Shawn Michaels sells for Ric Flair in their singles match at WWE Bad Blood on June 15, 2003.
Ric Flair was arguably the greatest pro wrestler of the 1980s. Shawn Michaels was arguably the greatest pro wrestler of the 1990s. For the longest time, a major singles match between the two simply wasn't possible. But once World Championship Wrestling (WCW) went out of business and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) -- which would become World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) -- scooped up all the best talent, it provided opportunity.
It took a while to get there. When Flair came back to the WWF, he was suffering through a bit of an identity crisis. He knew he wanted to wrestle but wasn't sure he could keep up with the crop of superstars populating the roster at that time. Eventually, he worked his way back in and the big turning point came on an episode of Raw in May in Greenville, South Carolina, that saw Triple H ask him to lay down in the main event. Michaels got to Flair and gave him a bit of a pep talk that led to Flair refusing to lay down and gaining all his confidence back (both in storyline and real life) by having an unbelievable match against "The Game" deep in the heart of Flair country.
In fact, when Raw went off the air that night, the entire roster came out to salute him and pay respects.
The following week, Michaels called Flair out by saying he wanted to have a match against him just to see if he was in the same league. "HBK" always looked up to "The Nature Boy" and after seeing what he did against Triple H, he wanted to find out if he had what it took to hang with him.
Flair accepted and the match was set. It was originally to go down on that Raw show but was pushed back to the pay-per-view (PPV). What ended up happening on that Raw was a handicap match with Michaels and Flair going up against Triple H. It was in this match that Flair turned and aligned himself with Trips. With Randy Orton returning from injury, the Evolution stable Triple H had been pushing for some time finally came to fruition.
This all led to the Bad Blood event that took place on this date in WWE history (June 15, 2003) and what Jim Ross described as "a dream match" between two of the very best professional wrestlers of all time.
The match itself was good, though somewhat slow in spots. An initial failed run-in from Randy Orton didn't elicit the proper response and the crowd wasn't as into the match as they should have been. Michaels did hit a crossbody off the top rope putting Flair through a table on the outside, which was an awesome looking spot.
Ultimately, Orton cost Michaels the match by hitting him with a chair and dragging Flair onto his body to get the pin.
After the jump watch the match, in its entirety. I've also included the pre-match promo, which still holds to this day as one of the best three-minute hype packages WWE has ever produced. And with as legendary as the company's production team is, that's really saying something.