- Ric Flair is a legendary figure in professional wrestling and is revered as one of the all-time best.
- Despite being recognized as a sixteen-time world champion, Flair has actually won at least twenty-one world championship titles throughout his career.
- WWE may not officially recognize all of Flair’s world title wins, but it does not diminish his credibility as one of the greatest wrestlers in history.
“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair is among the all-time best in professional wrestling history, simultaneously revered by both wrestling and non-wrestling fans. One of the main selling points of Flair’s on-screen character was that he was a sixteen-time world champion, especially after returning to WWE in 2001 for his final run in the company. However, despite such a reputation, one might be surprised to realize that Ric Flair isn’t technically a sixteen-time world champion, as he’s held a world championship title at least twenty-one times throughout his in-ring career.
The Championship Legacy Of “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair
After making his professional wrestling debut in the early 1970s, Ric Flair became been one of the most influential figures in the professional wrestling industry, as many of the all-time best have cited Flair as an influence on their careers. Not only that, along with names like Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, and Randy Savage, Ric Flair is also among the most recognizable names in professional wrestling, so much so that he’s somewhat of a pop culture figure.
Furthermore, it’s no secret that Flair went through many ups and downs throughout his in-ring career, especially from the mid-to-late 1990s when many argued he overstayed his welcome. But despite this, Ric Flair went on to win many world championships throughout his career despite arguably being past his prime for some of them.
Because of this, Flair has an impressive championship resume, including being a sixteen-time world champion, with the last recognized world championship win in 2000 during WCW’s final days. Flair currently holds the record for most recognized world championship wins along with John Cena, as he’s a former eight-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, a six-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion, and a two-time WWE Champion.
After winning his sixteenth world championship, the fact that he won that many recognized World Championships became part of Ric Flair’s character moving forward in his in-ring career. Returning for his second WWE run in late 2001, Flair may have never won another world title, but considering he was a sixteen-time world champion helped him appear as a special attraction when he wrestled in WWE’s Ruthless Aggression era.
Ric Flair Is A Forgotten 21-Time World Champion
For years, Ric Flair’s sixteen-time world championship has been talked about as one of the most prestigious records in professional wrestling history. For instance, when John Cena tied Flair’s record when he defeated AJ Styles to win his sixteenth world title at the Royal Rumble 2017 PPV, it was hyped as a monumental moment during Cena’s final years as an active full-time WWE superstar, with him possibly passing Flair’s record one day.
However, while it’s possible someone like John Cena could break Ric Flair’s recognized world title record, it’s worth noting that Flair has technically won more world titles than the ones that got recognized by WWE. In fact, Flair won at least twenty-one world titles in his in-ring career, even though it didn’t get officially recognized by WWE.
Ric Flair’s list of forgotten world title wins includes winning the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, as these were championship victories that don’t count by WWE’s standards because they weren’t televised. Throughout his tenure in the NWA, Ric Flair dropped and regained the NWA World Heavyweight Championship from the likes of Harley Race and Jack Veneno, even though it doesn’t count as such.
It’s worth noting that other talents have won world championships but didn’t get recognized by WWE, even winning the WWE Championship. As some fans may be aware of this event, WWE Hall of Famer Antonio Inoki was a former WWE Champion when he defeated Bob Backlund in a December 1979 match in Japan. However, despite winning arguably the most prestigious prize in professional wrestling, Antonio Inoki’s WWE Championship victory doesn’t count by WWE’s standards.
Whether Ric Flair gets recognized for winning a world championship sixteen or twenty-one times, he still gets regarded as the all-time best in the business. The fact that WWE only recognizes sixteen world title wins for Ric Flair doesn’t diminish his credibility in any way possible.
However, it’s worth giving credit where credit’s due for his championship success. Even if WWE doesn’t recognize some of Ric Flair’s world title wins, fans should at least be aware of what he’s accomplished throughout his in-ring career.