‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair has opened up about his struggles with confidence during the latter stages of his career.
It’s been well documented that ‘The Dirtiest Player in the Game’ was a shadow of his former self once he returned to the then World Wrestling Federation in 2001. The last time we’d seen him on the company’s television, he was losing to Mr. Perfect in a Loser Leaves WWF Match on Raw in 1993. He was loud, brash and as magnificent as he’d always been.
The Ric Flair we got following the fabled WCW/ECW invasion couldn’t have been further from the ‘Limousine Riding, Jet Flying, Kiss Stealing, Wheeling Dealing, Son of a Gun’ that we all knew and loved.
Many things contributed to Flair’s demise and none more than the treatment he received at the hands of World Championship Wrestling under the Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo regimes. Scaled back to a minor role and often less than vital storylines in the shadow on the NWO, Flair lost his confidence and passion for the industry.
Now, ‘Naitch’ has spoken to talkSPORT about the condition and how it affected him when it was time to return to the squared circle:
“If it was a no pressure situation, I had no problem, but if it was a main event – I put so much pressure on myself that the self-confidence issues rolled in. You listen to me speak and you think, ‘How could that be possible for Ric Flair?’ Well, it was hard for me. When it was over it was so rewarding, I’d say thank you to everybody, then I’d walk away and think why can’t I just be me.”
In the end, it was both Triple H and The Undertaker who resurrected the legendary personality by taking him under their wing and showing him that he was was and always would be the greatest wrestler to ever lace-up a pair of boots.
As Evolution grew, so did Flair’s belief in himself while his WrestleMania X8 bout with Big Evil proved that he hadn’t lost a step even though he was steadily approaching the end of his career.
Credit for the interview: talkSPORT
h/t for the transcription: Fightful