Ricky Steamboat Reveals Why He Backed Out Of Ric Flair’s Last Match


 Shaun Ranft

Ricky Steamboat has made a name for himself all over the professional wrestling world since the 1970s, and in 2009 was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame for his lifetime of work. Yet at 69 years old, he was still able to return to the ring this November alongside FTR at the “Return of the Dragon” event from Raleigh, North Carolina in what was perhaps his final match. Speaking of final matches, Steamboat’s longtime rival Ric Flair recently had another “final match” in July, which saw him and son-in-law Andrade El Idolo defeat the team of Jeff Jarret and Jay Lethal.

Initially, the plan was for “The Dragon” to be involved instead, but along the way, he changed his mind. Flair’s health, of course, has been an issue of concern for years now — to the point where many shudder at the mere thought of “The Nature Boy” stepping in the ring these days. Ultimately, about a week after sitting down to discuss terms for the match, that was the biggest factor in the former Intercontinental Champion’s decision to back out.

“I was still training pretty good and feeling pretty good, so I said okay,” Steamboat told Sportskeeda Editor Bill Apter in an exclusive interview. “What put the nail in the coffin is I found out that Flair was wearing a pacemaker. All these years I never knew, and I immediately just said I don’t think I want to do this.”  Steamboat has always wanted fans to remember him by the matches he and Flair put on back in their prime, but he also didn’t want to be remembered for a potential tragedy.

“I don’t want my legacy to be that I was in the ring when if he happened to pass away or something went wrong,” he continued. “I didn’t want that.”


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