Ric Flair's performances on the microphone over the course of his multi-decade career are essentially a greatest hits collection.
Flair played a playboy character dripping with swagger, oozing with cool.
From his early days in the territories to his days at WCW, WWE and TNA, Flair has made multiple wrestlers his victims, tearing them apart with slick words. His surplus of catchphrases and improvised ramblings are some of the most entertaining pro wrestling has ever seen.
Now that he's back on Raw, who knows how many more great promos and interviews we'll see.
Rating his best on how memorable they were, how much they furthered his character or helped sell his matches, here is a list that pays homage to the man.
So many of Ric Flair's classic interviews took place in the old World Championship Wrestling studio. The '80s was perhaps his prime in terms of both wrestling and talking.
In this one, Tony Schiavone struggles not to laugh as Flair discusses Tully Blanchard, Mickey Mouse Watches and material wealth. Flair uses volume and energy more precisely than usual.
While he spreads his anger among his enemies, Flair is in command, his star power undeniable.
Surrounded by pretty women, Ric Flair exuded confidence as he prepared to face then-Heavyweight Champion, Ricky Steamboat at Wrestle War '89.
Flair delivers a typically cocky promo, making a young Jim Ross smile.
What made his feud with Steamboat special was the stark contrast in the two men. Steamboat came out in a sweatshirt, by himself, a family man who loves the fans. Flair, as usual, sported an expensive suit, flocked by girls.
With as much as Flair bled in his matches, it's no wonder that he so often wore a bandage on his forehead during interviews.
In this promo, he talks about living life the way he wants to in the process of challenging Lex Luger.
For much of the performance, Flair has a controlled intensity about him, drawing fans in while in front of a simple locker room backdrop.
He tosses in a comment about how much black people like Herschel Walker today would be analyzed and critiqued. Here it's just another element of his braggadocios heel persona.
In this 1986 promo, Ric Flair donned a gaudy, green robe and strung a number of his catchphrases together. While some wrestlers today rely on a single trademark saying like Miz's 'I'm awesome," Flair had a stockpile of memorable phrases.
He refers to himself as the "60-Minute Man" for both his endurance in the ring and the bedroom. He talks about having the biggest house on the biggest hill and "what’s causing all this" as fans had heard so often before.
In between showing off his body and title belt, Flair threatens Ronnie Garvin, Dusty Rhodes and a host of others.
Booker Vince Russo came to WCW in 1999 and like Eric Bischoff, Ric Flair's real-life animosity for him led to some captivating television moments.
In his biography, To Be The Man, Flair said of Russo, "The guy wasn't brilliant; he was obsessed with making himself a star.”
On an episode of Thunder in the Cajundome, Flair's tension with Russo fueled a fiery promo. For much of it, Flair put on a fake Italian accent, mocking Russo's father.
When he shouts, "You called us old!" and points to his championship title, it feels as if the fans are privy to a private spat, to a genuine verbal beatdown.
How many men can walk into a territory where the majority of fans haven't seen them in person and instantly become a despised villain?
This promo is a masterpiece in creating instant heat.
Dissing the town you're in is nothing new for wrestlers, but Flair's scathing attack on Memphis is masterful. He says he's surprised that his interviewer is literate and that the city isn't solely comprised of rednecks.
This quiet, controlled interview had Flair condescend to a passionate Memphis fanbase with no pulled punches.
North Carolina is Flair country. There was no better place to put on this retirement speech fake-out.
On an episode of Raw in 2007, Flair convincingly seemed to be on the verge of ending his career, of saying goodbye in front of his fans. Instead, he told the world he'd never retire, something that rings especially true now that Flair has continued to wrestle into his 60s.
Vince McMahon told him that night that his career would be on the line in every one of his matches. The next time he lost, he'd have to retire.
This angle is more remembered for the classic match it lead up to, Flair vs. Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 24 and perhaps his tear-inducing farewell speech, as well, but this promo is still one of his best.
Flair seems to spill real emotion into his microphone when talking about how much he loves the pro wrestling life. Later, when Randy Orton challenges him, he delivers a powerful staredown, helping to create interest for their impromptu match.
One of Ric Flair's greatest rivals faced off with him in the WCW studio, hostility bubbling over.
Sting called Flair out and it didn't take long for the Nature Boy to saunter out with JJ Dillon at his side.
In Sting's face, Flair manages to portray himself as in control while making Sting seem like a worthy foe. He calls Sting "an overstuffed punk from the gym." Their showdown highlighted the contrast of their personalities and styles, drawing fans in for their long and storied rivalry.
Despite WWE making Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice the main event of WrestleMania VIII and pushing the WWE Championship match down the card, Ric Flair managed to make the buildup to his match against Randy Savage a highly personal and emotional one.
Savage's valet and real-life wife, Elizabeth was the center of their feud.
Flair claimed to have dated Elizabeth before Savage, calling her "damaged goods."
