Flair Is 70
I, hey, it's gone rat Thompson, and you're listening to eighty three weeks with Eric Bischoff. Eric what's going on, man? How are you? Life is good. But I just got home. I just saw you hours ago in Saint Louis and just got back to Wyoming and got my gear set up and ready to crank out a great show. Well, we are excited for a very special episode thing, we're doing something little different. We're going to do a little bit storytime with Eric. And we're doing it on a very special day today is in fact, the seventieth birthday of one of the most prolific wrestlers of all time, the nature boy, RIC flair, and we're gonna spend a little time today going down memory lane without going into a ton of detail. Sure. They'll be a lot more nature boy episodes here on eighty three weeks. But I wanted to take some broad strokes with you today. Eric, and I guess we should start off by saying happy birthday to the niche. Happy birthday work. I got the invitation to go to the birthday party play Atlanta. I just wanted to try to make it, but I just couldn't get back from LA and time to get out there wish I could've been there would have been fun to see Rick. It was fun. It was a startup star-studded event. You would have fit right in. But we're hoping to celebrate him a little bit before Monday night raw tonight because well of history has told us anything about wrestling birthday parties, it might not end well for the nature of what is it birthday parties, and weddings, the two things that just never turn out great. But well, especially in wrestling now, maybe in real life or we both hope so let's start from the beginning. Now, when did you first meet Rick would it have been in WCW when you were hired as an announcer. Yeah. It really it was like my second day in. I think I flew in on a Sunday and Monday morning. It was my first day on the job really Monday morning. I got the car with dusty. Eighty Doug Dillinger and Jenny angle. And we drove to my very first TV tippy that was taken place. I believe it was in Anderson, South Carolina. Pretty sure that's where it was. And that's what I Rick. I believe was probably leaving that week to go to WWF. So I walked up, and you know, certainly knew who he was introduced myself, and he was he was stretching actually getting ready for a massive. He was going to have not not far from that point. And we chatted for just a minute. And he was cordial is can be next thing. I knew he was in WWF. Well, he he runs across you again when you're back here in nineteen Ninety-three in and you're on your way up and as the legend goes he says that Bob actually asked him Bob do that is what he thought of Eric Bischoff. And he wrote in his book something like I like Garrick Bischoff think he's aggressive and smart something like that. When did when did you first hear the story that Rick maybe went to bat for you to Bob do? In that book actually was percents. I heard it reference in its, you know, we've we've crossed this path once or twice before where people that we both know in in some cases, extremely close to have. Vastly different recall of certain things are and I'll just chock it up to. Maybe it was me. Maybe I got my timelines screwed up. I can't remember when did when did Rick actually come back to to WCW recall that off top your head? Yeah. It would have been ninety three when he first comes in. He's not able to work right away. So you got the series of flare flair for the gold type segments with him. And then eventually, of course, he was back in action that summer so watts was gone, right? And flair was coming back and trying to figure out who was who is running the company that hand sort of. He tells the story where he had sort of made a deal to come back. But then once it gets back all the Anderson has the book and only make some sort of comment like after losing on TV. What good are you to me because he did a loser leaves town match on Monday night raw. And that's right. I recall that so so here's the deal that in that timeframe. I would have probably already been tagged for that spot by Bill Shaw. So I'm just not sure, you know, maybe Rick remembers a better than I do. Maybe he's got his time light a little messed up. But yeah. Well, one of the things that you guys do as we mentioned, this is you have to find something for flair to do and flair for the gold sort of becomes the thing are sure we'll talk about it later. But what did you think of the segment what did Rick think of the concept that was a dusty Rhodes idea, and it was just these baby? He was very very proud of it. He loved directing producing it. He that was all dusty Rhodes, and we all have fun because the, you know, the you get Rick in arm, and you know, guys on stage. I mean, our on onset like that. And you let them improv all of them were. Great speakers. Great talkers. Great on the mighty at great charisma. So we, you know, it was fun. It was fun for us to produce directed. It was fun for all of us to watch. Because the guys were having a blast doing it. And that's what we found heathy. Yeah. And who would have known all these years later that that would go on to become his the love of his life and his wife if they're big surprise party the other day. So you know, when he's back in ninety three he pretty quickly gets into a program with Barry Windham, which is a natural given the he used to be a four horsemen, and Rick, of course, eventually Bates him for the belt at beach blast ninety three and around that same time, they reform the horsemen and it's flair and it's Arn and interestingly enough. Tully Blanchard is supposed to be the guy, but he's not an instead, it's Paul Roma were you involved in any of that process where became Paul Roma? Whether you were weren't what'd you think of that? I wasn't it all involved in again that was before I got involved on the wrestling operation side of things that was really overseeing just television production against so those decisions were made by Oli industy, Bob Dewar wherever made them. I don't know. I wasn't even involved in a lot of those decisions as far as you know, my reaction Paul Roma. I didn't really know him. He didn't make mushroom impression on me. I was pretty underwhelmed by him. I didn't see it quite honestly, not really sure what the rationale was behind. It were you in a decision making position. Like, we're you hiring and firing when the incident happened overseas with said Narin. No, I was overseeing rustling operations at that time. I don't think I was the d fire said is the question. No, okay. Well, there's just been lots written that, you know, maybe aren't had Rick look out for him a little bit in all of that. What was their relationship? Like at the time, aren't Rick. It was extremely close. And I, you know, I'll go on record as saying, you know, if it wouldn't have been for reflector, Ernie Anderson would have gotten fired there there, there's not even a little bit of gray area in that statement. Because I was involved in the discussions while it wasn't my vote in. I wasn't a person got to decide who got fired who didn't get fired. I was asked for by input. And as a part of that input process. I do recall having conversations with Reagan. Improbably influencing that decision a little bit as best. I could from our perspective. I wouldn't have done that have nothing to. Well, it's interesting because as the fallout happens from that situation. Overseas player finds himself in the main event of stark aid, ninety three which I think most people recognize as being one of his most memorable matches with Vader. What what was your role in? And Rick flair winning the world title over Vader stark aid in Charlotte that year again that would have been dusty. Would it really all been dusty? So I didn't really have a role other than making sure it got on television around paper view joking a little bit. But no creatively. I didn't have any control whatsoever. I wasn't even involved in any of the booking meetings or creative meetings of any kind dusty would you know, does he works. He had his own way doing things he didn't like he didn't like a lot of people around him when he was trying to write when he was trying to come up with ideas, or when he had an idea to want to flush it out develop it, he would go into his office and kinda locked the door janey would more or less be the palace guard. You know, everybody's going in and out of there when he was working when he was creating while being great base. So I don't know what does he's real process was but beyond knowing that you know, he was the one making those decisions I really wasn't involved in. Let's talk a little bit about his relationship, but dusty because. Since dusty past. Of course, everybody sort of says all they were best to France. But if you were paying attention back, then that's not really the case and enough is come out from the Crockett's over the years and shoot interviews with us d and Rick where they were honest when does she was still with us, and they didn't always see out. I am became a little more political. And maybe some of that was just a professional rivalry. And you know, it sort of is what it is. And we've heard of those type relationships with a guy like Steve Austin, and the rock or whatever can you speak to the sort of on again off again, maybe even categorically a love hate relationship between Rick industy at different times. I mean, I saw first hand. And again, I know I've observed this a few times. Now, you know when I first got to WCW as an announcer. Does he took me under his wing? And I'm not sure why I don't know if they just took a liking to me right off the bat or wanted to figure out you know, what I was all about I don't know what his motivation was. But I just took it at face value and started riding with us spending. A lot of time with him in in got to be pretty good friends with dusty we get along. Really? Well, we both have similar interests in senses of humor and things like that. So I ended off right away with seen as a result of that. There was more than one occasion where we'd be up having cocktails after work up, the the Barney Omni hotel in allow there. And I'd hear all stories in it was evident that there was hail. A lot of a lot of eat between the two of them managed it. But I heard all about it. And I heard about it from Rick. But you know, I've said this before, you know, the politics WCW when I got there on keep in mind, I was trying to avoid them. I didn't I didn't want to have anything to do with politics of any kind. So when when people would start getting into office, politics, I would tend to leave the room or go find something else to do. I just didn't want to be anywhere near it. But as I got to know, dusty better, of course, we'd have more and more of those conversations. But there was a lot not only between dusty Rick the between dusty in JR JR, Tony. And I mean, it was a if a cesspool of of politics when I got there, certainly the relationship between dusty and requests. Front and center on all of it. Talk to me a little bit about when Rick becomes involved in the booking a little bit. And they're Rick