Rory Karpf, the director of the new ESPN 30 For 30: Nature Boy special on WWE Hall Of Famer Ric Flair recently appeared as a guest on Jim Ross’ Ross Report podcast to talk about the making of the project. Below are some of the highlights from the interview.
On Ric Flair the performer and the real person and the differences between the two: “Ric’s a very charming guy and you could see before he got sick he was incredibly self-destructive, but he’s kind of like a crazy uncle. That’s how I viewed him. I really like him. It’s fun to be with him. It’s hard to explain, I guess, unless you know him. And I’ve talked to other people that know him pretty well about this. It’s just something you can’t explain why that’s endearing about him. He’s sweet. He’s a sweet man.
“There’s also a real vulnerability there with him that when you get to know him a little bit better, it really comes through and it’s, like, surprising that in a way he’s the most confident person you meet, but also one of the least confident people. I find that very interesting, that dichotomy.”
On Flair’s recent medical scare and him being sober for the first time in his adult life: “I did go to some bars with Ric. And, actually, we went out for St. Patrick’s Day. He goes kind of hard and ends early. That’s how he is now. It’s like, he’s out of control at seven o’clock. It’s like, ‘I just got here! What are you doing? Why are you dancing on the table? Like, sit down. We’re just watching the football game.’ And he’s hard to keep up with.
“I think now that he [has] had the health scare and I think he mentioned to People Magazine for the first time he said he kind of has a drinking problem. He’s not drinking. He’s sober for the first time in his life, so I think that’s a pretty big accomplishment.”
On Flair’s relationship with his parents: “He said that his parents only saw him wrestle three times! Three times! It’s like seeing Michael Jordan play basketball if you’re his parents. I mean, he was the best guy! He did it forever too. It’s not like he was wrestling every once in a while. I mean, he was wrestling constantly and he was the best dude, so you’d think there would have been many opportunities to go see him and think about how many big matches. And that’s what really struck me, and he said, ‘well, they didn’t get it.’ Well, who cares? I mean, he’s the best! If my kid could play chess, I may not understand it, but I’ll go see him play chess, so I found that pretty striking.
“Ric loves his parents and if you ask him, Ric, he’d say he kind of has two parents that are his parents and say that they are the ones that suffered having him as a son, so that’s his side of it. I did find some of the things kind of sad when it came to that.”
Check out the complete episode of The Ross Report featuring the Rory Karpf interview at PodcastOne.com.