Ric Flair’s Last Match is set for July 31st. It’s got a hugely stacked card, has had a two-part documentary made about it, and has had the internet ablaze with fans discussing—well, mainly yelling, if truth be told—about whether or not this is something that should be happening. Some people are mega-hyped like Mojo Rawley on steroids, while others err on the side of caution. And even though it doesn’t really matter to those involved in Ric Flair’s Last Match—after all, any publicity is good publicity—it has sparked a debate on whether or not people will be watching when The Nature Boy steps through the ropes one final time.
As you can guess from the title of this article, I won’t be.
Ric Flair is 73. He has a well-documented alcohol problem that’s landed him in hospital on more than one occasion. He had a pacemaker installed only three years ago and has put his body through the wrestling wringer over the last 50 years, He has fought in some of the dirtiest and most vicious matches you’re ever likely to see, no sold a f*cking plane crash that broke his back and has lived harder and faster than anyone outside of Keith Richards. Ric Flair’s body has taken a hell of a beating for the last half a century and I’m genuinely terrified that Ric Flair’s Last Match might just be Ric Flair’s Last Anything.
The sensible money is that it’s going to be a tag bout, meaning that The Nature Boy can spend minimal time in the ring, hit his spots, and get out, but that still means he’s going to be putting himself under the kinds of strain that ANYONE who has led the life that he’s led shouldn’t be doing at the best of times. Let alone when they’re 73.
Even his friend, Gerald Brisco, has gone on record saying;
I’m not gonna watch it. I’ll tune into the internet but I’m not going to contribute by watching it. My thoughts and prayers are with Ric Flair and I hope…he’s got a d*mn pacemaker, you know, and it worries me. I’ve talked to doctors and, you know, a certain bump in the wrong direction or a certain chop or something like that, that thing can dislodge and he can drop dead.”
And that’s my fear as well. Ric Flair’s Last Match might be a lot of people’s idea of a good time, but I don’t want to see him be carried out on a damn stretcher, with a blanket pulled up over his head.
He’s Already Had Ric Flair’s Last Match And It Was Kind Of A Classic
When Ric Flair “retired” at WrestleMania in 2008, it became an instant classic. The whole match was perfect: the grizzled old veteran being put down by his friend at the show of shows. That heartbreaking moment when HBK mouthed “I’m sorry. I love you” before superkicking The Nature Boy and getting the pin, 1-2-3. The following night’s RAW when everyone—including the pre-kayfabe breaking Undertaker—poured out to the ring to pay their respects. It was magical.
So what happened? Two years later, needing the cash, Ric Flair’s Last Match becomes Ric Flair’s Last Match in the WWE as he buggered off to join TNA.
All that aside, however—I never watched his TNA run as TNA back then was sh**e—the whole build to Ric Flair’s Last Match proper was done to perfection. He had to keep winning. If he didn’t, Big Vinnie was going to show him the door, and Vincent Kennedy McMahon was going to do everything in his power to make sure that Ric Flair hung up his boots for good. Yet, against all odds, Flair kept picking up the W’s, until he challenged Shawn Michaels to a WrestleMania match that would see him go out on his shield. It was some of the best story-telling that the WWE has ever put together and is—as far as I’m concerned—the true meaning of Ric Flair’s Last Match.
He Won’t Stay Retired
I’m sorry, he won’t. Nobody in wrestling ever does and Ric Flair does it even less. This will be—I think I’m correct, but if I’m not I have no doubt someone out there will take great pleasure in putting me right—the third time Ric has said “So long and thanks for all the fish”, and if he makes it through this bout, I fully expect him to keep to his word. For about 12 months.
Then someone else will show up, drive a truckload of cash into his house, and whisper;
“Yeah, but are sure that was really Ric Flair’s Last Match?”
Look, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t watch it. Do what the hell you want, I’m not your Daddy. All I’m saying is that I’m genuinely worried that Ric Flair’s Last Match will be just that. Or at least it’ll be so terrible that it’ll damage his legacy even more.
Whatever happens on July 31st, I hope he gets through it in one piece and that it really is Ric Flair’s Last Match.