Ric Flair had to lose the world championship to be able to win it 16 times. Here’s every wrestler who beat him for the gold, ranked worst to best.
6: Bret Hart
There are few opponents that the Excellence of Execution came in contact with that were able to match him in the ring as a mat wrestler. When Ric Flair arrived in WWE in 1991, he not only became a multi-time champion but took on all challengers, including Hart.
Hart had a long WWE career and became one of the most popular World Champions during his time. However, had it not been for his first championship win against Flair, he would not have entered the main event tier.
5: The Giant
Before he became The Big Show, he was The Giant in WCW and was pushed heavily directly after his debut. From winning the World Championship in his debut match, The Giant had a solid run in WCW, which included a win over Ric Flair.
Just a year after he defeated Hogan for the championship, The Giant would defeat Flair in 1997 and give him the longest championship drought in his WCW career. Unfortunately, it would also be the final time The Giant would hold the title in WCW.
4: Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan’s departure from WWE to WCW in the mid-90s was a big change for the wrestling industry. When he defected to WCW, he instantly made a splash by defeating Ric Flair in his debut match and went on to hold the championship longer than anyone else in the company.
Hogan’s WCW career was marked with controversy, but there is no denying that his impact on the business at the time was monumental. Without Hogan moving to WCW and defeating Flair, there would not have been such a large renaissance in the wrestling industry at the time.
3: Harley Race
Leading into the first Starrcade, Ric Flair labelled his pursuit of the NWA World Championship as a Flare for the Gold. Standing in front of him was the seven-time NWA Champion Harley Race, who had held the championship more times than anyone else.
Race was a hard-hitting and fighting champion, who took Flair to the limit and defined him as an up-and-coming champion. Trading the championship with Race was the highlight of both of their careers and is a time fondly remembered by wrestling fans.
2: Ricky Steamboat
Part of Ric Flair’s time at the top of the NWA was spent establishing new stars. His storied rivalry against Ricky Steamboat featured some of the most competitive matches in wrestling history, some of which are called the greatest of all time.
Steamboat only held the NWA World Championship once, but they continued before and after that title change and helped define his career. Without his feud with Flair, Steamboat would not have received the elevation that makes him considered one of the best wrestlers in history.
Ric Flair’s most famous rivalry – which carried over from the NWA to WCW – was his feud with Sting. Stretching from his time as a surfer to the dark Crow, Flair’s career was intertwined with Sting for many years.
While he only defeated Flair for the championship one time during their rivalry, there were no two wrestlers who defined WCW better than Flair and Sting. Without the two of them on the WCW boat, the company would have sunk much earlier than it did.