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Ric Flair Nature BoyWWE legend RIC FLAIR is easily one of the most-famous wrestlers on the planet – but we might never have known the Nature Boy had he not cheated death.

The 70-year-old legend is a 16-time world champion, a joint-record with John Cena, and still appears regularly on WWE TV.

But his iconic career, and life, was nearly ended on October 4, 1975 when he was in a serious plane crash in North Carolina that took the life of the pilot and paralysed fellow wrestler Johnny Valentine.

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Flair broke his back in three places and, aged 26, was told he would never wrestle again.

Speaking to Don’t Tell Me The Score podcast, he said: “The pilot realised he’d hit the point of no return where he should have refuelled, and the engines stalled and we went down and through some trees.

“We tore an orchard apart and landed like an arrow. “The speedometer was stuck on 230 miles an hour! I broke my back in three places.”

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Fortunately for us the Nature Boy defied the odds to return to the ring just eight months later. But Flair admits that he nearly quit wrestling due to the physical training being too hard at the start.

He added: “On the first day it was running two miles outdoors in 30 degree weather. “Then it was 250 push ups, 500 free squats and 200 setups.

“It took me about six hours to do it all and I couldn’t even walk after the free squats! “I got myself in better shape and then I did 500 free squats every single day. “The problem was I didn’t go to bed the night before. I’d go from the bar to the gym!”

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