The Last Real World Champion: The Legacy of “Nature Boy” Ric Flair By Tim Hornbaker

If you are a diehard wrestling fan you will enjoy this book for what it is. Not a Bio of the man but a bio of his career as a wrestling great

Flair was a man who walked the walk and talked the talk. He held twenty heavyweight championship belts over his career and earned every one of them with hard work, showmanship and living life on the road. Recovering from a plane crash early in his career when he broke his back, plus all his ring injuries and how he came back so quickly from these setbacks was a testament of the immaculate physical shape he always kept his body in.

It cost him four marriages. The marriages though gave him four children who meant the world to him. Ric was an athlete to the highest degree and worked tirelessly at being in immaculate athletic shape every time he stepped in the ring.

Whatever you may think about wrestlers and their game they are always in tip-top physical shape. If they weren’t they would not be able to be in this business. I have held a black belt in Judo for 33 years and I know the work it takes to stay in shape and compete. My body at 71 is now telling me about it. I cannot imagine how Flair did this by competing many more times than Martial Arts athletes do. However, the amount of dedication to the gym each day that a person like Ric Flair had to maintain would be mind-boggling. To be able to get in the wrestling ring and perform as he did for 50-plus years, 200 to 300 shows a year took a phenomenal athlete.

The Last Real World Champion lays out how hard-working Flair was. Hornbaker is a great storyteller laying out the history of all of Flair’s ring battles, injuries, women, partying, and his love for the fans who bought him all the clothes, cars, and houses that kept up his lifestyle as a playboy.

As a heel in the ring Flair would be booed and cheered. On his name alone he would pack wrestling arenas around the world. Seeing him entering the ring with the elaborate robes, the platinum hair, and the WOOOO, got the crowds up on their feet WOOOOing along with him. Win or lose, Flair always gave his fans a show, many times leaving the ring and arena a bloody mess.

I enjoyed reading about all the great bouts Flair fought, the behind-the-scenes scripting of his battles. How unselfish he was by putting other wrestlers over. The love he held for his fans. Readers will be amazed at how different a man he was outside the ring. Wrestlers, reporters, interviewers and ordinary fans time and time again in the book would talk about what a gentleman he was.

If there was one thing that I wished Hornbaker had mentioned, it would have been who Ric Flair’s real birth parents were. Ric was adopted as a newborn.

Wrestling fan or not the book is a great read and Tim Hornbaker does a tremendous job of taking us through Flair’s career. Hornbaker’s research is phenomenal. His dedication to the details of Flair’s ring battles will keep readers turning pages far into the night.

4.5 stars out of 5.

Tim Hornbaker is the author of nine nonfiction books, including Death of the Territories: Expansion, Betrayal and the War that Changed Pro Wrestling Forever and National Wrestling Alliance: The Untold Story of the Monopoly that Strangled Pro Wrestling. He lives in Tamarac, Florida, with his wife, Jodi.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ ECW Press (Sept. 12 2023)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 392 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1770416269
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1770416260