Showing pictures of himself with Elizabeth and insinuating as much as he could without angering the censors, Flair forged ahead with this uncomfortable storyline. He did a masterful job of drawing hatred onto himself, pushing the envelope and appearing to have a great time in the process.
What began as a mockery of Ric Flair, morphed into a segment proving just how much passion is left in the Dirtiest Player in the Game.
Post-WWE retirement, Flair spent a few years in TNA, bleeding, screaming and strutting.
Here, Jay Lethal does an excellent Flair impression with Flair's Hall of Fame ring on his hand. It doesn't take long before the real Flair comes out, snarling.
It is one of Flair's most intense performances.
When he slaps Lethal around, he evokes a gangster taking charge of one of his lieutenants.
Long before Steve Austin confronted and insulted his boss, Ric Flair demeaned promoter David Crockett in front a live audience on a regular basis.
Flair promises a toned-down interview here, but that doesn't last long. His anger soon flares up and he is soon howling.
He talks about getting stabbed, hit with chairs and being beat up, in complete control of the interview from start to finish. At one point, he yells at Crockett who tries to interrupt him, "I'm talking here!"
Insulting Dusty Rhodes and Magnum TA, Ric Flair delivers a smooth performance talking about himself and the WCW cable program.
A wrestler claiming to be the best is standard fare, but Flair's confidence and exuberance adds an air of truth to his claims.
He calls Rhodes a "nothing happening son of a plumber" and tells Magnum to stop "riding around in that funky motorcycle," and drive a Mercedes and be a real man.
Line after line hits hard. Flair is at his smoothest and sharpest here.
In the later stages of Ric Flair's career, he lost some of his quickness and endurance, but he could always lean on his microphone skills.
Mick Foley and Flair's feud began with friction born from reality.
Flair wrote in his book, To Be The Man that Foley would "always be known as a glorified stuntman." Foley, of course, resented the comments.
WWE took that situation and crafted a storyline from it. Flair brought one of Foley's books to the ring where he proceeded to trash it and elbow drop it. Soon Foley and Flair faced off, mics in hand.
Both men gave entrancing performances.
Foley was his usual emoting self. Flair watched him with menacing eyes, licking his lips.
Flair came off as an antsy predator here, awaiting his chance to get Foley in the ring. The segment more than did its job of selling their SummerSlam 2006 "I Quit" match. It made that clash feel just as vital as the Edge vs. John Cena main event.
In or out of the ring, one of Ric Flair's greatest talents was making his opponent look great. In a showdown with Magnum TA, Flair played the braggart playboy, letting Magnum be the people's hero.
Flair exudes callousness as he opens the interview. "People want to be Ric Flair," he says.
Even with a few slip-ups, his is a captivating performance.
He makes a Beverly Hillbillies reference in calling Magnum, "Jethro Bodine." Flair sets himself up as the cocky jerk that fans want to see quieted and then allows Magnum to step in and assume the role of the quieter.
Instantly, their feud is on fire, something some wrestlers can't accomplish in weeks of airtime.
Dark shades covered Flair's eyes. He sat calmly in a chair discussing his rivalry with Kerry Von Erich.
Flair's understated performance gives off a villainous vibe, portraying the Nature Boy as calculating.
Discussing Von Erich's injury he says, "If you're not tough enough, then go home."
World Class Championship Wrestling fans witnessed a realistic moment, Flair at his finest as a heel. It's easy to forget that this is a wrestler playing a part and not a vindictive man looking to hurt his opponents regardless of the method.
Challenging Hulk Hogan for the WCW Championship, a wave of "woos" behind him, Ric Flair promised to let his interview build before cranking it up.
It didn't take long before Flair's speech became powered by a fervent energy, before he was doing a maniacal strut in the ring.
His son, David Flair, was part of the storyline, having just defected to the NWO.
That spurred on this emotional, agitated interview. Gene Okerlund let Flair roam, once saying only, "Talk to me, Nature Boy" to keep the rant going.
Despite some meandering, this remains one of Flair's more powerful performances. He seems to hold nothing back, pushing the gas all the way down to the floor.
This interview is characteristic of Ric Flair in his prime, a braggart with swagger in excess. With women screaming at his every word, his robe glittering, Flair tells the world once again why he's the best.
He rattles off a list of former foes, from Wahoo McDaniel to Barry Windham, talking about how he's beat them all.
He goes beyond a wrestler with a surplus of confidence as he begins to even control the cameras in the studio. When the camera moves away from him and onto the crowd he says, "Don’t put that camera on those girls when I'm on TV."
His performance here is one of his most measured, one where he seems to be having a blast the entire time.
On an episode of Nitro, Ric Flair gave a blistering tirade in his underwear, drawing from real-life tension.
Eric Bischoff ran WCW during the Monday Night Wars and, according to Flair, the two had major backstage issues. In Flair's biography, To Be The Man, Chris Jericho is quoted as saying "Eric seemed to have a vendetta against Ric."