has always denied that. He was never the Booker. But everybody else says, no Rick was definitely different times the Booker, but most degree in including Rick that he can show me to for lack of a better word the booking committee. What was his involvement as far as you recall in this era? And did you see sort of how that dynamic worked with Rick as part of a booking committee? I did we we put Rick. We put Rick and charged with the booking committee. Rick was the Booker and in the United recall exactly who is unequivocally because there was different people came in went. But you know, Greg gun you, Mike Graham, you know, build on D was certainly in there. There is a couple leather people that would would come in and out of their group from time to time. But it was really Kevin. Saul would certainly, but it was really, you know, Rick Rick was the Booker it will at the end of the day. We all look to Rick. You know, to let us know what we're gonna do for TV that week or the week after in other words, other people involved simply janey other people, you know, taking notes compiling all these different ideas into something that looked like a television format in you know, in the beginning. I think it worked really well. I mean, the the chemistry between everybody on the committee from what I can remember was really pretty good at least two others faces. It didn't really start getting. Challenging until probably four to six months after restarted in that role. I think the pressure got to him, you know, knowing now the way I know him. I would have never suggested he'd take that role because you use, you know, better than I do at this point, you know, reckless everybody to like now Rick wants everybody to love him. And that's just not gonna happen. When you're in that role, and I could see taking its toll on Rick, and it was affecting more and more. Let's talk a little bit about, you know, the way a booking committee at the time worked because you know, when you're when you're referencing. Rick, and you know, what a sort of aspires to do in terms of getting along with everybody and being friendly with everybody. That makes it an impossible position. But it's also nearly impossible for me to imagine nature. Boy, RIC flair just clocking in and clocking out at an office every day, what was the regular routine? Like, you know, if he was the Booker and Hayes holding book and committee meetings like you're in the office. What's what's Rick like in the office was the routine? Well, the book committee had a really large conference room a on the fourteenth floor fifty floor or the Omni tower. So when the booking committee was in session, Connecticut court's in session. Everybody was really in that room. They really weren't walking around socializing chatting talking dirty rumors or anything like that. You know, they were pretty much locked in and wouldn't come out to was lunchtime ended comeback. It stay there till five six o'clock at night. And I'm usually down to. One of the local Taveres, and it would probably finish up there by eight or nine o'clock at night. I mean that was typical, but it was irregular because keeping my, you know, Rick didn't live in Atlanta needed anybody else on the booking committee. If you can believe that. So everybody was flying in of course, we try to fly everybody in. So that it worked around television everything else we're doing so why the book can committee was in session so to speak. It was over a two or three day period. And like I said they would come in ten o'clock in the morning, generally and stay till six or eight o'clock at night. Talk to me a little bit about what you recall as as being like Rick's strong suit. You know, we're here. You know, I've heard people refer to aren't Anderson and Michael Hayes as being two of the best finish guys in the business. And so we hear phrases like that thrown around. Then Rick have strong suit where you look back and say, boy, if we ever need an an idea for blank, Rick always had the answer. I don't look at Rick that way, you know. I don't know that anybody's the answer person one hundred how good anybody is what they do. You know, something has complexes is wrestling and the stories and characters in the finishes and all that goes into it. It's there's enough moving pieces there that you really do need to have three or four people to to craft a good product. And the way I look at Rick. I mean, if it was today in Burke was excited I was excited and the conditions were perfect. You know, I would look at Rick not so much. I wouldn't look to Rick to come up with the good idea. I would look at Richter taken idea that we've come up with. And make it better. Find the holes in it from a psychology point of view, really think through from the character's perspective both characters in a story. And really help us refine the story based on his field for psychology dance your question. Of course, we know what he's capable of doing it rang. We've watched do it now for decades. But I took what Rick really understands as much or maybe more is the psychology that goes into why he does some of the things he does in or when he did. Us talking about something that you guys did after the Vader feud after that star Cade. He's the head of the booking committee as we roll through ninety four and one of the things that winds up happening perhaps as a result. And I want your feedback on this is we see a rekindling of a little professional feud with Ricky steamboat, those guys had absolutely phenomenal masses in the late seventies and early eighties that whatever reason we don't get to go back and revisit very often through videotape but their series in eighty nine is a series of matches people still talk about to this day. So it seemed like a no brainer that you make it happen again here for spring stampede ninety four, but it does feel a little bit like wise, Ricky steamboat here because he hadn't been positioned that way really been more of a tag team guide WCW, but he did have natural chemistry with RIC flair is that a decision or an idea from someone else or Rick campaign to be back there with him. Oh. No, I think you know, when you've got Rick, and are, you know, on the same booking committee in like Graham, and people that were really familiar with the history and kind of lived it for stand between Ricky and an Rick. I think it's only natural it people do that you go back to what you know, you go back to things that you're familiar with particularly when you're under pressure creatively under pressure. You wanna go back to the things that you can more or less? Depend on you know, that you're gonna have to change the story of a little bit. You know that the situations different conditions are different. But still you're working with something that you feel very confident in because you've seen it work before. So I I would imagine Rick didn't have too much trouble. Getting in a lot of support around him to bring rookie, I'm should observe. Everybody was very much for our second time out right here until everybody that you and I are bringing the show on the road. We had a phenomenal time this past weekend and Saint Louis, but now we're done something a little different bringing the show to Chicago. But we're not coming. Ourselves. We're actually bringing can't believe this is happening. What happened in eighty three weeks? It'll be Michele. It'll be Tony shivani and myself on the same stage at the same time, and it's happening on Friday night, March twenty second at eight o'clock, you don't need a ticket to see to e to in order to come to our show. However, if you'd like to see us at Saint TV too can tell you who are going to be on the convention floor with at Friday and Saturday errant lease to mardi girl. The young bucks. Kenya? Maga- and seeing palm. Damn and oftentimes Shabani so come see us and see to two and don't forget to get your after dark tickets because this is a separately ticketed event. And it's going to be our Bischoff tone Shmona MSL for the very first time ever in Chicago our home away from home. There's so many great WCW memories that happened in Chicago going back to Tony's days and JCP so many phenomenal memories that all took place in Chicago. One of the great wrestling towns, we hope you'll join us on Friday night, March twenty second tickets are on sale now at C two to dot com or go to our social media at eighty three weeks, and we'll have a link pin to the top it CT to nineteen dot com. Forward slash eighty three weeks. If you just want to type directly into your browser at C two to nineteen dot com forward slash eighty three weeks. The finish of that match is when the people still talk about we'll revisit that show. I'm sure later this year as we approach the twenty five year. Versity which is crazy to think about but a new want to ask about the unification that you did with the big bell. Which was the interview international title, the former interview world title. And now the new one the Reggie parks made when re- you know, took his ball and went north. Unified and a clash of the champions. So sting has one belt flair has the other. What was the strategy in the thinking and less combine the belts? Likely just to eliminate confusion. I mean when you have. In have so many belts that don't really have any real meaning anymore. You know the belt used to when I grew up watching wrestling as a kid in even into my early teens. You know, the belt inferred suggested a lot of money in a lot of prestige. And now, there's no relationship to money and belts belts are just to say props there. They're certainly there's some Bali, and the fact that you you company gives you that that belt or you win that belt under the company's direction that says a lot about their confidence in you as a professional, whether they think your careers going on all that. So I'm not minimizing whatsoever. It's just as meaningful to the talent. But to viewer it's just confusing is just too many belts. And they don't really have any true. Meaning they don't really represent anything that you can't identify one unique thing about. Belt than than you can't from another. You know, aside from the look of the belt. So the idea was just simplify it. And I think, you know, people should probably take a look at that about once every three or four years just kinda take an inventory or an audit and say, okay, how many belts do we have? And what are they all mean? And maybe we should just condense them a little bit just as a way to give the belts at you do out more meaning more symbolism. That match is the match where flair becomes a he'll again, he's the baby face, especially after that the big win Charlotte at stark aid. But now here in the uniform nation with staying Sherry is going to join him as his manager, and it's going to be a nasty turn. And now, he's a bad guy. Oh Cogan is there to make the save for sting, and that feel sort of natural because you're you know, where you're trying to get to your trying to get the whole Cogan and Rick flair bash at the beach, which we've covered in the archives over eighty three weeks. Calm the biggest show