How Old Is To Old in Sports Entertainment?

Paul AustinCorrespondent IJune 2, 2010

GLASTONBURY, ENGLAND - MARCH 25:  Frank Naish, Britain's oldest cider maker samples some of the cider he pressed this year at his farm in West Pernard near Pilton on March 25, 2010 in Somerset, England.  The 86-year-old, who has been involved in organic cider-making on the farm since the 1930s, said they had received a number of orders from customers wanting to buy in bulk ahead of the tax hike.  Many cider makers are saying that the ten percent rise in duty announced in yesterday�s budget could cause huge damage to their industry and also to the wider rural economy.  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Matt Cardy/Getty Images

In the last 18 months we've had Chris Jericho (39) winning an elimination match at WrestleMania XXV against Jimmy Snuka (67), Ricky Steamboat (57), and Rowdy Roddy Piper (56), we've had Bret Hart (52), rolling around with Vince McMahon (64), whilst anyone tuning into TNA can watch Hulk Hogan (56), Ric Flair (61) and Sting (51).

All of which leaves people asking, how old is to old, in sports entertainment?

Indeed, could we soon be seeing someone like the pictured gentleman, debuting in NXT?

Casting my mind back to 1993 I can remember Rick Flair's return to the WCW.

At the time, because of a "no-compete" clause, following his release from the WWF, his initial air time was restricted to a talk-show segment, entitled "A Flair for the Gold", with his tag partner, Arn Anderson.

I also remember, in the same year, the young tag-team pairing, of Steve Austin and Brian Pillman, who were booked under the name of "the Hollywood Blonds", and after ending a feud, with Ricky Steamboat, and Shane Douglas, these two factions were booked to collide.

As Flair was still restricted to his talk show segment, when the feud began, Austin and Pillman, showing fledgling signs of their customary attitude, that they would later bring to the WWF/E, launched their own promo's entitled "A Flare for the Old", where they would cut into Flair for being too old.

It was a very popular segment, at the time, and got across very well, with many younger fans, who were supportive of this young, and brash partnership, and agreed that Flair was indeed showing signs of age, with an increasingly limited move set, and a dated character.

Rick Flair was 44 at the time.

It's very hard to know when a wrestler becomes to old.

All to often they find it hard to let go of the spotlight, especially when they have a loyal following, willing to suspend belief, and overlook the obvious, for one last chance to see their aging heroes, but as their ring skills fade, and that support base dwindles, and as a new generation looks on, rolling their eyes, at old men in trunks, rolling around, and making fools of themselves in the ring, once again I have to ask, how old is to old, in sports entertainment?