Lists, Wrestling

Winning with Flair, Lesson #9 : Know yourself, know your worth.

2015/06/24 • By

(Author’s note: this post is part of a self-development series titled Winning with Flair, a list of 16 lessons inspired by the legendary life of Ric Flair on how to win. To start from the beginning, head over to the introduction here.)

Ric Flair circa 1991

Ric Flair circa 1991 (via WWE)

On January 11, 1991, Ric Flair defeated Sting to officially capture the newly-minted WCW World Heavyweight title (previously NWA title) and become world champion for a record seventh time. Having reached his early 40s, many believed at the time that this title win would be the last of the Nature Boy’s career and that he had entered the twilight of his prime. Despite his age however, the Nature Boy remained one of WCW’s top draws and was not yet ready to hang up his boots. But one person who thought otherwise was Jim Herd, the then-president of World Championship Wrestling.

Herd was essentially a former Pizza Hut executive who had no prior experience in the pro wrestling business. Ted Turner picked him to run WCW because he worked for Turner Broadcasting. From the get-go he and Flair did not see eye-to-eye.

According to Ric Flair’s biography, Herd wanted the Nature Boy to take a significant pay cut on the grounds that he was old, and that he was no longer a valuable commodity to WCW despite the fact that he remained one of their most recognizable names. He also suggested to Flair that he drop his Nature Boy gimmick and adopt the persona of a Roman gladiator named “Spartacus” to change with the times. Essentially Flair was to cut his trademark blond hair and wear an earring.

To quote a beer-swiggling baldie: WHAT?!?

Ric Flair’s reaction is a classic: “Why don’t we go to Yankee Stadium and change Babe Ruth’s number?”

Thankfully the Naitch’ had enough testicular fortitude and self-respect to tell Jim Herd to stick it, figuratively. It wasn’t long before Herd had had enough: he fired the seven-time champion and vacated the WCW world title. But in his haste to get rid of Flair, he never got the Nature Boy to return the WCW championship belt.

Long story short: after WCW fired him, Flair reached out to their competition. He immediately gave WWF head honcho Vince McMahon a call and the rest is history. Within weeks, the Nature Boy Ric Flair shocked the pre-Internet wrestling world by making his grand introduction on WWF TV programming with his WCW World Heavyweight championship belt. With Bobby Heenan by his side, he paraded around in all his swagger and claimed himself to be the real world champion.

It was gold.

This marked the beginning of the second act of the Nature Boy’s illustrious career. Suddenly the Nature Boy was more relevant than he ever had been; he was the most hated man in all of pro wrestling. In the months that followed, he would feud with the likes of Hulk Hogan and “Macho Man” Randy Savage and capture the WWF World title on two separate occasions, bumping his number of championship reigns to nine.

In a sense, Flair’s stint in WWF reinvigorated his career and served as a proverbial f*ck you to Jim Herd and anyone else who thought he was done for. The Nature Boy knew his own worth and he was adamant about getting his just due.

Ric Flair showed us that we should never sell ourselves short, because if we don’t believe in our own value then nobody else would. Know your worth and never settle for less than what you deserve.

Wooooo!!!

RudoMania!

Lists, Wrestling

Winning with Flair, Lesson #8 : Do not be afraid to lose.

2015/06/24 • By

(Author’s note: this post is part of a self-development series titled Winning with Flair, a list of 16 lessons inspired by the legendary life of Ric Flair on how to win. To start from the beginning, head over to the introduction here.)

Winning 16 championships requires a lot of things, but one of the prerequisites is to lose it 15 times.

Over the course of his illustrious career, Ric Flair has lost more world championships than guys like Bill Golberg, Eddie Guerrero, Ricky Steamboat, Mick Foley, Shawn Michael and Brock Lesnar have had the chance to win, combined.

What does that say?

To achieve any measure of success one must be willing to fail repeatedly. Greatness isn’t defined simply by one’s ability to win, but more importantly by one’s capacity to rise above failures and to reconquer new levels of success after every defeat. Now that is winning.

Wooooo!!!

RudoMania!

Lists, Wrestling

Winning with Flair, Lesson #7 : Roll Deep.

2015/06/21 • By

(Author’s note: this post is part of a self-development series titled Winning with Flair, a list of 16 lessons inspired by the legendary life of Ric Flair on how to win. To start from the beginning, head over to the introduction here.)

