Reflecting on his seven-year tenure with TNA during a recent interview with the Charleston Post & Courier, Jay Lethal had some very warm memories of his on-screen interactions with "Nature Boy" Ric Flair.
Lethal's uncanny impression of Flair led to a face-off between the two men on a 2010 episode of Impact.
"It let me live out a childhood dream,” says Lethal. "It was incredible. It definitely was a highlight of my career … especially at that point. Even today I remember being so nervous because at the time that company (TNA) had never given me the chance to cut a promo in the ring before. Now the first chance I get to do it I’ve got to go in there with Ric Flair. Are you kidding?”
Lethal noted that he and Flair came up with everything during their exchange on the fly.
"I think the coolest part about it to him was that out of all the promos that we cut, nothing was rehearsed,” Lethal said. "He refuses to go over promos ahead of time. It was all off the cuff. I had to first hear what he was going to say live out there and then react to it. That’s what really caught him off guard. I hit him with one of his lines that he never really used that much. But he did use it way back when. Not many people even remember the line because it wasn’t a famous Ric Flair line. His line was ‘Jumping on is a lot easier than jumping off.’ When I said that, you should have seen his eyes light up. I could tell I caught him off guard for a second, and all he could say was ‘Wow!’ ”
Lethal's spot-on imitation of Flair became a favorite with TNA fans... and with Flair himself.
"I think that he fell in love with the fact that this kid just idolized him so much that he could do this pretty good impression," Lethal said. "Ric loved for me to do that impression. Every show that we came to he would bring some guest and make me do it for them. He really, really fell in love with it. I feel like that has a lot to do with his critiques on me. He really warmed up to me just because he could see how much that I loved him."
Flair remains a big supporter of Lethal. Last month, while being interviewed by Sports Illustrated, "The Nature Boy" lobbied for Lethal to get a chance with WWE.