There’s no doubt that Ric Flair is one of, if not THE greatest wrestler of all time but does his autobiography live up to his illustrious career as a sixteen time world champion? Let’s take a look.
First off, let’s look at the book itself. I used the term “autobiography” above but I used it very loosely. As I’m sure many of you know, most autobiographies by non-writers are actually done by the “co-author” not so much the person the autobiography is about, and this book is no exception. Some may feel this is a bit deceptive but I honestly don’t mind it, I mean Ric Flair is a great wrestler but I’m sure he sucks as an author. Also the co-author helps with facts and figures that Ric probably forgot, so all in all having one is a great addition. The only time when having a co-author really bugs me is when the book doesn’t read like the person who is supposedly writing it, and this book does a good job of reading as if the words were straight out of the Nature Boy’s mouth. Because the co-author did such a great job of making it sound authentic, the book isn’t particularly eloquent, but hey, this is a pro wrestler’s autobiography not Shakespeare.
This book itself isn’t flashy at all; it just presents the facts chronologically as they happened through Ric’s eyes. What really helps make this title more than just a history book is the anecdotes from fellow wrestlers and family members sprinkled generously throughout the book. As I’m sure you probably know, Ric’s idea of the past are slightly biased (for instance his views on his infamous stint as booker for WCW) and having fellow wrestler’s points of view helps keep things slightly more realistic.
“To Be the Man” is known for being full of shocking accusations against other wrestlers but honestly the most shocking thing about the book is how modest Ric Flair actually is. The character “Ric Flair” is known as a flashy, cocky jet setter but the man behind the character has spent much of his life as a nervous wreck suffering from frequent panic attacks at the thought of putting on a poor match. This little book proves to be quite revealing when dealing with Naitch’s insecurities.
By far my favorite part of the book is the sense of nostalgia I get when reading it. Im not just being an old fart when I say this but the wrestling business is nowhere near as great as it once was and if you doubt me this book will make you a believer. From how to handle championships, how to plan for matches and how to develop characters Ric Flair really knows this business. His tales of how things were run in pro wrestling’s prime should be required reading for any WWE employee. If you want to know how the wrestling business SHOULD be, just pick this book up. That brings me to the worst (and best) part of the book.
This is a WWE book. Why this is good: WWE has the money to hire a more than competent co-author so these are some well-made books. Why this is bad: Every WWE book is horribly pro WWE, even to the point of where lies become truth and facts are simply forgotten. For instance Ric complains that most wrestlers today can’t wrestle a 60 minute match if their life depended on it, implying that most wrestlers today kinda suck (true statement). This is only one instance but throughout the book he points out several ways of how todays wrestling business is inferior to “the good ol days”, but when he’s referring to “todays wrestling business” he’s obviously talking about the WWE, but because this is a WWE book he fails to elaborate any farther, leaving much to be desired. But then again, with all his recent financial trouble I’m sure a non WWE sanctioned book is in the future.
Whether you’re a Ric Flair fan or just a wrestling fan in general, do yourself a favor and pick this wrestling history lesson up. I give it four out of five WHOOOOOOO!!!!’s.