This Tuesday, Starrcast founder, professional wrestling promoter, but also podcast host, Conrad Thompson took the time to answer the questions of the media on the upcoming Starrcast V event and the Ric Flair Last Match’s show.

In this part, we’ll focus on Ric Flair, his legacy, the match and the docuseries around the match.

  • Will it be Ric Flair’s real last match?

“I don’t consider it going back on my word. Bands have farewell tours over and over, but that’s not what we’re doing here. I want to be clear, Ric Flair’s Last Match is happening in conjunction with Starrcast because I saw an opportunity on that Sunday. Had SummerSlam been on a Sunday, I can’t say that there would have been a ‘Ric Flair’s Last Match.’ As an entrepreneur, I just look for opportunities, or as a friend of mine says, ‘just look for open doors and walk through them.’ This has been a one-off, and it has always been a one-off. But I know Ric has had that bug for a long time. I’ve been close to Ric for 9 years now. Occasionally, and I mean, every few months, we’d be hanging out and it would randomly come up. What if?” I knew he had that itch.

“He regrets wrestling after WrestleMania 24. What a perfect send-off WWE gave him with that Shawn Michaels match and the next night on RAW. That’s a send-off that nobody, not just in wrestling but sports get. It was really special. But for a variety of reasons, he did wrestle after that. Unfortunately, his last match was on a soundstage in Orlando. Not to be disparaging, but it was just a random TV show. It wasn’t a celebration that could mirror or rival what happened in 2008. I’m not saying we’re going to be able to either. But it just feels like there will be more of an effort to celebrate his legacy with the Roast of Ric Flair and the Horsemen panel, and then why not one last match.

“I also knew it probably shouldn’t be a singles match. We want to make sure that Ric looks and feels as close to the Nature Boy of old as he can, and the way to properly frame that is with the tag match. I would have liked the circumstances to be different as to how we get to a tag match and the way this one all sort of was put together, but I can’t lie, I’m pretty proud of the way it all fell into place.

“No, I’m not planning to do a tour, and I know that there are lots of memes out there and there are some fun social media accounts that have fun with (it) … but the reality is there will not be another Ric Flair match with me promoting it, this is Ric Flair’s last match. I know that he has been training and put so much pressure on himself, and he’s probably realistically not ever going to want to do this again. Ric does not want to get in there and do what a lot of fans probably expect, which is chop and strut and woo, he wants to be Ric Flair, and I can’t think of a better way to do that with a tag team with his son-in-law Andrade. There are no grandiose plans of a post-match press conference where we announce we’re doing it again next year, that’s just not reality. This is Ric Flair’s last match this Sunday, July 31st, Municipal Auditorium, the same building where he beat Randy Savage for the World Title, the same building where he ended his trilogy with Steamboat and won the world title. He’ll walk that aisle one last time this Sunday night.”

  • Can we expect some Roast surprises?

‘There will be surprise videos and cameos for the Roast of Ric Flair, there’s a whole lot of folks who would love to pay respect to Ric and be on that stage, but the entertainment business being what it is, it’s just not easy for everyone, especially in summer touring schedule, to break away and be here. So the Roast will have a lot of surprises, but (when it comes to) the actual panel discussions, I know, for sure, there’s going to be a surprise or two with one of those. I think the pressure to deliver a surprise exists in a wrestling card, but candidly, you do a surprise like that if you have a return date. If we said, “well, this will lead to that,” maybe we could load it up with surprises but I want to set realistic expectations, so don’t expect a bunch of surprises on Sunday. The surprise to me is that we were able to put together 11 matches with all these different promotions, that’s the real surprise in my mind, but I would not have an expectation that “oh, there’s going to be a big surprise.” This is a one-off, so I want a temporary expectation. I think you’re going to see a whole bunch of great matches. I think everybody’s going to try to steal the show, but in the end, I would not expect a ton of surprises.”

  • About the concept of the docuseries:

“A really great friend of mine came to visit me around Christmas time, we had a great time catching up, and he told me that he had this idea, “don’t you think it’s a shame that a lot of professional wrestlers have their last match and don’t know it’s their last match?” They got hired for a new big gig, and something happened in their life, they needed to hang up their boots, but a lot of folks just went about their life. This was the way they made their living, and then one day, it was just over, and that felt like a real shame, especially when you consider some of the fabulous send-offs that we’ve seen in traditional sports. I just thought, “man, that’s a great idea,” and then fast forward, when I realized what was happening with SummerSlam and that there really wasn’t anything to do in Nashville on Sunday, I saw that as an opportunity, and I thought, “well, I don’t really just want to announce a match, and I know that a lot of independent promotions just put up dream matches, and then folks get excited about seeing what could happen and what was possible in that dream match.”