at that point in WWE history. It exceeded all expectations. Lots of people thought it was fool's gold to go sign hulk HOGAN, Eric saw the writing on the wall and realized that takes a bold move like this and paid off. And that is a phenomenal story. If you haven't heard it's in the archives at Eighty-three weeks dot com. But I do want to mention that this he'll turn here is not just for that timing. But it does sort of feel more Nash. Carol and some guys are just better suited one way or another. It's almost a given that flare preferred to be the he'll world champion as opposed to the baby face champ. Right. He much prefer being he'll he was really really uncomfortable as a baby face. I never really understood it. And at first I mean, I understood it on paper. I guess, but I didn't really thoroughly understand it till I started spending a lot more time on the creative side of things in working with talent. And Rick love, big healed. Because being a he'll he was in control of the match most of the time on almost all the time. He was calling match. And of course, he's going to be more comfortable in in that type role. So he always wanted to be, you know, the he'll I on the other hand, you know, was looking, you know, the wrestling fans didn't they love Drake, they even let back in ninety four. He was still relatively young back then they loved him because he had been around. So so long, and it's it's really hard. I used to say this jokingly RIC flair could come out to the ring his robe set puppies on fire in. Stop them out on the way to the ring as part of his ring and tricks and people still standard you're in. It just it was really hard keeping him a he'll, but that's where that's where he was most comfortable as a performer. While premier the stage is set the biggest show in WWE history bash at the beach ninety three guess to a big press conference. You get Ted Turner involved. It's a star studded event, we've covered and painstaking detail. So if you want to hear more about that, please do go check out the show as an underrated. It's a sleeper episode. Eighty three weeks dot com. But you see a rematch. But maybe people don't talk about clash of the champions and August over in Cedar Rapids, Iowa can't believe that's where it happened. But it did. Oh Cogan and Rick flair did business that Meltzer would say say that huge business would be an understatement. It broke several records, including the most widely viewed pro wrestling match ever on cable television, four point one million households. The record was three point eight back in September of ninety for sting versus the black scorpion. And RIC flair versus lex Luger. It's the largest viewing audience for any match an NWEA WCW's modern history. And it's the seventh highest rated television main event in modern pro wrestling history. They only stuff that beat. It was mostly during the rock and wrestling era as I mentioned a minute ago. The sting scorpion main event that did a six point eight. But this gets a six point seven and an eleven point three share is gigantic and flare gets the. Win by count out over HOGAN, and fourteen minutes and twenty seven seconds. We haven't really talked about this show before maybe we will the summer chat me up, though, a rematch and doing it on clash of the champions. What was the strategy? And did anybody have an issue? You know, this is a silly thing. They ask I now, and you're gonna laugh at it. But once upon a time wins and losses mannered a little more than maybe they do. Now in wrestling did anybody have an issue losing on TV as opposed to pay per view. None whatsoever. And the end the logic behind it, you keep in mind Turner, Broadcasting was first and foremost television company, you're now, pay per view company. And of course, they liked to pay per view business because it was at least twenty five or thirty five percent of the revenue. But when it came to should we do this on television. Or should we do this on save it for pay per view hands down everybody that got a chance to vote inside? A Turner Broadcasting would vote to put it on television. From Brad Siegel to Jeff car to Brian Burke, you name it whoever whoever was in the room had the right to vote would vote to put it on television. Because that's what they wanted to wanted more exposure for the network, they wanted more traffic than wanted more exposure for WCW, which is why they gave us plan time for the clash on TBS. So they were thrilled to death and obviously thrilled with ratings. But coming out of that, you know, you look to say all right? We've got our biggest ratings ever from putting it on TV. We've got our biggest pay-per-view number ever from putting it on pay per view. Let's go back to the well one more time, and you would Halloween havoc ninety four and this time Rick but says career online, so it's a retirement match chat. Me up was Rick nervous about I mean, unless put this in perspective, this is nine hundred ninety four not two thousand eight or a long way from his actual retirement. But HOGAN, of course, is going to win flair loses a retirement match and in the match there's a lot of shenanigans where there's lots of outside interference, including Sherry. But a masked man who winds up being the butcher in that sets up Brutus beefcake against hulk HOGAN at stark eight at the main event was Rick hesitant to be involved in a retirement match. And how was that process to navigate with him? It was tough. And rick. Rick was not happy about it at all. And I'm going to tread, very carefully. Very respectfully here. Rick. First of all Rick was however will only was at the time forty eight forty nine guessing somewhere in there. Now, we we look at Rick now, we we go back with recognize United four he was top of his game. He might not have been in his prime, but he wasn't far off. Right, but back, then, you know, when you when you hit forty forty five years old, you're constantly hearing that vibe all around you. You know, we need more younger guys need younger guys, we need younger guys. Rick was hearing that a lot. So he was sensitive to the idea of getting retired early. And I think in his mind he didn't really trust me. He didn't really trust Turner Broadcasting. He didn't really trust Bill Shaw because all of us tried to convince Rick that Cindy is a retirement match. But you know, we extended his contract to make to Tissa make sure you know, that Rick knew going into that match that he wasn't deed going to be tartar Turner Broadcasting for a long time he in Rick was actually afraid that leaves go through this retirement match. Am end up not having a job. So we had to go to some pretty short lengths to get him. Comfortable. Well, it's weird. Because afterwards, you know, he's he's believe led to believe that he's going to be taken an extended amount of time off. But that doesn't actually wind up being the case what was flair as far as your recollection. What was he supposed to be doing while he was quote, unquote, retired? I mean, there's no way I can answer that Conrad. And as you know, I I know nobody wants to hear me say, I don't recall, but this is kind of a perfect example of enriched mind. I guess he was told he was going to get some time up. I wasn't a part of that conversation. So I don't know what Rick was thinking or why he was thinking or who said what to Rick. I can't really comment on that. You know, my my recall on the deal was because I was instrumental in getting Bill Shaw convincing Bill Shaw to extend Rix contract because his contract wasn't do. It wasn't imminent it during the time of this particular, pay per view. So it wasn't like oh get discounts on or Rick's going to be you know, he won't have won. It was Rick wanting us to renew. His steel extent his deal in order for him to feel comfortable doing this match. Now as far as what happened after that? In terms of what Rick thought he was going to do and didn't do not I really wasn't hands on that. But here's the expectation. Rick wrote I contacted air. Here's the deal, I'm willing to lose. But not ready to retire. You won't he promised. You'll be out for at least a year just to make it look legit. But to work in the office, then we'll bring you back, and quote, I was a little worried been with the company for about a year. And my contract hasn't been extended. Everyone told me that don't happen very soon. But it didn't have anything on paper later. I was accused of holding the company up because I refuse to lose the retirement match until I had a contract, but a native to know that I still had a job. So I stood my ground at the very end until Bill Shaw arrived at Halloween havoc with my contract and hand elected oversaw. My name and went out and lost HOGAN in the cage the one year deal made me uncomfortable. But I kept telling myself that I had nothing to be concerned about think about it. I help Bischoff get his job recruited hulk HOGAN allowed him to win the championship then lost retirement match. I just assume that Eric would take care of someone like that. He had to reassured myself. There was no way. He would screw me. See sort sorta led to believe that. Okay. It's not gonna really retire. He's going to work in the office for year. But Super Bowl five he's back in February and the interferes and the hulk HOGAN Vader world title match, and he starts working more as Vader's manager. And there's some silly stuff here along the way that would even include Rick flair in drag do you remember how the Rick flair in drag idea came to be? I wish I did. I wish I would have been there. