Ric Flair is one of the most decorated sports entertainers to ever live.
The man has a record 16 World Championships who managed to put NWA, WCW, and WWE on the map. The Nature Boy could go down as the most accomplished and beloved wrestler to ever live. He brought a passion and persona to the ring like no other. He put on so many historic matches against legends like few others and changed the industry of professional wrestling.
With Flair, it was always going to be something exciting. He would flop like a fish on land to provide a humorous element of wrestling, he would always find ways to win matches via cheating (hence The Dirtiest Player in the Game), while cutting the best promos ever. WOOOOOOOOOOO!
But with great power and wrestling ability comes great...haters and lovers. Flair made a ton of friends during his professional wrestling days, but he also made a large number of enemies as this list will show you.
15 Love: Ricky Steamboat
Ricky Steamboat and The Nature Boy have a history that days back to the days well before they performed in WCW. In Jim Crockett Promotions, Steamboat would interrupt Flair's promos, with Naitch calling him out for being an immature jerk. Steamboat cemented his status as an up-coming-star by pinning Flair for the NWA Mid-Atlantic Television Championship in North Carolina, where Flair was billed from.
These two would continue their legendary rivalry, where Steamboat would beat Flair at Clash of Champions in 1989. Their rivalry would be renewed in WCW during the '90s, bringing back the nostalgic feeling for fans.
You see, Steamboat and Flair respected the heck out of each other. Both men needed the other to get over, and they put on some of the most entertaining matches of all-time. You just know how much they love one another, given how they worked so well together without any controversy.
14 Hate: Eric Bischoff
He should be much higher, but some may argue that Eric Bischoff really isn't much of a "wrestler." We still beleive he belongs here, but for you naysayers' sake, we won't put him that high.
Flair and Eric Bischoff worked well together in WCW as they toppled the WWE in the Monday Night War ratings, but as WCW embroiled themselves in a number of messes, Flair showed his frustrations with the company. He wanted time off and skipped out on a WCW Thunder show. Bischoff filed a lawsuit against The Nature Boy, and it all got ugly from there.
Flair took a leave of absence, and the WCW fans loudly voiced their displeasure over Bischoff's awful treatment of him. Flair would return in late 1998, and he cut real-life promos against Bischoff. The real-life hatred was there.
Oh, and by the way, when both men worked together in the WWE years later, Flair legitimately attacked Bischoff back stage in his office over a disagreement. We can't help but think Bischoff will never like this guy again.
13 Love: Randy Orton
Many people recognize Flair as perhaps the greatest wrestler to ever live. But given his ego and problems working with others, the last thing you would expect would be for him to willingly work with a young guy in his early 20s and put him over. Well, The Nature Boy was up for the task.
Triple H and Flair recruited Randy Orton and Batista to form the Evolution stable, one that became the most dominant and historic of the 2000s. At one point, each member held a championship at the same time. Flair and Triple H guided a little-known Orton and promoted him into a top star.
When Orton became World Heavyweight Champion, Triple H and Flair helped put him over by kicking him out of the group and making him Raw's top new babyface. Orton has since gone on to become one of the top modern day Superstars. With Flair's guidance and helpfulness, you know the Legend Killer owes a lot of gratitude to Nature Boy.
12 Hate: Shane Douglas
Shane Douglas enjoyed some nice moments here and there in his tenures with WCW and WWE, but he wasn't quite able to become one of the top money-making stars. He still managed to win a total of four championships in WCW, including a pair of tag team titles. But talk to Flair about Douglas, and it's clear Nature Boy doesn't have many nice thins to say.
The story goes that Douglas called Richard Morgan Flair "Dick Flair." Douglas also started chants in ECW arenas for fans to chant "Flair is Dead," while also voicing his displeasure about Flair hanging around far too long and selfishly refusing to "pass the torch," onto other wrestlers. Meanwhile, Flair would also take shots at Douglas, saying that the latter refused to own up to his own mistakes/failures and blame them on his coworkers. Flair also challenged Douglas to a fight while also claiming that he took steroids.
10 bucks says these two don't hang out every again.
11 Love: Batista
Similar to Orton, Flair and Triple H willingly mentored Batista into becoming a new Superstar. The Nature Boy and Batista were once World Tag Team Champions in WWE and helped Triple H retain his title on multiple occasions. For all of the success Batista had in the WWE, one has to assume he feels like Flair was a huge reason why.
