Golden Moment – Nature Boy vs Nature Boy – Wrestling 87

An article from Wrestling 87 magazine covering the Battle of the Nature Boys

AS A YOUTH, Ric Flair idolized “Nature Boy” Buddy
Rogers, one of the greatest NWA champions of all
nme. Flair not only admired Rogers’ considerable ralent,
but his charisma. F1air promised himself that he would be
be same type of wrestler that Rogers was.

When he finally turned pro, F1air took Rogers’ nick·
name as his own and committed himself to perfecting the
maneuver that Rogers claimed to invent: the dreaded
figure-four leglock. Rogers was angry that the brash rook·
ie had stolen his name and adopted his trademark He
hoped they would meet in the ring, where he would end
the comparisons and prove that no one could imitate the
onginal “Nature Boy.”

The two did meet in Charlotte, North carolina, in No·
ember 1979. Flair had recently surrendered his U.S. title
to devote more time to defending his NWA World tag
team title with Blackjack Mulligan, Even so, Flair would
gladly accept Rogers’ challenge. A fall favorite at the
time, Flair hated everything that his old idol had come to
represent.

Rogers, who managed John Studd and Ken Patera, was
in the midst of a comeback. As a manager, he had
carefully scrutinized the competition and decided he
could defeat any man in the sport, Flair included. Despite
being more than a decade past his prime, Rogers was
convinced he could score an easy victory.
F1air was considered by some to be overly cruel in this
match. He pounded Rogers bloody, showing the world
that he had finally become a worthy successor to the
Rogers legacy. The long-awaited figure-four . leg lock
showdown did come about, but it was inconclusive: both
men applied the hold, but both reached the ropes to
break it.

Two years after that fateful encounter, Flan: matched
Rogers’ title success by becoming NWA World champion.
He later said he regrerted ever having that match
because of the respect he once held for Rogers. But he
felt it was neccesary. Rogers came away from the match
realizing that it was time for one “Nature Boy” to recog·
nize the greatness of another.