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall. When mantles Inga laid out. That would have been awesome. And I guarantee you I can't remember the name of that little bar down the treatment CNN center, Jocson gills. But I would I would I venture to bet a lot that idea traveling took place somewhere between six o'clock at eight thirty in the evening down the Jacksonville's. Well, they Rick flair and drag moment if you'd like to see what's pretty hilarious is the uncensored pay per view from nine hundred ninety five and two below Mississippi. It's actually. During the Randy savage avalanche match, which is pretty silly. And he inserted himself in that main event as well with HOGAN invader in a strap match I want to touch on this because we've we've been asked about this a lot, and we haven't done a full show on it. But he's he's come out and talked about it a little bit April twenty eighth one hundred ninety thousand fans and north Korea North Korea is for me to say Rick loses a match to Antonio Inoki. And it's the first time those guys have wrestled each other. But wow, North Korea one hundred ninety thousand fans give us the cliff notes version of Rick flair's experience in North Korea. Well, wreath was slightly reluctant. He was a little concerned about going over there. But for the most part he was is pretty excited about it. I don't know if he knew much about the politics at the time in North Korea. Not not that a lot of it stood mind you, but I don't think any of us really appreciated just how bizarre situation that we were inserting ourselves into. I know I didn't as naive and wasn't really interested in doing a lot of research. I was more interested in just going over there. But Rick was Rick was pretty cool about it. He didn't really get nervous outwardly. Nervous like you can tell he was nervous until we got to the airport in North Korea. When he you know, we all got off the plane together. And of course, was kind of a big deal. Mohammed Ali was with this. In a bunch of Japanese Russell's we had flown over from from Tokyo. And we got off the plane for Cigna government officials did was a call for bass sports. Know doesn't happen anywhere else. You go you go to a foreign country. They don't take your passport. And it's very unnerving thing in. I I remember I was startled because I didn't know that. That was going to happen is not much going to be able to do about it at that point other than just go with the flow without that kind of set the tone because once we realize that they've got our passports. We can't leave your blue flew over here on one of their military transports. The there's no commercial flights out of here. You know, our our embassy there is no embassy here in North Korea number one. And you know, we wanted to get help over here. They're not allowed in the country either. So it was pretty interesting. And that's when Rick started getting really nervous when he started really noticing just how much control they were putting putting on us. Let's talk briefly about his relationship with the macho man, you know, he's on record as saying they needed somebody to help get the macho man over, you know, not not that he needed help with his character or introducing himself to the crowd, but you've got to have a credible opponent for macho man to beat. And that was RIC flair Simon was for hulk HOGAN, they had a match though at the great American bash where he and Randy tore the house down but got four stars in the observer, and Rick actually one, but I believe that may have been something you guys disagreed on. Because Meltzer would even report quote, Rick flair and Eric Bischoff haven't seen on several matters. And appears Kevin Sullivan will end up as Booker among the disagreements or the Bischoff wants flair in the office five days a week and flares been unhappy about some of the direction the bookings going, which is out of his control. And quite frankly, his points appear to be valid two points in particular. We've heard. Are that player wants to book television around the TV title matches and with renegades champion that makes it impossible because the few time they've tried to have him work mashes longer, the two minutes it exposes him and rendered him less over. So flare wants the belt back on Anderson. So he can have a lot of TV title matches to Philip TV, Tom and the other point is that flares against the of putting Vader in the dungeon of doom. So eventually Kevin Sullivan officially replaces Rick as the head Booker on July fifth, and there's lots of rumor and innuendo that maybe Rick was not as secure as he could have been in his position. What say you? Say the same thing. I said the beginning this podcast was a horrible position for guy. Like Rick to be in. If you don't have really super thick skin. If you can't take it that that role, especially when you're working with your friends. And that was another reason why it was a mistake for us to suggest that retake the job for Rick to take the job is because now he's on the booking committee. And he's gotta make decisions about people that he's close to our Anderson being one of our wasn't the only one in net puts a lot of pressure on you, if you if you overcompensate, and you're a little harder on your friends or less enthusiastic about giving them upper -tunities at others might feel that serve because you don't want to appear to be playing favorites you you kinda working against yourself. If on the other hand, you are giving a lot of those spots in that despot light to friends and people that everybody knows you love working with and you're close soon in. That creates another kind of a problem. So it's it's just a unforgiving no-win situation. And especially someone like wreck who is of very sensitive guy wears his emotions uninsured in that that that job was really getting to him. It got to the breaking point for me at this point was and this was the real tipping point. We had flown Rick in for a booking committee and everybody was in rich said to genie excuse me. I'll be right back America. Call bathroom, whatever he was going to do a never came back, and we didn't away what's took us hours to figure out who went back to Charlotte. But I think the pressure got to him in such a way that he just didn't want to do any more. He just couldn't do it. He was too tough spot aren't second time out right now until everybody about our new favorite sponsor. We've talked about him a little bit already. I got some of my swag. You've gotten some of yours bespoke post, and we're. Talking to you when you're constantly on the go, which is probably why you enjoy podcasts. Anyway, if you're like us in your grind in that at the office or maybe just hanging out with friends. There's not much time to think about upgrading your style or -partment. You're busy. We're busy. 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You get twenty percent off your first box. The spoke post, this is themed boxes for Gaza. Give a damn I'll of mine and you knew to right air. Absolutely. Do I get that whisky cast wait up on the back bar looks like it was built? Custom. And it's really hot quality stuff. I got sons of compliments on this past weekend. You're gonna love it. It's box of awesome dot com. Take our word for it. Try right now, I guess any that Email little more this little less of that. Or skip it. Why wouldn't you do it? It really is that easy. It's box of awesome dot com and use that promo code eighty three weeks. Well, the the hits would keep coming from nature. Boy, you guys had the outdoor bash at the beach show that year and Randy savage wins with a noble drop off the top. And now we're going to set up a clash of the champions with RIC flair and Arn Anderson teaming up to take on Vader and Vader beats them both clean at the same time. And around the same time, we see a press conference held in New York City at the Harley Davidson cafe where we're going to announce nitro is going to become into town. And this is the the creation. Of your baby. And the really the reason this show is even named eighty three weeks. It's all about nitro, and you guys have HOGAN there, and you have the macho man there, and you have staying there. But you don't have Rick flair. Had Rick flair fallen out of favor with you. And had you lost confidence in him because I think from the outside when you see him and Arn lose a handicap match against Vader. And then he's not at this Harley Davidson cafe press conference. If you're conspiracy theorists are trying to read into something. You could say boy what Rick new. It's a valid question. The the answer to the questions did he fall out of favor with me or anybody else. I'll speak for myself. I won't speak for anybody else. He didn't with me as to why wasn't he included? That's a good question about one it in all likelihood we were in New York. We we really felt like HOGAN savage was going to get us the kind of press needed, and we didn't really need a whole lot more support than that. And that was the logic. You there was but it had nothing to do with. You know, losing favour confidence being angry or anything like that. Well, you got certainly have competence, then when it came to, you know, in the red lights on because the first nitro which we've covered in our cows as flair and sting, which was a marquee match for many years for this company. But what I want to talk about. And I'm sure we'll cover this eventually as well here on the show and long form is fall brawl because that's really what the first nitro help us spilled towards September seventeenth and Asheville North Carolina. We're in the Carolinas, and we see something we never thought. We would see aren't Anderson wrestling, RIC flair in a singles match, do you. Remember how that match came to be? And while the decision was made to have aren't Anderson. Get the win. Don't don't. I'd have to go back. And I really I wanted to go back and look at that mashing would be a fun match. Go back watch. I will. But in terms of how that all came to be, you know, a really wasn't involved in it enough to to recall any of the details of that. It's a it's a fun time. And I'm sure we'll cover it for anniversary soon, but the idea that happened in the Carolinas as well. Imagine an all that more special and aren't got the win. And clearly meant a lot to Arn arns even gone on record as saying after he did his pre-match promo. He went to the trash can and threw up. He's not only wrestling his best friend, but the best wrestler, not only in the promotion, but arguably ever and you're doing it in the Carolinas. It's a big time opportunity for Orne, and he made the most of it. And I'm sure we'll talk about that a little later, and they wanna talk about Brian Pilkington because it always seemed like RA. Doc was campaigning for Brian and a big fan of Brian's and eventually he becomes involved, and he becomes a horseman. What was the relationship like between? Rick and Brian is best. You recall? I know had ton of respect for Brian. I think it goes to, you know, play any NFL Rick. I think has still to this day. I wanna say soft spot, but a certain different level of respect for guys were amateur athletes, and certainly professional athletes before getting into the wrestling business in in because of that and probably because Brian's personality, Brian was a fun. Gotta hang around Bryant. Bryant could be you know, he could be the life of the party too. So I'm sure Rick enjoy his company enjoyed being around him. But more than any of that just he really respected his work. And you know, the fact that he was you know, professional athlete before you've been breaking into the business. One of the next big things that we see happen. Of course is Halloween having where sting and RIC flair are going to team up to take on aren't Anderson and Brian pill. Mun you probably already know what happens just based on me laying out. Staying is the victim again. Ric flair turns on horsemen beatdown probably the three hundred with Thomas happened. But it's still a great story. And this leads to reforming the horsemen eventually the fourth member with Arn, and Rick, and and Brian Pelham went would be Crispin wa do you? Remember, if anybody else was considered or was Rick pushing for been wa or what do you recall, Rick Rick was really pushing for been while in and by the way, it's pretty perfect casting. Yeah. If you look at it, could you could you possibly come up with a better Casta churches for forcing in that era. It had time done before we talked about. So it was a good. Choice by rip. It was really Rix. Joyce stark aid that year would be a triangle match where we would have sting and lex Luger in the main event with RIC