The greatest wrestler of all time is forever a subjective conversation — until Stone Cold says so.
In a recent episode of The Steve Austin Show, the Texas Rattlesnake declared that Ric Flair is the greatest wrestler to ever lace up a pair of boots.
“If you know anything about me, if you know anything about professional wrestling, you know that Ric Flair, and this is a subjective subject, but if you have any common sense, Ric Flair is the greatest professional wrestler that ever lived. When you look at the body of work, when you look at the promos, when you look at the in-ring activity, when you look at the world title defended all around the world, everybody knows that Ric Flair is the man," said Austin.
Not only was Austin happy to announce Flair as the sport's best, but the WWE icon says that his wrestling foundation was based on The Nature Boy.
"So, I tried to basically pattern the beginning part of my career after him that’s how big of an influence he was on me. I consider Ric Flair to be one of the toughest men I’ve ever met my life. You look at all the turnbuckles he took, all the backdrops, all the slams off the top rope, all of hitting the turnbuckle, flipping over it, landing outside, all that shit. Tellin’ the stories, living the life, you’ve got to understand, and I do, how he was burning the candle at so many ends and what a glorious career he had. Damn near 40 years inside the ring, inside the squared circle," he said.
While Austin has a long list of influences, his respect for Flair seemed to expand the more he himself actually wrestled.
As a young person coming up in the business, you have your heroes you have your people you look up and I’ve been fortunate to have so many people like Dr. Tom Prichard, “Gorgeous” Gary Young, “Superstar” Bill Dundee, Bronko Lubich, Skandor Akbar, and so many more – Bret Hart, take me under their wing and give me learnings, give me knowledge, give me 4-1-1, but when you’re sitting there and you’re watching Ric Flair in action, at that close of a distance, and you see what he’s doing you think ‘oh man, he ain’t that good, he ain’t that good, he ain’t that good. Bulls—t! (This is when you’re in your competitive stages) Yeah, he is that good. He’s the greatest to have ever done it," said Austin.
The irony is that a large chunk of the globe would not hesitate in saying it's Austin who is wrestling's best. Other names like Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, certainly apply, but if you're ever around Stone Cold, it's probably just a good idea to agree with him that Flair is The GOAT.
[H/T Wrestle Zone]