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January 12, 2016

Steve Austin And Ric Flair On His Legacy, Vince McMahon And Triple H Relationships, Charlotte, More

Steve Austin's pre-recorded "Stone Cold Podcast" with Ric Flair kicks off on the WWE Network from Austin's Broken Skull Ranch in south Texas. Austin says it's hot as hell and he's got the greatest pro wrestler on God's green Earth in front of him. Flair jokes about how far out Austin's ranch is and asks how he went from Los Angeles to being 100 miles away from anything. Austin says it's relaxing and he dedicates two months to staying there and getting away.

Austin says he believes Flair is the greatest ever to lace up a pair of boots and Flair thanks him. Austin asks about Flair calling himself a "black market baby" in his book. Flair says he was "stolen" from a hospital and put into an orphanage. He's never met his original parents and never wanted to. He was adopted and moved to Detroit, later told at age 10 that he was adopted. Flair says it didn't bother him as a kid and he didn't think about it. He says he has an ex-wife who is still upset that he never looked into his real family. He says his mom and dad were great and probably didn't understand the kind of kid they were taking on. Austin asks if Flair was a little crazy growing up. Flair says in 9th grade, he was going to either private school or detention school. He was driving his parents' motorcycle and car around while they were away, and got caught trying to buy liquor. He went to a private school in Wisconsin and said within two days, he was handed a fake ID that said he was 18 years old.

Flair talks about selling life insurance before getting into pro wrestling. He sold a bunch of his friends $10,000 policies and was "riding high" or living good. Flair says still to this day, he has a hard time understanding what moderation means. Flair talks about trying pro wrestling out and says he quit after the first two days of training but Verne Gagne made him get back in and not give up. He wanted to use the name Ramblin' Ricky Rhodes and go as Dusty Rhodes' brother but Verne said that wasn't happening and he's been using Ric Flair from the beginning. He says he was making $1,000 per week within a month and back then, that was big money. Flair says he went and bought a black four-door Cadillac Fleetwood. Austin brings up the tragic plane crash in 1975 that broke Flair's back. Flair says they hit the ground going 230 mph and the seat belt held him but was part of what caused his back injury. Flair was back in the ring 8 months later after being told he would never wrestle again. He was still paid weekly by Crockett Promotions while at home in bed. Flair knew a a month and a half later he would return one day.

Austin asks about Flair becoming The Nature Boy. He paid $3,200 for his first robe but others were $10,000 - $12,000. Austin mentions the feud with Dusty Rhodes and Flair's first World Heavyweight Title. Flair says he was gone for 9 weeks his first title run. His family saw him 7-10 times per year and he admits to not having a family life. Austin asks what Flair did to maintain his sanity while on the road away from family. Flair laughs and says Austin is going to get him in trouble. Austin says Flair has been in trouble. They joke about having 4+ marriages. Flair jokes that after working how he was working, he was going to find someone and something to drink, and he did. Austin says Flair was living a gimmick and decided to buy a limousine. Flair says the North Carolina Governor was selling his tricked out limousine and Flair bought it for $10,000. They talk about Flair wearing suits and Austin says he was ahead of his time. He says Flair had a sense of fashion and looked like a million bucks. Austin asks how Flair traveled with everything and kept his suits so nice. Flair says he really just bought a lot of stuff and never tried wearing the same thing twice. Austin asks if Flair could push the envelope like he did then, in today's system. Flair says yes. Maybe not enjoy the evenings as much as he did then, but if he could bring his wrestling and gimmick to the table, Vince wouldn't have enough money.

Austin brings up Dusty again and asks what was it about Flair and Dusty that caused magic in the ring. He asks what it was like working with Dusty. Flair says he can't put it into words, Dusty was the best. They did have arguments but they had unusual chemistry. Austin says Flair's promos were always nothing but supreme confidence, Flair always had everything better than the next guy. Flair talks about how he and Dusty would always outdo each other in buying homes, cars, everything else.

Austin asks what Flair thought when he first came into WWE. Flair says he was excited and already had so many friends up there. Jim Herd wanted Flair to wear a diamond ear-ring and be called Spartacus. Flair was tired of Herd. Flair had to cut his hair and walked through the Charlotte airport and wasn't noticed. He hated that. Flair says he didn't know Vince was going to make him champion. Vince shook his hand and told him he was going to make him more money. Flair says he wrestled Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Bret Hart, The Undertaker on house shows and Randy Savage on his first WWE run. He talks about having a blast on the WWE tours. Austin asks about working with Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. Flair says Heenan is one of the top 20 performers of all-time and could talk, work, bump, anything. Austin brings up the WrestleMania 24 retirement match with Shawn Michaels and asks how emotional Flair was going into that match. Flair says to be inducted into the Hall of Fame with no time limit and then to wrestle Shawn, he doesn't know any athletes that get to have a three-day run like that. Then to top it off, the send-off on RAW. Flair says he was devastated the next day because he was no longer in the business. Austin asks how was the transition into family life. He started living vicariously trough his kids, attending all of their sporting and wrestling events. WWE started using him less and Flair says it was a hard life to let go of.

