Wrestling News

Ricky Steamboat Declines Ric Flair’s Last Match

Ricky Steamboat Ric Flair

Despite being rumored to face Ric Flair in his final match, Ricky Steamboat won’t be stepping back inside the squared circle.

Despite his age and ill-health in recent years, Ric Flair is preparing to return to the ring. The WWE Hall of Famer hasn’t wrestled since squaring off against Sting in September 2011 during his stint in TNA. However, in recent weeks, Flair has been sharing footage on social media of himself working out in the ring with AEW star Jay Lethal.

On May 16th, the Nature Boy took to social media once more and announced that he would indeed be returning to action for one last match at the age of 73. In a nod to his past, the bout will take place under the banner of Jim Crockett Promotions as part of Starrcast on July 31st.

A report from Fightful Select noted that none other than Flair’s long-time in-ring rival Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat was approached to be part of the match, which is also reportedly set to feature FTR teaming with Flair against the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express and a mystery partner. However, speaking at a Highspots Superstore signing, Ricky Steamboat revealed that he decided to decline the offer after he was approached.

“Well, I was approached and given it really some serious thought. A lot of respect to the guy in the ring. You know, both of us are night and day when it comes to stuff out of the ring. Flair wouldn’t be Flair without it.

“I thought about it for a week and just recently just declined on it. I know when I wrestled Jericho at WrestleMania 25, then we had the return match at Backlash in a singles, but at 69, and I know it’s a six-man tag and I could get a little this and that in, but with all due respect to our fans, I want them to remember me that last time I was in there with Jericho when they chanted, ‘You still got it.’ I don’t want to scar that phrase.

Ricky Steamboat continued, making note of his 2009 rivalry with Chris Jericho that led to the two having a match at Backlash while Steamboat was working as a trainer for WWE.

“Even that night with Jericho, you know, I was working for the WWE. I was one of the trainers at the school and was pretty active in the ring, so I had a lot of confidence in myself. But knowing Ricky now and not being in the ring for a number of years, I don’t want to tarnish the memory that the fans have of me. It’d be a good payday, sure, but I don’t want them thinking, ‘Maybe he should have stayed retired.’

In the end, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat doesn’t want to be remembered as someone who could put on a decent match for his age, but would rather let his incredibly WWE Hall of Fame legacy rest where it is.

“You know, and I could get out there and maybe pull it off and say, ‘Well, you know, for a guy who’s 69 years old, he sure did pretty good,’ but that’s the double-edged sword right? So, you know, The Dragon does have a lot of pride in his work and the way the fans remember me in the ring, and I want that lasting impression. I know my physical capabilities right now.

“I would love to be able to go out there and perform like I did with Jericho. I was 56 or 57 years old, but I think I want my fans to remember me as that guy and not have a chance of disappointing. That’s how much I love my fans.”

Ric Flair left WWE in August 2021, citing his unhappiness at his recent creative. He went on to appear at NWA 73, and AAA TripleMania where he served as a manager for his son-in-law Andrade El Idolo, locking a Figure-Four Leglock on Konnan.

The WWE Hall of Famer hasn’t made any major wrestling appearances since being seemingly accused of sexual assault by an air stewardess on an episode of Dark Side of the Ring addressing the ‘Plane ride from hell.’

Following the airing of the episode, a Car Shield commercial featuring Ric Flair was “paused,” while his merchandise was removed by WWE and his signature “Wooooooo!” was removed from WWE’s opening TV package.

Ric Flair has denied all of the allegations made against him.

h/t Fightful