“I wanted to be able to tell a story. I wanted to be able to get lost in a story. I wanted people to be excited about that process, and so we started to think, all right, maybe we should do a docuseries. Spoiler, the 3-part series is going to be a 4-part. There will be a final episode that airs after the pay-per-view because I think we need to document what happens as Ric is preparing for his final match, what happens as he’s coming to the arena and he’s getting ready for that last match, what happens in the match, how does he feel after the match, and how does everybody else feel after the match. I would encourage fans to stay tuned, there will be at least one other episode coming.

“What we tried to do with episode one is explain the why because I know a lot of wrestling fans, when they first saw this announcement, they said to themselves, ‘Why is Ric Flair doing this?’ I would encourage everyone who is listening to this or reading a recap perhaps, to really ask yourself and try to look at it from a different perspective. Not necessarily what you want to see, not necessarily what you think should be done, but see it from Ric’s perspective. Ric Flair has entertained us for nearly 50 years in professional wrestling. If this is important to him and he wants to do it one last time, why would we discourage that? Why would we think that we know better than him? This is about him wanting to feel like Ric Flair, ‘The Nature Boy’, one last time. When that whole 2008 retirement happened, that wasn’t his idea. He was dictated to. That was created in a creative meeting, and they said, ‘Hey, you’re having your last match,’ and by the way, it was fabulous. It was ten out of ten. But he wasn’t necessarily ready to do that, which is why he wrestled again. But at this point, he’s been gone for so long, I think everybody understands he’s not gonna wrestle again. This really is it. If he wants to feel like Ric Flair ‘The Nature Boy’ one last time, having lost his son nearly ten years ago, and as you saw in episode one, he said as soon as that happened, he walked across the street to the bar, and he didn’t quit drinking for five years. He nearly lost his life because he was self-medicating, [he] wasn’t taking care of himself. But he’s worked himself back, and Ric Flair is in a better place mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially than I’ve ever known him right now.

“This is not a cash grab for Ric Flair. This is not, ‘Ric Flair needs a payday.’ This is about Ric Flair wanting the glory and the rush of being in front of a crowd that paid to come to see him one last time. Who are we to say that he can’t do that? I understand there are naysayers who have concerns about his health. But they’re not his doctor. His doctor has cleared him for it, and his trainer has told him that he’s ready. I just wanna remind everybody that, when he steps through the ropes this Sunday night, it won’t be the first time he’s stepped through the ropes. It will be the first time you’ve seen him step through the ropes, but he’s been training almost every other day for months. So if there was a concern about something that could happen with Ric medically, it would have already happened in training, candidly, because he’s already done it. He’s been put through the paces, he’s pushed himself. This is not, ‘He wants to get out there and chop and strut and ‘Woo.’ He wants to go out there and steal the show, and he’s gonna have his work cut out for him following guys from AAA and New Japan and MLW and IMPACT Wrestling and all of these fabulous wrestlers who are here, and in the prime of their career. He feels incredible pressure to deliver. Now luckily, his tag team partner is one of the best wrestlers in the world today, no matter what anybody says, and they’re gonna put on one hell of a show this Sunday night.

“I would encourage you, if you’ve been negative, and you weren’t sure about this, and you didn’t think you liked it, and you don’t think he should be doing it, I want you to ask yourself, what about from Ric’s perspective? Can I put myself in his shoes and see it from his perspective? When I see it that way, does it change my opinion?’ Here’s a spoiler, it’s not about you. Not everything in life is about you. You get to decide if you want to watch it or not, but Ric Flair gets to decide what happens in his life. If he wants to wrestle one last time, and his doctor clears him, and his trainer says he’s okay, and his son-in-law’s got his back, Andrade’s gonna be there to take care of him, and I am ready for what happens Sunday night. It’s gonna be a dangerous affair in that main event, but it will probably be dangerous for Jeff Jarrett, not so much Ric Flair.

“Obviously, it’s very important to Ric because it’s his last match, but it’s very important to Jeff Jarrett too because this is going to be a big spotlight on him and his career as well. I mean, this isn’t just something that Ric is excited about for his legacy, what a footnote in history that’s going to be, what a tribute note that’s going to be that Jeff Jarrett is the guy who’s standing across the ring in Ric’s last match and, of course, we all expect Jay Lethal and Andrade to go on and continue to have a fabulous career.”

Starrcast V is taking place from Friday to Sunday in Nashville, Tennessee. All the details on the convention can be found here and here. Ric Flair’s Last Match is taking place on Sunday night at 6.05 PM (11.05 PM BST) from the Nashville Municipal Auditorium. All the details on the card and the docuseries can be found here. The whole Starrcast events and Ric Flair show will air exclusively on Fite TV, some different packages are available in order not to miss a bit of the event.

All pics and videos courtesy of Fite TV and Starrcast Events

By Steph Franchomme

News, Reviews, Social Media Editor, Impact Wrestling Reviewer, Interviewer Well, call me The Boss... And French...

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