Ric Flair returned to the ring for the first time in over ten years for one final match on the occasion of a special show.
If we had our eyes glued to Nissan Stadium in Nashville, where WWE SummerSlam 2022 took place this weekend, the music city also hosted a special Ric Flair weekend during the Starrcast convention. On Friday, a small very American ceremony took place, the Roast of Ric Flair, show where some friends of the media succeeded each other to release their best vents on the former wrestler.
Ric Flair had actually announced his intention to return to the ring for one final match last May. The prospect of seeing the 73-year-old back in the ring was hardly reassuring, and if he had never closed the door on a return to the ring, few would have taken him seriously. And yet the Nature Boy did it, and he seems to have seriously prepared for it. In recent weeks, training videos, promotions and the build-up to the match have abounded on social networks, we feel a certain seriousness in the preparation of this evening. We are no longer reassured, but curiosity pushes us to participate this evening. Especially since the show menu is enticing.
IMPACT Wrestling, ROH and MLW on the program
It’s a seemingly normal night of wrestling for the rest of the show. Hosted by Jim Crockett Promotions, several promotions will participate in the evening, with Tony Schiavone (AEW), Ian Riccaboni (ROH) and David Crockett providing commentary. Impact Wrestling which offers us a Impact Wrestling Dream Match between the Motor City Machine Guns and the American Wolves, a match won by the former. Jacob Fatu and Josh Alexander faced each other in an Impact Wrestling Championship match, but were unable to decide. Both men ended up outside the ring and Matt Cardona and Mark Sterling came to attack them, visibly unhappy about not being invited.
Jordynne Grace defended the Knockouts Championship against Raquel Ellering and Deonna Purrazzo, a match that had to be restarted after Ellering was suspected of being injured early in the triple threat, but ultimately won by submission of the champion.
MLW also had its quarter on the air with an “MLW Showcase Match” between Killer Kross and Davey Boy Smith Jr. PROGRESS also offered a spot as a challenger for its major title to the winner of the match between Alan Angel, Jonathan Gresham, Nick Wayne and Konosuke Takeshita. The match was won by Gresham.
AEW also loaned out a few wrestlers, Brian Pillman Jr and Brock Anderson teamed up against Rick Morton and his son Kerry, Rey Fenix defeated Bandido, Laredo Kid and Black Taurus in a great display of lucha libre. Meanwhile, ROH sent the Briscoes to face and defeat the Marshall Brothers and Ross Von Erich.
One last game for fun
There was something for everyone on this special night, but the highlight of the show is obviously why people bought their tickets or bought the pay-per-view at FITE. The last match of Ric Flair teaming with his son-in-law Andrade El Idolo against the one he managed at IMPACT Jay Lethal and Jeff Jarrett.
Everyone is here for Ric Flair. We see the entire evening including Al Snow, Santino Marella, Mick Foley or even Jerry Lawler and Jerry Jarrett in a backstage segment. Those who could not be present had left a few video messages during the evening such as Sting, Dixie Carter, Nick Aldis, Kurt Angle or Cody Rhodes.
Jeff Jarrett comes close to fighting fans, Ric Flair steps on his dress as he makes his entrance, we’re starting to wonder if this is really a good idea. At least Ric Flair does not reveal abs under his dress – he preferred an outfit that covered the entire upper body – the Big Gold Belt, which today belongs to his stepson Conrad Thomspon, one of the men behind this evening.
Incidentally, it is also the very last match in the refereeing career of Mike Chioda, who recently announced his retirement. WCW announcer David Penzer is also in the ring for this match. With all this parade, it takes a good twenty minutes before the game really starts.
Ric Flair starts the match against Jeff Jarrett, who after a few laps in the ring submits to Jay Lethal. The action starts well this time, but we feel like everyone is playing it safe against Flair for now (and luckily). Ric Flair’s passages are above all fun for the audience between a few very slow and risk-free moves. Flair also plays his age to destabilize his opponent and pretends to be in too much pain so Lethal steps back, smart. People are singing “You still have it! », don’t push either. Jeff Jarrett also adds a lot of downtime, notably wanting to leave the match, walking away from the ring for several minutes while Karen Jarrett tries to reason with him.
Flair back in the ring against Jay Lethal, chops and punches rain down, that’s about all he does in this match and it’s not bad. The real dynamic moments of this match are clearly between Jay Lethal and Andrade El Idolo, with Jeff Jarrett trailing far behind.
One of the moments everyone was waiting for was Flair’s Figure Four on Lethal, but it was quickly interrupted by Jarrett, who then from outside the ring hit Flair with Karen Jarrett’s shoe. Megan Flair (Charlotte’s sister), who is in the front row, tries to protect her father, Karen Jarrett attacks until ringside security Doug Dillinger separates them. Ric Flair has a bloody face – that was definitely part of the deal, Jay Lethal attacks him but he plays the pity card for the senior again, Lethal steps down and asks the ref to make sure he’s fine… but it was still a lure.
Back in the ring Ric Flair goes as far as to go through a flex from Lethal, we are now on another level of the match. Lethal and Jarrett go after Flair who is suffering his own figure 4 before Andrade intervenes again but is tossed out of the ring by Lethal who tries to carry his… from which Flair escapes at the last second.
Flair manages to make the tag to bring in a burning Andrade, he’s in the corner of the ring and it’s hard to see him getting back into action. However, we are not at the end of our problems. In the heat of the moment, Mike Chioda takes a superkick from Andrade and exits the match. Andrade lands a poisonrana on Lethal, Flair fights his way into the match and climbs up to Lethal for the pin, but no one warns him along the way, not even Andrade. There is no referee and Andrade ends up outside the ring missing a plancha slingshot on Jarrett.
No more referees in the ring, Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal try to smash a guitar over Flair’s head, but Andrade comes in time to save him and it’s Lethal who gets it in the head.
— FITE (@FiteTV) 1 August 2022
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A brass knuckle breaks in courtesy of Conrad Thompson and ends up on the hand of Flair who hits Jarrett with it as a referee is called to the rescue… And it’s Dave Miller who arrives for the pin as Flair goes for a figure four – his shoulders are in the ring too should have been a double pin but it’s okay. It’s (finally) over.
The confetti rains, Ric Flair’s face in blood, but the smile on his lips almost leaves the ring as he crawls towards his close relations. We also see Mick Foley, the Undertaker and Bret Hart greet their former colleague. Interviewed by Tony Schiavone Ric Flair thanks the fans and ends by saying that “Everything you’ve heard about me is true” – we don’t know how far this claim goes, but we’ve heard things about it in recent months – and that he intends to take advantage of this late night to go partying. Ric Flair ends the show by lifting the big gold belt one last time before hugging Jay Lethal.
We’re glad it’s over, although we’re relieved to leave this match believing that everything seemed to be done for everything to go well, the organization was still serious and its partners and opponents were doing everything to avoid an accident. This fight will certainly not be unanimous, some will find it ridiculous to take such risks at 73, and after major health problems three years ago, others will probably not see an old man of his temper. But Ric Flair, we won’t teach you, will live his passion to the end, one way or another.
And if it was really necessary to blame him for something, it would rather be necessary to mess on the side of his heavy pots.