Ric Flair is coming to town — can I get a “Woooo!”? — but first, a little story.
On June 27, 1988, the Great American Bash came to the Greenville Memorial Auditorium, an event that an NWA-crazy, 11-year-old me was hellbent on attending. I mean, how could I miss the dream team of Dusty Rhodes, Lex Luger, Nikita Koloff, and Sting (my favorite), take on the NWA World Champion, the Nature Boy Ric Flair, NWA US Champion Barry Windham, and NWA Tag Team Champions Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard? Luckily, my dad was World Championship Father — he had no problem indulging my peculiar obsession, making the drive to an insanity-filled wrestling ring in Greenville for his girl fairly often.
Back then, my best friend was Julie. While most of our friends were preoccupied with Days of Our Lives or Debbie Gibson, we had more important matters to focus on for a season, something that was real. Convinced that the explosive NWA drama was not at all fake, we bonded over the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express (and Cool Ranch Doritos, which had recently debuted) and a host of other much older men with shiny bods, ’80s mullets, and tight pants. We spent Saturdays glued to the television, clad in our ripped, acid-washed jeans, bandanas tied around our legs, and our Ricky Morton (my guy) and Robert Gibson (her dude) tees. And, yeah, we got to get in on the action live, ringside.
On that evening in June of ’88, Julie was there to cheer on Lex Luger (who I actually wrote a poem about in the fifth grade, and a wrestling magazine published it), but I was completely devoted that night to Sting. I showed up with a homemade poster, complete with a carefully drawn red and blue scorpion, that said, “Sting is a Wild Thing.” I loved it. Know who didn’t like my sign? Ol’ Nature Boy, that’s who.
While Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 played overhead, I screamed my silly head off and shoved the poster in Ric Flair’s ridiculously tanned face. And he ripped my perfect poster up. I was thrilled. And though getting acknowledged by the Nature Boy was reward enough, the referee gave me $2 and an apology.
What Flair gave me was a memory that has stuck with me, and one that I will be taking with me to the Charleston Sports Pub tonight, where the jet-flyin, limousine ridin’, wheelin’ and dealin’ son of a gun himself will be on tap for a few hours.
This comes just a few months following the star’s 10 days on life support and weeks after the ESPN release of the Flair documentary 30 for 30.
The 16-time world champion will be on hand this eve for pics and autographs from 6 until 9 p.m. at the all-day party, which kicks off at 4 p.m. There’s a $5 cover for the event, unless you decide to go VIP, in true Nature Boy style, with a no-waiting to meet and greet Flair. The reserved VIP tables, however, are sold out. Check out the VIP options here.
The Pub promises games, a DJ, beer truck, costume contest (hello!), and more — but the best promise of all is that you’ll indeed be able to see Ric Flair.
I don’t have VIP entry, but maybe my ability to craft a catchy poster is just the ticket to win his attention once again.
For further info and updates, check out the Charleston Sports Pub’s event on Facebook here.