The road to greatness can sometimes be a lonely one. It is a journey where every new state of success attained brings about new enemies who would delight at nothing more than to see the fall of its pursuant. Which is why it is essential to surround oneself with people of principle whom one can trust unwaveringly. There may be such a thing as strength in numbers, but to surround oneself with a few brave barbarians is always better than to ride with a horde of cowards.

The Four Horsemen: Tully Blanchard, Ole Anderson, JJ Dillon, Arn Anderson and Ric Flair

The Four Horsemen: Ole Anderson, Tully Blanchard, JJ Dillon (manager), Arn Anderson and Ric Flair

By the mid-1980s the Nature Boy was riding high. It was prime time for Ric Flair, and as his legend grew, so did the number of pretenders who were lining up for a shot at his NWA World title. Out of self-preservation, he enlisted the help Tully Blanchard and his (kayfabe) cousins Ole and Arn Anderson, along with JJ Dillon who acted as their manager. They called themselves the Four Horsemen and together they wrecked havoc on anyone who dared to oppose them. At the peak of their affluence each member of the Horsemen held a title. Although Flair was the centrepiece of the group, he did not treat these men as mere cronies: they were his brothers-in-arm. Flair battled some of his toughest competition with these men by his side, and oftentimes they did more than just that. If he was living the high life, so were they. Wherever the Nature Boy went, the Horsemen followed suit, whether it was flying first class or riding in the back of a limo. Their existence as a group wasn’t just about the Nature Boy; it was all about the Horsemen. This philosophy allowed a bond of loyalty to foster between Ric Flair and his cohorts, and it was through that sense of loyalty that they achieved dominance as a collective.

Over the years that followed, different members would make up the Horsemen, but one guy who stuck around with the Naitch’ through thick and thin was “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson.

Ric and Arn, throughout the years.

Ric and Arn, throughout the years.

All successful people have an Arn Anderson in their life. He is that one true friend that never leaves your side when your chips are down. If you have a friend whose motives you never have to question and is willing to go to war with you, that’s your Arn Anderson; keep him around and share the journey to success together.

RudoMania!

Features, Lists, SubCulture

Wu-Tang Clan: The Kung Fu Movies that Inspired their Names

2015/06/19 • By
Wu-Tang x Kung Fu Movies

Wu-Tang x Kung Fu Movies

When Wu-Tang first brought the motherfucking ruckus in the early 90s, they infused the East Coast rap movement with a new sound, bringing with them flashy characters, lyrical grime and rhyme schemes laced with skits, slangs and samples inspired by old school kung fu movies. Over the years, hip hop heads coast to coast have tried to decipher the aliases of Wu-Tang members in an attempt to pinpoint the kung fu flicks that inspired each of their monikers. Some were obvious, but figuring out a few of them necessitated a level of mental dexterity that would be required to solve a Rubik’s Cube. The good news is, out of the nine original members (Sorry Cappadonna.) I am 100% 95% certain about seven of them, and I am pretty sure confident about the other two. I’ll start with the obvious ones first.

So without further ado…

From the slums of Shaolin, Wu-Tang Clan strikes again
The RZA, the GZA, Ol Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, Raekwon the Chef
U-God, Ghostface Killah and the…

Method Man

Method Man X Method Man (1979)

Method Man x Avenging Boxer, AKA Method Man (1979)

The kung fu flick that originated of the name stems from a revenge flick titled Avenging Boxer (小子命大, 1979), also known as Method Man / The Fearless Young Boxer starring Peter Chang (張繼龍) as the main protagonist, and a South Korean TKD dynamo named Casanova Wong (卡薩伐) as the bad guy who killed his father. According to urban legend, the rapper known as Method Man became the youngest member of the Wu after Cappadonna lost his spot due to serving time in prison. The RZA supposedly gave Meth the moniker because method is a slang for weed and as y’all know Iron Lung smoked a lot of it.

“I got, fat bags of skunk
I got, White Owl dub
And I’m about to go get lifted
Yes I’m about to go get lifted “
Method Man, Method Man

Masta Killa

Masta Killa X Master Killer AKA The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978)

Masta Killa x The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, AKA Master Killer (1978)

This is an obvious one! Gordon Liu’s (劉家輝) Monk San-Te character in the classic The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (少林三十六房, 1978), aka Master Killer, started off as a layman but later becomes a kung fu expert upon mastering the skills of the 35 existing chambers of Shaolin. The story goes that Masta Killa was the only member of the Wu who did not have any rapping skills prior to the group’s formation. Once again, urban legend has it that Masta Killa was competing against Killah Priest for the final spot on Da Mystery of Chessboxin, and Killah Priest fell asleep in the studio while Masta Killa stayed up all night to write his verse. The RZA bestowed the name upon him as a metaphor on his journey into the art of emceeing — from layman to eventual master.

“We have an APB on an MC Killer
Looks like the work of a Master
Evidence indicates that his stature
Merciless like a terrorist hard to capture”
Da Mystery of Chessboxin, Masta Killa

Ol’ Dirty Bastard aka ODB (RIP)

Ol' Dirty Bastard X Ol' Dirty & The Bastard (1979)

ODB x Ol’ Dirty & The Bastard (1979)

There may have been no father to his style, but the craziest and arguably the most beloved member of Wu-Tang got his name from An Old Kung Fu Master (一老一少一根釘, released in 1981), aka Ol’ Dirty and the Bastard, which starred Simon Yuen (袁小田) in one of his most iconic roles as Ol’ Dirty. Simon Yuen was known for his comedic portrayals of dirty characters, the most famous of which is Beggar So (aka Sam The Seed), Jacky Chan’s sifu in Drunken Master (醉拳, 1978). Sadly in an instance of life imitating art (or vice versa), much like ODB himself, Simon Yuen left this world with an unfinished legacy in 1979. Supposedly, he was set to reprise his role as Beggar So in an upcoming movie titled The Magnificent Butcher (林世榮, released 1980) alongside Sammo Hung. Following his untimely death however, the role went to a lesser-known actor named Fan Mei Sheng (樊梅生). (Foreshadowing, note #1: this piece of information is crucial for the origin of the last Wu-Tang member on this list.)

“The Ol’ Dirty Bastard is dirty and stinking
Ason Unique rolling with the night of the creeps
Niggas be rolling with a stash, ain’t saying cash
Bite my style I’ll bite your motherfucking ass!”
Protect Ya Neck, Ol’ Dirty Bastard

Ghostface Killah

Ghostface Killah x Ghost Faced Killer (Mystery of Chessboxing, 1979)

Ghostface Killah x the Ghost Faced Killer from Mystery of Chess Boxing (1979)

Over the years, Ghostface has proven to be one of the most consistent members of the Wu. He took his moniker from the main villain Ghost Faced Killer (Mark Lung, 龍冠武) from The Mystery of Chess Boxing (雙馬連環, 1979), aka Ninja Checkmate. The movie is about Ah Pao (Lee Yi Min, 李藝民) who seeks to learn the art of kung fu in order to exact revenge against the Ghost Faced Killer for murdering his father. As a sidenote, Ah Pao’s first teacher in the movie is a cook portrayed by Simon Yuen (Ol’ Dirty). (Even more foreshadowing, note#2: this piece of information is crucial for the origin of the last Wu-Tang member on this list.)

“Speaking of the devil psych, no it’s the God, get the shit right
Mega trife, and yo I killed you in a past life
On the mic while you was kicking that fast shit
You reneged tried again, and got blasted”
Da Mystery of Chessboxin, Ghostface Killah

RZA aka The Abbot

RZA the Abbot x Shaolin Abbot (AKA A Slice of Death, 1979)

RZA, the Abbot x Shaolin Abbot, AKA A Slice of Death (1979)

In an old interview, when asked about the meaning of the letters RZA, the Abbot of Wu-Tang replied “RULER ZIG-ZAG-ZIG ALLAH”. This is based upon the terminology of the Supreme Alphabet. Wu-Tang fanatics have known for a long time that RZA is short for RAZOR, which was his old graffiti name. Further proof of this association can be found in the name of his record label Razor Sharp Records. In 1979, Shaw Brothers released a movie titled The Abbot of Shaolin (少林英雄榜) starring David Chiang (姜大衛) as the Monk Chi San. In the United States, this same movie was released under a variant title A Slice of Death. Thus, RZA/Razor is a reference to the US title of the movie, A Slice of Death, while The Abbot is simply taken from its original title.

“I be tossing and flossing my style is awesome
I’m causing more Family Feuds than Richard Dawson
And the survey said, you’re dead
Fatal Flying Guillotine chops off your fucking head”
Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta Fuck Wit, RZA

U-God aka Golden Arms

U-God aka Golden Arms x The Kid with the Golden Arm (1979)

U-God aka Golden Arms x The Kid with the Golden Arm (1979)

Before he took on the mantle of U-God, he was known as Golden Arms, a direct reference to The Kid with the Golden Arm (金臂童, 1979). In the film, the Golden Arm Kid is a ruthless but honorable chief of the Chi Sah Gang who attempt to steal a cargo of government gold dedicated to relieving famine. The title role is portrayed by Lo Meng (羅莽), aka Toad of the famous Venom Mob. While there is no disputing that U-God also stands for Universal God according to the terminology of Supreme Alphabet/Mathematics, there is an interpretation that links both aliases together.

First, the difference between GOLD and GO_D is the removal of the letter L. This is interesting because the letter L represents “LOVE, HELL and RIGHT” according to the Supreme Alphabet. Thus the removal of the letter could signify the casting away of HELL, or evil. In a sense, this could be a metaphor because the pursuit of riches (represented by GOLD) leads to evil, but once that evil is recognized and repugnated, one finds truth and virtue (represented by GO_D).

How is this related to the movie? In more ways than you can imagine. At the end of The Kid with the Golden Arm, the Golden Arm Kid vows to retire from his evil ways after he obtains the gold upon defeating his enemies, but he is immediately killed instead. The conversion from Golden Arms to U-God is a response to the warning depicted in the final outcome of this character. It is for this same reason that U-God named his first solo album Golden Arms Redemption (1999).

As for the letter U, one only needs to picture two arms raised to the sky in victory. (Oh, damn!)

Clever.

Therefore, U-God = Golden Arms redeemed from Hell/Evil

“Weak MC’s approach with slang that’s dead
You might as well run into the wall and bang your head
I’m pushing force, my force you’re doubting
I’m making devils cower to the Caucus Mountains”
Da Mystery of Chessboxin, U-God

GZA/The Genius

GZA/The Genius x Kung Fu Genius (1979)

GZA/The Genius x Kung Fu Genius (1979)

When I mentioned in the intro that I am 100% 95% certain about seven of nine members while only being pretty confident about the other two, the GZA falls into this latter category. First off, based upon Supreme Alphabet terminology, GZA stands for “GOD ZIG-ZAG-ZIG ALLAH”. The Genius launched his debut album Words from the Genius in 1991, before he ever stylized himself as the GZA. Though I cannot be certain that his alias is based on any specific kung fu flick, there just so happens to be a film conveniently titled Kung Fu Genius (天才功夫, 1979) with Cliff Lok (古龍) in the starring role.

Until proven otherwise, I believe this is a pretty good guess.

“That’s what you get when you misuse what I invent
Your empire falls and you lose every cent
For trying to blow up a scrub
Now that thought was just as bright as a 20-watt light bulb”
Protect Ya Neck, GZA/The Genius

Inspectah Deck aka Fifth Brother

Inspectah Deck x Yeung Dak (8 Diagram Pole Fighter, 1983)

Inspectah Deck x The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter (1983)

I know you have been waiting for this one. Quite simply, Inspectah Deck is one of the unsung heroes of the Wu and probably the name that has caused the most head scratches over the past two decades. Widely considered one of the Clan’s premiere lyricists, he is known for keeping a low profile while leaving the shine to some of the more flamboyant crew members, like Ghost and Meth. But don’t get it twisted: despite his calm demeanor, Rebel INS is a lyrical assassin on the cipher. The RZA once said this about him: “Inspectah Deck, he’s like that dude that’ll sit back and watch you play yourself and all that right? And see you sit there and know you lyin; and he’ll take you to court after that, cuz he the Inspectah.” OK, that explains the first part of the name, but what about Deck?

One of the INS’ nicknames is Fifth Brother.

In 1983, Shaw Brothers released one of their last kung fu movies entitled The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter (五郎八卦棍, 1983), a story about seven brothers from the legendary Yeung/Yang (杨) military family of the Song Dynasty who were betrayed by a corrupt general and ambushed by their Khitan enemies. Five of the seven brothers were killed in the attack. Of the two brothers who survived, Yeung Chieu, the sixth brother (Alexander Fu Sheng, 傅聲) made it home, while the fifth brother (Gordon Liu, 劉家輝) evaded capture and became a Shaolin monk. The name of this brother was Yeung Dak. This is where the Inspectah got the Deck part of his name.

“I smoke on the mic like smokin’ Joe Frazier
The hell-raiser, raising hell with the flavor
Terrorize the jam like troops in Pakistan
Swinging through your town like your neighborhood Spiderman”
Protect Ya Neck, Inspectah Deck

Raekwon, the Chef

Raekwon x The Story of Ricky (1991)

Raekwon x The Story of Ricky (1991)

Some have suggested that Raekwon’s name comes from the Five-Percent Nation, which may very well be true. Yet, nobody has ever come forward to firmly explain its meaning. That won’t stop me from taking a stab at it though. Based on the pre-established pattern that I’ve shown in this piece, it’s hard to buy that RAE’s name is exempt from having a kung fu movie origin. Everything about the word RAEKWON smells of kung fu. Seriously. Just say it.

As a warning, I would kindly suggest that you suspend your disbelief for a moment and read everything that follows with a grain of salt. In other words, read this in the same mental state that you would watch an episode of Monday Night RAW. It is only a theory, but until the Chef himself debunks it, I believe it holds at least a bastion of merit.

My theory is that Raekwon stems from the title character of the ultra-violent movie adaptation of the Japanese Manga Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (力王, 1991), starring Louis Fan (樊少皇).

The kanjis representing the title character’s name are 「力王」, which literally translate to Power King. In Japanese, these characters are pronounced as ‘Riki Oh’, but since the movie was filmed in Hong Kong, its original language track was in Cantonese, and thus the main character’s was pronounced ‘Lek Wong’.

Say it. What does it sound like?

So in theory: 「力王」(Power King) = Riki Oh (Japanese) = Lek Wong (Cantonese) = Raekwon.

I know I should just stop right here, but I’ll do you guys one better. As you all know, RAE is commonly referred to as The Chef. The popular explanation for this moniker is that RAE is an expert at cooking that crack, but I also read that he does have legit culinary skills. Once again, I am not disputing any of these claims, but since we are talking about the Wu, everything is layered and laced in a matrix of subliminal references.

The Chef reference could be based on the Cook character portrayed by Simon Yuen (Ol’ Dirty) in The Mystery of Chess Boxing. Interestingly, there is a little known link between this cook character and Riki-Oh:

As I mentioned earlier, ‘Ol’ Dirty’ Simon Yuen, who portrayed the role of the Cook in The Mystery of Chess Boxing was set to reprise his famous role as Beggar So (aka Sam the Seed) in Magnificient Butcher. When Simon Yuen died, that role went to a lesser-known actor named Fan Mei Sheng. As it turns out, this Fan Mei Sheng is the father of Louis Fan, the guy who played Riki-Oh (aka Lek Wong).

MIND = BLOWN!

Remember folks, this is just a theory. I’d respectfully leave this up until the Chef himself tells me otherwise.

“I grew up on the crime side, the New York Times side
Staying alive was no jive
Had secondhands, Mom’s bounced on old man
So then we moved to Shaolin land”
– C.R.E.A.M., Raekwon the Chef

Outro

Here you have it: the kung fu movie origins of the names of all nine original members of the Wu-Tang Clan served up and explained in one amazing blog. Feel free to share and and debate this article with your friends on Facebook or Twitter.

Also, if anyone out there is able to come up with a valid kung fu movie theory for Cappadonna, I will update this entry and give that person due credit.

Remember folks, WU-TANG is for the children!

- R!

Twitter: @RUDOMANIA | Facebook Page: facebook.com/notconfucius

 

(Edited and republished on 2015-06-19)

Lists, Wrestling

Winning with Flair, Lesson #6 : Work hard, play hard(er)

2015/06/19 • By

(Author’s note: this post is part of a self-development series titled Winning with Flair, a list of 16 lessons inspired by the legendary life of Ric Flair on how to win. To start from the beginning, head over to the introduction here.)

Heavy is the head that wears the crown, so they say. From all accounts, Ric Flair truly deserved the success that he achieved because few other performers in the wrestling business were willing to bleed as much or work as hard as he did. But the Nature Boy also partook in a life of well-documented debauchery and festivity outside of the ring.

Jim Ross revealed the following story in an interview about the time he partied with Ric Flair (source: The Big Lead):

“You’d walk into a hotel bar with about 30-40 strangers in it, and Ric would just walk up to the bar and order 100 kamikazes, take them around to all the tables, do the Flair strut and the woooooooo’s. Obviously, most of the people knew him, but he didn’t know them. He’d buy kamikazes for the whole bar and watch them all get hammered. It would cause an Animal House-like environment where all these strangers would be hugging each other. You’ve got insurance salesman woooo’ing, women swooning, music would come on, and he’d start dancing with everybody’s wives, having a great time. That was not an unusual night.”

