The two and a half year TNA Impact Wrestling run of Ric Flair appears to be coming to an end. It is being reported that the WWE Hall of Fame wrestler and arguably greatest performer of our lifetime will be leaving TNA in typical Flair controversy.
My good friend Mike Johnson over at PWInsider.com was the first to break the details of the story wide open. Mike reports that Flair has “a ton of heat on him” in TNA. All signs point to Flair being done with the company. Dave Meltzer also chimed in Monday and noted that Flair’s angle was pulled from the booking sheets which indicates to him that Flair is likely done. Mike had more details in his story.
Mike’s story should not surprise anyone that has followed Flair’s fall from grace over the last few years, specifically the story Grantland.com ran on the dirtiest player in the game. According to Mike, Flair was banned from the Hard Rock Café in Orlando after not being able to pay his tab, was pulled from the house shows in Louisiana after an incident at the hotel, and that Spike TV reportedly does not want Flair shown on their programming without a shirt, wrestling, etc. If Spike doesn’t want Flair on television and TNA can’t even book him on the road, there is no point in keeping him around.
Meltzer provided more clarity on the situation in his latest podcast. Meltzer said that Flair is not officially out of TNA Wrestling. Meltzer reports that they are working on some kind of agreement that would result in Flair leaving. Meltzer also said there are conflicting reports as to whether Flair quit or it was mutual. In regards to Flair’s bar tabs, Meltzer did say that some of those may be a result of TNA not paying him on time. In other words Flair is not officially gone no matter how many websites tell you he is. He is leaving but you never know if they can salvage this relationship and he stays.
The story also breaks a few days after it was announced that Flair’s daughter Ashley signed a developmental deal with the World Wrestling Entertainment. The news sent up smoke signals with people pondering the decision of Flair’s daughter to go to the WWE as opposed to TNA.
Keep in mind that nobody has officially said that Flair is done, although all signs point to it. Flair’s run in TNA would have to go down as a big disappointment when you consider the magnitude of someone like Flair coming to TNA and how little that paid off after a year and a half. In my opinion Flair hit it out of the park when it came to promos but was a bit of an embarrassment at times in the ring. Regardless, he never made a difference in ratings or buyrates in the long run.
Unfortunately for most, Flair’s run in TNA will likely be remembered for what happened outside of the ring. In just two and a half years, Flair had numerous incidents of misbehavior and clashes with management that eventually went public. It appeared that Flair and TNA had money issues almost monthly. The most famous of these incidents came when the TNA tour bus left Flair stranded in Europe after he tried to get an advance. Other highlights include Flair showing up and leaving house shows before making his advertised appearances in the ring.