Q&A: ‘WOOOOO! Nation’ Co-Host Conrad Thompson Talks Ric Flair And More

Meet the man who teams with The Man.

The unemployment rate would be much higher if it wasn’t for WOOOOO! Nation.

Every Wednesday millions of Americans are ready to flip their desk and chop the shit out of their boss, until listening to Ric Flair’s podcast makes work somehow tolerable.

Ric isn’t the only one to thank.

His co-host, Conrad Thompson, keeps the audio freight train on track, steering Naitch through wrasslin’ chatter with the occasional stop for Marriott stories.

Subscribe to WOOOOO! Nation to catch each week’s podcast as well as the 30 previous ones with Kurt Angle, Bret Hart, Lex Luger and more. Try and spend some money by supporting their sponsors so this Godsend can continue.

John Corrigan: How did you become friends with Ric Flair?

Conrad Thompson: “I met him at an appearance a couple years back and we just hit off. He came over my house to watch football and I went over his house to watch football. We realized we had a lot of common interests and had a good time together.”

JC: You were a huge Nature Boy fan growing up, right?

CT: “Absolutely. I grew up a big Hulkamaniac, but then I went through the phase where I grew out of wrestling, like a lot of kids do. What got me back in was when tape-trading became a thing. I saw old school Ric Flair promos and was hooked. I was past saying my prayers and eating my vitamins, and more into the limousine-riding, jet-flying gimmick.

When I got more interested in the behind-the-scenes aspect, I started to hear everyone, from Stone Cold to Shawn Michaels, say Ric Flair is the greatest of all time and explain why. When you have an appreciation for someone, and everyone agrees with you, you get validation that he’s the dude.”

JC: Were you nervous when you met him?

CT: “Oh yeah, you know, you always hear about these celebrities and their bad sides. When you meet someone you admire, you hope you’re not let down, and I was certainly not let down.”

JC: That’s pretty cool. What’s one thing about Ric that most fans would be surprised to learn?

CT: “I don’t think people really understand the level of which he loves people. Not just his children, but especially them. When we hang out for a full day, I can’t tell you how many times he’s calling or texting his kids. He’s way, way, way connected to them. But also to other people in his life, whether it is his girlfriend or friends, he’s a very sincere, genuine person. The crying on TV is not for camera. That’s him in real life. He loves very hard.”

JC: How has your life changed since WOOOOO! Nation launched?

CT: “Well, I get a helluva lot more tweets.”

JC: (laughs)

CT: “But, you know, there’s criticisms. They don’t like my voice, they don’t like my accent, they don’t like my laugh. They think my laugh is fake, I sound like a hick, a red neck, I ask smart questions, I shouldn’t speak, why is he here, blah blah blah.

Because I advertise in my region, I’m used to all that criticism before. But when it gets to stuff like, I ask dumb questions, I don’t see where that’s coming from. But it is what it is. I appreciate everybody listening, one way or another. I just didn’t necessarily expect that going into it because I’m just there to fill the gaps.”

JC: How did the podcast come about?

CT: “You know, I’m not exactly sure. He first mentioned it to me in March of 2014. It was just kind of in passing that people wanted him to do a podcast. He wasn’t very familiar with the concept of podcasting. He’d ask can you even make money doing that? Over time, his agent Melinda, who he’s very close with, ran through a couple of different offers and partnered him up with CBS.

He asked me to come in for his first taping and just sit in with him. The plan, of course, was supposed to be just him. But he wanted me to come in for a fan’s perspective, just a fan asking questions. He also knew I was comfortable on the radio because I advertise my mortgage company on the radio. So we did one and he really liked the way it came out, and I’ve been on the show ever since.”

JC: I couldn’t imagine the podcast being nearly as good if it was just Ric talking to himself.

CT: “Well, Austin does his by himself and Jericho does his by himself, but they also have segments where they’re just talking to the listener. Ric admitted that he felt awkward doing that. Even back in the day, when Ric would do promos, he did them in front of a studio audience. He’s used to some sort of feedback.”

JC: Your best contribution to the show is your ability to ask the tough questions. Whether the topics be Hulk Hogan or the Reid comments from RAW, you manage to respectfully bring these subjects up for discussion. How do you do this?

CT: “It helps that Ric is there because I don’t think anybody believes we’re trying to do some kind of gotcha journalism. They know it comes from a good place, and because they’re friends with Ric, maybe they feel they have to answer. I get a little bit of heat on message boards where guys will say ‘I hate the way this Conrad guy always says, ‘well the internet will have you believe, or the rumor is,’ when we fans know it is absolute fact.’

Well, I frame it that way because I don’t want to state something as a fact when a. I wasn’t there and b. by me stating it as a fact, whatever they’re about to say is a lie. I really just want to get people’s perspectives. Each podcast is about a particular guest so I want to frame it in a way that they’re comfortable.

With this whole thing that just happened on RAW, I wanted to ask Ric, if you had to step outside of yourself, and you weren’t married to it and you weren’t involved, what would you think about it? He was able to say ‘I wouldn’t like it.’ If I just asked him what do you think about it, he would say, ‘I don’t want to say anything.’ I was able to frame it in a way that I could ask the question and he could answer and everybody listening knew what he meant.”

JC: As his friend, how did you feel about the Reid comments?

CT: “We talked about it the night before the podcast, as it was going on during RAW. He told me Charlotte was in the last segment for the contract signing and he was really excited about that. We talked about how cool it was for the ladies to have the last spot on the show. Then as she was walking to the ring, it was announced that she would be on ESPN. Anybody who knows Ric Flair in real life, knows that from the time he wakes up to the time he goes to bed, SportsCenter is on. The idea that she would be on SportsCenter the next day, I knew he would think that was the coolest thing ever.

So I texted him that, and then just a few minutes after they got to business, I texted him, ‘wow.’ By the way we communicated, it was very clear that he was upset. So by late afternoon Tuesday, I hadn’t spoken to him since the night before. It had been almost 24 hours since it had happened, and I’m sure he had time to collect his thoughts. He knew that he could say whatever he wanted and if he wasn’t happy with it, I could clip it out before sending it to CBS.
But we didn’t edit anything.”

JC: How has the feedback been?

CT: “Well, I’ve gotten a lot of calls, from real life friends and friends I’ve made within the wrestling business. Nobody is really sure what’s next or how exactly this all came about. Obviously, with angle like that and a script like that, the plan was to create some controversy. And on that front, you have to say it was a home run.

I was very adamant on Twitter that it’s not our place as fans, not our place as people whose last names are not Fliehr, to make a decision. Reid’s mom has a right to an opinion, his dad, his sister, his brother, his other sister. Their opinions matter most.”

JC: You’re absolutely right. I found it fascinating that Ric summed it up saying, ‘well, at least on Sunday, you know who the villain is and who the hero is.’ I guess when you’re Ric Flair and you’ve been in wrestling for so long, that’s how you view things.

CT: “Well, I think Ric is very old school. He’s not all over social media. Unless people are emailing him or texting him, it’s not right in front of him. In Ric’s day, you did an angle to have a match, you had the match, you had the payoff, and then it was on to the next live show. I think that’s how he’s processing it.”

For Part II in which Conrad discusses Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Dusty Rhodes, Roddy Piper, click here.

For Part III in which Conrad discusses Kevin Nash, Michael Hayes, WWE Network, click here.

John Corrigan
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John Corrigan

Columnist / Assistant Editor at Wrestledelphia.com
John Corrigan
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