On Monday, the Inquisitr highlighted a recent conversation between Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels on Flair’s podcast, The Ric Flair Show, which shed some interesting light on how the two wrestling legends first met, squaring off in a ring for the first time, and the creative decisions behind the build to their classic match at WrestleMania 24.
As always seems to be the case with Flair and Michaels, there was plenty more to the story. The match at WrestleMania 24 will, of course, go down as one of the most emotional and compelling pieces of storyline in the history of the business. Flair and Shawn delivered on the grandest stage, but it was Michaels who revealed that he took the lead in putting together the match (Thanks to Wrestling Inc for the transcription).
“I knew exactly [how to put the match together]. I’ve never been so sure about anything in my life. I knew if we do this, this is going to be epic.”
And epic it was. Perhaps too epic for the superstars in the four matches after the Flair/Michaels bout, which proved a difficult one to follow. It’s mostly common knowledge by now that Michaels got he and Flair matching Rolex watches to commemorate the occasion. HBK found out that the match was going to take place about a month before the big event, so he wanted to make sure to capture the enormity of it in a way Flair would appreciate.
“Look, I’ve taken all of my WrestleMania matches seriously. I’m guilty of taking the majority of my wrestling matches too serious. I take my RAW matches too serious. Then, I take my pay-per-view matches even more serious. Then my WrestleMania matches way, way, way, way, probably unhealthily too serious. And then, of course, I took this one with Ric. It was important to me, and so I wanted to know how this could be special. And then, of course, it went back to me being 15 [years old] and I thought, ‘you know what? What I’d like to do is [for] us to have matching Rolexes. I wanted to be the limousine riding, Rolex wearing, wheeling-dealing, kiss-stealing son of a gun just one time with him…”
The match delivered in a way that might not ever be duplicated. It, of course, ended with Shawn saying, “I’m sorry. I love you,” then delivering one final sweet chin music to his mentor, Ric Flair. That last three count ended Flair’s in-ring career, at least in the WWE. He would leave the company and eventually sign with TNA, where he’d spend two years as an authority figure, manager, and a wrestler. Many felt that Flair’s return to the ring was a slap in the face to HBK, and the Nature Boy finally admitted it was a poor decision.
“Yes, I do [regret wrestling again after WrestleMania 24]. There [are] a couple of things I regret. Number one was ever going to work for TNA. That’s my own fault. It was just a lot of money to wrestle 65 days a year, right? 65 days and make a lot of money. Do you know what I mean? Not WWE money, but pretty good money to do nothing. And I made a lot of friends. I like Kurt Angle very much and I like [James] Storm and [Bobby] Roode. I liked AJ [Styles]. Everybody treated me great. I mean, I don’t have any bad things to say about TNA or the people there at all. After being in the WWE, it’s pretty hard to work any place else because you’re always comparing them no matter how hard you try not to.”
Two years later, Shawn Michaels’ career would come to an end after another WrestleMania classic, this time with the Undertaker. Shawn’s farewell address would come the following night on RAW, but it somewhat paled in comparison to the sendoff Flair received two years earlier. That’s what made Flair’s return to competition such a hard pill to swallow. Michaels has maintained that he’ll never wrestle again, owing at least that much to the Deadman. Fans have certainly been teased over the years, however, and HBK did make a surprise appearance in Dallas at this year’s WrestleMania alongside Stone Cold and Mick Foley.
[Image via WWE]