WWE legend Ric Flair looks totally unrecognisable in throwback photo

Ric Flair looking VERY different

Dustin Rhodes (the artist formerly known as Goldust) caused a Twitter storm this week when he released a throwback picture of Ric Flair to his bodybuilding days.

Ric Flair has hardly changed since the 80s, his long-bleached locks, the glamorous robes, the strut and the charisma to match his persona. He remains one of the most popular wrestling talents among different generations.

High praise from other Superstars

Many of the top Superstars when asked who they believe is the greatest of all time have responded “Ric Flair.”

Stone Cold Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, HHH and Shawn Michaels have all been credited with saying he was their idol, the one they looked up to in the wrestling world growing up.

He is a master of his craft, has great technical ability and his “selling” of moves was renowned. Flair peaked in the 80s as a “heel” and has since been dubbed the “dirtiest player in the game.”

However, he has not always been the styling and profiling Ric Flair of today. 

Life changing plane crash

Rhodes’ picture of Flair in his younger days shows “Naitch” in a different light  —  his bodybuilding days where he was a powerhouse heavyweight akin to John Cena of today’s WWE.

Ric Flair looking very different
Ric Flair looking very different

In 1975, Flair was told he would never wrestle again after surviving a fatal plane crash where the pilot tragically passed away and a fellow wrestler was left paralysed.

Flair was lucky to make it out alive, but suffered a broken spine.

Ric defied the odds and returned to the ring just three months later and the rest, as they say, is history. 

Speaking after the ordeal, Flair said: “The pilot realised he’d hit the point of no return where he should have refuelled, and the engines stalled and we went down and through some trees.

“We tore an orchard apart and landed like an arrow.

“The speedometer was stuck on 230 miles an hour! I broke my back in three places.”

The crash and subsequent injuries led to Flair having to reinvent himself and change his style of wrestling to succeed in the business.

Would Flair have had the success he had if he had remained a powerhouse? Would the Nature Boy persona have fitted with a bodybuilder physique? It is hard to imagine how his career would have gone, he is unrecognisable in the picture and looks more like Jonah Hill or Dustin Rhodes.

If given one hundred guesses at who the picture is, Flair would not have crossed many minds. 

Where is Flair now?

Flair retired from WWE in 2008 when he was defeated by Shawn Michaels in what has become a famous match to fans. HBK was visibly shook and upset at having to retire his idol.

Flair is currently a free agent and has been doing some in-ring training, but at the age of 73 and with a heart condition among other issues, it is unlikely he will enter the squared circle for a match again.

Let us just be grateful that we got to see Flair style and profile the way he did for decades and the career he went on to have. He undoubtedly takes his place on the Mount Rushmore of wrestling.


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