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Ric Flair and Charlotte

Wrestling icon Ric Flair tag-teamed with his daughter Ashley -- better known to WWE fans as Charlotte -- to reveal their personal struggles, controversy and family tragedy in a new book. Working with best-selling author Brian Shields, they wrote Second Nature: The Legacy of Ric Flair and the Rise of Charlotte. In this excerpt, Ric recalls how the occasion of the Four Horsemen's induction into WWE Hall of Fame unexpectedly led to Charlotte's decision to enter the wrestling business.

In the beginning of 2012, WWE announced that the Four Horsemen would be inducted into the Hall of Fame. I remember right after we got a call about the induction, J.J. Dillon called me and said, "Are you coming?"

Second Nature Book Cover With Ric Flair, CharlotteI would be the first two-time WWE Hall of Fame inductee. Once again, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I was also under contract to another company. While I didn't think this would be a problem, I had to have the conversation.
Dixie Carter was very gracious. She understood how important it was to me to receive this honor in person. She congratulated me. I was off to Miami.
I was excited because Ashley and Reid were going to join me on the trip. Reid kept training and was scheduled to meet with WWE executives to see what he needed to do to be considered for another tryout. Ashley built an incredible personal training business for herself at a private studio in Charlotte and was doing great. It took her a little while to get settled after graduating from college and getting married. I was so proud of them both and wanted to have them share this experience with me.
When I arrived in Miami, I was greeted by the familiar feeling of excitement when WWE and WrestleMania take over a city.
After the storybook ending to my career at WrestleMania XXIV, I didn't think I'd return to the Hall of Fame as an inductee. It was surreal to make that familiar trip through the talent entrance in American Airlines Arena and be backstage wearing a tuxedo at the WWE Hall of Fame.

When I saw Arn, Tully, J.J., and Barry, it felt like I had just seen them at Raw in Orlando the night after my retirement match. Now we were backstage together. I fought back tears looking at the Horsemen career retrospective video that played for the audience.
To remember how we looked back then and to see these men now -- well, it was a special moment. When I listened to Dusty Rhodes, our greatest on-air rival, sing our praises, I thought back to our battles with the Dream. And poor J.J., the night the Road Warriors hit him with their Doomsday Device finisher in the War Games match, he dislocated his shoulder.

Four HorsemenDusty's induction speech was the type of magic that only the American Dream can deliver. I never thought that one of my idols, who helped break me into this industry, would one day induct me into the Hall of Fame.
When we took the stage as a unit, it was like being transported back in time. It was fitting that J. J. Dillon, our manager, was the first to speak.
J. J. Dillon was the perfect man to lead the Horsemen to the ring. And he really was our manager in so many ways. J.J. was there for us every step of the way: making travel arrangements, setting schedules, confirming travel, and giving us advice. He looked out for us like we were his kids.
In front of the cameras, everything J.J. did meant something. Everything he said had a purpose. J.J. Dillon is a true student of the game who has an incredible history in the business. When J.J. was a kid, he loved wrestling so much that he was the president of the Johnny Valentine fan club. After he graduated high school, he got his break in the business as a referee for Vince McMahon Sr.
When J.J. said, "Naitch, come on up here and tell them what's causing all this," it felt like I was where I should be, on WWE's beautiful stage, before a packed house of so many friendly faces.
I had to tell a funny story, or the emotion of the evening was going to get to me. I told everyone how I was remarried since the last time I was inducted in 2008. I shared with the audience the story about how Tiffany started an argument with me over the phone because I was going to the bar with John Cena. Tiffany asked, "Are you ever going to grow up?" I told her, "I'm not thinking about it anytime soon. Why?" Tiffany followed that up with, "What do you have in common with someone thirty years younger than you?" I paused, thought about that, and said, "I don't know, but I'll tell you this, you won't find out tonight."

Ric Flair, John Cena

And I hung up the phone. Cena and I had a blast in that hotel bar in Indianapolis and stayed until 3:00 in the morning. Cena's another one. It took him a little while to go out with me and enjoy a few drinks, but he could've run with the Horsemen!

I have so many memories with Barry Windham. His father, Blackjack Mulligan, was a huge influence on me. I first met Barry when he was a kid. When he was fourteen, I told him to get a tuxedo and a chauffeur's cap. I paid him to be my limo driver. Barry's the most naturally gifted athlete I've ever been in the ring with. Barry stood six foot six and weighed 275 pounds. He could do anything in the ring, and that included going for an hour with me in the main event. Working with Barry was like working with Steamboat. He was that good. I was so proud to see Barry put his Hall of Fame ring on backstage. Now he has one just like his dad's.

Tully Blanchard was another second-generation performer. His dad, Joe, ran Southwest Championship Wrestling. Tully was a master technician in the ring. He was the type of villain who was not afraid to get the crowd riled up. In fact, Tully may have loved doing that more than the rest of us. And the team Tully formed with Arn is one of wrestling's greatest duos.
As respected as Arn Anderson is, as unanimously highly regarded as he is within our business, it's not enough. Arn deserves more recognition. That night, he took his rightful place in the Hall of Fame. I can't say it enough: Arn Anderson is the brother I never had. For more than twenty-five years, people have come up to me and said that Arn was their favorite Horseman. I've said the same thing to each person every time: "He's mine too."
I think the Horsemen will go down as the greatest faction of all time. We loved the business. We couldn't wait to get to that arena every night and perform, and we couldn't wait to go out and party after the matches. I was honored that our work was recognized by WWE. That night served as another reminder that there's nothing like the respect of your peers.

Ric Flair And Charlotte

After the Hall of Fame ceremony, the kids and I had dinner with John Laurinaitis -- or, as some fans know him, Johnny Ace. I've known John since he was a performer in the NWA and WCW. To fans of our industry who follow what goes on in Japan, John was a top star for All Japan Pro Wrestling in the '90s. He's also the brother of Road Warrior Animal. After John retired from the ring, he worked behind the scenes in WCW and came to WWE in 2001.
At dinner, Reid told Johnny what he had been doing: training, getting booked on more independent shows, and using the internet and social media to contact promoters to book more dates outside the Carolinas. John knew how much Reid wanted another opportunity to try out for the company. They continued to talk about what Reid needed to do, and Johnny gave him some suggestions on how he could get more experience.
Then all of a sudden, Johnny asked Ashley why she wasn't in the business. I didn't know what to say. She was never attracted to it, but for some reason, she seemed interested in hearing more about what Johnny was saying -- that they were always looking for people with great athletic backgrounds and that she should consider it if it was something she might want to become involved in.
I tried telling him that wrestling was not Ashley's thing. Then Reid encouraged her to consider it and said they could train together. I couldn't believe the conversation I heard. I thought we were having dinner to talk about Reid getting back for a tryout. Now my daughter's suddenly thinking about it? What? I told her that I knew she had the athleticism, but she couldn't do this half-assed.

-- Excerpted by permission from Second Nature: The Legacy of Ric Flair and the Rise of Charlotte by Ric Flair, Charlotte and Brian Shields. Copyright (c) 2017. Published by St. Martin's Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Available for purchase from the publisher, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes. Follow Ric Flair on Twitter @RicFlairNatrBoy. Follow Charlotte on Twitter @MsCharlotteWWE. Follow Brian Shields on Twitter @ItsBrianShields.