Tarnished Legacies: The Ric Flair Syndrome

CREDIT: Slam Wrestling
During a radio interview, Shawn Michaels was asked the question I'm sure he's sick of by now. Will you ever come out of retirement? Shawn's answer was as it has been since he retired at WrestleMania 26, an overwhelming and resounding “no”.

Good on Shawn. He retired and he's staying retired. It'll benefit him in the long run. That doesn't mean WWE fans (and I say that with certainty as Shawn has made clear he's not going anywhere else) will never see him again. Shawn will make appearances and do things with WWE. But he just won't wrestle. Because he doesn't want to get back in the ring again.

That's his prerogative. Or is it? Because it seems many wrestling fans feel it's up to THEM to decide if a retired wrestler should stay retired or should have one last match or one last run as an active wrestler.

Take Ric Flair, for example. Many fans feel that Flair should have stayed retired after WrestleMania 24. He had a once-in-a-lifetime match with Shawn Michaels, had a huge send-off 24 hours later and rode off into the sunset. Only to get back in the ring, this time with TNA, in early 2010.

Fans felt betrayed and pissed off. Flair said he was retiring. He had his moment. He should have stuck to his word and not “tarnished his legacy”. Excuse me, tarnished his legacy? Really? Now, I'm not getting into the debate on whether Flair to TNA was a good career move for Flair. If Flair is happy at TNA, the money is good for him and the deal is on his terms (as it should be when you're Ric fucking Flair) then I'm happy for Flair.

Whether Flair tarnished his legacy is a debate I'm not getting into. But let me just repeat that; tarnished HIS legacy. Ric Flair's legacy is Ric Flair's. His to own, keep and yes, even tarnish if he so chooses. Everyone can have their opinions, sure, but no-one besides Ric Flair should tell Ric Flair whether he can or can not wrestle again. And it is damn sure not up to us wrestling fans to tell the Wrestling God whether his legacy has been, in some eyes, tarnished.

Wrestlers, especially those on the level of Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker can do what they damn well please. If they want to retire and stay retired, good for them. If they want to retire but have one last match down the road, that's great. If they want to retire, come out of retirement, retire and wash, rinse, repeat over and over again (ahem Terry Funk, Mick Foley), that's their choice. And if they never want to retire and die in the middle of the ring, then hey, good for them.

I'm sick of hearing that “so and so tarnished his/her legacy”. Quit your bitching. It's not up to you, and why should it be? But, if you really don't want to see Ric Flair or Shawn Michaels wrestle again, than that is your choice. Don't watch. But please, stop trying to tell living legends what they can and cannot do with their careers.