When you look at the storied career of two-time WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair, it's impossible to ignore the many classic rivalries he had in the AWA, Mid-Atlantic, NWA, WWF/E, WCW and TNA... just to name a handful of the territories where The Nature Boy has shined.
To be clear, these are all storyline rivalries and don't necessarily mean that there was any real heat outside of the ring. So people with "real-life" beefs with Flair aren't included, even though some of the names listed below also have had behind-the-scenes feuds.
In counting down the Top 50 Ric Flair Rivalries, Wrestling Merchandise and Memories looked at the following criteria:
How prominent was the rivarly?
What type of stage(s) did it play out on?
How memorable were the matches and/or segments?
How much did the rivalry do to advance either person's career?
If you'd like to be a part of this conversation, Tweet us at @canadianbulldog using the hashtag #Top50, or leave a comment below.
Ready? Here we go!
Towards the end of his active wresting career, WWE Hall of Famer Buddy Rogers feuded with Ric Flair in the Carolinas, both for bragging rights and each man's claim to the "Nature Boy" nickname. Flair defeated Rogers cleanly in 1978; one of Buddy's final matches before retiring from in-ring competition.
Ric Flair clashed with WWE Hall of Famer Bobo Brazil early in his career, particularly in the Carolinas. Flair defeated Brazil to win his very first United States Championship back in 1977, setting the stage for a career where Naitch was covered in championship gold.
In 2002, Chris Jericho appeared unexpectedly on Monday Night Raw (he had been on SmackDown at the time) and targeted Ric Flair, leaving him laying in the center of the ring. They then clashed at SummerSlam that year, with Jericho being the first person to submit to Flair's figure-four-leglock in many years!
Ric Flair's Four Horsemen faction and The Giant's Dungeon of Doom had a casual pact as allies until Giant challenged Flair in 1996 and captured his WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
new World order
Although The Four Horsemen's feud with the new World order never really took center stage during the Monday Night Wars, it was always bubbling below the surface. During the rivalry, Hulk Hogan spray-painted a mohawk into Ric Flair's head, while ex-Horseman Curt Hennig defected to the nWo and Syxx dressed up like Naitch.
Although there was also real-life heat between the two during Vince Russo's WCW run, there was also an interesting on-screen rivalry in which Russo turned Ric Flair's son David against him and conspired to shave Nature Boy's head following a match.
In March 1991, Flair defended his NWA/WCW World Title at the WCW/New Japan Supershow against the IWGP Champion Fujinami. Fujinami won both belts according to the NWA (but not WCW) rules. The complicated situation was settled at Super Brawl '91, when Flair defeated Fujinami by pinfall.
Bob Orton Jr.
WWE Hall of Famer Bob Orton Jr. was portrayed as a family friend and tag team partner of Flair, even holding Ric's daughter Megan on national television. But when Harley Race placed a bounty on Flair's head, Orton (along with Dick Slater) was quick to shift allegiances.
When Ric Flair returned to the WWF in late-2001, he was revealed to be the company's co-owner, which didn't sit well with "partner" Vince McMahon. This ignited a rivalry that included a featured match at the 2002 Royal Rumble .
This rivalry began in 1993 when WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin was Stunning Steve - he and Hollywood Blond partner Brian Pillman often targeted Flair and made fun of his age. It took a good nine years, but Naitch got his revenge in WWE, turning on Austin while acting as Raw GM.
Ric Flair and WWE Hall of Famer Arn Anderson are long-time friends and tag team partners. But in 1995, tired of almost coming to Flair's aid, The Enforcer split from his teammate in 1995 and faced off against each other in WCW. The two quickly managed to put their differences aside.
WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart upset Ric Flair in October 1992 to win his first WWF World Championship in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The two crossed paths again when Hart joined WCW in late 1997 and even engaged in a memorable match at Souled Out the following year.
Shortly after regaining the WCW World Title from Sting in 1991, Ric Flair defended his belt against Scott Steiner during a live Clash of the Champions event. Almost two decades later, Big Poppa Pump ripped into Flair on a live Nitro television interview.
Nikita Koloff was already set to face Ric Flair for the NWA World Title at Starrcade '86 before an injury to Magnum T.A. altered everyones plans. Soon, a newly-turned Koloff challenged Flair throughout the country.
Ron Garvin's blue collar character was an excellent contrast to Ric Flair's life of the party gimmick, and the two clashed in September 1987. Garvin upset Flair to win the NWA World Championship and dropped it back to Flair a few months later at Starrcade.
