A TRIBUTE TO THE "NATURE BOY" RIC FLAIR

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    Flair-ing up SmackDown 

If there is anyone who knows how to adapt Ė and remain successful Ė in the sports-entertainment business, itís 16-time World Champion Ric Flair. In last Mondayís draft, the "Nature Boy" was sent from Raw to Smackdown, but for Flair, who has seen his fair share of ups and downs throughout his tenure as a WCW and WWE Superstar, becoming acclimated to new surroundings shouldnít pose too much of a problem.

But now that Flair is approaching the twilight of his career, it seems that starting over on a new brand could be his toughest challenge to date. One has to wonder if Flair still has enough gas left in his tank to work his way from the bottom up.

"If Iím in the twilight of my career, why was my first match as a member of the SmackDown roster against the World Heavyweight Champion?" exclaimed an agitated Flair, referring to his showdown with Edge in Friday nights broadcast of Smackdown. "As long as I can breathe, Iím going to compete at a top level."

According to the Nature Boy, there is nothing that can stop him from maintaining the reputation heís built over the years. On top of that, anyone thatís followed Flairís career understands that he didnít earn the nickname the "Dirtiest Player in the Game" because he accepts losing.

"Hey, man, there is always a way to win, and Iím going to do what I have to do to find it ó bottom line. And that goes for whoever Iím competing against," assured Flair.

Last Friday nights broadcast of Smackdown showed that the man that many consider to be the Greatest Professional Wrestler of All Time belongs being put into the position of wrestling the World Champion in his first match. Most Superstars are put through the ringer to attain that status in WWE, but with Flair's Legendary reputation and Accomplishments, he is allowed to skip that step.

"During my career Iíve proved Iím capable of beating the best, and if Edge is the best, thatís who I belong in the ring with," said Flair.

While showing absolutely no signs of apprehension about his move in the draft, he also knows that heís not alone. Another draftee, Torrie Wilson, is also moving to Friday nights. Flair and Wilson have connected over the past few weeks as the Nature Boy has helped Torrie cope with the realization that her ex-boyfriend, Carlito, wasnít worthy of her company.

"Torrie is a sweet girl who deserves the right companion, and thatís what sheís getting by coming to SmackDown with ĎNaitchí," said the always-animated Flair with a huge smile.

Another potential ally that is already solidified for Flair is with former Evolution member, and the current No. 1 contender to Edgeís World Heavyweight Championship, Batista. The two share a rollercoaster history with one another, but someone as seasoned as Flair knows that having someone as fierce as The Animal on his team could give him the extra edge (for lack of a better word) he needs to gain immediate success.