Last night, Ric Flair worked what was claimed to be his “last match” when he teamed with his son-in-law Andrade to compete against Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal in the main event of the pay-per-view that was the top draw for the Starrcast convention. The bout was held in Nashville the same weekend as Summer Slam to capitalize on the traveling crowds and featured a solid under card, including a stellar four-way lucha match.
As I said when the match was announced, I don’t think it was a good idea and after the bout itself, there was all the proof that was needed for that statement.
I understand that I’m not breaking new ground with this assessment, but that’s the harsh reality of the situation. Sure, it drew money in conjunction with the Starrcast convention, but how much of that was more out of morbid curiosity than anything else? For nostalgia purposes, it was great to see the Jim Crockett Promotions logo and to hear David Crockett lose his mind on commentary again. But a trip down memory lane isn’t the issue here because as we mentioned, the under card was solid with the retro atmosphere that made for a fun evening.
The question is, before Ric Flair’s “last match” was announced, was anyone clamoring for his return to the ring? Furthermore and more directly, did anyone say, “you know Flair is 73, but it’d be great for him to take bumps again”? If not, this experiment didn’t need to happen.
Flair, who reportedly had a foot injury prior to the event, looked very limited in his movement as soon as he went through the curtain. I don’t want to hear the excuse that if he wasn’t injured in training then this would’ve been a better idea. The reason former wrestlers in their 70s shouldn’t attempt to make a comeback is specifically because of the increased risk for injuries in training. This isn’t meant as an insult, but just the reality of the situation. Ric Flair, despite the decades of bravo and buying into his own hype much of that time, is a 73-year-old man with a history of serious health problems, and when he took the robe off, he looked like a 73-year-old that had some health problems. This is yet another reason that returns to the ring like this have such a high risk of failure, because the nature of the situation is that even great performers usually can’t turn back the clock, even just for one night. The final image of Ric Flair wearing wrestling boots wasn’t him stylin and profilin as a throwback to his heyday, it was an old man with poor-fitting trunks that could barely move in the ring.
— GrappleKlips (@GrappleKlips) August 1, 2022
I can’t emphasize this enough, none of this is intended to insult or take away from his track record as a legend of the sport. But it’s the reality of the situation. Flair wrestled wearing a baggy shirt because at his age, he doesn’t look like the athlete that he was in his prime, and nobody expects that, but that’s also why these scenarios don’t typically happen. Legends hang up the gloves, the cleats, or the trunks because it preserves the status of their career. Nobody wants to remember Micheal Jordan on the Washington Wizards.
ric flair winning his last match with a figure four leg lock while laying on his back because he was unable to sit up pic.twitter.com/d1Sf6iHj5J
— forever botchamania (@Maffewgregg) August 1, 2022
Legacy aside, which Flair tarnished the moment that he stepped inside the ring to wrestle for TNA, and more importantly, his health was at risk. It goes without saying that someone with his history of health problems, including a pacemaker, shouldn’t be in the ring. There were several points in the match that I was very concerned, and there were a few occasions where it looked like Flair might’ve been legitimately unconscious. During the latter stages of the contest, Flair was slumped on the apron and couldn’t actually get to his feet to enter the ring. After the three-count, you can see him tell Andrade “I passed out,” a statement that underscores how unnecessary this whole debacle was to begin with.
flair telling andrade "i passed out" pic.twitter.com/w2OnR16skG
— forever botchamania (@Maffewgregg) August 1, 2022
Considering that there wasn’t a fan demand for this comeback before it was announced, you have to wonder, what was the goal?
It can’t be to give the former NWA champion a proper sendoff, he had the greatest retirement of all time and was back in the ring the following year. This isn’t about “giving Ric his flowers” since he had the previously mentioned retirement and there were several occasions, along with network specials that celebrated his legacy. When you take into account his laundry list of personal and financial mistakes, it’s definitely possible that Flair did it for the money, but a lifetime of mismanagement isn’t a pattern that’s going to change at 73 so it’s doubtful The Nature Boy had a plan to invest in mutual funds with his payoff.
The answer is sad, but the bottom line is, Ric Flair, even at 73, needed that spotlight and attention that he had for decades previously. Flair is so personally invested in being “The Nature Boy” that he doesn’t have much else in his life outside of his wrestling persona. He still wants to be the guy from the 80s that was the performer that everyone talked about in the industry. That’s why he was never content with a minor role. He opted to leave the WWE on a few occasions because he wouldn’t be on television regularly. Flair needs to be the center of attention, which is why there are videos of him online strutting around bars in Florida, as that room sees him as the star that he still wants to be in his mind. Make no mistake about it, Ric Flair got to play the role of “The Nature Boy” one more time, but it was a parody of the grappler in his heyday.
But, Ric Flair isn’t a sympathetic figure.
Several years of terrible financial and personal choices led to his money and health problems. It’s tough to feel bad for Flair when he almost died from drinking and then brags about drinking on social media. Ric Flair was given a second chance at life and took it from granted. Other than a successful convention, I’m not sure what was accomplished with this event, but hopefully, somehow Ric Flair found a place of peace after the tag match because he shouldn’t ever be in the ring again.
What do you think? Share your thoughts, opinions, feedback, and anything else that was raised on Twitter @PWMania and Facebook.com/PWMania.
Until next week
E mail email@example.com | You can follow me on Twitter @jimlamotta