In the late-1970s, Ric Flair and Wahoo McDaniel traded the Mid-Atlantic Title back and forth in Jim Crockett Promotions. At one point, The Dirtiest Player In The Game smashed McDaniel in the face with a broken table leg, legitimately injuring him because there was a piece of nail sticking out of the leg.
The Von Erichs
Ric Flair feuded with many members of WWE Hall of Famers The Von Erich Family over the years, including brothers Mike and Kerry Von Erich while traveling through Texas.
WWE Hall of Famer Edge ended up giving Ric Flair some of his toughest moments towards the end of his in-ring career. The Rated R Superstar even spoofed Flair's road rage incident that happened during their rivalry, dressing up as his nemesis for a memorable vignette.
As one of the most popular wrestlers in Jim Crockett Promotions during the early 1980's, it was only a matter of time before Magnum T.A. crossed paths with Ric Flair. The feud may have gone longer than it did had it not been for the car accident that ended Magnum's career.
WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels was able to enforce Ric Flair's retirement stipulation in WWE after the two met in an all-time classic at WrestleMania XXIV. Famously, Michaels mouthed that he was "sorry" before superkicking Nature Boy into retirement.
Ric Flair was the only member of Evolution that hadn't defected against WWE Hall of Fmer Triple H, so it was surprising that when The Game returned to action in 2005, he immediately turned on Flair following a tag team match. The two former friends engaged in a brutal series of matches.
Rowdy Roddy Piper
Decades for they participated in Celebrity Wife Swap, WWE Hall of Famer Rowdy Roddy Piper and Ric Flair swapped the U.S. Title in Mid-Atlantic Wrestling in an early 1980s rivalry where each man tried to out-cheat the other. Things picked up in the WWF a decade later, with Piper disputing Flair's claim that he was The Real World's Champion.
In June 1983, WWE Hall of Famer Harley Race ended Ric Flair's very first NWA World Title reign. Race put up a $25,000 bounty for any wrestler who could put Nature Boy out of action, collected by Bob Orton and Dick Slater. Flair then returned from injury and defeated Race.
The legendary rivalry between Ric Flair and WWE Hall of Famer Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat began in the early-1980s in the mid-Atlantic region, with Steamboat tearing Flair's clothes off of him on television. The two later engaged in a classic three-series match in 1989, trading the NWA World Title back and forth.
The names of Ric Flair and WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan and Flair usher in images of one of wrestling's biggest dream matches, as both men stood atop their respective companies in the 1980s. They first began feuding in 1991 in the WWF, carried it over to a series of pay-per-view grudge matches in WCW beginning in 1994 and even took their show on the road in Australia and briefly in TNA.
When Vince Russo took over WCW in 1999, one of his goals was to build storylines based on reality. Shane Douglas had been dogging "Dick" Flair for years from the confines of ECW; when both men were in the company at the same time, a heated rivalry seemed to make sense.
The Ultimate Warrior
Ric Flair was dogged by WWE Hall of Famer The Ultimate Warrior during his second WWF World Title run in 1992. Warrior challenged Flair for the belt several times on the house show circuit and the two were poised to meet in a tag team match at Survivor Series when Warrior suddenly quit the company.
One of Ric Flair's most persistent challengers to his WCW World Title in 1991 was the 7"6 El Gigante. Believe it or not, there were rumors at the time that WCW VP Jim Herd was going to give Gigante the championship!
Andre The Giant
The third consecutive giant on our list and easily the most famous, WWE Hall of Famer Andre The Giant battled Ric Fkaur in 1977 in the Carolinas in both singles and tag team matches.
Jerry The King Lawler
While serving as a traveling World Champion in the NWA, Ric Flair visited Memphis several times and clashed with WWE Hall of Famer Jerry The King Lawler, including a match that drew record attendance at the Mid-South Coliseum in September 1985. These two also locked horns on Monday Night Raw some 19 years later.
Diamond Dallas Page
A feud between Ric Flair and WWE Hall of Famer Diamond Dallas Page began at Spring Stampede in 1999 when Page was the surprise winner of the WCW World Title in a four-way match featuring Flair. Later that year, a family feud emerged, with Ric and David Flair at odds with Diamond Dallas and Kimberly Page.
A locker room confrontation between then World Tag Team Champions Doom (Butch Reed and WWE Hall of Famer Ron Simmons) and Flair and fellow Horseman Arn Anderson led to a series of tag team and singles matches in late 1990.
About two decades after feuding with his father, Ric Flair embraced Randy Orton as the future World Champion in the Evolution faction. But by mid-2004, Flair (along with Triple H and Batista) decided to kick Orton out of the group, leading to a rivalry that was still apparent on television even a decade later on Raw.
