Mike Johnson, reporting live from the Hall Of Fame:
Triple H was introduced. He said that the fact the building is
jampacked tonight to show love for the past of the business is awesome and
thanked the fans.
Triple H said, "How do you talk about this guy?" He said Flair deserves not to be in the Hall of Fame but to have his own wing.
They played a video feature on Flair's career.
HHH pointed out Michael Hayes and said he looked like a Stay Puft Marshmallow
HHH said Flair inspired him to get in the business watching him on Saturdays on TBS. He told a story of going to a gym convention in Columbus, Georgia and meeting Flair in a hotel where Flair was walking around naked except for a pair of dress shoes and socks and a balloon tied to his penis. HHH saw Flair strut into the bar and thought that everything he heard about that man is true. He said all the crazy Flair stories were true.
HHH said Flair was his idol and is one of his closest friends but he was terrified by the prospect of inducting the greatest pro wrestler in history. He said that Flair inspired every single wrestler in the company in some way. HHH said that when he saw Steve Austin this weekend, Austin said he didn't want to miss Flair being inducted.
HHH asked what made Flair the best and said he was one of the greatest stick man in the history of the business. He said that he had the greatest phrases ever in the history of the wrestling.
HHH said Flair could go 60 minutes with a broomstick and get the broom over. He pointed out Flair's classic matches with Bruiser Brody, Sting, Harley Race and Dusty Rhodes among others.
He said all those things helped Flair but it was his passion to be the best wrestler that was the key. HHH noted that it's been said that Flair is "arguably" the best wrestler of all time. HHH said he is still waiting to hear the argument against because he's the greatest of all time, period.
HHH introduced Flair, who got the longest standing ovation I have ever seen.
Flair pulled out a photo of himself and Gordon Solie and said to Shawn Michaels
that's who he had to fight. Flair said he would never retire and let out a
He said in a moment like this, he realizes that for all he's done, he must have done something right. He was crying a lot.
Flair said he's worried about not remembering enough people to thank. He
started by thanking Kevin Dunn and the WWE production team for what they do
every week and making him look good the last seven years.
Flair said he wanted to thank the legal department because some of the things he used to pull don't fly anymore. He thanked a lot of WWE officials including Sue Aitchensen and Mark Carano.
Flair said he loves to talk to the young guys and praised all the WWE agents for working their ass off every week. He thanked Mike Rotunda, Barry Windham, Finlay, Jamie Noble, Pat Patterson, Sgt Slaughter, Jerry Brisco, Arn Anderson and Rick Steamboat.
Flair then thanked the writing team, saying that although they sometimes argue about what they are asked to do, they are creative and talented. He named many of them by name and apologized to Ed Koskey for all the times he scared him by saying things he wasn't supposed to be.
Flair thanked those who made his robes over the years and his boots. Flair said he figured out today he bought 582 pairs of boots over the years.
Flair began crying as he thanked his attorney John Taylor. He said he was in a lawsuit with WCW and Taylor advised him he could sit back and get rich or go back to work.
Flair thanked Steve Lombardi for all his hard work in putting together the interviews we see all the time and Downtown Bruno for bringing him a 12-pack every night.
Flair joked that his family thought Chris Jericho was Bon Jovi. Flair talked about Big Show, saying he knew Andre the Giant when he was first breaking in. Flair said Big Show was the best big man he's ever been in the ring with. Show began openly sobbing.
Flair praised Tony Garea and Tim White for all the draws they give him on the
Flair began praising Edge and said he's a special guy and a great champ. He told the story of working a ladder match with him saying he did something with Edge he never did before and loved it.
Flair said now the speech would begin!!
He showed off NWA title cufflinks HHH gave Flair.
Flair began breaking down thanking Betty Skaaland and the late Arnold Skaaland for all their kindness. Flair told a story of going out drinking all night and running up a bartab of $30K during Summerslam 1992 weekend and Skaaland saving his rear end.
Flair said Ray Stevens once told him the day the goose bumps go away, his career should end and Flair said he has goose bumps tonight. He said tonight was the end of a journey he's lived for so many years.
Flair put over the other members of this year's Hall of Fame class. He said it was special to receive the honor while still active. He said that he wants all of the talents to know how much he respects all of them and thanks them for their friendship and respect. He said the last 7 years have been special to him and he's honored to be inducted in Orlando, "the second home of Space Mountain".
Flair talked about working in Florida as a territory and doing interviews with Gordon Solie. Flair said he owes everything he had, has, and will be to the wrestling business. He said he hopes that fans realize that Flair gave everyone the best he could.
Flair thanked those who helped him who are no longer with them.
Ric Flair talked about being laid up after his plane crash and George Scott
suggesting he be modeled after Buddy Rogers. He thanked Scott for seeing
something in him.
Flair began talking about the toughness of Blackjack Mulligan and living next to him. Flair told a story of Blackjack and Barry Windham against The Andersons and BJ not liking how it was going. He sent Windham to the locker room, hit Ole and Gene, then told them if they wanted a piece of him, he'll be waiting in their locker room. He said the Andersons still haven't entered. He praised Blackjack's ability to show how special he is and told the young talents that is what they need to do... show how special they are.
