“I’m really looking forward to this. It’s
going to be bigger than the Super Bowl,” Ric Flair remarks,
in reference to the upcoming Wrestlemania XX. The yearly
Pay-Per-View event, produced by World Wrestling Entertainment, is a
household name and is regarded as the biggest event in professional
wrestling. On Sunday, the 20th installment of the competition will
take place at Madison Square Garden, and Ric Flair, a legend in the
wrestling business, is ready.

Beth Dykstra
Science be damned! Ric Flair lives! (Courtesy of World Wrestling Entertainment)

A veteran of the squared circle for over 30 years, Flair has
been a part of some of the greatest matches in sports entertainment
history. During his stints in many different wrestling companies,
including WWE, Flair has been World Champion 16 times. “I
like to think I’ve had a lot of good matches with a lot of
different guys,” he remarks.

Among those are his famous series of contests with Ricky
“The Dragon” Steamboat in the late ’80s,
considered by many, including Flair himself, as the best in
history. These 40-plus minute matches can never be replicated today
due to the fast-paced nature of the business. Many of these
encounters took place in the now-defunct World Championship
Wrestling, where Flair was thought of as the cornerstone of the
company. Despite this fact, Flair actually enjoys his WWE career
much more, commenting that “WCW was a failure from day
one.”

While being a member and leader of the popular wrestling faction
The Four Horsemen in the ’80s and ’90s, Flair developed
the “limousine-riding, jet-flying, kiss-stealing,
wheeling-dealing son of a gun” lifestyle he is known for
today. Now, at the ripe age of 55, Flair can no longer be the life
of the party. “Just part-time, and only when my wife
doesn’t know about it,” Flair laughs.

Known as the “Nature Boy” to wrestling fans, Flair
came back to the WWE in 2001 and has never looked back. He feels
that he has passed the torch to younger stars such as Shawn
Michaels and Triple H, although he added, “They had to wait
until I was in my 40s to get it from me.” When his
illustrious career finally ends, Flair said he will enjoy the
public relations aspect of the business. “I feel like
I’ve been in the business so long … I can talk about
it … I think I’m good at carrying the word.”

No longer an everyday competitor, Flair will be lacing up the
boots for Wrestlemania XX, teaming up with young wrestlers Randy
Orton and Batista to take on the team of Mick Foley and The Rock.
It will be his third time wrestling at the event, but his first
tag-team match there.

Featuring other WWE stars such as Stone Cold Steve Austin, The
Undertaker, Kurt Angle and Goldberg, the five-hour extravaganza
will provide entertainment for both avid and casual fans. The event
itself will be huge, and the Madison Square Garden venue only adds
to the magnitude. “They’re bringing it back to their
baby,” Flair says. “New York will be on
fire.”

Wrestlemania will air Sunday at 7 p.m. on
Pay-Per-View.

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