Feature: Steve Anderson on Ric Flair’s Possible Un-Retirement


Wrestling is a business where it is hard to walk away. Wrestlers retire and comeback so often, we donâ<80><99>t even notice. It is a business rife with regretful retirement announcements, false swan songs, and numerous comebacks from said â<80><9c>retiredâ<80> wrestlers.

There is just something about the call of the ring. The energy of being active in the business.

Ric Flair has joined the pantheon of retired wrestlers mulling over an in-ring comeback during a weekend Q&A. His retirement at WrestleMania 24 was a much-heralded farewell that carried over into the next nightâ<80><99>s Monday Night Raw. Hugs and tears aplenty, the â<80><9c>Naitchâ<80> apparently â<80><9c>Whooedâ<80> for the last time.

Oh, what a difference a few months make.

Flair left WWE and became a â<80><9c>free agent.â<80> He was welcomed back into the fold of the NWA. He did what former, longtime WWE wrestlers do. Made indy appearances and did a shoot interview for DVD release. Heâ<80><99>s calling the shots in his career for the first time.

So, why stop at the confines of the squared circle?

This past weekend, Flair cited his promise to Shawn Michaels that their match was indeed his career finale. Well, â<80><9c>Nature Boy,â<80> HBK is going to just have to get over himself. Come back if you want. Yeah, youâ<80><99>re pushinâ<80><99> the big â<80><9c>six-oh,â<80> but why not return to the smaller arenas and work a few matches for local fans? Maybe get a shot at the NWA title again.

Shawn Michaelsâ<80><99> feelings and ego will be just fine. Does he really want to hang his hat and cite an accomplishment that he â<80><9c>retiredâ<80> Ric Flair in a match where the outcome was pre-determined? Will it harm his legacy in any way? Seriously, this is a guy who has held every WWE title. He is considered one of the best workers of all time. He will be in everyoneâ<80><99>s Hall of Fame when he retires, then unretires, then retires, thenâ<80>¦

Besides, has Shawn Michaelsâ<80><99> broken any promises? Yes. Has he operated in the best interest of his opponents and the company overall? No. He has done what every wrestler needs to do. Look out for himself. Protect his career. Protect his legacy. Yes, he took, let us say, â<80><9c>extremeâ<80> measures. And his means certainly do not justify the ends if you look at the big picture.

Nonetheless, if Flair defeated Shawn Michaels in a retirement match and olâ<80><99> HBK vowed it was his final match, would Ric or anyone else believe him? I doubt he worries about other peopleâ<80><99>s feelings or solemn vows when he makes a decision related to his career.

Very few wrestlers, if any, retire after their first retirement match. Verne Gagne had his swan song, only to come back again. Has anyone kept track of Terry Funkâ<80><99>s retirement announcements? The list goes on and on.

Simply put, a retirement match is not a retirement match. Itâ<80><99>s just another gimmick bout, like Flairâ<80><99>s previous mid-nineties â<80><9c>retirement matchâ<80> against Hulk Hogan in WCW. No one holds you to it. No one holds it against you if you decide to wrestle again.

Yes, Ric Flair, your best years are behind you, but you can still go and fans will pack VFWs and armories to â<80><9c>whooâ<80> you to victory. HBK will be OK.

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