Ric Flair has rather surprisingly named Ray Stevens as being a better wrestler than himself and Shawn Michaels combined.
It goes without saying that Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels are two of the greatest in-ring workers to ever grace a professional wrestling ring. Their acclaimed bout at WrestleMania XXIV in 2008 remains one of the most talked-about classics, particularly right now with it being ‘Mania season.
If you ask ‘The Nature Boy’, though, the combined wrestling ability of himself and Shawn Michaels falls in comparison to that of Ray Stevens. The real-life Carl Ray Stevens wrestled between 1950 and 1992, and would become a recognisable name during his time as he struck championship gold seemingly wherever he went.
“He’s [Ray Stevens] the greatest worker I’ve ever seen in my life. I can’t even begin to explain… bumps, energy. He was an average talker but in-ring skill Shawn Michaels and me together were not Ray Stevens. The stuff he did looked real, and he was such an average interview but in the ring he was a timebomb.”
Stevens, who sadly passed away in May 1996, was renowned for his stiff bumping style. He’s responsible for a large number of heel grapplers attempting to copy that style of garnering heat and attention during matches, though if you ask Flair, he’ll likely say no-one even comes close. Stevens was recognised as such a talented wrestler when WWE inducted him as part of the legacy class into the 2020 Hall of Fame.
Beginning his career at just 15-years-old and being mentored early on by Buddy Rogers, Ray Stevens quickly honed his skills to be regarded as the best worker of the 1960s. Many wrestling insiders claim him to be capable of bringing a quality match out of any opponent, regardless of ability or skill level.
Cagematch.net lists Ric Flair and Ray Stevens as having contested 28 matches together, beginning with a twelve-man Battle Royal in November 1979, and culminating in a six-man tag team match in April 1982, where they teamed together alongside Blackjack Mulligan Jr. in a losing effort to Ole Anderson, Sgt. Slaughter, and Stan Hansen. Only five of their contests were singles attractions, four of which were won by Ric Flair.
Michaels, meanwhile, only has four credited matches vs. Ray Stevens; one Battle Royal, and three six-man tag team matches, where they teamed with Michaels’ Midnight Rockers partner, Marty Jannetty.