Flair Friday – Ric Flair Debut on WWF TV

When Bobby the Brain Heenan held up the NWA World title at the end of a random August 1991 episode of Wrestling Challenge it sent shockwaves across the wrestling world. Ric Flair, icon of their competition, was coming to the WWF. This video is from Prime Time Wrestling during the unfortunate “studio audience” era. I will cop to desperately wanting my father to drive me to Stamford, CT to go to one of these but clearly these are plants and not the motley crew you would see at the TBS Studio tapings. This is Flair’s first interview on WWF TV and there are some interesting things.

  • Heenan goes around roasting everyone around the office as only he can, displaying extreme nervousness and the depth of his character.
  • For some reason, Sean Mooney is out there and not usual host Vince McMahon.
  • The sweatshirt Heenan is wearing annoys the crap out of me because of how incredibly off center the logo is. But it’s not up by the breast either. What’s going on with that thing?
  • Flair is wearing one of his robes rather than the suits he would wear on TBS; my guess is this was done to make a distinction and give him a “character” other than “Slick Ric”.
  • Flair refers to the belt as a “trophy” in part because the NWA had stripped him formally, but he still had possession of the belt. There was a lawsuit and eventually he had to give it back, and it established a legal precedent that championship belts are the intellectual property of the wrestling promotion.
  • Challenges are issued to both Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper making clear that the Nature Boy was not going to be screwing around with midcarders.
  • I wish they hadn’t cut out the part where he admonishes a booing woman by telling her that she’ll find out what he’s about later. No references overtly to his own sexuality this time.

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