Where Wrestling's Regional History Lives!
- Vince Fahey
of all the books that could've been written about the professional
wrestling business...all the various biographical subjects, the one I
was most interested in, or at least, the one I anticipated the most, was
the one on and by Ric Flair.
While I certainly can't be called the world's
biggest Ric Flair fan, I am a fan of his, regardless. How can any
pro wrestling fan not be? In and out of the ring, Flair has an air
of class, professionalism, respect and appreciation that many other pros
don't have. And throughout his new book, To Be the Man, all
that is clearly evident.
I'm pretty certain I've read all the wrestling
biographies that are available, at least within the last 5-7 years, and
easily, at least in my opinion, this book is in the top three.
Part of that certainly comes from my interest and appreciation of Flair,
but moreso, I think this book, while not necessarily giving me an inside
glimpse of the business like we got with Ole
Anderson's book, here we get a glimpse of Ric Flair the wrestler,
and even more important, Ric Flair the man. And it is this glimpse
of the man, that makes this book so enjoyable.
When I really first started paying attention to
wrestling, back in 1986, to me, there was a huge dichotomy between the
WWF and Jim Crockett Promotions.... One was full of circus-like
characters, the other normal wrestling personas. Everything about
the two promotions was different... and spearheading JCP was Ric Flair.
He alone represented the biggest difference to WWF's Hulk Hogan... and
even now, looking back, I can remember how I felt when Flair would come
out for an interview or get into the ring to wrestle. He was
entertaining on levels that Hogan couldn't match. Back then, Flair
simply was the man.
The book starts with Ric's earliest life, pre-pro
wrestling, giving us insight into his upbringing. It progresses
through his career from early days in the AWA to Mid-Atlantic
Championship Wrestling, his days working for JCP, into his first WWF
run, back to WCW and then brings us to present. One of the best
things about this book, is that Flair manages to touch on almost
everything that's been of interest in his career. From the plane
crash in 1975, to his feud in MACW with Rick Steamboat... the Horsemen,
the Von Erichs, Harley Race, his problems with Eric Bischoff, his
relationship with Vince McMahon... Flair isn't afraid to lay his life
out for us to read... and this to me, is one of the best reasons to read
this book... Ric allows us into his life in a way that no other pro
wrestler has in a book before.
If you haven't already purchased this book by now,
then you owe it to yourself as a wrestling fan to do so.... it is full
of history, full of style, and an extremely enjoyable read, and you're
cheating yourself if you ignore it. Highly recommended.
the hardback version of