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Ric Flair returns at WWE Judgment Day

WWE Judgment Day will not be remembered for any title changes or great matches. WWE Judgment Day will be remembered for the return of the Nature Boy, Ric Flair. Flair made a very random appearance that looks like will be the start of a full return for the WWE Hall of Famer.

Ex-Evolution partners Randy Orton and Batista battled for the WWE title. Orton intentionally disqualified himself by slapping the referee. The intentional disqualification is right out of the old Ric Flair NWA champion handbook. Orton’s fellow Legacy members Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase Jr. attacked Batista after the bell. A loud “Wooo!” echoed the arena and several minutes later the Legacy were retreating.

Flair looked great in his unexpected appearance last night. It was very random as there wasn’t even a hint of Flair being mentioned on television following WWE WrestleMania. It looks as if this was not just a one-night appearance from the Nature Boy. According to the article on WWE.com, it looks as if Flair will be sticking around in a manager’s role to Batista.

The return comes at an interesting time. It was just last week where Flair made the news about his desires to return to the ring. Jim Ross even confirmed the rumor in his column. Flair reportedly turned down a similar role to stay on after WrestleMania. I think the big question here is reading between the lines to figure out Flair’s agenda. Why the change of heart for the Nature Boy?

Flair turned down a $35,000 a week gig by the WWE doing public relations last year in favor of hitting the convention and signing circuit. I said last year that while he could make a killing, there is only a short window on that kind of a thing. Once you hit the conventions and signings, it is hard to get fans to keep coming back for $100 a picture. Flair took the gamble and it looks like it paid off by not only returning to the WWE, but getting an on-air role.

Flair surprised a lot of people by turning down a gig to stay in the WWE after WrestleMania. Some have speculated that Flair turned down the offer to work for ROH. Flair reportedly makes $10-20,000 per ROH appearance. It turned out to be fool’s gold as Flair’s appearances have done nothing for the company. Crowds continued to drop to the point where even Flair’s appearance in the old ECW Arena drew a reported 350 people.

My thinking is that Flair was either asked to take a cut in pay by ROH or he saw the writing on the wall. Time Warner is expected to drop HD Net which carries ROH television. Without Time Warner, ROH is losing a huge audience. No other independent in their right mind is going to offer Flair that kind of money. After soaking up the conventions and the independents, Flair opted for the security of the WWE.

I also think that this is all just the start of a long buildup for Triple H vs. Batista. The match has been in the plans for the last several years. Bad timing and injuries have scrapped the match several times. That seems to be the biggest money match in the immediate future for the WWE. I am guessing that this will all culminate with Flair turning on one, siding with the other, and thus the match is made.

I don’t want to see Flair wrestle, but it doesn’t mean I don’t love watching Ric Flair. Flair is one of a handful of people that will keep me glued to RAW or SmackDown. The fans still have a deep love affair with the Nature Boy. I think Ric Flair is a welcome addition to the RAW roster in any capacity. Woooo! Welcome back Ric Flair.

Full results…
Edge retained the WWE world title by defeating Jeff Hardy
Batista defeated WWE champion Randy Orton by disqualification
John Cena defeated Big Show
Rey Mysterio retained the WWE Intercontinental title by defeating Chris Jericho
Christian retained the ECW title by defeating Jack Swagger
Umaga defeated CM Punk

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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