At WrestleMania XXIV in 2008 Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels shared one of the most famous moments in WWE history.
In November of the previous year Ric Flair cut an emotional promo on Raw where he vowed he would never retire. In response, Vince McMahon declared that the next time the Nature Boy lost a match, his career would be over. This set into motion a storyline which ran all of the way up to WrestleMania and a match against Shawn Michaels.
On the night, Flair rolled back the years and went toe-to-toe with Michaels with the crowd hanging on every move. The end of the match famously came with Michaels dragging himself to his feet, uttering “Sorry, I love you,” before delivering one final Sweet Chin Music to end Flair’s in-ring career.
Shawn Michaels Says Famous Ric Flair Moment Wouldn’t Happen Today
The moment has been replayed over and over and has become a staple of WrestleMania videos packages ever since. Many regard it as one of the greatest finishes to a match in WWE history, as it perfectly encapsulated the emotion of the crowd, and importance of the match.
However, speaking in a new interview with Sam Roberts, Michaels has admitted that had social media been bigger, he moment might not have happened.
“I’ll say this, I don’t know — because I was talking about it earlier (finish to the match with Ric Flair at WrestleMania 24) — had social media and everything been out there the way that it is now and you see all of those things, I’m not sure I would’ve had the guts to do that finish with Ric for fear that they would kick it back at us… And I don’t mean to ever imply our fans are mean… Because on social media, they probably won’t show you the 15-year-old wrestling fan in them, you know what I mean?
They’re a bit guarded but when you’re there in the moment and you’re there at WrestleMania and you allow us to take you there, they are fine, grown men are fine whimpering and, ‘Oh my goodness, that was beautiful man.’ But, I just don’t know that I (would’ve) had the guts to do it, you know what I mean? Had I seen what possibly could have been the other side of it but that was my concern. I know I’m getting very long-winded on all these but way too much goes on in here (Shawn’s head) than it probably should.”
Michaels wrestled for another two years before bringing the curtain down on his own career with defeat to The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVI.
Both Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels have since returned to the ring, but now claim to be finally retired. In December 2022 it was reported that HBK actually turned down the chance to face Kevin Owens, insisting that he’s now happily retired.
H/t to POST Wrestling