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By Mike Johnson on 2023-10-13 12:30:00

WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair spoke with earlier this week to promote his Wooooo! Energy Drink.  Highlights:

Teaming with Roddy Piper in WWE after so many years of friendship: "Well, it was a great experience. We were in England, it's a great Roddy Piper story and it's the kind of stuff Chad likes. So we won the belts.    We went on a European tour and our first match on tour Roddy got sick and so we went in and I dropped the fall and Roddy was sent right back to the room , I think they took him back in an ambulance and was told not to move. And they book him on the first flight home you know, all the way through Chicago and he lived in Portland. So they said Roddy, you know, please don't drink, don't do anything, because he was really sick. As it turned out, he had cancer. I don't remember if you remember that. And I went back to the hotel and I opened the room, he had already drank 15 beers. I'm told...legend says that, he didn't want to tell his family so he got in Chicago, they got him in a wheelchair, took him to a plane to go to Portland. He went and checked into the hospital without telling his wife because he didn't want to worry her or the kids. I mean, he just lived his own life. He was afraid of nothing obviously. And I would call Kitty and say "Where's Roddy?" She says, "What do you mean? He's supposed to be in Portland with you."   He called me one time, he had been gone for a while, he said 'I'll get back to you." I said, "What do you mean?" He said, "I'm just gonna fly out, I'm just gonna take a trip. Get away for a while." So, then he was in rehab for 126 days. And he called me and said, "I'm back up and running, I'm never gonna fall off the wagon again," and I said, "God, think about it like this, you'll be in the  Guinness Book Of World Records for the longest rehab stint in the history of rehab." He picked back up right where he started. He just participated at a more secret level. He's the greatest of all-time. A great person. So entertaining."

The Time Flair Cracked in Japan: "I had my 17th nervous breakdown. I could hear Motoko, Baba's wife, paging me from baggage claim. Back then we had paper tickets, I just said, "How do I get home?" I just sat myself there, I didn't care. But I sat down next to a guy that had a flight to Seattle - Narita to Tokyo, Tokyo to Seattle, Seattle to Chicago, Chicago to Charlotte. I sat down next to this guy like, "Can I talk to you?"  He must have thought I was just completely flipped because you know, back then, I basically had to wrestle an hour every night and I just had been up all week long and that hour just started another hour til 4am every night so I was just tired, burned out and I burnt myself out a couple of times. By the time I got back and broke a sweat I was fine. But I knew in Japan I had to wrestle three hour Broadways with Jumbo Tstruta, who bounced me around like a basketball so (laughs). I couldn't do anything with Tstruta."

His reaction when he saw Jim Crockett waiting for him in Charlotte to make him immediately go back: "I wanted to start crying. (laughs). I think I did. We just got back on the plane, ordered a drink and away we went."

Being embraced by sports teams and being generally associated with the sporting aspect of professional wrestling: "Well, I hated the words "sports entertainment" when Vince [McMahon] first did it but I also understood how badly states like New Jersey and New York were ripping off...the athletic commissions were ripping off pro wrestling, pro boxing, does that make sense? I humiliated this guy that showed up in Norfolk, VA, he didn't even take our blood pressure. They'd listen to your heart and then just sat there and waited for their piece of the apple. That went on in so many States.  Las Vegas was very legitimate, California was legitimate, obviously, but now you present in a State where a guy just showed up, didn't do anything, didn't exam me or anything, just a way to get their percentage of the check. So, I was resentful towards that and I was resentful of the words 'sports entertainment' when Vince first introduced it but after an explanation, you understand why. And it is sports entertainment.  And I think, you know, guys that have competed in sports, as far as like, the real good amateur wrestler, even though it's choreographed, it's a rough, physical way of making a living."

Whether there was any truth to the story Verne Gagne told about not letting Flair quit training as a professional wrestler: "No, it's true, he did it twice and he slapped the crap out of me both times. I quit twice.   I don't have any idea. He humiliated me in front of my wife, in front of the neighbors. He said, "Fat boy - you quit on your parents, you failed high school, you quit the football team in Minnesota, you ain't quitting on me. Ain't gonna happen." Thank God for Verne Gagne, right?"

The new biography Tim Hornbaker wrote on Flair, The Last Real World Champion: "That damn book is a best seller that guy wrote. I've read highlights of it. I never know if they're going to assassinate me or appreciate me (laughs). I didn't know, guys showed me last night, it's a bestseller. He treated me very fairly. I think people will look at that and go, "There's no way he ran that schedule." But he's got it all down. And that schedule was right. Twice on Saturday, twice on Sunday - an hour each time. It's a long day."

The Cleveland Cavaliers and The Columbus Blue Jackets have each announced that Ric Flair’s energy drink, Wooooo! has become their official energy drink.

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