16-time World Heavyweight Champion, Ric Flair, has spoken about his historic Retirement Match at WrestleMania XXIV and how, in his opinion, he was merely average.
With Ric Flair’s career coming to an end in 2008, a major storyline was placed side-by-side with his imminent departure in which Vince McMahon himself passed the edict that the next match ‘Naitch’ lost, would be his last.
For months, ‘The Nature Boy’ battled the likes of MVP (Royal Rumble), Vince McMahon (Raw) and Elijah Burke and Shelton Benjamin (ECW) to name a few on television and pay-per-view before he came up against the one immovable roadblock in ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ Shawn Michaels.
In the years prior to WrestleMania, Ric Flair came under scrutiny for not being at his best inside the ring. Despite being in his fifties at the time, ‘The Dirtiest Player in the Game’ was expected to be the marvel he’d been in the eighties and his performances regularly came under much scrutiny.
That was until ‘The Grandest Stage of Them All’ when, in his final fight – or so we thought at the time – Flair put on a display worth of his former self. Arguably his greatest performance between the ropes since early 1994.
However, the man of the hour has a different opinion of his presentation that fateful night as he told Alex McCarthy of talkSPORT – in an interview hosted by Inside the Ropes – referring to his staging as, “average at best”:
“Knowing that Shawn picked me as an opponent, God, I mean, the pressure was on but it was, you know, when it was over, it was so rewarding. People were going, ‘God, it was a great match,’ and to me, I was average at best, Shawn was great. I didn’t think it was great. But I think the emotion was at a very high level because it was real. You can’t ever act out or put emotion in places it’s not real. So it was very real for me, and it has been for years.”
To describe such an awe-inspiring performance in such a manner is somewhat humble, but then that’s the man Flair has become. Regardless of his low opinion, fans will always remember the match and conduct as the very best of his later career.
While some will remember the outing for the spectacle, the performance and the moment in time that the greatest wrestler in history finally hung up his boots – that was the theory anyway – other will always regard the bout as one of the most emotional in memory, being summed up in five immortal words…
…”I’m Sorry. I Love you.”
Credit for the interview: talkSPORT
h/t for the transcription: WrestleZone