Is Ric Flair Becoming the Real-Life Randy 'The Ram' Robinson?
Many pro wrestlers have suffered trials and tribulations similar to those endured by the troubled former ring champ in decline played by Mickey Rourke in Darren Aronofsky's 2008 Oscar nominee The Wrestler. But as a particularly sad investigative report by Grantland suggests, wrestling veteran Ric Flair (born Richard Fliehr), whose personal and financial troubles have sent him into a steep decades-long decline, may be the closest the WWE/TNA world currently has to a real life Randy "The Ram" Robinson.
Domestic woes, multiple divorces, expensive habits, financial mismanagement, violent outbursts, terrible business decisions, shady business partners... it's all in Grantland's investigation into how Flair managed to whittle his fortune away, fall deep into debt, and go through multiple divorces in the past few decades while trying desperately to stay afloat, working all the while in the most physically brutal profession in entertainment.
Excerpted from Grantland:
Today the story is about a man known in the court system as Richard Morgan Fliehr, 62, born in 1949 and adopted by parents who raised him in Minnesota. That's what he was called this past April, when a judge ejected Fliehr from his Charlotte home because he couldn't pay his rent. That's what he was called in May, when he faced an arrest order for an unpaid $35,000 loan. That's what he's called on the paychecks from Total Nonstop Action, a second-tier outfit where he's still compelled to perform despite suffering from alcoholic cardiomyopathy, and where almost everything he earns goes toward old debts: lawyers, ex-wives, the IRS, former business partners, and anyone who made the mistake of lending him money.
The entire chronological account of Flair's past few decades of life mismanagement can be found here. Ironically, Flair shared the ring with actor Rourke to promote The Wrestler at a WWE event in 2009, teaming up with him in a face off against Chris Jericho. Here's to hoping the Nature Boy can sort things out before things get as dire as they did for The Ram.
• The Wrestler in Real Life [Grantland]