flair there and Rick's gonna come away the winner stark eight ninety five which recovered in the archives. Not too terrible long ago at eighty three weeks dot com. And then as we sort of fast forward to the end of the night flair beat savage there. And that's where we get all the blood and the big finish all that again is in the archives, but it doesn't last long because just like a month later. Macho would beat Rick to regain the world title, and that sets up a clash of the champions. And this feels like it's from a different air almost it's whole Kogen and Randy savage, the mega-powers from nineteen eighty eight. They lose to Rick flair and the giant when flare were pinned savage after knocking him out with some brass Knox. And a week later. Rick would be whole Cogan for the first time after hitting him with Elizabeth shoe. So. A hoagie. It's been in the company now since ninety four and were into ninety six before Rick ever gets a win. What was the thinking in keeping look strong or not returning the favor, raker, whatever sort of cliches, we wanna throw there. It was strictly business. You know, when when we do these shows in oftentimes we'll start out. We'll set the show up by talking about what the financial landscape was looking like an unpredictable show that recovering, you know, what it was like, you know, a year ago. You're today your earlier, you know, what it was like now our business was our business was growing. We were finally seeing upward trends we were starting to see things happen. We got a new show on in prime time. Things were going our way. So sometimes when things go your way in Tennessee is let's let's not fuck it up, and that was pretty much the tendency there is no it wasn't not doing the favor, which is inside terminology. It's it's just it was just strictly business. Well, it was business later at the paper view super brawl, which is not too terribly long. After we see flair win the world title back from Randy savage. They're really playing hot potato. Oh with that happened in Saint Petersburg, Florida to. And then, you know, the the much talked about crazy uncensored two guys against four thousand which I can't wait for us to talk about long form and uncensored. And of course, flare is one of those as well. But that is a whole 'nother show for another time for sure. Let's fast forward a little bit. And talk about the decision to have mongo become a four horsemen because I think a lot of people look at Stephen Wackle inside. Boy, he did not belong as a horsemen. But Rick would argue that and say, no fit right in with the Gaza. Maybe not build the Bill or in the ring, but it's titans of being one of the guys very much. So what do you remember about the decision to put mongo in the horsemen? I remember it being really excited about it in mongo Dina granted in this is where you know, the the Dave Meltzer fans, readers, whatever they are around the country are gonna lose they're gonna lose their shit when they hear what I'm about to say. But when you're done, you know, letting your head spin off its shoulders, just try to look at it from a different point of view other than dirt cheap point of view. Student michael. He was not a trained wrestler. He didn't go to camp. He learned a few moves here. Narrate spent some time in power plant. He knew just enough to to probably hurt himself or somebody else. But he was a hell of a character any could cut a hell of a promo now sometimes you get a little off track. He was green at that too. But he at times he could be really effective on the Mike. But I think more than anything. There was a collegial kind of Bye-bye to it all and again, I think the way that Rick looked at a NFL Super Bowl champion. You don't that happens to be you know, one of his four horsemen? I thank I think, right. Rick like that credibility and was willing to to look, you know, pass what McMichael didn't have in order to take advantage of what he did which was credibility in notoriety. Eventually, we would see Rick lose the world title to the giant and not too terribly long. After that, you guys decide to let him win the United States championship. He beat Conan for that. At the bash of the h Delano, seventh day, tone, a beach and Rick sorta. Not digging the idea of no longer being in the world title picture, and he even wrote in his book once when I questioned while he was having me lose to Conan. He shouted at me and addressing her hallway. Why are you always complaining about something? Just fucking do. What we write down. This is a team. This isn't about you anymore. Rick. Things started to win. The win was the the bloom off the rose for you to wasn't ninety six. Yeah. I mean, it started in ninety six. Safe to say it. Yeah. When he end W O hit when things started really rolling. Is really when the wheels started falling off our relationship. So to speak. And the interview thing really took off obviously Rick would would would win the United States title from Conan in July in August. He would wrestle Eddie Guerrero for that US title, and he would retain he would challenge hall Cogan for the world title at the clash of the champions, and they would win by the Q. So HOGAN would retain the world title, which at this point was spray painted and that got us to fall all ninety six where it's RIC flair Arn Anderson, lex Luger in who we hope is thing taking on the in ws, HOGAN, hall Nash and the interview. Oh, staying and this, of course, is going to be the birth of the crow angle, this is a pretty hot show. And I think it's one of the more important shows in WCW history because it really was was willed on. And you get lots of stuff spinning off of it, including the crowing. Let's go through December of. Ninety seven where the big payoff, and obviously continue pass that. But I mean just an incredible way to really jump. Started was did flare get or see or understand the concept of where you were going with the interview. Oh here at fall brawl ninety six. To the extent that we did. He did sure it was still so new to us. You know, it it. It's not like we wish you know. I was smart enough. And we all were together as a team would have been smart enough. You know to have an entire story bible where we had in a week to week. We had how the story was gonna all the twists in terms were going to be as we as we went on. But we went operating that way. We had no idea that the NWF is going to be as hot as it was. We knew it was going to be pretty good. But we just didn't realize the way the audience was gonna react to that. And I think what was probably more common in the locker room at that time was not so much jealousy and his allowed that there still is to this day. You know, I mean people can give could pretend it doesn't exist anymore. But it still does it's just that people. Don't talk about it as much because only one place to work can't afford to talk to. Much nowadays. But back, then there was a lot of, you know, everybody wanted that one of the spot they want the spotlight they wanted the attention. It's understandable, so nature of the beast. That's why the performance. It wasn't as much of that is it was everybody was just so unnerved, I think is the best way to say it because all without sudden. Now, these bad ass heels they were they were positioned is heels what I brought them in. We're getting over his baby faces and it really put a lot of WCW guys kind of under heels because it just turned everything upside down for them just screwed up. I mean, just the way they worked, you know, it just it changed. A lot of things. I think there's three four five six months before people started getting pretty comfortable with with the way, we're doing things, but during that period of time, I knew a lot of guys nervous about it. Just insecure in general, I think it was one of them not not insecure about himself or his abilities. But just insecure about where the business was going. Let's talk a little bit about the rotator cuff surgery because right after that fall brawl he's probably supposed to do it. But he puts it off a little bit because he's going to go do a a tour of Japan. And then when he gets back its scheduled for early October it winds up happening in late October. He's going to miss a little bit of time here, and what you guys have him do is still make appearances, but he's in Jeff Jarrett's corner. Lots of people debate. This did you consider Jeff Jarrett a horseman while was raking this corner. Was Rick four it whose idea was it chat me up about the Jere flair. There was there's no grand scheme. No grand plan news nothing necessary about it. It was just we need something for Rick to do. We gotta get Jeff over. Let's try to see if we can if one plus one can equal two and a half or three that's really always behind it. We wanna use Rick. We want to keep them out there. We want wanna keep them visible. We're trying to get Jeff over recant work. Maybe this will make sense he gets physically in April, and that sets up the slam ratio in may was just going to be flaring piper. And Kevin Greene taken on Scott hall. Kevin Nash and six I'm sure there's a lot of made on the bone for us to talk about that in long form some other time, but he. He sort of used in a similar way here teaming with Roddy. And they continue that trend for the great American bash this time in Moline in Illinois. And I think that's maybe where there's been much of a much made about what happened after when the cameras weren't there instead of the actual match. It's probably not the spot that Rick wanted to be in to be in a tag match here. But he'd probably enjoyed working with his old pal Roddy. Right. Oh, hell, yeah. I mean, Ricky Rick would light up like a little kid at Christmas time when he would walk into an arena mean those two those guys loved each other. And it was pretty obviously a long colorful in storied history. The road wild show would be flair pinning six and about eleven minutes. That's of course, one of those Sturges shows, but the big thing that happened like that summer is the retirement speech from our Anderson it's made clear that Jeff Jarrett's, no longer horsemen. They're going to recruit Kurt to join the club, and aren't as a retirement speech that a lot of people still talk about, you know, my spot it has lots of horsemen had moved. And, you know, Barry Windham in the lex Luger's and the Paul Romas and the pill men's and been 'was, but Rick, and we're always there now aren't could no longer compete. So he's going to hang it up. And. The decision is made to turn that into an angle where the interview, oh, sorta mocks it and that sets up fall brawl, I'm sure we'll talk about it and longer form from aren't and Nashes perspective. But had a Rick react to the retirement speech is he was obviously a waterwork show on television. But then more importantly would that he thinks and what did he know ahead of time about the end of your parody of it. I can't speak to what he knew ahead of time. You have to ask Rick about that. I can. Chill you 'cause I can picture Rick after that speech or after the parody. He was hot miss feelings were heard he was angry