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  1. #1

    The Fragments that Form Flair, the Greatest World Champion. Vol 2: Becoming the Nature Boy

    The Fragments that Form Flair,
    the Greatest World Champion.
    Vol 2: Becoming the Nature Boy.


    Https://Ric Flair/Paul Jones/ TV Title/1975- Feb-8


    https://youtu.be/ijtDS3lBPJY


    An old myth went that when Flair returned from the rubble of the plane crash, he first introduced the world to the Nature Boy! Howbeit, a video recording emerged which showed the Nature Boy’s development began earlier in nineteen seventy-five, well before the crash. The recording of a radio advertisement for the house show match has Flair fancying himself the Nature Boy, promising to work the arm of Paul Jones so bad that he’d send Jones to the drug store to look for someone to beat up.

    While the myth sets Flair becoming the Nature Boy into the wrong timeline, the origin of Flair’s Nature Boy character stands the tests of many telling. Crocket Jr’s head booker, George Scott, thought Flair could portray the same cool as Buddy Rogers. To get a glimpse of Rogers cockiness, his cool, and his Nature Boy presentation, check out the below video.You can live Rogers’ strut, that in my opinion, nobody did better. And you can see the cool he kept a lid on but, still, the narcissism that he simmered to a controlled temperature.



    https://youtu.be/X7eL4oQxDis



    Still, Flair is about as much Buddy Rogers as Heath Ledger is Jack Nicholson. They both did the character, but both men had a different take on it; both men made it extensions of their real-life selves. Admittedly, giving Flair the classy character, gave him direction he’d not have, otherwise.Though, Flair only, in life, came across Rogers a couple times, one being the nineteen-seventy-nine battle of the Nature Boys, and though he did not admire Rogers like he did Dusty, he burned to hotter degrees in that character than most can heat to. Matter of fact, he blew the lid off and boiled over! But in the beginning, he only smoked cigars, strutted, dressed more sophisticated, and began using the strut and figure-four. In every way, Flair went towards Rogers, he contrasted himself from Dusty so far as to become the son of a plumber’s mortal enemy.


    Back in the AWA, Flair wanted to be Rambling Rick Rhodes, Dusty’s little brother. But it’s in contrasting the man who never forgot the taste of the pork and beans, that made Flair selfish, immodest, and a great anti-hero.


    And, still, Flair’s Dusty influence contrasted Ric’s Nature Boy charm from Rogers’. Now, you can argue that Rogers measured approach was better, and Rogers would agree. After all, on Austin’s Podcast, Steve asked Flair, “Was he [Buddy Rogers] cool with you being the new Nature Boy?”


    Flair said yes but, also, put forward Rogers,who barely knew him, told him, “there’s only one diamond in this business, and you’re looking at him!”


    Austin replied, “Was he serious?”


    Flair gave a hearty laugh and said, “Yeah!”


    What you can’t argue is Flair’s Nature Boy was different than Rogers. Ric, already took the “Woo!” from listening to Rock N Roll. He lived every moment at one-hundred sixty miles an hour. Therefore, he went wilder in his strut. He shouted in his promos. He made the Nature Boy synonymous with “living the life.” With the rocket of his soul, he launched the gimmick to helicopters, fine wine, alligator shoes, and limousines! He approached the Nature Boy name with the same heat he once clawed at Chris Taylor with.


    Is there something to being adopted, as Flair was? When one is adopted into something after being abandoned, how reverent is he towards that which adopted him? How much of it equates to him, when biologically he was something else? Is their enough distance to get drunk off it, to be irreverent to it, to abuse it? Is it more borrowed than owned? Does it feel like inheriting someone else’s birthright? It was a still born daughter who brought about Flair’s adoption. It’s when his parents couldn’t have their own that they took him in. The Nature Boy worked for him; because it was true to him. In his youth, he was taken in and arrayed into something reputable, but he was irreputable underneath; stealing cars, getting arrested, being sent to reform school, quitting college, living every moment to the fullest but never seeing the big picture.


