Since the announcement that Ric Flair would be having his latest retirement match at the Starrcast V fan fest, it’s been reported that Flair would be teaming with FTR against The Rock N’ Roll Express and another partner, who was originally planned to be Ricky Steamboat. Steamboat has since declined to be part of the match, and now it may be fair to ask if FTR is involved, as well.
A report from Fightful Select Thursday afternoon revealed that AEW owner and CEO Tony Khan had yet to give clearance to Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood to work Flair’s retirement match. As such, their participation in the match, scheduled to take place on July 31 in the Nashville Municipal Auditorium, remains up in the air.
No reason was given for why Khan hadn’t granted FTR clearance to work the event. Earlier this year, Flair’s former podcast co-host Mark Madden hinted Flair and Khan had a falling out after “Dark Side of the Ring’s” controversial episode on the Plane Ride From Hell and Flair’s conduct on the flight. Madden further claimed Khan disinvited Flair from his birthday party this year. It’s unknown if the supposed rift between Khan and Flair is related to this situation.
It should be noted that Flair has also hinted at friction with another AEW star, Jay Lethal. Lethal had been helping Flair prepare for his in-ring return, but according to Flair, tension developed between the two after Lethal found out he would not be participating in the show.
Fightful also added some more context regarding Steamboat’s decision not to participate in Flair’s final match, citing the main reason as Steamboat’s asking price being “extremely high”, according to sources. Fightful noted, however, that Steamboat was willing to do the match and did have a meeting regarding his potential participation; ultimately, however, the two sides were unable to agree on a deal.
Flair’s retirement match will cap off an eventful Starrcast weekend largely built around the Nature Boy — who will also be the subject of a roast — and a reunion of the Four Horsemen. As noted, the event will now take place at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium, the site of Flair and Steamboat’s legendary 1989 WrestleWar match. The show was originally scheduled to take place at the Nashville Fairgrounds.
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