Today would have been the 30th birthday of Richard Reid Fliehr, the son of two-time WWE Hall of Famer “Nature Boy” Ric Flair and younger brother of Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte.
Reid passed away in 2013 of an accidental overdose of heroin, with prescription drugs also found in his system that reportedly contributed to his death. This afternoon, Charlotte posted a touching tribute to her late brother, describing his passion for professional wrestling and attributing her entire career to his goals and aspirations in the business.
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Today, my brother Reid would have been 30 years old. Most of us in WWE have a favorite wrestlers; a superstars who inspired us to follow our dreams. We would dress like them, mimic them and even do their signature moves. My favorite wrestler is my brother Reid. The life I am living was his dream, and he would talk about it daily. He would watch Dusty promos over and over (and recite them to our family). He looked up to Uncle Arn, and considered himself a Horseman at age 13.
He “debuted” on WCW TV, taking down Eric Bischoff with a single leg. He worked independents with guys like Rock and Roll Express, Lodi, Nasty Boys among others (those were just some of the stories I was told) and eventually made it to Japan before his passing. He loved Japan. The culture, the talent he worked with, and most of all when my Dad managed him and Mutoh against Sanada and Fujinami.
When I started wrestling, my mom would harp on me to do my Germans like Reid. I didn’t even know how to hit the ropes properly. He was working towards a dream and had a true love and passion for professional wrestling. He KNEW it was what he wanted in life. I didn’t have that- not back then. I was figuring things out as I went along, often just going through the motions. For him, wrestling was everything. “Hey Reid, yeah I’ll go with you to Tampa and try out for NXT.” Those words changed my life in ways I couldn’t imagine.
Life isn’t fair. If you’re my friend, you hear me speak of Reid often. I miss him dearly. People say it will get easier- it doesn’t. The more success I have, the more I miss him and mourn the opportunity to share all of this with him. My career has grown from a seed he planted. I’ve made a career, a life, from his passion. I miss you every day Reid. Thank you for the extra pair of wings. You being 30 makes me feel old, champ. Love you as big as the sky.
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