Flair writes that Bischoff "seemed to take pleasure in demeaning me in front of the boys."
That rift inspired a promo filled with genuine anger. Flair challenged Bischoff as he stripped down, tossing his clothes around the ring.
Pointing to his shirt on the mat, Flair said, "That's me. I live the life of a king because the people have allowed me to."
It was one of the most memorable moments in Flair's career because it was so over-the-top. At one point, Gene Okerlund mentions to Flair that they have to go to commercial and Flair said, "You turn that camera off and I'll be naked when you come back!"
Flair's face is reddened the entire time, spitting out a challenge to his boss that fans won't soon forget.
Precious few men in wrestling history could have made Ronnie Garvin look as good in the ring as Ric Flair did at Starrcade 1987, and few could have sold the match with their mouth the way that Flair did here.
Overflowing with emotion, Flair prowls around the studio as he explains where he came from.
He challenges Garvin seemingly on the verge of having a seizure.
Soon after this, he will face Garvin in a steel cage and defeat him for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. He says that on Thanksgiving night in 1987, "there's nothing else going on."
During the buildup to his match against world champ, Vader, at Starrcade 1993, Ric Flair gave fans one of the most personal and emotive performances of his career.
Flair talked about his plane crash in 1975, a real story that he drew upon with stirring results.
Very little of the promo is about Vader. This is about Flair's personal history, his resilience and credentials. He made it seem possible, and even probable, that he could beat the giant champ.
He talks of his history of filling arenas, his own personal Super Bowls with a controlled anger and a performance that has a touch of Al Pacino-style rage.
On March 23, 2001, Vince McMahon purchased the rights to WCW. The wrestling company that had competed with WWE for so long would close its doors. This was to be the final episode of Nitro ever.
His voice cracking from his emotions, Ric Flair gave the show and the company a proper sendoff the way only he could.
Defiant, he talked about how McMahon couldn't control his or the other wrestlers' destinies.
He momentarily broke kayfabe by telling the crowd that Vince J. McMahon had voted for Flair to be NWA world champ several years prior.
The match Flair had with Sting that night didn't have as much of an impact as this promo. Flair, by that time, was out of shape and lacked confidence.
In To Be The Man, Flair called the match "terrible." He did still show the world how dangerous he was with a microphone in his hand.
Flair writes, "Despite every other way that my confidence had eroded, I knew I could still talk."
That was evident with this impassioned speech that reddened his face and gave fans a lasting memory to hold on to.
The Dusty Rhodes and The Four Horsemen feud was a thrill to watch so it's no surprise that it produced a number of quality segments outside of the ring.
Ric Flair is at his slickest here despite snarling like an animal at times.
He shouts at David Crockett about getting back to the basics and not having to wrestle under stipulations that favor Rhodes. Like usual, Flair has a stockpile of great lines in this interview.
The best of the bunch may be, "Send the limousine to the castle if you want me to work for you."
What would have been a throwaway segment in most wrestlers' hands becomes an artful performance that grabs hold of the audience and shakes hard.
Carlito has just finished his match. He lost, but it doesn't bother him too much.
Flair's reaction to Carlito’s indifference is ballistic anger funneled into a short backstage speech. Perhaps he drew upon his real feelings about young guys not respecting the business or he just tapped into the moment, but regardless, a masterpiece was born.
Carlito is stunned as Flair berates him.
The Nature Boy explains to him why he's not in the main event. His diatribe about hard work and respect feels part motivational speech, part drill sergeant's rant.
The tension between Ric Flair and Bret Hart on this 1998 episode of Nitro builds beautifully. It feels as if the two men are simply playing, joking around at first, but slowly the claws slide out.
Bret begins by mocking Flair with a "woo!" Flair then rattles off insults, pushing Bret into confrontation.
"I know in Canada, you might be a big deal," Flair says before talking about how Bret is not on his level.
Flair is at his finest here, mixing the right amount of passion, coyness and word play. He is perhaps wrestling's greatest salesman. With just this segment alone, a Flair vs. Hart battle feels bigger and more intense, something fans do not want to miss.
Having just won the WWE Championship at the 1992 Royal Rumble, Ric Flair delivers one of the most realistic and captivating speeches in wrestling history.
This doesn't feel like an actor reading his lines, but an athlete celebrating, equally exuberant and exhausted.
Focusing his energy, Flair captures the audience’s attention from his first line on. This is more than just the famous "with a tear in my eye" line, but instead the pinnacle of celebratory promos.
Flair takes a shot at WCW by saying, "This is the only title in the wrestling world that makes you number one."
His glee shines on the screen. His words are so powerful that they overshadow Bobby Heenan and Curt Hennig's contributions.
Young wrestlers learning the trade would be wise to study this video, to gleam all they can from it.