Ricky Steamboat returned to the ring on November 27th when he teamed with FTR to defeat Jay Lethal, Brock Anderson and Nick Aldis.
The match marked quite the turnaround for Steamboat who only months earlier had insisted that he was happily retired. The legend had been asked to be part of Ric Flair’s final match, but despite initially being interested turned the opportunity down. Steamboat had said he didn’t want to “tarnish the memory” of what he achieved during his last run in the ring which saw him wrestle Chris Jericho at WrestleMania 25 alongside Jimmy Snuka and Roddy Piper.
Ricky Steamboat On Why He Turned Down Ric Flair
Steamboat is considered one of Flair’s greatest rivals with the pair wrestling more than 300 times, while their 1989 matches at Chicago’s Chi-Town Rumble, Clash of the Champions VI and WrestleWar: Music City Showdown are still revered to this day.
Speaking in a new interview with Bill Apter of Sportskeeda, Steamboat revealed that he pulled out of Flair’s final match as his rival has a pacemaker. The WWE Hall of Famer said that he didn’t want to be in the ring if something bad happened to his Flair.
“Initially, when Conrad (Thompson), who is the promoter, when we talked, I drove to Nashville and we had a sitdown. I was still training pretty good and feeling pretty good, and I said ‘okay.’ We hadn’t signed or sealed the deal on the money part of it, but what put the nail in the coffin is, about a week after that, I found out that Flair was wearing a pacemaker. All these years and I never knew.
I immediately said, ‘I don’t think I want to do this.’ I don’t want my legacy to be that I was in the ring if he happened to pass away or something went wrong. I didn’t want that. I’ve done some interviews after that, when they found out I said ‘no,’ but this the first time I’m coming public with this. I didn’t want to throw Conrad or Flair under the bus, so I threw me under the bus. It’s like one of those old-time boxers, they get in the ring and after about the third round, when his legs are gone, everyone is sitting there saying, ‘he should have stayed retired.’ I used me as the reason,”
Ric Flair’s final match took place on July 31st with the Nature Boy teaming with Andrade El Idolo to defeat Jay Lethal and Jeff Jarrett.
H/t to Fightful