Saturday, April 30, 2022

Ric Flair Exhibit Revisited (WrestleMania Axxess 2017)

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

In 2017 at WrestleMania Axxess, the annual fan event preceding the big wrestling pay-per-view, the WWE presented an exhibit dedicated to the "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. With the help of several private collectors, the exhibit showcased some of Ric's famous wrestling robes from the 1970s-1990s and also the four original belts Ric wore that represented his 16 world championships.

West Potter photo.
The centerpiece of the exhibit was a Starrcade-themed display featuring the robes worn by Flair and Harley Race at the Starrcade '83 event in Greensboro, NC in November of 1983. Behind the robes were familiar photographs from that Starrcade that we all remember seeing countless times over the years in the newsstand magazines.

West Potter photo.
To the left of the Starrcade robes were the "domed globed" NWA World title belt Ric wore from 1981-1986, and the famous "big gold" belt that represented the NWA title from 1986-1990 and the WCW World title following that.

Ben Brown photo, courtesy of Dave Millican

To the right of the Starrcade robes were the WCW World championship belt (1991-1994, above right) and the winged-eagle (above left) WWF Championship belt, the style Flair wore there in 1992-1993.

West Potter photo.
There were several historical robes on display, but one of my favorites is the "lion robe" which goes back to the mid-1970s, and was worn at the "Battle of the belts II" in Orlando in 1986 when Flair debuted the new NWA World championship "Big Gold" belt. (There are lots of amazing photos of the robe and belt together in the book "Big Gold" which has a chapter devoted to that night in Orlando.) Special to see that robe on display in the same city for WrestleMania.

Collage from @wcwretrospect on Twitter

This collage features several images from the exhibit including the statue of Flair unveiled over the weekend, as well as the infamous "President of World Championship Wrestling" shield on display when Flair was in that role on "WCW Monday Nitro" in 1999.

Very cool stuff, and nice to see these things remembered and showcased in this way.

Originally published April of 2017 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway