(Writer’s note: this review was written before Ric Flair’s health scare. It was embargoed at the publisher’s request.)
What if I told you that someone’s current WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) wasn’t supposed to happen, that her brother Reid was the one already on the promotion’s radar. She already had a college degree and was running a successful personal training company. Thanks to a family dinner during the 2008 WrestleMania 24 weekend that the head of talent relations happened to attend, Ashley Fleihr AKA Charlotte Flair has been on your TV screen entertaining you and millions around the world. That dinner was to celebrate her dad’s “Nature Boy” Ric Flair’s induction into the WWE Hall of Fame & his last match against Shawn Michaels. Join co-author Brian Shields (WWE Encyclopedia) on a fantastic journey with both people in the new book SECOND NATURE: THE LEGACY OF RIC FLAIR & THE RISE OF CHARLOTTE (St Martin’s Press, $25.99, 320pp).
The book is split into two parts. The front picks up close to where Ric Flair’s first book TO BE THE MAN left off when it was released in 2004. It has several highs and lows as we get his first-hand account of the “retirement” match with Michaels. Also covered is his tumultuous life after WWE that saw his second marriage end along with marriage three & four plus a stint with TNA Wrestling (now called Global Force Wrestling) during which his legendary faction the Four Horsemen were inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012. He also holds nothing back on his love for his children Megan, David, Ashley & Reid who as aforementioned was training for a career in wrestling.
At the point the family was heading to WrestleMania 29 in New York/New Jersey is where Ashley takes over with her life journey with her sidekick Reider (her nickname for Reid.) Growing up in the Flair household on paper reads like a perfect situation because your dad is a legendary wrestler with a bottomless bank account. Like her dad, Ashley holds nothing back in regards to her athletic highs as an All American volleyball & cheerleading star to the lows of an abusive first marriage that left her mentally lost. Which takes us back to the aforementioned dinner with John Laurinaitis where she thought about joining WWE. Ashley takes us through the breaking in phase of wrestling training, plus going through the NXT developmental system, the “diva’s revolution” and backstage issues she faced being Ric Flair’s genetically gifted daughter. Both reunite for the final chapters where they address the death of Reid and its last effect on both of them to this day.
I cannot say enough times over this is the best wrestling book of 2017 and thanks to Mr. Shield’s guidance, is a near perfect biography of any genre. This needs to be in your collection as well as all wrestling fans around the world. Speaking of Mr. Shields, hear him talk about the book here http://outsideinterferenceradio.com/2017/09/05/brian-shields/
For information on Alan Wojcik’s wrestling coverage, check out www.Facebook.com/KayfabeWrestlingRadio & www.Twitter.com/MyNameIsWojcik plus www.Twitter.com/OutInterference which airs Sundays 9am on www.Twitter.com/MoneyTalk1010