Two-time WWE Hall of Famer “Nature Boy” Ric Flair is regarded by many as the greatest superstar in professional wrestling history. Flair’s 16 World Championships wins are tied with John Cena for the most in wrestling history and his 40-plus year career has provided numerous memorable moments.
Flair’s career has already been immortalized in several wrestling Hall of Fames and there’s not much else that can be said about his legacy. However, WWE found yet another way to honor one of the industry’s biggest stars during the opening day of its WrestleMania Axxess event at the Orange County Convention Center on Thursday.
With Flair on hand, the company unveiled a statue in his likeness at the event created by New York City-based sculptor Karen Atta.
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The “Nature Boy” is the fifth WWE legend to be immortalized by Atta, who had previously sculpted statues of Andre the Giant, Dusty Rhodes, Bruno Sammartino, and The Ultimate Warrior.
Flair burst onto the wrestling industry as one of the most flamboyant superstars of all-time. The well-dressed arrogant villain dominated the southern wrestling territories in the 1970s as the National Wrestling Alliance’s World Heavyweight Champion before becoming a staple of its affiliate, World Championship Wrestling, years later.
Flair also enjoyed two long stints in WWE, including a WWE Championship run during his first tenure (1991-93), as well as his final full-time run with the company (2001-08).
“For me, it’s about camaraderie,” Flair told ESPN in 2013. “My whole life is like, if something’s going on, nothing ever preceded fun. I always put my friends and the fun and the business ahead of everything.”
Flair is the only superstar in WWE history to be inducted into its Hall of Fame twice. He was first inducted as a singles wrestler during the 2008 ceremony in Orlando and later as a member of the Four Horseman faction alongside Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Wyndham, and manager J.J. Dillon in 2012.
Flair wrestled in his final WWE match during WrestleMania 24, which fittingly was the last time the event took place at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. Flair’s family was in attendance for his “retirement match” against Shawn Michaels, including his daughter, current WWE superstar Charlotte Flair, who he served as a manager for in 2015 through 2016.
The younger Flair, a four-time WWE Women’s Champion, finds herself facing a different perspective entering her second WrestleMania event as a full-time competitor on the main roster. Flair, who will face Bayley, Sasha Banks, and Nia Jax for the Raw Women’s Championship on Sunday, reminisced about her father’s last WWE match at the same venue nine years prior and how her perspective on life has changed.
“It’s crazy to think that because nine years ago, I just thought when I’m 30 I’m going to this old lady with three kids,” Charlotte told the Sporting News earlier this week. “I don’t know. I just never pictured my life here. I look at pictures from WrestleMania 24 and it’s mind blowing to me and I’m in it.
“I can remember being in gorilla (backstage position just before superstars walk out) shaking and my lips quivering and thinking I have to walk out on stage in front of all these people and on television. And then I remember thinking my dad does this every night and all I have to do is stand there. I’m not even exaggerating. That’s how different of a person I am today.”
Ric Flair’s statue proves that he will forever will remain a crucial part of WWE’s history and be one of the most legendary superstars in wrestling history.
[Featured Image by WWE]