Ric Flair has revealed why he keeps returning to WWE television following his 2008 in-ring retirement, citing a ‘“love of the game” as a key reason.
‘The Nature Boy’, who retired from full time WWE in-ring competition in 2008, is widely regarded as one of, if not the greatest in-ring performer of all time. Despite his retirement from physical competition, Flair has has been a part of many on-screen storylines with the company, from working alongside daughter Charlotte Flair to most recently, managing Lacey Evans.
In a recent interview with Fox Sports, Flair admitted that although he may not be able to compete anymore, professional wrestling is still a major part of his life:
“It’s a love of the game, and gosh, who doesn’t want an opportunity to hang around people that you think, and you’ve been told, respect you. And in my case, being able to even be around. I’m 40 years older than the kids running around the roster. I’m 40 years older. And to be able to walk in, have a conversation with them, it keeps me up to date.”
Ric Flair began his legendary career in 1972 with the American Wrestling Association and during these formative years he would face the likes of Dusty Rhodes, Andre The Giant and Larry Hennig, father of Mr. Perfect. Throughout the 70’s and 80’s, ‘Naitch’ would be elevated to the main event picture, becoming beloved by wrestling fans the world over.
‘The Nature Boy’ eventually made his way to the WWF in 1991, winning the Royal Rumble and WWF Championship the following year. However, Flair would spend the majority of the 90’s with rival promotion WCW before making his return to World Wrestling Federation in 2001.
He would formally retire in a losing bout to Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXIV in 2008. However, upon leaving the company he returned to the squared circle in 2009 for Hulkamania Let The Battle Begin Tour and competed until 2011 for TNA where he finally stepped away following a losing effort against Sting.
A 16-time World Champion, Flair believes the admiration of his peers is another key factor in his willingness to stick around:
“There’s nothing more rewarding than to be highly thought of by your peers. Whether you’re a lawyer and you’re the number one guy in your firm, or a doctor…but wrestling especially.”
Ric Flair currently appears alongside Lacey Evans on WWE’s Raw brand where ‘The Southern Belle’ announced that she was pregnant with the couple’s first child.
Credit for interview: Fox Sports