During a Highspots Superstore signing on Tuesday, WWE Hall of Famer Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat revealed he has officially declined the offer to wrestle Ric Flair at the Jim Crockett Promotions event July 31 in Nashville, TN. Steamboat did confirm during the signing he was approached to wrestle. However, he went on to say that after much deliberation, he decided to decline.
Over this past month, Flair uploaded videos on social media of himself training for an in-ring return which he confirmed will take place on July 31 at the Nashville Fairgrounds, during SummerSlam Weekend.
The match was rumored to be Flair and FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) vs. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson) and a partner.
Below is the statement from Steamboat, courtesy of Fightful.
“Well, I was approached and given it really some serious thought. A lot of respect to the guy in the ring. You know, both of us are night and day when it comes to stuff out of the ring. Flair wouldn’t be Flair without it. I thought about it for a week and just recently just declined on it. I know when I wrestled Jericho at WrestleMania 25, then we had the return match at Backlash in a singles, but at 69, and I know it’s a six-man tag and I could get a little this and that in, but with all due respect to our fans, I want them to remember me that last time I was in there with Jericho when they chanted, ‘You still got it.’ I don’t want to scar that phrase. Even that night with Jericho, you know, I was working for the WWE. I was one of the trainers at the school and was pretty active in the ring, so I had a lot of confidence in myself. But knowing Ricky now and not being in the ring for a number of years, I don’t want to tarnish the memory that the fans have of me. It’d be a good payday, sure, but I don’t want them thinking, ‘Maybe he should have stayed retired.’ You know, and I could get out there and maybe pull it off and say, ‘Well, you know, for a guy who’s 69 years old, he sure did pretty good,’ but that’s the double-edged sword right? So, you know, The Dragon does have a lot of pride in his work and the way the fans remember me in the ring, and I want that lasting impression. I know my physical capabilities right now. I would love to be able to go out there and perform like I did with Jericho. I was 56 or 57 years old, but I think I want my fans to remember me as that guy and not have a chance of disappointing. That’s how much I love my fans,”