The Plane Crash That Nearly Ended Ric Flair’s ’70s Career

All six men suffered serious injuries in the plane crash, with the pilot – Joseph Michael Farkas – dying two months later. Ric Flair suffered three compression fractures in his back which changed his career significantly.

Due to his age then – Flair was 26 at the time of the accident – ​​his doctors noticed that he was beginning to heal faster than expected. He also started changing bodies; as a result, he became much leaner and chose to focus more on his looks than before. During this period, he used his time to completely iron out his “Nature Boy” persona. Additionally, Flair was now struggling to regain moguls due to injuries sustained in the accident, which led to him bumping sideways from then until the end of his career.

The other four wrestlers in the flight also had to deal with a number of health issues resulting from the accident. Tim Woods, better known as Mr. Wrestling, suffered broken ribs and a concussion. David Croquet, the brother of promoter Jim Crockett Jr., suffered a few less serious injuries – a dislocated shoulder and some knocked out teeth. Unfortunately, Bob Bruggers, a former professional soccer player turned wrestler, broke his back and chose to retire from wrestling. Johnny Valentine, who was the NWA United States Champion at the time of the accident, was crippled and would never wrestle again.