Killer Mike is a self-claimed wrestling fanatic, who’s been a diehard fan of “The Nature Boy Ric Flair” since he was a child. He even has a song titled after the championship-winning grappler called “Ric Flair,” off his album PL3DGE. So when XXL linked the rapper with the head-busing wrestler, Mike displayed ultimate fandom, asking everything he ever wanted to ask. The story originally printed in the September 2012 issue of XXL (on stands now), but here’s an exclusive outtake. —Mark Lelinwalla
Killer Mike: I don’t know if you know, but you’ve been a huge, huge influence in the community that I come from in Atlanta.
Ric Flair: I have a huge impact in the community in Atlanta?
Yeah, we love you.
Of course you do.
Some of my classic memories of you were your interviews with [late wrestling announcer] Gordon Solie. It felt like you guys had the same chemistry of a Muhammad Ali/Howard Cossell from back in the day. Did it ever feel like that to you?
Well, my stuff was way better than Ali’s. [Laughs].
Gordon was great. I actually had dinner with Howard, Don Meredith and Frank Gifford when they were the original Monday Night Football team.
What was it like going up against the competition you did in the ’80s? You wrestled the Von Erichs, you wrestled Jerry The King Lawler, you went head-to-head with the Road Warriors. What was that like?
It’s hard to evaluate which was the best era. I have equal respect for the guys today as I do for the guys yesteryear. I’m lucky to have been through four generations of it, but I’ve seen it all.
How did it feel when you got that heavyweight world championship belt? That 10 pounds of gold. I never thought that belt belonged around anybody’s waist, but yours.
It’s nice of you to say that, but that’s not the way it works. There’s always going to be a champion and that belt, under my estimation, is still the most prestigious belt in the business. The guy who’s wearing it now is obviously a high-quality athlete or he wouldn’t be in that role.
I know they make replicas of the belt. There’s actually a rapper Pastor Troy in Atlanta and one of his most famous shticks is when he comes out, he comes out wearing that replica belt and it drives people crazy every time.
It’s a great belt.
I ordered mine a couple of days ago. I’m going to name some wrestlers names and if you have an opinion on ’em cool and if you don’t, that’s cool too. The Assassins.
I only knew one of them. Jody Hamilton was a great guy.
What about Tony Atlas?
Some guys you went head to head with—Road Warriors and the Midnight Express.
The Road Warriors obviously was one of the greatest teams of all time and the Midnight Express was too. They were phenomenal.
What about Abdullah the Butcher? He owns some restaurants in Atlanta.
Abdullah is awesome. I love Abby. I just saw him two years ago. He couldn’t bleed as good as me, but he tried.
Yeah, you had the blonde hair going for you too.
And my forehead looks a lot better than his.
What about Jake “The Snake” Roberts?
He was a phenomenal performer and a really a great technician, but another guy who let personal problems interfere with his career. It’s sad.
How mean was Arn Anderson?
He was a phenomenal guy. He was the most underrated wrestler. Not only a great wrestler, but a great interview.
You had some great rivalries like Ricky Steamboat, with Sting, but for me my personal favorite rivalry you ever had was with Dusty Rhodes. It was so engrained in my household. How important do you feel yours and Dusty’s rivalry was?
I liked wrestling all three of those guys. I made a lot of money with all three of them. I probably had the longest-running feud with Dusty, but I wrestled Sting and Steamboat a lot too.