To further corroborate Flair’s reputation as a party animal, the late Brian Pillman, a wildman in his own right recounted this anecdote to his personal friend Kim Wood (source: Hardcore History: The Extremely Unauthorized Story of the ECW):

“Ric Flair likes me, and now, I gotta go out with him every night! The wrestling is a piece of cake, but two-thirds of the drinks he orders, I poured into potted plants, and I still get too fucked up to move! And then, he’s in the rental car at 7 a.m., ready to go!”

Look man, if Flyin’ Brian couldn’t keep up with the Naitch’ then nobody could. The lesson here is that anyone who works hard deserves to enjoy the fruits of their labors. In other words: live it up! As long as you earned it first.

RudoMania!

Lists, Wrestling

Winning with Flair, Lesson #5 : Talk the talk, but remember to walk the walk.

2015/06/18 • By

(Author’s note: this post is part of a self-development series titled Winning with Flair, a list of 16 lessons inspired by the legendary life of Ric Flair on how to win. To start from the beginning, head over to the introduction here.)

Continuing on with the previous lesson, when a man is as swaggerific as the Nature Boy, he is allowed to talk a big game. Cocky, shameless and arrogant as ever, Slick Ric in his prime was truly something to marvel:

While silence may be golden in most socially accepted situations, there are no such pleasantries when it comes to winning. There will be instances where shit-talking isn’t just encouraged but becomes necessity. This is often referred to as psychological warfare and the Godfather of military strategies Sun Tzu had this to say in the Art of War:

“If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.”

Anyone with half a wit can come up with one-liners to put down the competition, but there is always a chance of it backfiring. The only rule to talking shit like a boss is to back it up.

RudoMania!

Lists, Wrestling

Winning with Flair, Lesson #4 : Swagger

2015/06/17 • By

(Author’s note: this post is part of a self-development series titled Winning with Flair, a list of 16 lessons inspired by the legendary life of Ric Flair on how to win. To start from the beginning, head over to the introduction here.)

The scriptures say that on the seventh day God created Man, but what they forgot to mention was that on the eighth day Flair created swag. (Source: LeBron JamesWooooo!!! Let’s face it, besides Benjamin Franklin, no other white guy has had his name dropped in more rap songs than Ric Flair. Don’t believe me? Just head over to Genius.com and search “Ric Flair”, you’ll see.

Ric Flair Created SWAG

Ric Flair created SWAG (via miaminewtimes.com)

In a world where perceptions have power to shape reality, giving off the impression of success could sometimes be just as important as having the real thing. In other words, project success and success will follow. They call that the laws of attraction. Nobody understood the importance of this concept better than the Nature Boy himself. Whether it’s the lavish lifestyle he claimed to live (the jets and limousines), his expensive taste in clothes and accessories (Armani suits and big fat Rolexes), or his boasts of having throngs of promiscuous groupies lining up for a chance to meet him at the Marriott, the Nature Boy is the living personification of swagger. In his prime years, Flair oozed so much swag and had so much pussy thrown at him that no matter if he won or he lost, he always seemed untouchable.

So for the nerds at home who didn’t get that, here’s how this works out mathematically:

(1) Swagger breeds Confidence, and (2) Confidence leads to Winning. And since (3) Winning = Success, therefore Swagger breeds Success. Wooooo!!!

RudoMania!

Lists, Wrestling

Winning with Flair, Lesson #3 : To be ‘The Man’, you gotta to beat the man.

2015/06/16 • By

(Author’s note: this post is part of a self-development series titled Winning with Flair, a list of 16 lessons inspired by the legendary life of Ric Flair on how to win. To start from the beginning, head over to the introduction here.)

Reaching the top takes commitment, but to remain on top and building a dynasty requires cunning. Ric Flair achieved the pinnacle of his profession in 1981 when he bested “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes (R.I.P.) for his very first NWA World Championship. From that point the Nature Boy had gone from hunter to hunted but unlike many others who managed to reach the championship only to see their careers fade soon thereafter, Ric Flair continued to thrive under the heavy pressure of being the number one guy in the industry, and he would rule the squared circle for the remainder of the decade.

Ric Flair becomes NWA World Champion (September 17, 1981)

Ric Flair becomes NWA World Champion (September 17, 1981)

There are two arcs in the lives of people who reach the top of their competitive fields: the first arc is that of the hungry lion aspiring to the throne; the second arc is that of the former upstart, having succeeded the crown, doing everything in his power to keep it. Ric Flair showed us that greatness isn’t simply winning at something once, but rather it is the ability to succeed continuously over a long period of time.