    In nineteen seventy-five, Flair lost weight. By the plane crash at the end of the year, he was two hundred fifty-five pounds.He weaned off Rip Hawk and began teaming with the meanest heels in wrestling: the territory's top heel, Johnny Valentine, Ivan Koloff, and the Andersons, Gene and Ole. Because the Andersons were the Minnesota Wrecking Crew and Flair came from that area, they billed him as the Anderson’s cousin, making him an official member of the kayfabe villainous family. That's right, Flair was part of the Anderson family before Arn was! Teaming with such antagonists pitted him against the biggest protagonists that came by: Dusty Rhodes, Wahoo McDaniel, and Andre the Giant. Against names like that, he needed to know how to bleed, and here Flair more and more stained his bleached hair red. See, during this era, in locker rooms, wrestlers lined up and read the program. If a check was by their name, it meant it was their turn to blade. But Flair did additional bleeding than that which he was called to do. If he took a shot to the head from a chair or was slammed against the steel, he wrung out his forehead to make it grislier.


    With Flair establishing a name of infamy, he joined only five others, at the time, to win the TV Title. The TV Title that originated in 1974 and carried its lineage all the way through WCW’s demise became Flair’s first singles gold. Flair and Paul Jones were far from strangers as Flair and Rip Hawk, to win the Mid-Atlantic Titles, had beaten Jones and Bob Bruggers (a former NFL player who, a few years prior, trained with Flair in a group of rookies to be broken into the AWA). Then, it was Paul Jones and Tiger Conway Jr (the man Flair had cut that ill-famed promo on in the previous volume) who ended Flair and Hawk’s reign.


    It’s no coincidence Flair won and lost titles to Paul Jones, for Jones won twenty-three Mid-Atlantic titles in his day. It’s hard not to have him in the path. But it’s a distinction for Jones that Flair’s first two Titles, one a tag and one a single, were both won from him and lost to him.


    In this match, where Flair dethrones Jones for the TV Title, we see an early version of his strut. Then, Flair lifts his arms up and sways his hips from right to left in a way that sure got heat with me. But there’s not much offense from Ric. He’s taking a hurting, and he’s fucking good at hurting! Flair soaks in a steel post shot and squeezes out his own lifeblood! Bleeding his life away, he strikes against Jones with all his fire but falls with an early Flair drop from the blows. Once he plummets on his face onto the hardest part of the ring, the apron! When Jones flips Flair back in the ring and connects with an airplane spin, it appears Flair’s become a pulp that Jones is still beating. The lifeless Flair gets his foot on the bottom rope. Jones hooks a viscous Indian death lock that seesaws Flair over Jones body and into the ropes. Jones, sensing he has Flair beaten, doesn’t want to give the clean break. While the referee holds back Jones, Flair, beaten to a pulp and beaten even more, pulls out something a-many future TV champions would: a pair of brass knuckles. He knocks Jones out and, still selling the death lock, cannot walk to Jones. He crawls. Finally, he drops his bled-dried corpse on Jones for three seconds!
    While not yet one hundred percent the Nature Boy from nineteen-eighty-three to ninety-ninety – that I’ll argue is the greatest world champion ever—, his emotion and blood presented themselves here. He was beaten and beaten until all he could do to win was fall on top of Jones. These were the earliest days of making his opponent look like gold.


    Flair’s Nature Boy origins have been attained!


    Stay tuned! As we get closer to turning the chapter, there’s a big Indian wanting to scalp him. And when this chapter of his career closes, the Hammer, still, awaits to pound, and the Steamboat awaits to sail to new worlds!


    “Woo!” …The shorter 1970's style "Woo", that is!
    Last edited by Benjamin Button; 6 Days Ago at 03:23 AM.

