Nashville, Tenn – Ric Flair has strutted his brand. He led the crowd in chanting “Woo!” Even the legendary professional wrestler had a hemorrhage, with red flushing his face and his signature white hair as it was in the ’70s or ’80s.
Fittingly, Flair’s last wrestling match ended Sunday night here at a completely sold-out town hall with Leglock’s fourth form, the final move that is synonymous with “The Nature Boy.” Flair, 73, was the winner, of course, in the tag team match along with his partner and son-in-law Andrade El Idulo against the team of Jay Lethal and Jeff Jarrett. Attendance was nearly 10,000, per Fite TV radio provider.
Flair was clearly exhausted by the end of his first match since 2011, but was finally healthy to come out on top and interview longtime wrestling announcer Tony Schiavone. After the match, Flair was helped out of the ring, and his family was greeted in the front row, as well as pro-wrestling superstars The Undertaker, Bret Hart and Mick Foley.
“I had one of the best matches of my career here with Ricky Steamboat,” Flair said. “All my family is here. We’ve joked about my marriage five times. All the kids are here. One wife, but all my granddaughters. My friends are here. I swear to God you guys. If I don’t have enough pressure on me tonight, Kid Rock walks into the locker room tonight.” “.
The grueling bout lasted nearly 30 minutes, and while it was clear that Flair wasn’t the same guy who transcended professional wrestling in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s and Andrade, Lethal and Jarrett made most of the tough moves, Flair was able to hold his weight. He landed chops and punches, kick ass for a low kick, and even took a header from Lethal, who trained with him for this match to prepare for the ring.
The end came when Jarrett, a legend in his own right as a hometown performer, accidentally shot his signature guitar at Lethal when he pulled Andrade Flair away. Flair’s other brother-in-law and card promoter, Conrad Thompson, threw Andrade a pair of front row brass knuckles, which Andrade passed to Flair. Flair fired a brass shot at Jarrett and then put it into a fourth form of Leglock to finish the match.
“This match is the most important of my career,” said Andrade, the AEW star who is married to Flair’s daughter and one of WWE’s superstars, Charlotte. “…This is unbelievable. I don’t even have words for this. [Flair] Feel better than men 20 years old. He’s an inspiration to me.”
Flair is a 16-time former world champion and a two-time WWE Hall of Famer. He’s one of the greatest wrestlers in business history, and his stardom has gone mainstream, even now. Flair has appeared in several music videos by top hip-hop artists, including a song he wrote about him called “Ric Flair Drip” by Offset in 2017. He was the leader of the influential Four Horsemen faction in wrestling, and his matches and work on the microphone are iconic. Many of his phrases are slogans – and of course, “Woo!” – still repeated today.
Flair’s style and ostentation—complete with expensive suits, diamond-encrusted gowns, eye-catching jewelry and crocodile shoes—has been mimicked far from the wrestling world.
Flair wore a gown estimated at nearly $40,000 for the episode Sunday night. But that’s where the interface ended and things got even dirtier. Halfway through the match, Flair took a razor blade to his forehead to cause bleeding, a wrestling technique to increase the intensity of the match. Lethal said doing so was his biggest fear, due to the unpredictability of how ’70s flair would react to the wound.
“That’s the little-known contrast,” said Lethal, who fights for AEW. “I hate to give up so much in wrestling, but Rick, he likes to do what’s called walking and talking. Not much is planned. But I can foresee how a lot of moves are going to go. The only thing I can’t predict is the amount of bleeding, can you control On them? Were they many? They got out of our hands.”
Jarrett was emotional after the match, saying it was “overwhelming”.
“It’s his last,” said Garrett, 55, a WWE Hall of Famer celebrity who serves as a WWE CEO. “If something goes wrong, it’s on me. It’s on the others. I’m so happy for Rick, I don’t know what to say…As a spectator, you watched it and came home tonight. When you’re engaged, it’s a whole other level of pressure that I’ve never had before.”
Bloody Flair was helped on a slope to the back by Andrade. Lethal, who was an enemy in the story, walked out, and he and Flair fell into a long embrace. Flair was incredibly appreciative – and trusted – in Lethal to get him ready for his final match.
I said, ‘I love you, you’re the right guy, I try to be like you when I grow up, because you’re awesome. “I am the greatest wrestler in the world,” Lethal said. “He starts crying and says, ‘Thank you. Thank you very much.'”
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