Ric Flair’s Last Match divided wrestling fans. Some thought it was a fun, over-the-top spectacle that allowed the legend to go out on his own terms. Others thought it was a dangerous cash grab that diminished the legacy of the Nature Boy.
Will Natich’s account of things change any minds about his main event win with Andrade El Ídolo over Jay Lethal & Jeff Jarrett? Not if one of the things that concerned you was seeing the two-time WWE Hall of Famer tell his son-in-law that he passed out during the finish.
Here’s the account of the match Flair gave Conrad Thompson about it on his To Be The Man podcast:
“I don’t think people realize that I passed out twice.
“What happened was, my regimentation for training was so strict that I kept my weight on. I wanted my perfect weight to be like 220 pounds going in. So, the last day and a half, aside from all the work that we had planned for me to do, I didn’t hydrate cause I had it in my mind that I had to weigh 219 pounds. So anyway, I went to the ring at about 217 pounds. What happened during the body of the match, I just became dehydrated.
“While I was standing on the apron, I looked at Jay which started the whole wheel of motion. I said, ‘Man, I think I’m getting sick because I was getting lightheaded, nothing to do with my heart, nothing to do with my intestines, just getting lightheaded.’
“I’m sure a lot of it was nerves as well. I think Jay said, ‘We got to move this along,’ and that isn’t what I meant but to the point where Manny [Andrade] came over and said, ‘Your turn sir, your turn sir, your turn sir,’ and so I got in but I didn’t know where we were in the match because I had missed about, clearly like 10 seconds of it.”
Flair credits Jarrett with audibling away from a big planned spot after he first lost consciousness:
“Jeff, out of respect for me, he lifted me atop the turnbuckle and Jay was going to give me a superplex, which would have blown the roof off the joint but he was worried about my health. Jeff, sincerely, he said, ‘We can’t do that Naitch, we can’t do it again,’ so anyway, rather than look awkward, I came down with him, then Jay came in and gave me the suplex and we were back rolling.”
The 73 year old then blacked out again toward the finish. Flair described what went on after Jarrett’s El Ka-Bong missed him and took out Lethal:
“Then along came the guitar, right down bingo, don’t know. While I was down, I passed out again. I just passed out. Manny is going, ‘Sir, you have to wake up, I have the brass knuckles, sir, you have to wake up.’ So then I woke up, I knew where we were right, boom and we’re home.
“I swear to god twice during the match, I went completely black.”
A widely shared GIF from after Double-J tapped out to the Figure Four while Flair’s back was flat on the mat showed Naitch telling Andrade he’d passed out, but it’s not clear from his version of events if that was another instance, or if he was telling Charlotte’s husband about the earlier black out.
Still, he chalks it up to dehydration — which isn’t too surprising considering he boasted about drinking every night leading up to the show. We have another legend to thank for Flair rehydrating after the match rather than going right back to alcohol:
“My hand started trembling, yeah, but it was all dehydration. I had two doctors in there right away with me and everything. The Undertaker came running in and said - I had six beers there - he took them out of my hand and said, ‘you’re drinking two Gatorades first,’ I said, ‘Gatorade?’ So, I drank two and that was that’s all it was. I underestimated the importance of keeping hydrated, which is really big especially when I lost that much weight and trained that hard.”
He still says he has no regrets, and seeing as he apparently came out of his “Last Match” none the worse for wear and a lot of people did enjoy the show, that’s the important thing:
“I’m the luckiest son of a bitch alive to have all this going on. I’m 73 guys, most people thought I’d be dead. Angelo Mosco told me when I was 24 if I lived to 30 I’d be overstaying my welcome. So 43 years later, I’m just so thankful for the opportunity.”
Now, as Lou Brown once told Willie Mays Hayes, “Don’t ever fucking do it again.”