On the Mount Rushmore of Professional Wrestling, there are several names up for nomination, but the one name that is on almost everyone's list is The Nature Boy Ric Flair. In the '80s, Flair ruled the NWA at a time where they matched up well head-to-head with Hulk Hogan during his reign at the top of WWE. Then, Flair went to WWE and ruled there as well.
However, while Ric Flair has competed in some of the best matches in professional wrestling history, wrestling is all about storylines. No matter how good the matches are, if the rivalry doesn't mean something, they're just not as memorable. With four decades of matches under his belt, here is a look at the five best Ric Flair rivalries ever and five that fell short.
10 WORST - ARN ANDERSON
One of the most successful and popular factions in wrestling history is the Four Horsemen. That initially saw Arn and Ole Anderson, Ric Flair and Tully Blanchard team up to form an unstoppable force. When Ole left, a fourth rotating member joined, usually becoming a challenger to Flair after getting kicked out.
However, in the '90s, WCW decided to have Arn Anderson leave Flair's side, and the two began feuding. Now the two had some good matches, but this was a feud that never should have happened. Arn and Flair are better together, and WCW realized this and stopped the feud, reforming the Horseman again.
9 BEST - DUSTY RHODES
For every top heel in a wrestling company, they need a super over babyface to make them great. Nature Boy Ric Flair was the best heel in wrestling for many years, and his entire gimmick was a wealthy and arrogant jerk. That made the everyman Dusty Rhodes the perfect rival.
Flair rides in limos and flies in jets while Rhodes was the son of a plumber who fought his way to the top. Flair and the Horsemen were running all over the NWA. It was Rhodes that the fans were behind every step of the way. After Harley Race put over Flair as a great champion, Rhodes put him over as a top heel.
8 WORST - HULK HOGAN
Through the '80s, Nature Boy Ric Flair was the biggest name in the NWA. Hulk Hogan, at the same time, was the biggest name in WWE. With no Internet, fans read magazines like Pro Wrestling Illustrated, which helped fantasy book matches between the two best world champions in the world at the time.
Then, Flair shocked the world and left the NWA for WWE. He ended up winning the world title in the Royal Rumble, and it seemed Flair vs. Hogan would finally happen. It didn't happen as WWE didn't think they matched up well. When Hogan and Flair finally feuded in WCW, it was too late to matter anymore.
7 BEST - HARLEY RACE
There is one man who took Ric Flair and turned him into a star. In the '70s, Harley Race was the best wrestler in the NWA, a multi-time world champion and arguably one of the best ring technicians to ever step foot into the ring. When someone is a megastar, and they hit a certain age, it is time to put over the future.
That man was Ric Flair. Race and Flair feuded after the Nature Boy won his first world title from Dusty Rhodes. Harley Race was who won the title from Flair, and the two ended up tearing down the house, culminating in the steel cage main event at the first Starrcade.
6 WORST - ERIC BISCHOFF
Two of the worst feuds in Ric Flair's history were against authority figures. While he had one great feud with Vince McMahon in WWE in the aughts, there were two authority feuds before that which were terrible. The worst feud was against Vince Russo, but the less said about that, the better.
However, when it comes to rivals, Flair's rivalry with Eric Bischoff was just terrible. Flair returned to WCW, and every time he came out, the fans went nuts. They wanted Flair back, and they wanted Flair to get a shot at the title. Instead, he wasted time feuding with Bischoff as they threw shade at each other's real lives with nothing at stake.
5 BEST - RANDY SAVAGE
While fans wanted to see Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair when the Nature Boy arrived in WWE, that never happened. It might have been for the better, because what resulted was a feud with Macho Man Randy Savage. Flair vs. Savage was a dream match that paid off in the ring, whereas Hogan likely would have squashed Flair.
Flair won his world title in the Royal Rumble and then eventually lost it to Macho Man. The two even picked up their feud in WCW, where Flair vs. Savage was still better than any match the Nature Boy had against Hulk Hogan.
4 WORST - RONNIE GARVIN
During his tenure as NWA world champion, Ric Flair elevated a lot of babyfaces and put them over, even when he didn't lose his title to them. Names like Ricky Morton, Magnum T.A., Kerry Von Erich, Barry Windham, and more got a rub from Flair that made them look like the biggest stars on the planet.
The same cannot be said for the Man with the Hands of Stone Ronnie Garvin. See, Flair wanted to win the world title at WCW's first PPV, Starrcade 1987. So, he lost his title to Garvin because no one else wanted to be a paper champion just to lose the title back two months later. It was a terrible feud created to give Flair a big moment.
3 BEST - RICKY STEAMBOAT
Many fans wanted to see Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat get a massive push in WWE, but outside of his IC title run, it never happened. Steamboat was the ultimate babyface buried below Hulk Hogan in the company. When Steamboat left WWE for the NWA, he finally got his chance to shine.
Steamboat and Flair competed for the NWA world title, and the Dragon finally got a chance to win a world championship. Many people consider the trilogy of matches between Steamboat and Flair to be among the best wrestling matches of all-time.
2 WORST - LEX LUGER
In the '80s, fans got most of their information from the Pro Wrestling Illustrated family of magazines. That is how they learned of up-and-coming stars in the territories like Lex Luger making his name in Florida. When Luger showed up in Crockett Promotions, fans had heard of him, but most never even saw him.
He was one hell of a physical specimen and joined the Four Horsemen. Of course, the entire purpose was for Luger to eventually break away and win the world title. The problem is that he was not a very good wrestler. Luger eventually became a star but at the time, he was nowhere ready when he feuded with Flair for the world title.
1 BEST - STING
If there is one feud that defines the career of The Nature Boy Ric Flair, it was his feud with Sting. Yes, Flair vs. Dusty was the childhood for many professional wrestling fans who grew up in the '80s. However, when it comes to Flair making a star, he handpicked Sting and turned him into WCW's biggest star.
When Sting took Flair to the limit at the first Clash of Champions, and when they went to a draw, Sting was a Made Man — the future of the company. Sting eventually beat Flair for the title, and the two were interlinked their entire career. When WCW shut down, the final Nitro match of all-time was Sting vs. Ric Flair. We can't think of a better way to end something.