- We return to Backlash eight days ago, with the video starting out very somber, showing Ric Flair, emotional, but still suited and booted to the max, making his way to the ring, waving and blowing kisses to all of his adoring fans, who we get individual shots of.
Ric Flair: …it’s been a LONG road getting’ to this point I can tell ya. But it feels DAMN good to have finally made it.
- Flair’s face is filled with emotion as he looks around the arena sadly, inter-cutting with shots of the nervous, anxious faces watching him.
Ric Flair:From the bottom of my heart, (looking up) I wanna thank you for everything.
- From Flair’s soliloquy we get a few flashing shots of exactly what Naitch means, as we travel back in time, seeing clips of him being adored (and hated) in various companies and decades around the world.
Ric Flair:But it can’t last forever. I gotta tell ya, that THE NAITCH … is only flesh and blood. You punch me, I FAAAALLLLL! You cut me, I BLEEEED! And I wrestle for 35 years … I gotta spend some time with my family. I THINK, or at least I’d like to think that I’ve earned your respect and your trust, enough so that when I tell ya what I’m about to say, you won’t hate me.
- Shot of even J.R looking apprehensive, fearing the next words from Flair’s mouth, as he hangs his head.
Ric Flair:I always wanted to go out on top, and at WrestleMania I think I ensured that. SO (trying to smile) for the first time in my career … I am gonna follow through with somethin’ I’d planned a LONG time ago … and I’m here to announce to you all … that I…
- Clips from the career of the great man, holding his numerous World Titles, beating opponent after opponent in the most entertaining matches.
Ric Flair:…am … RETIRING … from the sport of professional wrestling.
- Shot of the horror on everyone, including performer’s, faces. The mood changes drastically though, as Flair’s former protégé, Randy Orton, makes his return.
Randy Orton:I came out here looking for the greatest wrestler to ever lace up… to ever lace a pair of boots, a man who taught me, me, Randy Orton, the youngest Worlds Champion IN, HISTORY, everything I know. I came out here looking -- looking for “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, you might’ve heard of him?
Ric Flair: (Echoing)I’ve given this a lot of thought. I’ve been over it over and over again in my mind … with my wife … with my kids … with my friends … my peers … everyone … ‘til I -- well, ‘til I reached this point.
Randy Orton: …but instead all I found was the greatest COWARDLY SON, OF, A, BITCH to ever dare to step foot in a wrestling ring!!
- Orton drawing the ire of the fans, his peers, and Flair, but persisting.
Randy Orton:No, no, I was looking for the man I used to run with when I… when I first entered this business, the man who didn’t take crap from ANYBODY, who did what he wanted, when he wanted.
- Flair and Orton face to face over the years.
Randy Orton:The guy who led me, who taught me everything there was to know in this business, a man with more BALLS than a THOUSAND JBL’S… and yet -- and yet, here you stand, telling the world… (right in Ric’s face)… that you’re letting that Wall Street punk run you out of the game.
- Flashback to WrestleMania XXII and its build, with Flair going up against one of the fiercest wrestling villains of the modern era, John “Bradshaw” Layfield, clashing with him at the Royal Rumble, Saturday Night’s Event, and, ultimately, WrestleMania, where he defeats the self-proclaimed “Wrestling God”.
Randy Orton: …you once told me, Ric, you once told me, told me, Dave, and Hunter, that you would never, ever retire while there was still a breath left in you. You told us that so long as you felt Number Seventeen was still only just ‘round the corner … you’d keep on “walkin’ that aisle”. What happened to you? What happened … (snarling)… to that “Nature Boy”?
- The Evolution Era. Clips play, highlighting exactly what TLK is getting at, showcasing Flair’s time spent mentoring the present and future of this business in Triple H, Batista, and, of course, Randy Orton.
Ric Flair:D’ya think I was JOKIN’ back in ’75 when I broke my damn back!? D’ya think I was JOKIN’ when Terry Funk threw me upside my head through a TABLE!? Was I LAUGHIN’, when TRIPLE H, a man I thought -- you thought -- was my best friend, when he BUSTED me in the head OVER AND OVER AGAIN with a SLEDGEHAMMER JUST SIX MONTHS AGO!?
- This time we see Flair’s side of the argument, as we travel back to 1989, as Terry Funk ANNIHILATES Naitch at WrestleWar.
