Ric Flair returned to WWE action for the first-time since his “Retirement Match” at WrestleMania. Rather than look completely ridiculous with a match, Flair returned for a Parking Lot Brawl with Randy Orton on WWE RAW. RAW ended with a bloodied and beaten Flair who may have officially or unofficially came out of retirement.
The actions continued a frenzied last few days for the Nature Boy. Flair has been appearing in the WWE since March without a contract. There are conflicting reports that Flair signed a new contract with the WWE last Friday. This was all just another chapter in Ric Flair’s metamorphosis into wrestling’s Randy the Ram.
Flair has continued to work outside gigs of the WWE, specifically ROH television. The reason Ric Flair has been able to do outside gigs like ROH television is because he didn’t have a deal. I have heard on good authority that Ric Flair officially signed a new deal with the WWE on Friday. While nothing has been officially announced, actions over the weekend would indicate a new deal is in place.
Ric Flair was asked about the WWE’s feelings on his outside endeavor just last week in an AP piece. Flair said, “They don’t look at Ring of Honor as being competition to them.” Apparently Flair didn’t get the memo or was playing a hell of a game on ROH.
ROH had a television taping advertising Flair on Friday night. I had heard earlier that day that Flair would be saying goodbye that night. Flair appeared that night and resigned as commissioner of ROH. Flair said his heart was with the WWE and bid ROH a fond farewell.
The always integral Ric Flair informed ROH management that behind the scenes that the WWE had pulled him off of ROH television. Flair reportedly agreed to fulfill his agreements, but could not appear on television. The big problem here is that ROH paid Flair upfront to appear on television. In my eyes, ROH got played by the Nature Boy.
What was ROH’s reaction? According to various reports, Flair does not have the money to pay them back to get out of the dates. I have corroborated the story myself through outside sources. The WWE could offer to pay the tab, but it will come out of somebody’s check.
Ric told Mike Mooneyham over the weekend, “I just can’t work for two people. It doesn’t make sense,” Flair said after the show. It would be hypocritical if I tried to do both. I just told the truth. You can’t go wrong telling the truth. My loyalty is with WWE, and that’s where I’m at.” – Read the rest of the interview here.
Ric Flair’s story over the last fourteen months ranges from desperate to pathetic to delusional to just downright sad. Flair agreed to wrestle his final match at WrestleMania XXIV against Shawn Michaels. Flair was paid the biggest honor in the history of wrestling the following night with a retirement ceremony for the ages. Ever since then it has been a downward spiral for the Nature Boy.
Flair walked away from a sweet deal doing public relations for the WWE last year. I have heard various reasons as to why, but either way he walked away from a lucrative gig. Flair has done everything but spit in the face of the WWE since walking away. He has more or less made the WWE look like a bunch of fools by doing shoot interviews, other television, and ranting about his desires to wrestle again.
Flair’s personal life has also been a mess since leaving the WWE. Flair already claimed to be in debt to Vince McMahon of an $800,000 loan when he left. He and his wife divorced. His son Reid has been arrested three times and found with heroin. Flair now pays over $20,000/month in alimony. Rumors persist that Ric Flair is all but broke and in major debt.
Ric Flair’s troubles with money have become something of legend in pro wrestling. Flair proudly claims that to be the Nature Boy, you have to live like the Nature Boy. Well if living like the Nature Boy meant living over your head and not paying your taxes, than wooo!
It was a bit of an inside joke a couple of years back when Ric Flair opened up Ric Flair Finance. At first it looked like a rib from one of Flair’s friends. However, it was 100% legit. The website claimed to offer a, “Figure-Four Process” of securing a loan. It should be of no surprise that the business closed a few months later.
The article reports that Flair’s contract only binds him for public relations, similar to his old deal. Flair told Mike Mooneyham that he still plans to wrestle outside of the United States. Non-WWE wrestlers are allowed to take independent dates that aren’t considered competition to the WWE.
“I don’t think anyone could begrudge me for throwing my gear on (overseas),” said Flair in the article.
Um yeah, I think anyone could and would begrudge him. One former top WWE wrestler told me over the weekend that he didn’t like it. He, like others believe that the WWE will never give a wrestler a proper retirement sendoff again out of fear that the wrestler would pull a Ric Flair and make a mockery out of Vince McMahon.
I expected Flair to wrestle in the WWE at some point, but I didn’t expect a Parking Lot Brawl with no advanced advertising. At 60 years of age, Flair would be the oldest full-timer on the roster. As much as the guys love Ric Flair, I can’t see how it will do anyone good putting over or even selling for a 60-year old wrestler.
As for the Flair-ROH situation, I think Flair fleeced ROH. I think Flair knew exactly what he was doing when he took ROH’s deposit. I think the reason Flair held out signing a new deal with the WWE for so long was so he could get that upfront cash from ROH and other sucker promoters. ROH has just been beaten by the dirtiest player in the game. Wooo!
The shame of it all is that such arguably the greatest of all-time has lost a tremendous amount of respect among his colleagues and fans. It is sad because I think Flair’s in-ring accomplishments will be overshadowed by the last year and a half. It will take years to remove the tarnishing Flair has done to his own legacy.
Flair was always looked at as the Babe Ruth of pro wrestling. Now he is looking more like Joe Louis or even Randy the Ram.
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