ASBO’s Humza Hussain and Diamond Dallas Page dissect Ric Flair’s ESPN 30 for 30
Earlier this month, ESPN released a 30 for 30 special documenting the career and life of the legendary professional wrestler, Ric Flair. I spoke to WWE Hall of Famer, Diamond Dallas Page (DDP), and we discussed the 30 for 30 at length and also, what this has done for the legacy of “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair.
After I finished my viewing of Ric Flair’s ESPN 30 for 30, I knew I had to write a piece on the film. It not only shows the great heights Ric reached in wrestling, but the lows he experienced.
I felt that getting comments from those who have watched and known Ric Flair would help the article. However, my conversation with Dallas covered so much ground, and also with his long history with Flair, I felt the best thing to do was simply release my full conversation with the one and only, DDP...
Humza: Hello Dallas, you okay?
Dallas: I’m unstoppable, brother.
Humza: I watched Ric Flair’s 30 for 30 the other week, and it inspired me to write a piece on the film. I thought to myself, what better way to write an article on the film than to get comments from guys in the wrestling business.
Humza: Before I ask about the film, I just wanted to know what that night (the film premiere) was like. It was an all-star cast of people, and it looked amazing.
Dallas: You know, I was lucky enough to have gotten with Ric prior to this. You know, when he was going through his near-death experience. Getting to see him before being so sick, and for him to kick out. So to see him there, really looking like a beacon of light, he looked great. The thing that makes that film so beautiful... is that it’s honest.
Dallas: In our world, we’ve always skewed everything because that’s professional wrestling. What’s real, what’s not? Hundred percent real and raw was Ric’s 30 for 30. When you gotta be honest in talking about not being there for your kids, it can get really tough. He owns it. It’s not like he tried to escape it, he loves his kids, worships them. You know the guy owns his highs and his lows.
Humza: That’s true.
I mean, like you said, his honesty is something that really sticks out. I thought that was really great of Ric. But another thing that really struck me about the film was - you could tell watching it, that Ric did have an alcohol problem. But unlike other wrestlers, he seemed to hide it well...
Dallas: I don’t even think he hid it. He was just like “hey, I drink”. You know, Ric was a functional alcoholic. When Ric got sick, that’s the first time he, literally, got sober. So that he’s still alive, it just shows you how strong his constitution is. Everything shut down in his body, but the mental part, you know a lot of people, I don’t know if they can really do it. But if anybody can not have another drink, it’s gonna be Ric.
You gotta remember, Ric, can’t have another drink. Kidding around that night, he said “hey doc”, Doc said “hey, how you doing?” he said, “aye, just had a couple beers today”.
Dallas: And the doctor looks right at him, he goes “Ric, if you have three more beers, and your body reacts the way it did last time, I can’t save you”. So that’s the definition of, you know, it’s showtime.
Humza: For sure. He did say he’s not going to drink again. I hope he doesn’t because we want “The Nature Boy”.
Dallas: Right, absolutely. Everybody loves him.
Humza: When I watched it, I mean, I expected it to be a really good film, but I didn’t think it would be that great. And, I watched it, and I was literally blown away. What was your immediate reaction after you finished watching the film?
Dallas: I love documentaries.
Humza: Same here.
Dallas: It was every bit as good as the Resurrection of Jake The Snake. That’s what I thought. Two of the icons of our business, and both of them, they were both real and raw.
Humza: That’s very true.
Dallas: There was no work about it. No added bullshit. It was real.
Humza: I’ve met Ric once, as a fan, and I watched his whole career. When I finished watching it, I kind of found myself reflecting a little bit. Did you find yourself reflecting, maybe, on your relationship with Flair because you’ve known him for so long, and you have had some ups and downs with him?
Dallas: You saw me speak and you heard me talk about the ups and downs (laughs). Ric had the greatest retirement, not in the history of wrestling, in the history of all sports. I can remember that moment to myself saying “man, I love Ric Flair. I gotta try and fix this”. So it was personal to me, and to see where Ric and I have gone with our relationship, I wish I had done it a lot earlier (laughs).
Humza: I mean, even when I talk to you. You had some ups and downs, but I could tell you always, even during your bad periods, you always seemed to respect Ric Flair. You always had an admiration for what he did, especially what he did for you because... he dropped the world title to you.
Dallas: Yeah, how could you not? Even if we never fixed it, I would have always given him his props and who he was as the athlete and the character.
Humza: Another thing that I really like about the film – there are so many stories, I mean, Ric’s lived such an incredible life. He’s had ups and downs with the passing of his son, Charlotte’s success, and obviously his great feuds in wrestling. And they really seemed to put everything in the film and it didn’t feel crammed.
They really packed everything in really nicely – you’re laughing, you’re emotional. It’s really crazy; it’s a rollercoaster of emotions. They did such an incredible job of telling every story of Ric Flair.
Dallas: The producer and the director Rory did an unbelievable job piecing it all together. I later was told they were going to interview Jake for the Chris Laettner 30 for 30. Jake didn’t do it, and they got Naitch because Jake was the heel of heels, Ric was still loved. Even though you love Jake too, but that interview turned in to that!
Humza: Yeah (laughs).
Dallas: It was the greatest thing that happened to Naitch. Naitch was always at the elitist level of our business, but now with the 30 for 30, he goes down as the guy. That’s the only way I can put it.
Humza: Even when you see the film, you see the impact he has had on so many different celebrities and sportsmen, it’s pretty crazy. And that’s in 2017 that Ric Flair is still the icon for everybody.
Dallas: Yeah, it’s pretty crazy.
Humza: I just have one final question, Dallas. I recently listened to Jim Ross’s podcast where he had Mick Foley on as a guest, and Foley said he thinks that Ric’s biggest contributions are still to come because his near-death experience is such a powerful story, he thinks he can reach so many more people now and have a real positive impact...
Dallas: I absolutely agree. Ric can do whatever he wants to do at this point and that’s the way I look at it. All he has to do is make a decision on whether he wants to speak, whether he wants to inspire people. He’s at a point where he can do whatever he wants to do, and how amazing is that, to be able to reinvent yourself at sixty-eight years young.
Humza: Yeah, that’s incredible. Dallas, thank you so much for your time.
Dallas: Appreciate it, buddy, thanks.
To watch Ric Flair’s powerful ESPN 30 for 30, visit: http://www.espn.com/watch/collections/1601/30-for-30-nature-boy
And for more information on DDP’s upcoming DDP Yoga events and black Friday offers (including the brand new DDP Y Rebuild designed to help people aged 55+), make sure you visit: https://ddpyoga.com/.
By Entertainment and Sports Editor – Humza Hussain
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