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Ric Flair Recalls Teaming With Roddy Piper In WWE, Talks Being Embraced By Sports Teams

October 13, 2023 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Ric Flair NWA 73, Gerald Brisco Image Credit: NWA/Twitter

Ric Flair recently looked back at his memories of teaming with Roddy Piper in WWE and more. Flair spoke with PWInsider for a new interview and you can see some highlights below:

On teaming with Roddy Piper in WWE: “Well, it was a great experience. We were in England, it’s a great Roddy Piper story and it’s the kind of stuff Chad likes. So we won the belts. We went on a European tour and our first match on tour Roddy got sick and so we went in and I dropped the fall and Roddy was sent right back to the room , I think they took him back in an ambulance and was told not to move. And they book him on the first flight home you know, all the way through Chicago and he lived in Portland. So they said Roddy, you know, please don’t drink, don’t do anything, because he was really sick. As it turned out, he had cancer. I don’t remember if you remember that. And I went back to the hotel and I opened the room, he had already drank 15 beers. I’m told…legend says that, he didn’t want to tell his family so he got in Chicago, they got him in a wheelchair, took him to a plane to go to Portland. He went and checked into the hospital without telling his wife because he didn’t want to worry her or the kids. I mean, he just lived his own life. He was afraid of nothing obviously. And I would call Kitty and say “Where’s Roddy?” She says, “What do you mean? He’s supposed to be in Portland with you.” He called me one time, he had been gone for a while, he said ‘I’ll get back to you.” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “I’m just gonna fly out, I’m just gonna take a trip. Get away for a while.” So, then he was in rehab for 126 days. And he called me and said, “I’m back up and running, I’m never gonna fall off the wagon again,” and I said, “God, think about it like this, you’ll be in the Guinness Book Of World Records for the longest rehab stint in the history of rehab.” He picked back up right where he started. He just participated at a more secret level. He’s the greatest of all-time. A great person. So entertaining.”

On having a nervous breakdown in Japan: “I had my 17th nervous breakdown. I could hear Motoko, Baba’s wife, paging me from baggage claim. Back then we had paper tickets, I just said, “How do I get home?” I just sat myself there, I didn’t care. But I sat down next to a guy that had a flight to Seattle – Narita to Tokyo, Tokyo to Seattle, Seattle to Chicago, Chicago to Charlotte. I sat down next to this guy like, “Can I talk to you?” He must have thought I was just completely flipped because you know, back then, I basically had to wrestle an hour every night and I just had been up all week long and that hour just started another hour til 4am every night so I was just tired, burned out and I burnt myself out a couple of times. By the time I got back and broke a sweat I was fine. But I knew in Japan I had to wrestle three hour Broadways with Jumbo Tstruta, who bounced me around like a basketball so (laughs). I couldn’t do anything with Tstruta.”

On Being embraced by sports teams and being associated with the sports side of professional wrestling: “Well, I hated the words ‘sports entertainment’ when Vince [McMahon] first did it but I also understood how badly states like New Jersey and New York were ripping off…the athletic commissions were ripping off pro wrestling, pro boxing, does that make sense? I humiliated this guy that showed up in Norfolk, VA, he didn’t even take our blood pressure. They’d listen to your heart and then just sat there and waited for their piece of the apple. That went on in so many States. Las Vegas was very legitimate, California was legitimate, obviously, but now you present in a State where a guy just showed up, didn’t do anything, didn’t exam me or anything, just a way to get their percentage of the check. So, I was resentful towards that and I was resentful of the words ‘sports entertainment’ when Vince first introduced it but after an explanation, you understand why. And it is sports entertainment. And I think, you know, guys that have competed in sports, as far as like, the real good amateur wrestler, even though it’s choreographed, it’s a rough, physical way of making a living.”

On Verne Gagne saying he wouldn’t let Flair quit training as a pro wrestler: “No, it’s true, he did it twice and he slapped the crap out of me both times. I quit twice. I don’t have any idea. He humiliated me in front of my wife, in front of the neighbors. He said, “Fat boy – you quit on your parents, you failed high school, you quit the football team in Minnesota, you ain’t quitting on me. Ain’t gonna happen.” Thank God for Verne Gagne, right?”

article topics :

Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, Jeremy Thomas