This week, Winnipeggers will have the unique opportunity to listen to Ric Flair talk about his life in and out of the ring live and in person.
The appearance, part of the Icons Uncensored speaking engagements series, takes place at the Pantages Playhouse Theatre on Thursday, December 16, and the man working behind the scenes on the show is someone who himself is no stranger to the ring — Dan King.
A few years ago, King was better known in Canada as “Playboy” Will Damon, but now, King has become one of Winnipeg’s top speaking engagement presenters, bringing a myriad of authors and personalities like Deepak Chopra to the Manitoba capital.
The decision to step away from the ring, as King told SLAM! Wrestling, was not about a concern over getting enough bookings, and while his physical condition did come into play, it wasn’t the deciding factor either.
“There was never any lack of work for me,” he said, “it was more of the physical aspect. I was in my early 20s and having a lot of back problems, so that had an effect on my position.
“Also, I just felt that I had gotten out of it what I wanted. I didn’t have (as much of) that desire anymore to go farther with it. I really got interested in public speaking, writing books, etc. I wanted to get into something else, so I got into the speaking myself and with certain authors.”
Despite having no experience in the speakers circuit, King’s first work in the field was bringing renowned psychic Sylvia Browne to Winnipeg.
“I knew this inspirational thing was coming up in the mainstream as far as popularity is concerned, so I hit on a few niche markets and authors right from the get-go,” he said. “I really had no experience — I just had a really great mentor who had a plethora of experience in promotions and concert production. I learned everything I know from him and went from there.”
Of course, having a touring background of his own has certainly helped King gain a reputation as a solid promoter.
“It’s having that keen understanding of how things work in the industry,” he explained. “When you know what the performers want, what they expect and in general what type of people they are, you can definitely ensure that you’re treating them the best way possible, setting it up the best way possible and basically creating an opportunity they’re going to want to jump on.”
King also saw an opportunity to showcase big names in the entertainment industry and, through their personal stories, help people in their own lives.
“I’m a huge believer that celebrities are in a powerful position of influence, and people love to hear that these people who are put up on such a high pedestal are — at the end of the day — just normal people like everybody else,” he said. “I think there’s a huge inspirational factor to that, even moreso a healing factor in that people see that these larger-than-life characters go through s*** too, it helps them get through theirs too.”
Tickets to Icons Uncensored: Ric Flair are available now via Ticketmaster.