RudoMania!

Lists, Wrestling

Winning with Flair, Lesson #2 : NEVER GIVE UP.

2015/06/15 • By

No, that isn’t a John Cena quote.

(Author’s note: this post is part of a self-development series titled Winning with Flair, a list of 16 lessons inspired by the legendary life of Ric Flair on how to win. To start from the beginning, head over to the introduction here.)

A young Ric Flair circa 1972

A young Ric Flair circa 1972 (via AWA archives)

When Ric Flair debuted as a pro wrestler under Verne Gagne’s AWA in 1972, he was fresh off an athletic career in football, wrestling and track at the University of Minnesota. Far different from the bleach blond-maned robe-wearing version of the legend that the world would later be accustomed to, the pre-Nature Boy version of Flair was a mastodon of a man who weighed-in at close to 300 pounds and styled himself a brawler. As you can see from the picture, young Ric Flair bore a resemblance to Dino Bravo and was clearly not yet versed in the art of styling and profiling, but tragedy would play a hand at changing that…

On October 4, 1975, Ric Flair was on-board a plane that carried four pro wrestlers and two promoters from Charlotte to Wilmington, North Carolina. Reports indicate that the plane crashed as a result of a human error when the engine ran out of fuel mid-flight, resulting in the death of its pilot and paralyzing and ending the career of wrestler Johnny Valentine. At 26-years of age, the crash left Ric Flair’s back broken in three places, and doctors predicted that he would never wrestle again. Had Ric Flair accepted the medical prognosis he would have chosen a different path in life, but he did not listen, and instead went through torturous physical training to get his life and career back. Through his resilience and determination, Flair was able to get back in the ring three months following the crash, albeit he had suffered physical changes that would also force him to to modify his in-ring style. Despite that however, for Ric Flair the best was yet to come, but none of that would have happened if he had chosen to quit.

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Fighting, Rants, Sports

UFC 188 : Fabricio Werdum, Master of the Trollface, Savior of the Heavyweight Division

2015/06/14 • By

Well, the dust has finally settled on an amazing night of fights. If UFC 188 has proven anything, it is that for a second time in less than seven months, Mexico City has solidified its position as a prime UFC destination. Last night over 20,000 fans packed Arena Ciudad de México, most of them coming out to cheer on their Mexican-American compadre Cain Velasquez as he attempted to unify the UFC Heavyweight title. Fabricio Werdum, an otherwise beloved character in Mexico had he been fighting anyone other than the Brown Pride Superman himself, defaulted into the role of Lex Luthor masterfully. He was so comfortable in talking smack that he might have overzealously crossed the line, even insinuating that Velasquez isn’t a real Mexican and that he, a half-Spaniard Brazilian with full command of español had more support in Mexico than Velasquez.

Uncle Chael would be proud.

Many expected these verbal jabs to light a fire under the champion’s ass, which would result in a JDS-style mauling served up by Cain. Rumours started swirling last night that The Undertaker™ was seen stalking the surroundings of México Ciudad Arena in full deadman regalia, pushing a custom-made casket with “Werdum” etched on its lid. OK, maybe I made that up: Mean Mark Callous wasn’t actually in Mexico city, but folks were expecting this scrap to send Werdum to the morgue, or at the very least to the emergency clinic. And they had good reason to believe that…

Lesnar, Big Foot and JDS, post-Cain Velasquez

Lesnar, Big Foot and JDS, post-Cain Velasquez

But the outcome shocked a good number of people as Werdum battered the Baddest Man on the Planet and unified the heavyweight strap with a guillotine choke midway through the third round. Fabricio Werdum has beaten the man, and now he is the man.

Almost no one predicted that Werdum would win this scrap, and I do mean literally almost nobody. Bloody Elbow staff picks had only two out of seven in favor of the Brazilian, but MMAJunkie had a complete shut-out with all nine of its panel members predicting a win for Velasquez. This made me doubt myself a little because I really didn’t think the 4-1 odds against Werdum were warranted. While hindsight is always 20/20, there were at least five solid reasons why Werdum winning last night’s fight wasn’t such a big surprise.

Reason #1: Werdum finds ways to win against those seemingly invincible opponents.

Fabricio Werdum was the first fighter to defeat Fedor in almost a full decade of dominance, at a time when he was still considered the Baddest Man on the Planet. Therefore you could say that a win against Cain is not the first time the Brazilian has shattered someone’s aura of invincibility.

