The following are interview highlights with TNA Wrestling’s Ric Flair:
Flair on Randy Savage’s death hitting hard: “It sure did (hit hard). It’s pretty sad. He just recently got married, it’s been a little over a year, and was happy and, you know, really seemed to be at peace with himself. He just had a phenomenal career and to have this happen is just really, really sad.”
Flair on his WrestleMania VIII match with Savage: “That was a huge day for me and my first dance at WrestleMania, of course. It was just a tremendously well-written program. It was like he was married to Liz back then and she was a huge commodity and a huge star with the WWF, or that’s what they were called back then, of course. And the thing was, ‘She was mine before she was yours.’ It was well-written and done and Randy worked hard at it and I worked hard at it. We had a really good match. Curt Hennig, God rest his soul, managed me and Liz managed Randy and we gave them a hell of a show and it was awesome. That was my first Mania and one of the finest memories of my career.”
Flair talks more about Savage: “My thoughts about Randy are different. I think he was such a competitive guy. Randy had a really hard time relaxing and I feel bad. I think about the times I used to say to him, ‘Hey man, just calm down and don’t worry about this and this and this… whatever happens is going to happen.’ If you go to sleep at night worrying about what’s going to happen the next day, it’s just too hard. You know, he worked like I did, 365 times a year back in the old days.
“He actually broke in in Charlotte in 1975. I’d only been here a year when Randy moved in down here. He played semi-pro baseball, I think, in St. Louis and was doing fairly well but wasn’t blowing up the ladder like expected so he came here and broke in the business. The irony in that is when I first moved here in ’74 I actually traveled with his dad several times. I knew the whole family very well. His dad just passed recently and I think that hurt Randy really bad. They were very close.
“Randy just dropped out of sight when the company was sold from WCW (to WWE). The thing I feel worst about, of all of the guys that are available and eligible to be in the WWE Hall of Fame — there most be something that I’m unaware of that’s gone on and they’ve never inducted him because Randy certainly was a major player for the WWF in the mecca days of the eighties and ninties.”
Flair on whether or not Savage is one of the top ten wrestlers of all-time: “Of course. Yeah. Of course. … I didn’t always agree with Randy. I’m not gonna lie to you. I didn’t sweat things out like he did. But I wasn’t… I didn’t have to fight like a dog in that race they had to be whoever they were in the eighties in that show, where everybody was fighting for position everyday of their life. I didn’t have to evolve from that. I never had personal differences with him, nothing about lifestyle. It was just about business and it doesn’t stop my opinion (of him) — he always did favors for me. He came in and opened some of my Gold’s Gyms.
“We were great friends. He and I clashed in business but outside of the ring we were great. He could drink beer and have a good time. And I made him laugh and helped him take his mind of things that bothered him. We got along great and had a lot of fun together. I used to say to him all the time, he probably died with 300 million dollars in the bank. I’m not exaggerating. I’m being facetious. But Randy was very thrifty. I used to say to him all the time, because he would stay at hotels that were less cost effective than where I stayed. (laughs)
“You can criticize it all you want but I’m going to enjoy the moment because you never know, you know. The irony in that is Randy was only 58 years old. That’s sad because I guarantee you he’s got enough money to live 200 more years. He made it. He worked hard to earn it. He worked very hard to earn it. He deserved it. But I always used to say to him, ‘Man, you live for the day.’ Today’s another example of why you have to live for today. You never know.”
Check out the complete interview online at Charlotte.CBSLocal.com.