During the latest episode of the Hall Of Fame podcast, Booker T gave his thoughts on Ric Flair returning to the ring. It was announced this week that the Nature Boy will compete in one final match this summer.
“From a nostalgic perspective, I think that’s got wings, I think that can fly a little bit,” Booker said. “It’s not going to be the WWE or anything like that, it’s not going to be AEW … but I’m sure that they can draw a crowd to see Ric Flair’s final match, even at this state. I think people are still going to want to go and pay to see Ric Flair stylin’ and profilin’, make that walk one more time.”
The news that Flair will step through the ropes once again at the age of 73 has been met with mixed reactions. Former WCW announcer Chris Cruise has been vocal about not wanting the Nature Boy to compete again, and Booker T understands that perspective.
“I can understand why someone like Chris Cruise would say that,” Booker said. “Ric Flair is a guy that’s got a pacemaker in his chest. To be stepping inside the squared circle and be taking bumps, even with Jay Lethal, I don’t think that’s something the doctor would prescribe. But then again, I don’t think Ric Flair is thinking about what the doctor is looking to prescribe. Because one thing I’ve learned about Ric Flair is, man, he’s going to do it his way, and that’s just the way it is.”
If the upcoming match is indeed Flair’s last, it will mark his third “official” retirement from in-ring competition. The first one came in 2008 when he lost the famous “I’m sorry, I love you” match to Shawn Michaels. He returned less than two years later, however, competing in Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling (now known as Impact) until a 2011 injury put him out of action. In 2012, Flair said in an interview that he would never wrestle again. But Booker T understands that retirement is a hard promise for Flair to keep.
“Ric Flair has said it to me personally, if he could be in that ring right now, that’s what he would be doing,” Booker said. “Life is short, and sometimes you’ve got to just figure how you want to go out. How am I going to end this thing … How many more rides of Space Mountain can we go on? But I tell you what, as many as we can go on, we’re going to ride.”
Flair’s opponent for his retirement match is currently unknown — it had been reported that Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat could be involved, but Steamboat recently revealed he had turned the match down. Booker T doesn’t know who it will be, either, but he does have some ideas about the match’s structure that might help alleviate the concerns of people like Chris Cruise.
“My thing is, throwing him in a tag match if we are going to do it, that’s the way we should do it,” Booker said. “You’ve got to be able to protect Ric Flair more than anything in that situation. If he really wants to go out there and do it, that’s the only way I can see it happening.
“But, hey man, it’s Ric Flair. He’s one of a kind, and I do know 100 percent, he’s going to do it his way. He’s going to go out his way, and nobody is going to be able to stop him.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit the Hall Of Fame podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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