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Jim Ross On Ric Flair Almost Bolting Jim Crockett Promotions For WWE In 1988, What Ted Turner Thought Of Ric Flair Prior To Buying JCP

September 6, 2020 | Posted by Blake Lovell
World Championship Wrestling Jim Ross Ric Flair

On the most recent edition of Grilling JR, Jim Ross discussed Ric Flair’s relationship with Jim Crockett Promotions in 1988, Flair almost making the jump to WWE, what Ted Turner thought of Flair, and much more. You can read his comments below.

On Flair’s unhappiness almost leading to him debuting for WWE at SummerSlam 1988: “Ric wore his feelings on his sleeve and he would commiserate. I talked to him at that time – ‘This was the shits and creative, we’ve got no ideas and there’s nothing fresh.’ But here’s what he was really saying – my money is in jeopardy. And Ric not being unlike anybody else, especially guys that made a lot of money – Ric would share his feelings. And it wasn’t a secret Ric would entertain those thoughts of leaving. Where else would he go? He’s gonna go to the big dog in the yard, and that’s Vince McMahon’s company. That couldn’t have been a secret or a surprise. Ric had several of those moments in his life where he was unhappy, he was disenchanted, and if you peeled the onion back a little more, he was concerned about how he would make a living and maintain the lifestyle he’d had established. No secret there. Luckily he didn’t bolt at that point in time.”

On why he thinks Flair decided to stay: “I think it was a comfort zone issue. He great up in Mid-Atlantic and grew up working for the Crocketts. He established his roots, his reputation in the Mid-Atlantic territory. It was home, Conrad. It was home. People thought ‘Well, Tom Brady will always be a Patriot.’ Wrong. He waited until he was 42 to jump. He tried to hang in there, but he said I gotta try something else. That’s a bold move. I think Ric was in a comfort zone. I believe he had a strong loyalty to Jim Crockett and the Crockett family. We both know that Jim had come to Ric’s aid on more than one occasion.”

On what Ted Turner thought of Ric Flair prior to buying JCP in 1988: “Ted, being the gregarious free sprit he’s been in his business life, he identified with Naitch. They enjoyed each other’s company. Ric made Ted laugh. Ted lived vicariously through Ric in the promos and the women and the Marriotts and this, that, and the other. Ted loved to be entertained as well. But Ted also knew from cocktail hour in Atlanta a few nights that Ric was the real deal. And he enjoyed being around him. And he had the most organic name identity of anbyody in the company. Let me put it this way – I don’t know that Ted could name you five wrestlers of the contracts that he was buying but he knew who Ric Flair was, and that’s his quarterback. I’ve gotta have this guy. It was his Dominique Wilkins because Ted also owned the Hawks. And Dominique was his guy. So Ric was the basketball version of Dominique Wilkins. That was the deal. Jimmy had to have Ric, and whatever he had to do to get Ric signed and extended, was what he did for the sake of the deal.”

If using any of the above quotes, please credit Grilling JR with an h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.