Modern professional wrestling is somewhere between a sport, reality TV, and performance art. Some may lament that it has become more of a spectacle than a sport. But there is no arguing with the explosion of popularity and money that has come into wrestling as a result. At the center of that revolution was one Ric Flair.
The wrestling world centers on drama and narratives. Any good story has a hero and a bad guy; this sport has turned that dichotomy into art. But Ric Flair could transcend this simplistic; some would say boring, duality. Too big to be put into a neat category, he acted like the worst villain but won fans' hearts everywhere.
His way of doing so was unlikely. Flair constantly reminded his fans that he was doing better in life than they were. Ric literally coined the phrase, "All the women want to be with me; all the men want to be me." He rubbed people's faces in the high-octane glitz of his lifestyle, and for some masochistic reason, the American public ate it up.
And, of course, he excelled at wrestling like no one before or since. He has officially won 16 world championships, according to the WWE. However, the wrestling world in his heyday of the 1970s and early 1980s was messy, and he claimed 21 titles. Either way, his presence in the ring and outside was massive.
When he started, wrestling cards were rare and far between. But his massive personality and incredible success increased the sport's visibility in the hobby. Today, thanks to characters like Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan, there is a vast and lucrative place for wrestling as a hobby. And we are richer for it because his cards have tremendous style, like Ric himself. And because he is such an iconic figure, and Flair's early cards are pretty rare, they can be worth a good deal of money.
1991 Impel WCW Wrestling Ric Flair #45
A PSA 10 sold for $127
The 1991 Impel WCW Wrestling Ric Flair #45 isn't worth a whole bunch of money. However, the absolutely earth-shattering ugliness of the design is priceless. It looks like an MC Hammer video and an episode of Saved by the Bell, I had a baby, and it puked on a wrestling card. And, of course, the picture of "Nature Boy" in one of his flawless kimono-style robes taunting the crowd is what you would expect from this icon. The value is low despite a very sparse population count. There are only 14 of these undeniably hideous cards graded. So, why is the price so low? It's not clear. It may be a good idea to bet on these cards. Just hide them out of sight. You don't want to ruin your appetite before dinner.
2018 WWE Topps Legends Ric Flair Hall of Fame Ring Legends Auto /50
A raw card sold for $150
Even now, as the elder statesman of the wrestling world, Ric has that provocative smile that can light up a room. And yes, he still wears those darn robes that he once said cost "more than most people make in five years." Or at least he does when featured in Topps photoshoots, but we would like to imagine that he goes to the grocery store in them too. The design for the 2018 WWE Topps Legends Ric Flair Hall of Fame Ring Legends Auto /50 is a classic Topps high-end design. It works very well with Flair and his "I am better than you" persona.
2022 Leaf Decadence Dual Auto Card Hulk Hogan / Ric Flair /2 #DA28
A PSA 9 sold for $1,000.
Ric Flair was the biggest name in wrestling back in the 1970s. But in the 1980s, Hulk Hogan challenged and surpassed him (in fame, not necessarily achievements). They were the two most prominent names in the sport but did not match up for many years. The rivalry between the NWA, where "Nature Boy" competed, and Hulk Hogan's WWE precluded a decider between the two legends. But in 1991, Ric finally moved over to the WWE from his ailing federation, and it was on. Yes, much like Donkey Kong. The two went on to fight each other dozens of times in the 1990s, even though they were both getting a bit long in the tooth. But they kept fighting until their 60s. We must point out that Hulk won 62 victories of their 76 matches. The 2022 Leaf Decadence Dual Auto Card Hulk Hogan / Ric Flair /2 #DA28 has a glitzy look worthy of these two icons. So what if they both look kinda tired and over the hill? They still got it.
1987 NWA Wonderama Test Ric Flair Market Card #1 Auto
A PSA 7 sold for $1,300.
The newer Ric Flair cards are a bit more elegant and tasteful. But since when is professional wrestling about any of that stuff? Give me the junk wax era eyesores over the beautiful new cards any day. And the 1987 NWA Wonderama Test Ric Flair Market Card #1 Auto is as tacky and unsightly as they come. It features yet another picture of "Nature Boy" lifting his arms in disdain. But what I really like about this one is twofold. First, his robe looks like something a 1970s pimp would wear on a street corner in the Bronx. Second, the lighting is so bad that Ric looks like an albino. But that was 1980s wrestling for you.
1982 Cosmos Menko Japanese Ric Flair
A PSA 8 sold for $1,380.
Ah, the beauty of the land of the rising sun. The 1982 Cosmos Menko Japanese Ric Flair is the height of early 80s Japanese design alongside the Sony Walkman. The image is a distinct one of Flair with one of his fantastic flowing robes and a championship belt. It's also lovely to see "Nature Boy" photographed with his game face on instead of that annoying taunting grin he seems to have in every other card. But that captivating dual-colored Japanese design makes this card truly pop. As you would expect from an obscure release, the population count is very low. PSA only has 26 cards on file, and 3 are gems. Unfortunately, no PSA 10s have ever been sold, so getting your hands on one may be difficult.
