I started this post as a comment on Mark's recent post about Ric Flair. It started to get a little long-ish, so I figured I'd go full blog post with it.
My wrestling fan years lasted from about the middle of 4th grade to somewhere early in high school. I saw the "Return of the Warrior" tour live in Philly, and I would say that the death of Owen Hart was really the final straw in my losing interest in the WWF. Not so much because he was a favorite—in fact I really disliked both the Hart brothers—but because I enjoyed the showmanship of wrestling, and that incident put a serious dent in that aspect of that world for me.
Either way, Ric Flair was one of the prominent bad guys back in those days before defecting for the much despised (by me) WCW. So I was really shocked to read about his retirement the other day, only because I knew he had to be crazy old and was pretty shocked to hear he was still performing. I really, really hated Ric Flair back then, and some of that emotion still hangs around, but it was pretty excellent to see him on top of his game in that YouTube clip.
Funny enough, his Wrestlemania opponent, Shawn Michaels, was always a guy I had mixed feelings on. When I first remember him coming on the scene, I really didn't care for him. They really worked to make him into a bad boy, douche bag type character. Then he took the Inter-Continental Championship, and sort of had the opportunity to play hero, especially when dudes like Razor Ramon showed up on the scene. I ended up really liking Shawn Michaels. And I have to say, bringing up Old Yeller in reference to Sunday's Wrestlemania was a pretty nice little reference. It even let Flair go out with a bitchy slap moment. God speed, old man.