all of the above. To to a large to the Instagram. I mean, he was really upset about it. And I've said this, you know, I did the did when you have a podcast with RIC flair. I did the show with you guys. We talked about this. You know, there's a few things I'd like to take back that being one of them. But at the time it just, you know, at the time thinking, wait a minute this. This isn't real this is what we produce television for living. This is what we do and destroy line. Works in creatively on paper it works. And it did it was great television. Ours performance was great television. The parody was great television for what it was trying to achieve in addenda cheap. Unfortunately, because the people involved were facing some, you know, career ending situations are certainly with surgery that he had on a sandy never did regain full use of his hand that was a big deal to him. And I didn't see I didn't recognize it. I would today. That'd be more. Where today just because you get older figures should out, right? But back then I just didn't see it. I didn't see I understand. Why everybody was so upset about it. You know, it's what we did. So arctic. We'll take a timeout here and tell everybody about a friends over at Baluchi, you it's only fitting we're talking about Rick players birthday today. And well, he bragged that he was a sixty minute man, and you can be to now. Thanks to our friends over at blue. I feel like everybody has a story about space mountain, and you get to that legendary status when he put on incredible performances and now you can do that too. Because blue has the same active ingredients, both by anger NC, Alyce know that work, but the two Ables so there faster, and you can take them anytime. They are night. But maybe best of all they're cheaper than the other two. And you don't need to have the awkward visit to the doctor or the pharmacy. You can do this right now at blue dot com. And you can even try for free. I can't believe this is a real thing. You get your first shipment for free everybody in wrestling's talking about it here going to find out. Why all you've got to do is go to blue dot com and use our promo code. It's eighty. Three weeks, and you're only going to pay five bucks shipping. So for five dollars you find out for real what's happening with Baluchi. More time. That's B L you E C H E W dot com and our promo code is eighty three weeks blue dot com and that promo codes eighty three weeks and don't forget, it's a blue Choo Choo, humble, twits faster man, and it's got the same active ingredients as made right here in the US. You're gonna love it blew dot com. And the promo code is eighty three weeks. Let's talk about folderol. It's in w versus the horsemen Kurtz gonna turn their in. Winston Salem years later. Rick would be very critical of this and say that it killed the town. But it was legit was really really why hot he because they slam Rick's Ed and the cage and flare actually takes time to get a facelift and then comes back a month later in Minneapolis. At the time. Did you think that this was a a bad idea or maybe it was a misstep or to just seem like business as usual? We'll certainly wasn't business as usual. It was intense. We knew that what we were looking for heat s what we were looking for. Yeah. I can understand from Rick's point of view and from RIC flair fans of risks and ole end of UA fans in longtime WCW fans, you know, to them. It was probably a horrible mistake. But kind of based on the success of what we did. I think in retrospect, we could argue that it didn't it made business stronger we needed eat. It's the one thing that's lacking. Today is real heat in we needed that insulate easier. Get baby faces over when you've got real heat. You've got real heels when you don't have really don't have really heels it makes it that much harder. So we were doing everything that we could not. Well, there was hate awake. After he returned to Minneapolis. Because the next week is when you hold the meeting with all the boys and say, the only guys have ever drawn any money are hulk HOGAN Roddy piper. And Randy savage. We've talked about that before. And obviously Rick took it very personally and the relationship just continues to sort of Spiro a little bit between you two. Halloween havoc. We finally get this Kurt versus flair match. It's okay. But probably a bit of a disappointment. They do it again at World War three probably more of the same. I don't think people were really expecting Mr. perfect anymore. But these matches weren't nearly I don't think has good as what people may have originally hoped Kurt. We get a a win over RIC flair at World War three. And supposedly the third mass was supposed to happen at stark aid. But Rick hurts his ankle. So he's out of the match. But he does a good news because he signs a new three year deal. He has a little contentious here in late ninety seven what's that negotiation process? Like when he signs on for another three years. It really wasn't. It wasn't difficult. It was really was kind of matter of fact, we knew we were going to keep them. He knew he wanted to stay there was there wasn't much really negotiated. His deal is deal was very straightforward. We're gonna be no changes to it. Really? So it it was an easy process. I think we're both kind of tired. Beat each other up. Well, you weren't tired coming up a fun stuff for Rick to do. We've just covered recently the sold out nineteen ninety eight show where he would wrestle Brent heart. And how it got there and sort of what both people thought of the match that's available in the archives that eighty three weeks dot com. We've also covered you know, Eric versus Rick and Bischoff versus flare the whole fallout that happened and early ninety eight and how that whole process spanned until he returned on the September fourteenth nitro if you'd like to see that episode, which is still one of our most downloaded most enjoyed episodes ever. It's available now at eighty three weeks dot com. But the big return man September fourteenth nineteen ninety eight and we've covered it what a special moment at was for TV. It gets a five point four rating as lea- the highest rating of the night head to head with raw it'll role in the got three point eight. Were you a little obviously, you guys have been not in a good place. But not seeing the magic happen because it was a magical segment, and you didn't have to see the ratings to know that. Hey, this was awesome. But when you see the ratings as well he had to feel pretty good about the decision to give flair back on the squad. Right. There was never any doubt. I'm never for once didn't think RIC had enormous value. Now, Rick Bobby didn't leave that or or or have a sense that I felt that way. But I never ever once thought, you know, we really don't need RIC flair or is really not. As is is he thinks he is that thought never crossed my mind. So I knew he was important. That's why we kept going to the well with him while he was so dependable in predictable in terms of the outcome. Because we knew if we put record a main event spot he was always going to deliver. And I always felt that way about him. But. His hard for me. It's hard for me to know. How felt at that point? I think he's probably coveted his book pretty good. The the fun continues with other things that we've already covered here on the show. I think we've talked about the heart attack angle, and whether that should or shouldn't have happened. Well, also covered Bischoff and flair and stark aid nine hundred ninety eight which is pretty crazy that happened. But most famously is the promo the very next day on nitro where he strips down all his clothes and just cuts one of the more memorable nitro moments of all time. And then the rematch where he gets his win back over you and becomes the president of WCW. And as a result we see David flair introduced we've touched on that a little bit. The feud really gets kicked off with HOGAN win. Hogan beats David with a belt, and they would there would be some hurt feelings over that that Super Bowl show in particular HOGAN would would retain the world title over flair. What's the relationship like here during all of this where please really official water at this point? Because you know, he hasn't been on good terms with you. And when he left he wasn't necessarily on top. But now he's back and he's in sort of a prompt storyline. But it's not really probably the where he'd want to be because he's wrestling you and not a real traditional stark aid main event style, he's really probably grown accustomed to. And now it's more storyline and less hard hitting traditional wrestling. But then he finds himself with HOGAN, which is obviously the big spot, but his sons here, which makes it rather unique. And whereas Rick can be an emotional being. On his own with, you know, the sun slotting into the spot that probably complicated things a little bit. So how did that affect the relationship with you and HOGAN, and Rick, and or did it at all it didn't it it, really? Didn't know. I I know the the issue with the wealth the weight belts in all that probably hit a couple wrong nerves. No pun intended. But beyond that just the day to day relationship in working relationship between everybody was fine. There was no issues because of David. The David Hale a lot of support. Now, David again, you know, like any son of a wrestler, especially real famous like Rick. Horrible position to be number one. You got a lot to live up to number number one number two. You know, you're getting an opportunity that a lot of people think you're probably not ready for a lot of those people would be right. But you're getting it anyway. Because of who you are is latte resentment that comes with that. And people don't just the is like it wouldn't they wouldn't be rude to his face. It wouldn't have you know, chip on their shoulder in front of him. But you know, when he leaves the room. It's like people shaking on like jelly. He wouldn't be or if it wasn't for his old, man. That's a tough thing to have to live to live with David David did his best to keep his chin down one of the boys. And it was looking for any favoritism. He wasn't looking looking to be treated any differently. It was a super super light in professional young, man. We see a an interesting match at uncensored. It's a first blood barbed wire cage match where RIC flair be tall Cogan. That's silly enough. I want to dedicate a whole show to it some time, but either way no this rid comes out as the champion at spring stampede though. He would lose the title in a four way where Domino's page would become champion for the first time any issue with Rick losing the Bill and DDP becoming the champion. Did Rick have anything to say negativity one way or another only ask that that way? Because for better worse. You have been it's been very public that you were friends with ADP, and maybe your relationship with Rick wasn't what it once was that? He take issue with having to quote, unquote, put over your buddy. Emai- have it was subtle was thrilled about it. But he, but he was super professional body to