2018 Leaf Legends of Wrestling Ric Flair Auto /5
A raw card sold for $2,000.
The legend of "Nature Boy" is still so powerful that low-numbered cards of the icon continue to sell for high prices, even when issued decades after his retirement. The 2018 Leaf Legends of Wrestling Ric Flair Auto /5 is an absolute beauty. Indeed, to my eyes, it is far more attractive than most of his earliest cards. It has that game face Ric had before he body slammed you into oblivion and showed off the physique that attracted his five wives. My one quibble with this card is that it is a sticker auto instead of an on-card item. A card with a mere 5 in circulation deserves better.
2013 Leaf Sports Hero Ric Flair Auto Cyan WWF 1/1
An authenticated PSA version sold for $2,000.
Ric is like the wrestling version of Yogi Berra. He is almost as famous for pithy sayings as his sporting excellence. But while Berra was self-deprecating and absurd, "Nature Boy" was more about taunting others and tooting his own horn. Perhaps his most famous quote is when he said, "To be the man, you gotta beat the man." So, of course, he made sure he was famous by displaying it in every interview Flair gave. It is also, unsurprisingly, the title of his autobiography. The 2013 Leaf Sports Hero Ric Flair Auto Cyan Print Plate Auto WWF 1/1 is a rare (literally one-of-a-kind) card with the template for his 2013 Leaf Sports Hero card. His autograph is a signed version of that famous saying. You have to admit that is pretty darn cool.
2022 Leaf Vibrance Quad Hulk Hogan / Ric Flair / Steve Austin / Kenny Omega Auto 1/1
The raw card sold for $2,599.
We talked about the storied rivalry between Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan. But he has continued to inspire and sometimes spar with the next generation of wrestlers. For example, Stone Cold Steve Austin is from a completely different era, born a good 15 years later. But the two had a sort of manufactured rivalry anyway, with Flair taking the side of Vince McMahon, who had a burning hatred for Steve. But Flair considers Austin, a worthy heir.
Then there is Kenny Omega, probably the most outstanding wrestler of our time. Though Kenny is a good 30 years younger than Ric, he did get to taste "Nature Boy's" fist in one particularly chaotic match at the "TripleMania XXIX" event in 2021. So, the 2022 Leaf Vibrance Quad Hulk Hogan / Ric Flair / Steve Austin / Kenny Omega Auto 1/1 card reflects this rich history. And it has that diamond-studded look that befits this foursome of absolute legends.
1982 Wrestling All Stars Ric Flair
A PSA 9 sold for $4,797.
Perhaps the most well-known wrestling card release of all time, the 1982 Wrestling All-Stars set has a special place in the hobby. Back in those days, there were almost no sets spanning the entire sport and all of its standout stars. Instead, wrestling fans had to make do with special releases for a specific match or event. Sure, they were sometimes rare. But fans always prefer significant releases. But the 1982 Wrestling All-Stars set was unique for the time and included all of the biggest names in the sport.
Therefore, the 1982 Wrestling All Stars Ric Flair card usually tops any list of his cards. Although I have to say, it is not necessarily due to its tremendous aesthetic appeal. The picture is not particularly flattering. "Nature Boy" isn't really in focus either. And the blue edges of the cards are unremarkable. But historical importance and sentimental value are always crucial drivers for value in this hobby.
But perhaps the most crucial element here is the low population count. There are only 274 graded copies of this rare card. Amongst them, only 6 are PSA 10s, and the only sale of a gem was back in 2019.
1978 Wrestling Annual Ric Flair Rookie Card
A PSA 8 sold for $3,050.
Now this is a card! It is the earliest known Ric Flair card, which is already enough to make it unique. But the aesthetics of this one are popping. Typically black and white cards kinda fade into the background. But normal cards do not display the image of the immortal Ric Flair in all his glory. The 1978 Wrestling Annual Ric Flair Rookie Card shows the man in one of his glorious robes, almost a dress, really. With his hands stretched out in a typical "aren't I just amazing" gesture. And if you can get one with an autograph on it to complete the impressive picture, even better. Either way, this is the gold standard for Ric Flair cards. The back of the card accurately tells us, "The man has an undeniable charisma, earning him legions of fans who ignore his illegal antics."
Final Word On Nature Boy's Top 10 Wrestling Cards
It is hard to make a card worthy of the flashy greatness of Ric Flair. But you know what? The card companies over the years have done a great job of it. Whether you like the hideous early cards or the more elegant later year autos, the "Nature Boy" card selection is spectacular. Moreover, the low-population cards are a significant investment because Flair was one of a kind and will forever be among the most prominent legends the crazy world of professional wrestling has ever produced.