When Batista betrayed Triple H and left Evolution, Batista and Flair still shared admiration and respect for each other on-screen. But you know it was all genuine. Flair wasn't willing to put a lot of wrestlers over in his career, but this new unknown in Batista was one of them.
Some fans will argue Batista isn't that special, while fans like me would happily make a case that The Animal is the best wrestler to ever live. But all of those great moments Batista put on wouldn't be possible without Flair promoting and pushing him. He has to thank and love Flair for all of the work he put in to help.
10 5. Hate: Bruno Sammartino
Before Kevin Owens, there was John Cena. Before him, there was Stone Cold Steve Austin. Before him, there was Hulk Hogan. A bit before Hogan, there was Ric Flair. Before Flair, there was Bruno Sammartino. You'd think that The Nature Boy would have some respect for the great icon of Sammartino. But that's not the case.
In his book, To Be The Man, Flair talked about an event where he saw Sammartino and extended his hand for a shake. Sammartino looked at him and rushed away without a hand shake. But The Nature Boy took it a step further by trying to disgrace one of the most legendary men to ever put on wrestling boots:
Flair said that Sammartino was only a "Northeast star who couldn't draw fans outside New York." Sammartino also said he simply didn't respect Ric Flair.
Two legends that never saw eye-to-eye. Probably a little late to have them solve it in the ring.
9 Love: Shawn Michaels
Whoever defeated Ric Flair to end his career in the WWE would surely have to be someone The Nature Boy respected, and there weren't many better options than The Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels.
The stipulation at their WrestleMania XXIV bout was that if Flair had lost, he'd have to retire. Of course, he ended up going to TNA anyway, but it was the last official match of his WWE career. In one of the top matches in WrestleMania history, HBK put him away with the Sweet Chin Music.
Before the finish, Michaels uttered "I'm sorry, I love you," which struck the hearts of millions of fans. Michaels gave him a kiss on the forehead after the match to show his respect.
Flair was so close to Michaels after that, he even admitted to HBK that he made a mistake going to TNA. Flair also said that he knew Michaels would be a mega star when they first met in 1991. With all the mutual history and respect, you know these two still keep a close relationship.
8 Hate: Kevin Nash
Kevin Nash and Flair don't quite have much of a history together when it comes to the squared circle. They didn't face off that frequently, but they were two of the biggest stars in WWE during the early '90s and were major money makers in WCW.
Flair was one of the lone WCW stars who didn't ever join the nWo. Flair was one of the top babyfaces that went against the group, but it was mainly Hulk Hogan that he matched up against. Nash and Flair had no respect for each other outside of the ring, either.
The Nature Boy went on an all-out attack on Big Sexy:
“Kevin Nash’s claim to fame is playing basketball in Tennessee, though I never saw him play; and coming in this business as a bouncer from a club. Good physique, good look. Just on the record, zero talent. Right place, right time; zero [talent] in the ring.”
Nash claimed the attacks were because Flair was fragile and upset and said/did "things he shouldn't do," and moocked his failed marriages by claiming he had 35 wives (in reality, four).
It doesn't matter if Nash didn't have great talent in the ring. He's in the WWE Hall of Fame and changed the wrestling industry by forming the nWo, anyway.
7 Love: Mick Foley
Mick Foley and Flair used to not like each other backstage. Flair claimed that Foley was "a glorified stuntman," but the two have put their differences behind them and hold a very close friendship to this day.
The Nature Boy has groomed his daughter Charlotte into becoming the WWE's top female Superstar but you may not know that Foley's daughter, Noelle, is also trying to become a professional wrestler. Charlotte has committed plenty of hard work into helping Noelle become a wrestler. Would that really be happening if the two didn't get along?
One thing to keep in mind: Foley and Flair still have a rocky relationship. They are shooting on one another every now and then. But they've found ways to patch things up, and that could be confirmed if Noelle (hopefully) joins the WWE.
6 Hate: Scott Steiner
I'd like to be honest in saying that Mr. Steiner doesn't like a lot of people. He hated just about everyone in WCW. He hates Triple H, he hates the current WWE product, he hates Hulk Hogan. and threatened to kill him. And he hates Ric Flair.
In a famous shoot promo during his WCW days, Steiner went on a full-out rant about Flair. He complained about a "53-year-old-man...who has more loose skin than a Shar Pei puppy."