he did it. You know was. With the exception of the retirement match to Detroit because Rick did stand his ground in what he wrote in his book. He's telling the truth even even with the detail Bill Shaw showing up with the contract enhance because we had to get written up shop brought it from Atlanta to Detroit. So that record sign it. But with with the exception of a couple of moments like that Rick Rick wasn't eating. He didn't pout. He didn't. He didn't you know, run around stir shit up and try to get people to side with him and see things his way. So the kinda come in a group and confronts you you know, about their storyline. Rick wasn't like that. Look we needed we needed new champions. We needed to get new people over and Rick Rick may eight this, but he made a hell in a hell of a career being the best of the best at getting people over which is what I think any good heels should aspire to do. But you don't want to come to when time came to put the belt on page. Yes. Rick at it. But I don't recall regular putting up too much of a fighter really having any issue at all. One of the things that people remember fondly about this era of WCW's the referee. Charles Robinson becoming little Nate. He's RIC flair's assistant whose idea was that. And how fun was that started out as trying to rid showed it out because he was just such a huge RIC flair Flint fan, and he was always around such a great referee, by the way. Shout out to to Charles. His is a good dude is fun to be around. But he was such a huge rip bark RIC flair market or family should say that it just kind of evolved in started. I was a little bit of a rib and he walled into in. What it became? He's really having fun here. Wrestling Roddy piper on pay per view piper would be him by the Hugh and slammed Brie, and then they would have a rematch. Where flair would get a win by the Hugh for the great American bash? Not the best matches for sure they even got dud ratings in the observer. But still he's working with his buddy. I'm sure he had fun with that. He does have a a match where? He's injured to the point where mouser says the latest on the flair situation as he was examined by Dr Who said dude his back injury. He should take a month off. It's no secret that flare in the past as worked with injuries as or more severe. But the company has killed his zest for wrestling over the past week. He had contemplated retiring, and this is a time where the the creative side of WCW is sort of topsy turvy, you know, he's no longer the president of WCW, and that was fun for what it was. But he's really struggling with the creative, and you probably are too because September of ninety nine you're out of there. And then even though you weren't there in October. They have the filthy animals bury in desert, he wants going to an insane asylum. It's a weird time for WCW. But let's fast forward to when you return in April of two thousand is it bygones. Be bygones with you and Rick have you got hit the reset button. What's it like? I think we did. I mean, look after the the mash couple massive he and I had together we worked at storyline. We were fine. You know what I mean? It's not like he was carrying around at least to my face. Now, he may still dislike me or not respected me. But that wasn't apparent to me when when we were together, but at that way, but he may tell you otherwise. But as far as I was concerned. It's you know, it's like water. Look it happened yesterday. Once it's it's gone. It's done. It's over move on. You know? So I was certainly not carrying any baggage around. I can't be Rick. But I wasn't. Asaka a little bit about one of the angles. You book right away is putting him with Shane. Douglas, Shane had been cutting promos on him and AC w for years and years calling him dick flair and challenging him. And now it looks like it's finally going to happen. I guess we should mention you know, he does some other stuff on the way there tag title tournament and things like that. But the big match with Shane Douglas happens at slam Bary, and they don't get a ton of time. They get about nine minutes or so, but it does feel like this should have been maybe a bigger deal than it was maybe it was just that way to sort of inside, quote, unquote, smart marks for the dirt cheats, but Shane gets a win here over flare. Do you? Remember there being any problems with these guys once they were in the same company or was it just water under the bridge. It was water under the bridge. And again, I'm sure Rick has got his own point of view on that he may have been feeling resentment or not not being too excited about this match with shaney may not have like Shane. I don't know you'd have to ask curric- from what I could fill in. What I remember about? That is just another day at the office. It wasn't a lot of residual heat from things that have been said, you know, in the past that he everybody pretty much just looked at it. Like, okay, this now now we're gonna take that at time and we're starting to destroy line. We're gonna have a great match. When celebrate house the kids started to get a little more involved after this. This is very much the the Russo era on may fifteenth Rousseau and David or at flares house and Charlotte, and they're just explaining that they've been mistreated in the other kids have been, you know, handled much better and he had to sleep in the garage, and blah, blah, blah. What did you think of all this invasion of flares? Home and Rousseau and Daphne and David you for it. Do you think it was so silly? That have some legs. And what Rick thank? Again. I don't know. What was thinking? I I. My Russian of it was it was very lane. I am just wasn't. It wasn't hard to understand what what resources trying to do. But if it wasn't diplotic, you know, the product is wrestling we've done, and I was a big proponent of doing a lot of things in around the arena to augment the action in the ring. But at the end of it all the stories have to take place inside of the rank. 'cause you know, you're you're showing up with a couple of hand held cameras, cheap audio gear, and you're trying to shoot a scene might that scene might work for sophisticated television series or movie that that that seeing if it was written well in Caswell might be kinda -ffective, but when you're doing on television, budget, more importantly, your present presenting it to an audience who is accustomed and wants to continue to be accustomed to getting their entertainment in the rain and the. The length of those little mini movies in all of the things that that risotto excited about doing was taking away from the product in the ring in. I think it was obvious to me that it became painfully more obvious as time went on. But that was I'd only been there for a couple of months and my goal at that point still was to try to get along, you know, in in trying to make the best of the situation and work with Russo as best as I could under the circumstances. But keep in mind when Brad Siegel brought me back, and I can't. I can't over explain just how significant that was and how difficult that was for him to do as well as every other executive in Turner Broadcasting that was part of a sending me home in the first place because now they had to not only pay me they had to pay me more in to admit, this should really fire me in the first place. Anyway, when Brett brought in he said to be Eric this guy is too dark. I don't like what he's doing. I want you to watch over him. If you don't like what he's doing change it. So I was given the authority in in the room I needed to make changes. But my intent when I got there for the first few months was to try to find a way to make work. So some of the stuff that was going on. It wasn't my Cup of tea. I didn't really like it. But I was still trying to learn Russo's style and trying to determine what potential he had if any. That same night player won the world title with an inside cradle over Jeff Jarrett fast forward, a couple of weeks and Nash just gives the belt back to flair because he says he never lost it and later that night Rick is defending the title against shift, Jared, but David gives Jared Qatar and he gets the pin with Russo counting the fall. So Rick loses it, but under interesting circumstances. I can't believe this is real but on the June fifth nitro Russo beat RIC flair in a cage match, and that got us to the great American bash where Rick wrestled David with Rick's career on the line and the whole family's here. Of course, Rick wins. It's an interesting time in WCW to say, the least eventually well the next night on nicer. When fact Rousseau and David would beat Rick and his son read us, right? The the younger child. And then they shave rigs head. Gosh, this feels. Thrown together as a threat word well, fucking or will. I mean, it's just it by this point the relationship at this point in June. I remember that because it was right before my father passed away, and I was in Wyoming on weekend. Astronomers back and forth. Lot to Atlanta at the time. And I just gotten back home. Thursday night in I had had a couple conversations with Russo every conversation, you know, went further downhill, and I had made up my mind at weekend. There's just no way I was going to be able to work with this guy with with best at the beach coming up. This was the point where I knew he was going to go. I was gonna go again, I didn't really care one way or the other to gals. As I Russo throws a retirement party for Rick. And eventually for Rick comes out give David a low blow puts Rousseau's face in the cake and well tonight on raw, it's Rick seventieth birthday. And if there's a cake, well, you figure it out he had shoulder surgery on July seventh for a torn rotator cuff puts him out for a little bit. And by the time, he comes back, you're gone. His last appearance, of course, is the very last nitro we sort of finished nitro the same way we started. It we've covered that are about episode in the archives March twenty six two thousand one sort of book bookings for the nitro ruin flair and sting one flair and sting at the last one, let's let's run through some questions here. And let's wrap this one up as we try to end on a more positive note than the ceiling this that was the end of WCW. Paul wants to know did you notice any noticeable change in flares behavior around ninety nine and a one he's written a lot that he lost a lot of confidence during that time. Could you tell from afar? Not especially not at the time. Because I wasn't as close to Rick is I had been you know, in the years before there was a period of time. I think probably ninety four ninety five when we were spending a lot of time down in Orleans. Oh in really rich family might family would hang out together. You know, we we spent a lot of time together socially away from wrestling. So at that point, I would have probably been able to notice something different. But by you know, ninety nine to one, you know, my my relationship with Rick was pretty distant. So I wouldn't have been able to read them at all animals know, how much of a say Rick flair have over who was or wasn't