was even a casual wrestling fan in the 80s & 90s, but even those that weren’t will enjoy this special.
I give it 10 WOOOOOOOOOs out of 10