The man who ended Ric Flair’s WWE in-ring career at WrestleMania 24, Shawn Michaels, has spoken on The Nature Boy’s decision to return to the ring one last time.
In March 2008, one of the most iconic matches in WrestleMania history took place when two of the greatest to ever do it, Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels, clashed with Flair’s career on the line.
After a 20-minute battle took both men to their limit, Flair motioned for HBK to take the final shot. A visibly upset Michaels famously said “I’m sorry, I love you” before laying The Nature Boy out with one final Superkick for the pinfall victory, seemingly putting an end to the 16-time World Champion’s career.
However, although Ric Flair never had another match in a WWE ring, he did lace up his boots again for a run in TNA – now IMPACT Wrestling – from 2010-2011. While there, he had bouts against the likes of Kurt Angle, Mick Foley, and Jay Lethal. His last match to date came against his old rival Sting, who defeated Flair on an episode of IMPACT in September 2011.
Now, over a decade later, Flair has decided to get back in the ring for one final match on July 31st in Nashville as part of Starrcast V.
During an interview on the True Geordie Podcast, Shawn Michaels has commented on the match, saying that he just wants Ric Flair to be happy.
“Those of us that know The Naitch are always, you know, kinda tickled. It’s never over for The Naitch! That’s one of the things that makes him who he is. I want Ric to be happy, and if getting in the ring one more time… Ric knows if he can do it or not. Ric knows if he’s healthy enough, and if it’s something that brings him joy, brings him contentment, I wish him the best.
“Obviously, always want him to be careful, but I think when it comes to being in that ring, that might be where he’s most comfortable and that’s where he finds the most amount of joy, and if that’s the case and he can do it and stay healthy and happy, I’m always gonna support him in that.”
Ric Flair himself has set a high bar for his last bout, regardless of who his opponent ends up being. In a recent interview, Flair said it has to surpass anything he did after the feud with Shawn Michaels.