Not many of today’s young professional wrestling fans know about Ric Flair. Wrestling is not like baseball. Kids do not hear their dads talk about Flair the way they do about Babe Ruth. But Flair is just as important to the evolution of wrestling as Ruth was to baseball. If Ruth was alive during a time of media coverage like Flair was, Time Life would certainly have put together a DVD of games he played and interviews he gave. Which is why it makes sense that World Wrestling Entertainment has released The Ric Flair Ultimate DVD with the greatest hits of just one man, the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair.
Flair became a wrestling icon in the beginning of the 1980s. In 1981, he won his first wrestling championship belt from Harley Race. This match begins The Ric Flair Ultimate Collection and from there viewers get a well-treated documentary of the Nature Boy. As the show progresses, you can watch wrestling evolve and grow into the multi-million dollar enterprise that it’s become. Early ’80s wrestling was raw and powerful, full of men who were untrained athletes but competed and relied on their bodies to be more durable than their opponent’s. In the match versus Dusty Rhodes on this Ric Flair Ultimate DVD, Flair is cut across his face and his hair becomes matted with blood and sweat, adding to the drama of his victory.
Costuming also changes over the two decades of Flair’s professional career. Long robes and feather boas are replaced by simple white brief trunks. Flair’s opponents become themed, with nickname changes and outfits that accentuate their styles or motifs.
It’s the true champs, the crowd favorites, that remain in the same character for their whole careers. It’s the Nature Boy that “dresses up” for interviews by wearing a suit and tie. It is Flair who represents the last of the breed of wrestler that was a man first and performer second. Just as Rhodes proclaims in an interview that he is “the son of a plumber who grew up diggin’ ditches and dreamin’ of the spotlight,” Flair is a wrestler who also saw some honor in the profession.
The DVD is loaded with archive footage of wrestlers sharing banter and trash talk before and after matches that served to sell the product.
The last disc contains some extra special features: one shows Flair practicing with Roddy Piper, while another showcases a match between Flair and modern icon Triple H.
The Ric Flair Ultimate Collection is best for older wrestling fans, ones who grew up in the eighties watching the matches right before Hulk Hogan emerged as the new face of wrestling.