By Joseph Santoliquito

By Joseph Santoliquito

PHILADELPHIA CBS) — Whooooooooooo!

Ric Flair’s worldwide signature call even preceded his exit from the white stretch limo that pulled behind the Wells Fargo Center, and his blonde hair was easily recognizable despite the Friday morning gloom. Dressed casually in blue jeans and a dark-blue sweater, he actually walked with a slight strut and once he saw people, his engine ignited.

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The pro wrestling legend and two-time WWE Hall of Famer had heard about Wing Bowl, but never experienced it. Not until Wing Bowl 25, when Flair served as the celebrity guest for what’s become a Philadelphia institution that people have to experience at least once.

Flair took it all in with wide eyes.

“This is really fantastic, you have to see to believe it,” Flair said. “I’ve heard about it, but you truly have to see everything that’s going on to believe it. I’ll say this, it’s everything I heard about it for a long time. I think there were things out there that even shocked me, and I’ve seen everything. It’s fun—I’m glad I came.”

Flair, considered by many pro wrestling aficionados to be the greatest pro wrestler of all time and is recognized as a 16-time world champion during a career that’s spanned 40 years, was cordial and welcoming to everyone who approached him. He couldn’t walk two feet without being besieged my outstretched hands wielding cell phones.

In full shtick mode holding up a replica of the Lombardi trophy, the 67-year-old Flair addressed the packed Well Fargo Center. He praised the Philadelphia crowd and stoked everyone’s attention by proclaiming that the Atlanta Falcons would beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XI this coming Sunday. He also did his homework, too, noting that Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan is from the Philadelphia area.

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Flair says he visits Philadelphia six or seven times a year between all of his commitments.

What you can’t ignore while being in his presence is how energized he is by people. When he first arrived, he was docile and accommodating, but once he entered the main event floor of the Wells Fargo Center, Flair lit up as if someone flicked an on-switch. His signature “Whoooooo” went echoing throughout the arena and he seemed to have a little more vigor in his step.

“I just love livin’ brother,” said Flair, just before he was given a Flyers’ jersey with his nickname ‘Nature Boy’ and the No. 50 on the back. “I’m psyched to be here at the Wing Bowl in Philadelphia, looking as only you can look: Whoooo!!!”

Flair was warned how crazy Wing Bowl could be. He said he had heard about it for a month.

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“And not just from Philadelphia, but people from Pittsburgh and all over the country from friends who knew I was going to be here,” Flair said. “I can’t really repeat on camera some of the things I heard about Wing Bowl. I’m excited to be here. I think the vitality comes from thinking young and doing things like this. I have a young fiancée.

“I had no doubts about this at all about being here. I came here to have fun and entertain. It’s what I do. I’m ready for any kind of action.”

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