The announcement of Ric Flair’s return to the ring has left many, Jim Cornette included, questioning whether it’s even safe for him to be doing so.
News broke on 16 May that two-time WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair was to come out of retirement for one last match at the ripe age of 73-years-old. ‘The Nature Boy’ is scheduled to team with FTR to combat The Rock’n’Roll Express and “someone else”.
The match is due to take place at Starrcast V, hosted by Flair’s son-in-law Conrad Thompson. Taking place over SummerSlam weekend, this will emanate from Nashville Fairgrounds on 29 and 30 July under the Jim Crockett Promotions banner.
Since the announcement was made of Flair wrestling once again, many wrestling personalities have criticised his decision, including Jim Cornette. The former Midnight Express manager addressed the situation on his Jim Cornette Experience podcast, referencing Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler’s continued in-ring presence:
“You know I have seen the footage, if it wasn’t for Flair’s health issues that he had documented that he was almost dead, and they have done documentaries so it’s not like I am spilling secrets on his medical records, fine. [Jerry] Lawler is going to be 73 this year and he still wrestles, and actually he has the same match he always had. It’s Lawler, he can still do it and he uncorks the dropkick on a few occasions. He actually died. But Ric Flair can’t have a Jerry Lawler match and get it over, because Lawler’s unique. Flair is going to be compared in everybody’s kind to the Flair of the 70s, 80s and 90s, even the 2000s maybe.
That worries me, he is 73 this year, no he just turned right? But he had serious surgeries done and sh*t. Obviously FTR would like to team with Ric Flair, who wouldn’t? Obviously The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express are still going, Ricky’s amazing and a hoot, I think he might have mentioned it might be his last year too. And again, Ricky Morton was not near death in a hospital, and he is several years younger than Ric. The point is I saw the footage, and if that was just some 73-year-old guy working with Jay Lethal, that would be the most goddam amazing thing ever and you should sell tickets to that.
It looked good for a 73-year-old guy and even a 73-year-old wrestler. But you can still tell that they are taking it easy, Ric is taking a couple of bumps, which I don’t know if I would recommend. But it’s not like he is performing like he once did or can, or should be able to. Doesn’t that combined with the health issues that everyone knows he has had, does anyone want to see him get in the ring and do those things? Or will they be squirming and wincing like when Cactus [Jack] was taking those bumps that should have killed him and we got worried about him instead of being entertained by him?”
Although he retired from the ring at WrestleMania XXIV following a loss to Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair has wrestled a handful of matches for IMPACT Wrestling since the March 2008 card. He last wrestled Sting on the 15 September 2011 aired episode of the Anthem-helmed promotion’s weekly broadcast.
Ric Flair was released from WWE in August 2021, having grown frustrated with certain booking decisions made by the company. His next step post-WWE remained an interesting topic for a while, with many speculating an imminent AEW debut that would see Ric Flair join his soon-to-be son-in-law Andrade El Idolo.
If you use any of the quotes from this article please give a h/t and link back to Inside The Ropes.