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Ric Flair On Battling Anxiety During His Career, His Mental State For WrestleMania 24 Match With Shawn Michaels

May 16, 2021 | Posted by Blake Lovell

In a recent interview on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, Ric Flair discussed his battle with anxiety during his wrestling career, facing Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 24, and much more. You can read his comments below.

Ric Flair on dealing with anxiety throughout his wrestling career: “That was my job. I loved doing it, and I didn’t see it as work. But anxiety, I have wrestled matches where I couldn’t feel my hands. I had anxiety. I had what’s called agoraphobia for a while too, where I couldn’t get myself to leave the house. I was traveling with Arn Anderson, Kevin Sullivan, and somebody else, and we were in a small town where I was wrestling JYD. We rode around for the weekend, and I called Kevin to come down to my room. Kevin flew with me home. Then, for about a month, I would have a hard time driving out of my driveway and go into the airport to catch flights. I felt like if I wasn’t in my house or my backyard, I was lost. I could not attach myself to it. I was not having any fun. It is hard to explain, but wrestling when you can’t feel your hands, especially when I’m gonna do a flip or I’m gonna push off somebody for a backdrop, or take a press slam or something, it was brutal.”

On returning to WWE and his mental state during his WrestleMania 24 match with Shawn Michaels: “I had self-confidence issues when they brought me back, but I didn’t experience any of that. When I went back, I was never supposed to wrestle again. Shane called me and said what do you think about wrestling my dad? I said absolutely not, that wasn’t part of the deal. Of course, that went in one ear and out the other. I look back on that match, and it was so bad. I could have been so much better. With Shawn Michaels when I retired, I was 59. Everything worked physically. I could take every bump in the world, but I didn’t have it here [points to head]. I look back on that match, and it was great only because of Shawn. I was there physically, but when you’re so preoccupied, how could you possibly succeed? For that whole WrestleMania, I kept thinking, ‘Can you make it?’ I wasn’t thinking how do I make the match better. That whole night I kept saying, ‘You can do this, just listen to Shawn.’ And we got through it. Everybody thought it was great, but it was only great because of Shawn.”

On how he’s coped with anxiety: “I just fought my way through it because I couldn’t take a day off. I wrestled Scott Steiner one night in a long match with anxiety – I just wasn’t myself. I had so much anxiety. I was in a tag match with Arn Anderson against Ron Simmons and Butch Reed, and I just remember Ron throwing me into the ropes and thinking, ‘Will I feel my hands to do the flip?’ It’s hard to explain. But the worst was when Kevin Sullivan had to take me home. The thing of it is, in our unsympathetic world that our wrestling business is – the only way to beat it is just to hang in there. You’re gonna be subject to criticism and they’re gonna say you’re off and you didn’t do this or that in my line of work. But thank god I could talk. Didn’t throw off my thought process with talking. It seems to be all forgotten, but the truth is that there are certain people, and you’ll find that out as you get older, there are people in your life that you’re never gonna ever forget for being there when you needed them. They didn’t need to be there. That would be Vince [McMahon], Hunter [Triple H], Stephanie [McMahon], my wife, my daughters. As wrapped up as they are in their own personal lives, I know I can talk to them. And they feel the same with me. I’m a lucky guy.”

If using any of the above quotes, please credit Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show with an h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.

article topics :

Ric Flair, Blake Lovell