Ricky Steamboat has explained why he decided against competing in Ric Flair’s last match after learning more about his former rival’s health issues.
The pro wrestling rivalry between Ricky Steamboat and Ric Flair is considered by many to be one of the best of all-time. The two WWE Hall of Famers competed many times in their careers from the late 1970s into the 1980s and 1990s. Their most famous matches were a 1989 trilogy over the NWA World Heavyweight Title that produced three of the best matches in wrestling history.
On July 31st, 2022 in Nashville (the day after WWE SummerSlam), 73-year-old Ric Flair main evented a show called “Ric Flair’s Last Match.” The main event saw Flair team with his son-in-law Andrade El Idolo against Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal, who Flair trained with to get ready for the match.
While Flair got through his last match, he also admitted that he passed out twice during the match, which is scary to hear about a man that had serious health issues a few years ago.
Ricky Steamboat, who is 69 years old, was heavily rumored to compete in the match. In an interview with legendary wrestling journalist Bill Apter of Sportskeeda, Steamboat explained why he declined to be part of the match.
“Initially, when Conrad (Thompson), who is the promoter, when we talked, I drove to Nashville and we had a sitdown. I was still training pretty good and feeling pretty good, and I said ‘okay.’ We hadn’t signed or sealed the deal on the money part of it, but what put the nail in the coffin is, about a week after that, I found out that Flair was wearing a pacemaker.”
“All these years and I never knew. I immediately said, ‘I don’t think I want to do this.’ I don’t want my legacy to be that I was in the ring if he happened to pass away or something went wrong. I didn’t want that.”
“I’ve done some interviews after that, when they found out I said ‘no,’ but this the first time I’m coming public with this. I didn’t want to throw Conrad or Flair under the bus, so I threw me under the bus. It’s like one of those old-time boxers, they get in the ring and after about the third round, when his legs are gone, everyone is sitting there saying, ‘he should have stayed retired.’ I used me as the reason.”
In November, Ricky Steamboat won his own final match when he teamed up with AEW’s FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) against Jay Lethal, Brock Anderson, and former NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis in a six-man tag team match.