There was a time when there was no Ric Flair in wrestling. Of course finding someone alive who remembers such a time is now near impossible ( except maybe "Rollerball" Rocco, or the Fabulous Sebastian, they might remember ).
In the eighties wrestling became HUGE, mainly thanks to the efforts of Vince McMahon and the WWF ( no, not the panda loving hippies ). Ric stayed with the rival NWA company where he earned the respect and admiration of his peers (who weren't so much his peers really, as they were his fellow wrestlers) and fans alike, while a large, bald, orange skinned man made far more money, received far more acclaim, and had more bad matches than should ever be allowed.
Ric Flair was a prodigious talent in the ring. He was the complete package ( which is a much different animal to the "total package" for the record ). He could work the mic with endless ease, and he could wrestle like a champion ,which he became many, many times over. But it wasn't just that he could wrestle, he had that extra ability. Not only could he have the crowd eating out of his hand, and usually hating him, he could make his opponents look good. In many cases, that was not easy. Not to name any El Gigantes or past their prime, Junk-food Dogs. The Nature Boy never stopped performing, and never stopped giving 100%, both in and out of the ring.
When a wrestler retires, he will usually be replaced by someone of equal skill, of equal presence... eventually. But there will never be another stylin' and profilin', limosine riding, jet plane flying, wheelin', dealin', son of a gun, like Ric Flair.