  2. #2
    The Brain
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    Both this and the previous column ignite my desire to watch more from this era, to wish to god it was easier to get ahold of whole matches and watch week to week as the white hot angles explode. This was such a rich time, and Flair was lucky to grow up in it on top of being incredibly skilled. Will watch the linked videos tonight, but absolutely love the column and the series so far!

  3. #3
    Cero Miedo Mystic's Avatar
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    I love your opening paragraph. There is nothing I teach more than being able, as best we can, to move between narratives and lived experience. In some ways, I think it might be a human beings inheritance to play with their origin and survival stories as time goes by. Experiences glom together, both for the person and in audience uptake, which take on lives that are born out of the experiential but in some ways becomes greater than. So, I both love how we all have this lore about how *this* Flair came to be, but you are also finding pesky videos that tell the story differently. This is really good work, and it has to be compelling, for someone who has admired Flair this long, at levels of some experience and some greater narratives, to now be going back and digging out deeper, longer narratives and the experiences that either do or don't prove them out.

  4. #4
    Mizfan, man, some of the promos I hear about I'd love to see from this time. And I too would love to see the weekly TV. There was TV but not a lot of taping. I strongly recommend Mid Atlantic and Florida championship wrestling from the early 1980's though. There's a lot of footage out there. Great talent. Love the Andersons, Gene and Ole. Love Jake Roberts and Sargent Slaughter. Love Piper, Steamboat, and the Briscos and more.

    I believe Flair thrived on the time. In my opinion, he learned from and surpassed a lot of great talent.


    Mystic,

    Yeah wanted add that audio to the column. I tried about five ways but couldn't do it. It's a fun old promo. And promos have been from that time hard to find. Though in about 2 columns, I have some good ones coming up. It's definitely been fun for me to find more and more on Flair. He's been my all time favorite wrestler since 1993! And I've gone back in the last 20 years to watch a wealth of his nineteen eighties career. Looking at all his Title wins before his first world Title win is something. I think when you watch the upcoming of any star from HBK to Steve Austin, to see them when those secondary titles is awesome. Flair had a similar path as Austin's WCW, the TV, US, and tag titles. It's also cool to examine the history of those WCW Titles.



    Can't wait to get to the 1980s but wish there were more footage of the 1970s. Still, got some stuff I can't wait to get to from the end of the 1970's. Flair had a hell of a US title run. Maybe not nowhere near 500 plus days like Luger, but he held his own.


    But we'll keep working and building till he's this guy...


    https://youtu.be/x--xAv1YsTQ

    I've seen you burn them before!! Woo!

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    It must be hard to adopt another wrestlers persona and incorporate that into your own design. I can't imagine Rogers being too happy with Flair stealing his shtick. That Flair was able to become super popular and a legend because of that gimmick has to be a bitter pill to swallow.

    I've been enjoying this series thus far.

  6. #6
    The Brain
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    I hope Rogers didn't begrudge Flair too much, since he was semi-retired by the time Flair came to prominence with the gimmick and experienced tons of top level success with it during his prime years. But you never know with wrestlers...

  7. #7
    From what Ive read Rogers didnt have an issue with Flair but was clear he was the better of the two, according to Flair, anyway..He also went over on Flair in their 1979 match that I came across some years ago..was a count out... .flair was approaching his prime; Rogers was old and winding down...Not knocking Rogers but he lived his ego...so from what Ive seen, no Rogers didnt hold it against him but made it clear to Flair there was only one Buddy.

    Now to me I go back to my quote that Flair was as much Rogers as Heath Ledger was Jack Nicholson. Heath and Jack did the joker character but had two different takes on it.

    Flair did it much different than Rogers. I liked them both.


    Rogers was biggest in New York; Flair in the Carolinas....Two very different takes
    Last edited by Benjamin Button; 4 Hours Ago at 02:27 PM.

  8. #8
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    The Jack Nicholson/Heath Ledger analogy is good. Flair did the Nature Boy gimmick differently than Rogers and really made it his own character. Flair's visual of having his blood stain his bleached hair was great, and it was smart of him to do it so many times. Good column.

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