Steiner told Flair his "career was dead," and said he stole Buddy Rogers Nature Boy nickname. Steiner called him a "jealous old b**stard." Steiner claimed that when we went backstage, he was informed that Flair was crying and that the two nearly got into a legitimate fist fight.
Okay, maybe some people don't like Flair, but to attack a man who had spent decades in the business like that? A little harsh. Steiner seems to hate everyone, but no doubt Flair is atop of his list of real-life enemies.
5 Love: 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper
We'll go into a nice, detailed description of their relationship, but Flair called Roddy Piper "the most gifted entertainer in the history of professional wrestling."
The history between these two men date all the way back to Jim Crockett Promotions, when Piper won the US title from The Nature Boy. They would feud for years throughout WCW and the WWF as well. There was nothing but the utmost respect between these two legends.
They even swapped wives on Celebrity Wife Swap.
And at Cyber Sunday 2006, Piper was voted by fans to be Flair's partner against The Spirit Squad. Piper was also fighting cancer at the time, but told fans he chose to compete because Flair was his tag team partner.
Where would the wrestling world be between these two icons?
4 Hate: Hulk Hogan
You ask a lot of wrestlers that worked with Hulk Hogan in the '80s and '90s how they felt about him. The large majority really didn't seem to like him, simply because of his tremendously large ego and the fact he was just that much bigger in the company than any other star.
It was a unique case with Hogan and Flair. The Nature Boy was almost as big as Hogan when the WWE was taking off in the '80s and early '90s. Flair and Hogan both became so arrogant, however, while they were Vince McMahon's two biggest draws.
The two men were to face of at WrestleMania VIII. At the time, it was the biggest dream match fans wanted to watch. However, both men refused to lose to the other, and the bout never took place. Ever since their careers ended, the two have actually become closer. But back in the day, the real-life tension between the two could not be ignored.
That's a fact, brother. Woooooooo!
3 Love: Triple H
The Game was slowly becoming one of the top Superstars in the WWE by the time he and Ric Flair began working together. Once Evolution was formed, these two, despite their 20 years apart in age, struck a friendship like no other. Flair became Triple H's right-hand man as the two pushed Batista and Orton to new limits. Flair and Triple H worked side-by-side for three years in Evolution, putting new superstars over.
Even though Triple H had placed himself among the top wrestlers in WWE, having Ric Flair work with him only pushed the legacy of The Cerebral Assassin. Triple H and Flair enjoyed a partnership like no other. Even though Flair's no longer in WWE, he and Triple H remain close today, as evidenced by this message above that The Game posted back in February.
2 Hate: Bret Hart
A lot of people didn't like Bret Hart. Even more people didn't like Ric Flair. Something had to give.
It started back in 1993, when Hart simply said that Flair "sucks," as a wrestler. The Nature Boy responded by saying The Hitman was only capable of drawing fans in Canada and was basically nothing in the United States. Hart responded and said he sold out shows while Flair wrestled in empty arenas.
The Nature Boy accused Hart of "over-exploiting," Owen Hart's death, too. The Hitman was also close with a number of wrestlers that were victims of personal attacks from Flair, such as Mick Foley. Hart also criticized Flair's in-ring ability.
We're not done yet. Flair said Hart was only a legend in his own mind and gave this low blow:
“I feel sorry for Bret Hart. In my world, he is a nobody. He is a piss-ant in the history of wrestling.”
Hart also said that Flair was incredibly hard to work with and that he'd like to punch him in the nose. We hope that you got the idea that these two Hall of Famers really hated each other. Plain and simple.
1 Love: Arn Anderson
When you and Flair were half of The Four Horsemen, the greatest professional wrestling stable of all-time, you better have had a good working relationship. There is nobody in the history of sports entertainment that respects The Nature Boy the way Mr. Arn Anderson has.
The pair met in NWA and formed The Horsemen in the mid-'80s. They spent over a decade reforming the alliance multiple times in WCW. Anderson even came out for Flair's retirement party on the March 31, 2008 edition of Raw.
These two men have had a real close relationship for over 30 years. They changed each other's careers by working together in The Four Horsemen. Anderson and Flair know they owe so much to each other for becoming the WWE icons that we know today. If it weren't for Anderson, the legacy of Flair wouldn't be so bright and vice versa.
Anderson shall remain the best friend Flair ever had in pro wrestling.