Flair discussed winning the NWA title from Harley Race.
This is seriously beyond awesome. If you ever loved Ric Flair, the NWA
or WCW, you need to see this speech.
Flair talked for a long time about his friendship with Ken Patera and said Ken introduced Flair to Verne Gagne.
Gagne warned Flair there was no quitting if he started training. He said the second day, he wanted to quit and talked a long time about training in Gagne's barn. He quit and went home. Gagne came to Flair's house and threw him down and told him to come back. A week later Flair quit again and Gagne called and warned him to come back or he was coming over. Flair returned and 2 months later he was in the business.
Flair began telling Wahoo McDaniel stories I couldn't do justice too. He praised Wahoo for teaching him and showing him how to be the best.
Flair said Dusty Rhodes became one of his idols and wanted to be just like him. He told stories about wanting to be Rambling Ricky Rhodes when he was breaking in and said Dusty's connection to the fans was as awesome as anything Flair has ever seen. He talked about Dusty seeing something in him and naming the first Starrcade 'A Flair for the Gold'. He said Dusty is the most charismatic person in the business.
Flair said his greatest opponent was Rick Steamboat, saying that was "as
good as it got" and he's fortunate to have had Steamboat to work with to
create a body of work that will stand the test of time.
Flair talked about working in St. Louis under Sam Muschnick, saying it was the crown jewel of the NWA and praised Sam for his integrity and honesty. He said wrestling there was as big an honor as it was to wrestle in Madison Square Garden and anywhere in the Carolinas.
Flair praised the Crockett family for pushing him to be NWA champ. He said he wishes them nothing but the best.
Flair pointed out Carlos Colon in the crowd and talked about how Carlos and Vince McMahon Sr. were the deciding votes to make him NWA champ. Flair told a story about sending in a heel promo about hating Trinidad that got him arrested when he arrived. Flair told the story about the riot in the Dominican Republic and that Carlos paid off the airline for Flair to travel without a passport.
Flair said no one will understand how good the Four Horsemen were inside and outside the ring. He praised Arn, Malenko, Mongo and Benoit (by name) and said they were the reason he came back to WCW. Benoit's name got some boos but mostly cheers.
Flair began crying as he praised Arn Anderson as a friend and as a performer.
He told some great stories about partying with Arn and told him he loved him.
Flair praised Tommy Young and Charles Robinson for their great referee work. Nora Greenwald was sitting with Robinson.
Flair praised Gordon Solie and Jim Ross provided the soundtrack of his career. Flair said no one could ever replace Jim Ross and that he knew the business inside and out.
Flair said Bobby Heenan was the greatest manager and one of the greatest workers of all time. He told some stories of Heenan managing the Blackjacks when a riot broke out. He said Heenan is not in good health right now but he wants everyone to know he's one of the best friends Flair ever had.
Flair then told some stories about Gene Okerlund and said he wouldn't have made it through WCW without going drinking with him after the shows. He said Okerlund is wrestling and is awesome.
Flair talked about his confidence issues and thanked Michael Hayes for being a close friend and for never letting Flair forget who he was. He told a tory about seeing Hayes with Cher and Greg Allman.
They just gave Flair a "go home" sign, which the crowd booed.
Flair said he knows his last match could be tomorrow and it could be in front of his family at ringside and told Shawn "to be the man you have to beat the man". He thanked everyone for their love.
Flair praised Undertaker for being so great in the ring and that he loved
their match at Wrestlemania 18.
Flair thanked the McMahons and said Vince has treated him with nothing but respect while Linda is one of the smartest women he's ever known. Flair said when the time comes, WWE will be in equally good hands with Stephanie and Shane.
Flair praised John Cena's love and passion. He said he's tireless and is the "go to guy" in the company. Flair said his heart is in the business and he won't leave the business for Hollywood. Flair said he corrupted Cena and told stories about making him drink.
Flair said he was tired of hearing Hulk Hogan was the greatest of all time in the WWF and WWE when it was really Steve Austin. He said Austin was the best.
Another "go home" sign. More boos.
Flair praised Batista and Randy Orton. Flair said he lives his life vicariously thru Batista now.
They are rushing Flair since the Hall is on the air now.
Flair praised HHH and said he wishes he could wrestle him back when Flair was good. Flair then talked about Shawn Michaels saying he was way ahead of Flair a long time ago but tomorrow, Shawn has "The Man" to contend with.
Flair said he's so thankful to have a wonderful family. He said his father was the bravest man he ever knew and his mom is amazing. He said his wife is his best friend and inspires him every day. Flair told his kids he loved them and thanked his first two wives for all their hard work as mothers. His children were all crying.
The Wrestlemania DVD will be a "must buy" for anyone, simply due to Flair's induction speech. It was almost like a shoot interview at points, with Flair discussing his incredible career.
The fans were very upset at the constant calls for Flair to wrap up, and at one point turned their wrath towards Triple H, who helplessly responded with a "It's not my call" expression.
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