Thursday, February 25, 2016

I Listen So You Don't Have To: WOOOOO! Nation with Ric Flair, Episode 41

Flair's podcast is dedicated to fan questions
Photo Credit:
If you’re new, here’s the rundown. We listen to a handful of wrestling podcasts each week. Too many, probably, though certainly not all of them. In the interest of saving you time — in case you have the restraint to skip certain episodes — the plan is to give the bare bones of a given show and let you decide if it’s worth investing the time to hear the whole thing. There are many wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but this feature largely hews to the regular rotation we feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If we can save other folks some time, we’re happy to do so.

Show: WOOOOO! Nation with Ric Flair
Episode: 41
Run Time: 1:13:02
Guest: none

Summary: Having missed a week of their show, Flair and his co-host Conrad Thompson need to knock out an episode for their fans, so rather than get a guest, they decide to put up the Twitter hashtag #AskNaitch and let listener questions dictate the proceedings. The questions are all over the place. Some listeners ask the typical questions familiar to Flair ("Who was your stiffest opponent?" "Do you think there should be more bleeding in wrestling?"). He talks about famous matches with Terry Funk and Randy Savage, and reflects on his near-return to WWF during prime 1998 Attitude Era. Other questions provide some fertile ground for discussion, such as his thoughts on Triple H supposedly burying talent, and his opinion that Paul Heyman should not do all the talking for Brock Lesnar.

Quote of the Week: Flair on Triple H as a wrestler burying people - "Of course we all, when we're working, we're trying to be the best. But if you are the best, all you gotta do is go out in the ring and be the best. If someone says, 'I'm not gonna give you a chance in the ring,' then they're holding you back. If they're letting you get in the ring, then you very simply can distinguish yourself from your opponent or anybody else around that's got a problem with you being in that position."

Why you should listen: There is a certain charm to hearing Ric Flair just speak what's on his mind, and that happens a little here. He is at his strongest when he is fondly recalling something that he hasn't talked about a thousand times, such as when he lights up while talking about how Sherri Martel was always the first one to get in the middle of a bar fight. The episode also contains some information I didn't know, like the preparation needed for Flair's match with Savage at Wrestlemania 8. They went three hours a day for an entire week, though they really spent half the time just talking about Savage's impending divorce with Elizabeth. That's just beyond fascinating to think about.

Why you should skip it: One could characterize this episode as an audience-free audio recording of one of the Q&A sessions that Flair probably does at least once a month for a group of dorky wrestling fans with bad questions. Any wrestler who regularly does these will be asked certain questions and immediately go into autopilot mode. Flair's autopilot mode usually means some variation of "I am a wrestler who was very popular in the 1980's and I drank lots of alcohol in various bars in America and I cheated on my wife a whole bunch. Isn't that cute and charming?"

Final Thoughts: This is a harmless 70 minutes that won't change your life, but won't bore you to tears. However, I spent some time during this episode thinking about how nice it will be whenever Ric Flair leaves the WWE. This is not necessarily due to me disliking his current role as his daughter's manager, but more due to the fact that being employed by WWE means there is a finite limit to his honesty during interviews. A question comes in about his opinions on CM Punk's departure from WWE. You know that Flair has talked about this with Triple H up and down, and he has a world of things he could say about it, but instead he chooses to claim that he doesn't know a whole lot about it but he's sure Triple H didn't do anything wrong. Come on, Ric. Just do a better job of saving your money so you won't need Vince McMahon's checks anymore. Then we can really do some quality podcasting.