Ric Flair will step back inside the squared circle for one more match on July 31 at the Nashville Fairgrounds, as announced on Monday. The 73-year-old initially retired in 2008 following a match with Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXIV, but would wrestle 16 more times (mostly for TNA/Impact Wrestling) up until September 2011.
The press release for the match reads, "On July 31st, at 6:05pm EDT, 'The Nature Boy' Ric Flair, who many consider the greatest professional wrestler of all-time, is set to return to the ring, one final time, as part of 'Jim Crockett Promotions Presents: Ric Flair's Last Match' wrestling event. Taking place at the world famous Nashville Fairgrounds, the 16-time former World Heavyweight Champion will don a new custom-made robe and bring the one-of-a-kind showmanship that has made Flair a cultural icon for his over-40 years in the professional wrestling business."
Sean Ross Sapp offered a few more details via a new report from Fightful Select on Monday afternoon. Sapp noted that "several overtures and inquiries" had been made about Flair possibly wrestling again and that he had decided to train for another match long before the Starrcast announcement (as seen in the training videos with Jay Lethal). It was also noted that the match isn't planned to be a singles match. There's no word yet on who the other participants would be, though AEW's Andrade El Idolo (Flair's future son-in-law) did work with "The Nature Boy" last year at a Lucha Libre AAA event. The event will take place as WWE's SummerSlam, the return of the Starrcast fan convention and various independent wrestling events.
"I'm going to walk that aisle, one last time to prove once and for all, that to be the Man, you've got to beat the Man," Flair said in the announcement.
The 16-time world champion was granted his release from WWE last Summer and has since spoken out against the company for trying to "erase" his legacy, adding that he never plans to go back. Flair was removed from WWE's opening signature following a Dark Side of the Ring episode that recapped "The Plane Ride From Hell," which included allegations of sexual assault from Flair on a flight attendant.