The Great Muta
At The Great American Bash in 1989, The Great Muta aligned himself with Terry Funk in an effort to put Flair out of action and take away his NWA World Title. Ric Flair formed an uneasy alliance with Sting, and the four battled singles and tag matches until the end of that year.
A decade after the two (briefly) teamed in the WWF, The Undertaker and Ric Flair faced off against each other at WrestleMania X-8. Leading up to the match, The Dead Man attacked Flair's son David and injured his best friend Arn Anderson, leading to a classic grudge match.
While the two were friends outside the business (and even owned a territory together briefly), Ric Flair and WWE Hall of Famer Blackjack Mulligan feuded extensively in the Mid-Atlantic area in the late-1970s. Mulligan even went so far as to wear Flair's famous robe to the ring and tear it to shreds!
WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley was able to use a real-life incident, in which he and Ric Flair traded insults in their respective biographies, into an in-ring feud in the WWF in the summer of 2006, which led to a memorable "I Quit" match at SummerSlam. Four years later in TNA, the two rekindled their rivalry briefly.
The Road Warriors
During the early days of The Four Horsemen, Ric Flair and his teammates could often be found looking across WWE Hall of Famers The Road Warriors. In fact, Flair defended his NWA World Title against both Hawk and Animal during various matches in the Great American Bash tour.
Ravishing Rick Rude
When Ric Flair returned to WCW in 1993, WWE Hall of Famer Rick Rude targeted The Nature Boy in the ultimate battle between ladies men. The Ravishing One defeated Flair for the NWA World Championship (a separate belt from the WCW one at the time).
WWE Hall of Famer Mr. Perfect started as Ric Flair's executive consultant in the WWF, later turning against him and challenging Slick Ric to a "Loser Leaves WWF" match in early 1993 (which Flair lost). Flair was betrayed again in WCW, when Hennig turned on Flair to join the nWo.
Things don't get much more personal than a son against his father, which is what happened (twice over a two-year period, mind you) in WCW. The first time David Flair turned on Ric Flair, was seduced by Torrie Wilson into helping the nWo; the second time was when Vince Russo became a father figure to him.
WWE Hall of Famer Terry Funk was serving as a judge for a Ric Flair-Rick Steamboat match in 1989. After congratulating Ric on a hard-fought victory, Funk piledrove him through a ringside table, igniting one of the more brutal rivalries in NWA history.
One of Ric Flair's all-time favorite opponents was WWE Hall of Famer Barry Windham, who wrestled to several one-hour (and some 90-minute) draws in the summer of 1986. The rivalry (temporarily) ended when Windham was recruited to join The Four Horsemen.
Big Van Vader
After returning to WCW in 1993, Ric Flair was placed in a WCW World Title match against Big Van Vader. Flair would have had to retire if he lost their Starrcade encounter, and the two had a brutal match in which Flair won the gold.
In 1986, The Four Horsemen became jealous of the cheers being heard by WWE Hall of Famers The Rock and Roll Express. Ater Ricky Morton defeated Flair in a non-title match, the Horsement attacked him in a parking lot and broke his nose.
Ric Flair and WWE Hall of Famer Randy "Macho Man" Savage feuded not once, but twice, and in two different companies. Flair lost his WWF World Title to Savage in 1992; they also traded the WCW World Title back and forth several years later.
Even without the out-of-the-ring backstory, this was a huge in-ring conflict with Eric Bischoff tried to disband The Four Horsemen and fire Ric Flair from WCW. In 1999, Bischoff gave Flair a haircut after a match, adding insult to injury.
Lex Luger was one of Ric Flair's most persistent challengers in the early 1990s. The Nature Boy began as the babyface and later turned heel, while Luger took the opposite route Luger was also briefly a member of The Four Horsemen, which added fuel to the fire.
WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes was the anthesis of Ric Flair's limousine-riding, Lear jet-flying persona. Flair defeated Rhodes for his first NWA World Title and they traded the belts back and forth from there in a memorable rivalry. During the dying days of WCW, the two ended up on opposite sides for one last chapter in their feud.
Arguably no one is linked as closely to Ric Flair's storied career as WWE Hall of Famer Sting, the icon who first clashed with Nature Boy at the first Clash of the Champions in 1988. They would go on and trade the WCW World Championship, team and feud with other several times and even took their rivalry to TNA. What's more, the two men tangled on the first - and last - episode of WCW Monday Nitro, demonstrating how long their rivalry has truly lasted.