Reason #2: Highly underrated.

When former heavyweight World Jiu-Jitsu Champion Fabricio Werdum began his fighting career, he was still known as Cro Cop’s grappling coach. In a lot of ways, his stand-up has always been overshadowed by his mastery of the ground game, but the truth is he has rarely been beaten on his feet. The last time he lost a firefight was when he succumbed to JDS in the latter’s UFC debut in a fight that should have been Fight of the Night, and that was the only time in his career that he was TKO’d. There was also this other time when he refused to engage Overeem on his feet, but that’s beside the point. Since then he has beaten sluggers like Roy Nelson and Mark Hunt. He can more than hold his own on his feet. Couple that with his world class grappling and superior conditioning, suddenly Fabricio Werdum doesn’t look like such an underdog anymore.

Reason #3: Cain’s cage rust.

Prior to last night’s bout, the last time Cain Velasquez fought in the Octagon was 20 months ago at UFC 166 on October 19, 2013. The only other time Cain came back and fought after an extended layoff was the first ever UFC on Fox in which he was KO’d by Junior Dos Santos a little over a minute into the fight. The downtime prior to that fight was only 12 months. Velasquez doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to comeback fights, but given the quality of the opposition in both instances, that’s pretty much a given.

Reason #4: He psyched out the champion.

Werdum played the heel card to perfection, and it not only psyched Cain out, but it also put a whole lot of pressure on the champ to perform. Say what you want, but trash-talking is part of the fight game.

Reason #5: Altitude.

For his fight camp, Werdum went to Mexico city and trained there over a span of weeks to adapt to the altitude, whereas Velasquez only flew in two weeks before the fight. For a guy who hasn’t fought in a cage for almost two years, cage rust would already be a big factor, but add to that 7,382 feet of elevation and suddenly the very uphill battle takes an even steeper turn. Sun Tzu’s Art of War talks about knowing and preparing to face the enemy by moving to the high ground to gain an advantage. Werdum employed this strategy and won the battle. Winning a fight isn’t simply about who has better cardio or who hits the hardest, it’s also who can adapt and gain an advantage on the day of the fight.


With that said, Fabricio Werdum winning the Heavyweight Championship not only makes him the unified lineal Baddest Man on the Planet, having succeeded both Fedor and Cain for the unification, but he also released the heavyweight championship from its never-ending deadlock. Here are five fights we can now look forward to seeing:

Potential Fight #1: Werdum vs Velasquez 2

A rematch is a no-brainer. Whereas last night’s bout was seen as a mismatch, the storyline for their second encounter would be much different. This should be a big money fight that would sell itself, with even more bad blood.

Potential Fight #2: Werdum vs JDS 2

A rematch that would be seven years in the making. Werdum winning the heavyweight championship may be the best thing to happen to JDS in years as this opens up the possibility of him vying for the title, something that he hasn’t done since his second of two soul-crushing losses to Cain. Add to that the angle that JDS defeated Werdum in their first encounter, and the UFC would have an epic all-Brazilian rivalry on its hands. If I was Dana and Lorenzo I would book this right away: set it up in Rio, and have them coach another edition of Brazilian TUF, and just watch the cash flow in. Business-wise, this fight could break all types of records in Brazil. (Remember where you read it first.)

Potential Fight #3: Werdum vs Cormier (Champion vs Champion Superfight)

The only reason DC hasn’t vied for the UFC Heavyweight Championship was because Cain is his training partner, but if Velasquez doesn’t succeed in regaining the title in a rematch against Werdum, then this interesting piece of storyline would pretty much write itself. Picture this: two divisional champions fighting for the Heavyweight strap with Black Fedor seeking to avenge his teammate’s loss. The trash-talking would be sublime.

Potential Fight #4: Werdum vs Overeem 3

Werdum and Overeem have faced each other on two occasions in Pride and Strikeforce. The record now stands at 1-1, so if Overeem can string a few wins against divisional top 5 then this trilogy could end in a UFC octagon.

Potential Fight #5: Werdum vs Miocic

Miocic, or mini-Cro Cop has been on the rise and could potentially land himself a title fight if he can beat another top 5 heavyweight. He was impressive in his decision loss to Cigano in December of last year, and he more recently knocked-out Mark Hunt. Stylistically, a fight against Werdum could be the perfect match-up between two conditioned athletes who can both fight on their feet and on the ground.


I’ll end this post with a video of Wandy celebrating his countryman’s victory as only an Axe Murderer can. Peace!

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