At the screening for Ric Flair‘s ESPN 30 for 30 special (it airs on November 7) in Atlanta on Thursday, Flair appeared along with the director Rory Karpf to talk about the project. The film was built around conversations that Karpf had with Flair in October 2015 and again in February 2017. That just shows how long the process was. Karpf also interviewed dozens of people from Ric’s life and also those that grew up as fans of him. The film runs for about 75 minutes.
We received an audio recording of the pre and post screening discussion featuring Flair, which led to some interesting comments. Flair gave shoutouts to some wrestling friends in the crowd like Michael Hayes, Fit Finlay and The Undertaker, which we covered earlier.
Flair spoke about how when he was sick and on the road to recovery, he kept talking about how how much he wanted to make it to the premiere because he knows how much this film meant. Flair noted this was only the second time he has been out since August 11.
Flair talked about how much he enjoyed the documentary:
“It really depicts how hard we work as wrestlers. There’s no other sport or any other physical activity in the world like us. It’s just been in the last 15 years where they got contracts. For years we worked before that if you didn’t show up, you didn’t work and you didn’t get paid. We would drive 3,000 miles per week. I loved being a World Champion, which to my dismay didn’t always work for me … but I had a lot of fun.”
Flair explained what it was like for his fiancee Wendy Barlow (former WCW valet Fifi) being there for him when he was in the hospital:
“Wendy is the reason I’m alive. She slept in ICU while I was in a coma for ten consecutive nights, never left my side and managed to drive her kids to school. I wouldn’t be here without her.”
There were some funny moments where Flair joked about how a number of people there helped contribute to him being in the hospital, which is a reference to his heavy drinking over the years.
After the film aired for the audience, Flair and Karpf talked with ESPN’s Marty Smith about the film as well.
Flair spoke about things like when he was struck by lightning, getting back in the groove with WWE when he was a part of Evolution in the mid-2000s, the death of his son Reid and the support he got from his parents during his career.
In 1978, Flair bought a limousine from a governor and laughed about how silly it was to buy a limo at that time.
“The governor bought a new one and they put the other one up for sale. I knew the guys selling it, so they called me. It had a telephone in it and it was tricked out. They delivered it, so I paid this kid $25 to drive me around and he got the amenities at night from the girls (laughs). It was $25 and all he could have with the girls. I ran into him about ten years ago and he said ‘those were the greatest days of my life.’ I said yeah. (laughs)”
The discussion ended with Flair telling everybody in the crowd he was buying their drinks, but he couldn’t drink alcohol anymore.
As noted earlier, the 30 for 30 ESPN airs on ESPN November 7 at 10pmET.