Regarding Reid Flair being mentioned on the recent RAW storyline with Paige and Charlotte, Flair says it was hard on Charlotte emotionally and for him too. He says but he knows the business and just doesn't want to see Charlotte cry. He says she's cried enough and those were real tears when Charlotte was talking about Reid on RAW. Flair says Charlotte goes to work every day because that's what Reid wanted to be. She's fulfilling his dream. Flair says his take on it is that Reid's probably in Heaven saying people are still talking about him. Flair says he gets the business but didn't like it back when Jerry Lawler was ragging on Bret Hart's parents because it was family. He says it's emotional but he doesn't blame anyone for what happened. Austin asks how proud of Charlotte he is. He says her winning the WWE Divas Title at Night of Champions was the biggest point of his career. Before that, it would have been the WrestleMania weekend with Shawn. That's how much it meant to him because of everything that's happened in their personal lives. Austin asks if being Ric Flair's daughter is a pro or a con. Flair says he didn't even called anyone to get her into WWE. He took Charlotte and Reid to the Hall of Fame for the Four Horsemen and John Laurinaitis, who had known Charlotte for a while, asked why she wasn't wrestling. This was in April of that year and she was in WWE developmental that July. Austin asks if Flair thinks she has pressure on her being his daughter. He believes she did but no longer does. Flair says people realize she is a better athlete than he ever was. He says she's not afraid of anything. He brings up the recent back & forth on Twitter with Ronda Rousey. He says she could go and train for a year or so and isn't afraid of anyone.

We see Triple H's 2008 inductions speech for Flair and Austin talks about how much Flair means to Triple H. He asks about their relationship. Flair says Triple H is so busy but they talked the day before this interview. Flair says Triple H is his best friend. When Reid passed away, Triple H was the first person he called. He knew Reid and has been hands-on with Charlotte through a difficult time. He says Triple H is in a tough spot sometimes because he's working for a tough guy but he hasn't become insensitive. He told Triple H he wasn't crazy about Charlotte getting into the business but he knew Triple H would take care of her. Austin loves what Triple H has done with NXT, calling it very simple, organic and straight forward, what the business is about. Flair says Vince finally came to NXT at WrestleMania 31 week in San Jose and then got on-board. Shawn told Charlotte and Sasha Banks that night they were better than the males on the roster and if he were one of them, he would get it together. Flair talks about how hard Triple H works. Austin asks about Flair's relationship with Vince. He says he can't say anything about Vince, Vince has always taken care of him. He says when WCW folded, if Vince didn't bring him on then they wouldn't be sitting here now. He says one time he was $800,000 in debt to Vince and received his WrestleMania retirement paycheck, saying it was the biggest check he'd ever received but wouldn't say exactly how much it was for. He says he received the check and basically handed it back. Apparently Vince called and offered to let Flair keep the check but Flair says he paid Vince back, all $800,000 but with no interest. They both say Vince is a man of his word and you can't ask for more. Flair says Vince would never ask anyone else to do something he wouldn't do himself.

Austin says he wishes the Monday Night Wars ended differently because competition is always better in this business. Austin doesn't consider any other commodity competition, Flair agrees. Austin brings up Flair recently doing some voice work for the Camp WWE adult cartoon to air on the WWE Network in the future. He says it's very good, very entertaining. Flair says the WWE Network gives life to a guy like him. Austin asks if Flair has a favorite story. Flair says if you really want to know what he was all about, he rented a suite on top of Caesar's Palace at $4,000 per night back in 1986. It was he, JJ Dillon, Tully Blanchard and their pilots. He called down for entertainment and an hour later, he had a knock on the door and it was three women that apparently cost $1,000 each. They partied in a hot tub and had a bill of $11,000 the next day. Austin says again that he considers Flair to be the best and asks what he thinks about his own legacy. Flair says he doesn't dwell on that. He believes Austin is the biggest star in the history of the business, no competition. He's so tired about Hulk Hogan being the biggest star. Flair wants to be remembered as the guy who worked the hardest and as the guy who wrestled everybody. He says the one guy he didn't get to wrestle when he was there was John Cena. Flair says he faced everyone and had a great time. There's some friendly small talk as Austin and Flair wrap the interview.

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