Winning with Flair: 16 Lessons from the Dirtiest Player in the Game

Lesson 2 : Never give up

No, that’s not a John Cena quote.

When Ric Flair debuted as a pro wrestler in the American Wrestling Alliance in 1972, he was fresh off an athletic career at the University of Minnesota in football, wrestling and track. Young man Ric was far different from the styling and profiling wrestling icon the world would eventually come to recognize. In his early days, Flair was a mastodon of a man who weighed-in at nearly 300 pounds and styled himself a brawler. Somehow tragedy would change all of that.

A young Ric Flair circa 1972 (via AWA archives)

On October 4, 1975, Ric Flair was on-board an airplane that flew from Charlotte to Wilmington, North Carolina along with four fellow wrestlers and two promoters. Reports indicate that the plane crashed as a result of the engine running out of fuel mid-flight, resulting in the death of its pilot and paralyzing a wrestler, Johnny Valentine. At 26-years of age, the crash left Ric Flair’s back broken in three places, and doctors predicted that he would never wrestle again.

Had Ric Flair accepted the medical prognosis he would certainly have chosen a different path in life. Instead, he went through torturous physical rehabilitation to get his career back on its tracks. Flair was able to return to the ring just three months after the crash. Even though the incident altered him physically and forced him to adapt his in-ring style, Ric Flair never gave up. Through resilience and determination, Ric Flair would eventually fulfill his destiny in becoming one of the greatest wrestlers of all-time.

Next Lesson : To be the man, you gotta beat the man

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