Flair stopped by ESPN’s Dan Le Batard Show this past week and held court and told stories about the old days, as he tends to do. He of course told some great stories about André the Giant, but at one point he told a tale that was so baffling that we simply must single it out.
Flair claims that back in the 1970s, he was once struck by lightning while getting off a plane in Richmond, Virginia. Somehow, the lightning struck his umbrella and ended up killing another man, while Flair made it out unscathed and wrestled Ricky Steamboat that evening in the Richmond Coliseum.
“I got off the plane and was walking,” he said. “I didn’t go 10, 15 feet when all of a sudden I felt this pressure boom, and man, my umbrella shot 50 feet in the air.
“I thought, ‘What the hell?’ Lightning hit the top of my umbrella, bounced off and hit the guy in the eye five feet behind me and killed him. Right there. I just stood there looking at the guy and froze, it scared me to death. People were running out the door to get the guy.”
Flair was then jokingly asked by Le Batard how he was was still alive.
“I don’t know,” Flair replied. “I’ve always wondered what kind of a lawsuit that was, because it was really a big deal, hence probably the steel tips coming off umbrellas at that point.”
If you have an impeccable memory, you might remember that Flair actually told that story on WWE television once, although that time he said it happened in 1981. (Skip to the 3:20 mark.)
That’s certainly up there in the pantheon of wrestling tales, tall or otherwise. I’m surprised Hulk Hogan didn’t barge in to claim the lightning was a result of him bodyslamming André several years in the future, the kinetic energy of which traveled into the past to bounce off Ric Flair and kill a bystander, who was actually a CIA assassin.
Kudos to the Le Batard gang for just asking one follow-up question and moving on, because I would have been able to talk to Ric Flair about nothing else but this Chain Lightning attack for the rest of my natural life.