Considered by many to be the greatest professional wrestler of all time, he has cultivated a legacy over a career that spans 40 years. Flair is noted for his tenures with the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), World Championship Wrestling (WCW), the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, later WWE), and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA). Since the mid-1970s, he has used the moniker the “Nature Boy”.
Ric Flair is officially recognized by WWE and Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) as a 16-time world champion (eight-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, six-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion, and two-time WWF Champion), although the actual number of his world championship reigns varies by source, ranging from 16 to 25. As of December 2016, Flair is the fastest to come off debut and win WWE’s World Championship. A major pay-per-view attraction throughout his career, Flair main-evented the premier annual NWA/WCW event, Starrcade, on ten occasions; he also co-headlined its WWF counterpart, WrestleMania, in 1992. PWI awarded Flair their Wrestler of the Year award a record six times, while Wrestling Observer Newsletter named Ric Flair as the Wrestler of the Year (an award named after him and Lou Thesz) on a record of nine occasions. The only two-time WWE Hall of Fame inductee in history, first inducted in 2008 for his individual career and for a second time in 2012 as a member of The Four Horsemen, Ric Flair is also an NWA Hall of Famer. In WCW, he also had two stints as a booker: from 1989–1990 and again in 1994.
Ric Flair was the first titleholder of both the WCW World Heavyweight Championship and the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship (as well as the final holder of the latter title). In being the inaugural WCW World Heavyweight Champion, he also became the first WCW’s Triple Crown Champion, having already held the United States Heavyweight and World Tag Team Championships. He then completed WWE’s version of the Triple Crown when he won the Intercontinental Championship, after already holding the WWF Championship and the World Tag Team Championship. Using the officially recognized totals (by WWE and PWI) of 16 world championships and six United States Heavyweight Championship reigns, Flair has won a total of 31 different major championships between the NWA, WCW, and WWF/WWE, with numerous regional titles also to his credit.