named horsemen. A lot. You know? I mean, it was his baby who's gonna who's who's going to look. Learn the eye and say, no, you're wrong about that. Right. I mean, it was his baby Anthony wants to know, Eric. What's the wildest flare store, you can share on the podcast? I don't have any wild flare stores. I feel like I'm the only one in the wrestling industry. That's been in it for while that that doesn't have a Rick flair story. I've never some dance at a bar. I never saw him whip anything out that wasn't supposed to be out. I I never saw any of that. Lee wants to know, what do you think Rick's biggest bar tab was when you guys were hanging out in WCW? Did you? Well, one of them, I got stuck with it. It was over five thousand dollars. Oh, gosh note shit. We're the we're at the swan. It's a it's a restaurant. Instead of the swan hotel in Disney 'em, Jim beautiful beautiful place. Get a nice sushi bar in there. And this was the same year. One of the years where I brought a bunch of the Japanese over Tony gnocchi came over must've Cedo by all everybody that was everybody from the new Japan office came over to the Disney Jim tapings, and I wanted to have the Japanese assist fantastic. Hosts they'd always treated me, very very, well whenever I went to to Japan. So I wanted to return favors invited. Everybody over. I was going to have everybody over for general decision bar. In then wrestlers started showing up because the word got out in before you knew it. It was just the doors were blown off in at the end of the night. I'm sitting at the sushi bar with my wife, getting ready to pay the tab and the manager comes over dissolve this official. I need to give the see you. I said we'll set goes. It's RIC flair's barshop. I said, well, why are you giving it to me? He said, well Rick left, and he said to give it to you. Oh, okay. So Rick spine biles champagne cocktails and sushi, and he's he's by the house rounds. And I'm fantastic. So I yeah, I got it was like fifty eight hundred dollars or something like that. So I had to put that on my Spence report. What I got back to Atlanta raised a few eyebrows. What the hell homage sushi? Do you eat kid, but I explained the situation and it was fine. But yeah, that was the that was the one I got stuck with. Wow. Atlanta wants to know, Eric what was your favorite RIC flair Mance that you remember saying? In. I mean under my watch after go flair HOGAN one just because of the significance of it all in in what it meant for the company, you know, in terms of the overall just kind of icon ick match quality. Oh, yeah. You probably right. Your rookie RIC flair Stena sting singing RIC flair had a lot of great matches to again at semi sting. Rick gut staying over. I mean reflect put seeing on the map in. I you know, when I said, what's your favorite match? I look at those moments because they're kind of like big moments in wrestling history might not have been, you know, Dave Meltzer four-star match. But it it had a significant impact on the business. So that's that's probably what I would look at. Here's a fun one. Because we we love talking about promos here. Joshua snow. What's Eric's favorite, RIC flair promo? So the match maybe a little more difficult to pick. But our promo you've probably got one that jumps out. Well, only because we just got done talking about it a few minutes ago. But I think Rick flair in his underwear handcuff themselves to a turn buckles about the funniest shit. You're ever gonna find television. I'm talking any kind of television. That was funny entertaining wack shit, and I loved it. And I'm sure there's probably a dozen more that are equally as entertaining. But I'd have to go back and look for them to jog my memory. But that one because we just talked about it. Whether we were talking about it or not I think that has to go up in at least top three. Bart wants to know do you remember a celebrity ever requesting to meet RIC flair any interesting stories are names there, you can share that really? This is an interesting question. I never even considered Jonathan wants to know was RIC flair ever considered by him or you as possibly joining the interview was it ever mentioned that he might be a potential member. Never. Yeah. That doesn't seem like that fit. But you know, neither. It'd be K Wall Street. So what do I know voice? Sorry couldn't help. But you know, see just had you couldn't get through a whole show in a cheap shot. I had a fucking rough week. Okay. Chris wants to know flare said, and it's thirty for thirty that he would hit a piece of string until it didn't move to learn how to throw a working punches. Did you ever think that Rick was stiff in the matches you guys worked together? God. No god. No. It's it's still amazes me. When I look back in only had a few I like to call matches because it's been disrespectful to people that actually have matches. I kind kinda look at the stuff. I did is just the cool stunt more than anything else. But when I think back at some of the stuff, and I see things on videotape. You are go to the WWE network and see something I did in. I'm always shocked when I think about it because you don't feel anything at all in the ring nothing. You feel less than nothing. In fact, the only thing that really than a nerve me the most about doing anything in the ring with with somebody that was actually good at it is because if you weren't paying close attention, you wouldn't know what to sell you know, what I mean? I mean guys were that good. I've never worked with Chris been while. But I heard that Crispin law was one of the best just delivering, you know, blows of look like they were going to cut your guts out in cut you in half, and he can feel it. You know, I'm been told that by others who have worked with him. So. In Rick was one of the best. But now there was nothing. I never felt anything at all working with regards Steve Law Center, really anybody else except for Shane McMahon. I felt that. Blinn wants to know today. Aircar try on one of RIC flair's robes. No, I'm not worthy. The we have lots of questions about this. Joey Watson though that flavor. Get reimbursed for his robes from WCW over the paint out of his pocket, specifically the ones that they use it things like the nitro grill. I don't know. I don't know if that was part of Rick's dealer. Not I have to go back and look at his deal. This is a question that we've never really I've never even really considered Thomas writes if he were able to close on the purchase of WCW and indeed startled relaunch what RIC flair have been involved and what role. ESE would have been involved. What role is just to hypothetical? He would have still been active as a performer. He probably would have been more of a spokesperson for the company because Rick is really really good at that, obviously. But he still would have been an active wrestler beyond that, it would just be speculation. And the Ana wants to know if you had to pick Rick with any combination of three horsemen who would be. If I had to put Rick with any combination of other horsemen. Yes. Treating a new force with Rick or we could do that. Or I was I think he meant just any combination through history that he had only Arn totally Barry legs. Been wa Hillman. To me when I take again, it's because of the impression that I got looking at old tapes in reading about things that happened before you even got to w w I would go back to the holy, you know, very Wyndham Tully days because seemed to me to be like the beginning of it all for Sean wants now. And this is how I guess we'll wrap the show up as we celebrate nights. His seventieth birthday. What was Eric's most memorable conversation? He ever had with RIC flair. Oh. You know, I think I really got to know Rick. I presented really getting to know Rick during the process of bringing hulk in we spent a lot of time together. And I just got the Noam on a different level than that. I had previously because we're flair for those who haven't been around Rick. You know, if you're random in a social setting, he's he's he's a social animal. I mean, he just he's a life of the party commands a presence in the room, but you never really get to have much of a conversation with him. Everything's kind of superficial in social in those are the types of conversations up until the HOGAN effort, those are the types of conversations that I was having with Rick lot. But in the process of trying to recruit hulk got to spend a lot more time with Rick and got the non much personal level. So I think those are probably the conversations I had that. I remember the most because I was really getting to know the guy, you know, him personally, you know, in professionally celebrating his birthday today, but you can still be honest. What are your ankium all time? He's either one or two in my book. As if it's tight in know, we talked about this remember less we talked about maybe it was at the show did this past weekend. You know, when you when you look at the the mount Rushmore, you know, again for me, I look at it from you know, what were the real pivot points in our industry, and who the people that were instrumental in those pivot points, you'd have to put Vince McMahon right at the front of that. There's just no denying that that I've that I've got hulk HOGAN because of his role along with vents in beckoning early eighties, and how much that changed our industry. Yes. He got riff flare. You've got Steve Austin? You've got the rock. You know, you got a couple of guys that are neck and neck that all deserve the be up there. But for different reasons. Well, no doubt about it. One of the greatest of all time celebrating turning the big seven oh today, and we tried to pay tribute as best we could run through. All you guys time together in WCW. I'm sure we'll talk about the days in TNA and the WBF another time, but most everybody is listening to this show because they want to hear about the days of world championship wrestling, and we hit it with some broad Spro broad strokes today. And we hope that Rick has a great birthday today. And he gets to enjoy some cake tonight on raw, and we're going to be back at you next week the poll will be up tonight during Ralph you wanna vote, and what we've got coming your way, we've got some fun shows planned as well, including this has been coming up a lot lately unless just clear the air and address the rumor and innuendo right now. I don't know why we're getting this so many times lately. Can we legally talk about TNA here on the show airi'q? Yeah. Yeah. I'm gonna be I'm gonna be judicious. And I'm going to be careful about what I say. But yeah, I'm comfortable enough. I'm not worried about it. So stay tuned. TNA is coming your way. And we've got some fun poll topics that are going to be up on the poll on Twitter. If you haven't already follow us on Twitter at eighty three weeks. That's where he can catch us and be sure to keep an eye out tonight during raw for some fun poll topics until next time he is that need bishoff. I am a, hey, it's Conrad and we are out of time. We'll see next week right here on eighty three weeks with Eric Bischoff.