- The video moves forward, we see Flair being bloodied inside a Steel Cage, first by the man himself, Randy Orton, and then by his supposed closest friend, Triple H, who wields “that damn hammer” against Ric.
- Flair and Orton go eye to eye, with the veteran passionately showing the youngster every scar on his 57-year old body.
Randy Orton: That might -- might work on the wife and kids, Ric -- after all, I should know, I’ve met them. It might work on these … people here, but it’s not gonna’ work on me. You’re … (prodding Slick) … you’re walking away ‘cause this business with JBL has got you so scared of not just him, but all of this “New Blood” coming through -- you want to bow out now, quietly, slip out the back door before anyone knows you’re gone … ‘cause you’re scared to DEATH, Naitch … of being pushed aside and forgotten.
It won’t mean a thing if you walk away ‘cause of Bradshaw.
- Flair and Orton face to face later that night…
Ric Flair: “PUSHED ASIDE?!” (The jacket comes off) ARE YOU KIDDIN’ ME!? (Down goes the jacket) You think YOU or any ONE of those snot-nosed PUNKS sittin’ in the back can hold a candle to THE NATURE BOY!? (Bounces off the ropes) The ONE … the ONLY … Stylin’ and WOOOOO, profilin’ … wheelin’, dealin’ SON OF A GUN!? (Stops cold in Orton’s face) NO! NO! NO CHANCE!!!
- Shots of the various young superstars Orton is referring to, from Carlito to Charlie Haas, Kenny to Shelton Benjamin, Chris Masters, Gregory Helms, etc., all gunning for Ric Flair’s spot near the top of the Raw roster, with Naitch doing his best to fight them all off.
Randy Orton:You might be old, Slick … but you aren’t that old … yet. You heard what I said. If you don’t want people doubting just how good you really are … what kind of man ‘The Nature Boy’ really is, Naitch … then I’d think twice about retiring. You know me about as well as anyone, Ric, and you should know -- you should know that I tend to be much more to the point. Kinda’ like this. (Right in Flair’s face) YOU, RIC FLAIR, ARE PATHETIC!!!
- Various clips of fans shitting all over TLK.
Randy Orton:You listen to me -- you listen to me good. You used to be the best damn wrestler to EVER step in to a wrestling ring. PERIOD! I’m just saying it -- I’m not just throwing it out there like some guys. I MEAN IT! I mean it from the very bottom … of my heart, Ric. I … (shakes his head) … I guess I should’ve figured it out … I mean, think about it, you’ve always been a damn egomaniac, it’s in your NATURE to want to be the best, and all that time in Evolution, in your heart … you knew you’d never, ever … been as good … as me.
- More clips, this time focusing on the career of Young Randall, from his beginnings in Evolution to his World Heavyweight Title win, feud with The Undertaker, The McMahons etc.
Randy Orton:… it BREAKS, MY, HEART to see you throwing it all away like this, Ric. It really does. It breaks my heart. Just in the last few months, MONTHS, you’ve gone up against some of the very BEST in the game right now… Money in the Bank, Carlito … former-WWE Champion, JBL… and last Fall, The Cerebral Assassin, The King Of Kings, the guy you so often -- and wrongly -- refer to as the best in the business today … my other mentor… Triple H.
- Clips of Flair defeating Carlito for the Intercontinental Championship at Unforgiven in 2005, besting the Cerebral Assassin in a bloody Steel Cage Match at Taboo Tuesday, and then going toe to toe with The Game in a Last Man Standing Match at Survivor Series.
- Shot of Orton and Flair staring into one another’s eyes, emotions clearly running wild through both of their bodies…
Ric Flair:I was quit when I came out here, Randy…
Randy Orton: How about it then, Naitch? I’m offering you the opportunity of a lifetime in the twilight of your career. You shut the doubters, the naysayers, up -- shut them up once and for all? All the doubters, all the haters? You make it … one, LAST -- if you want it to be -- glorious run at the side of greatness, at the top of the mountain, with Number… Seven, teen achieved vicariously through me? Whaddya’ say?
Ric Flair: … I’m twice as quit now.
- Final shot of Flair brushing past Orton, leaving both he and the crowd in shock, and, for the first time in a long time, being booed roundly…