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Should TNA Allow Ric Flair To Accept His Hall Of Fame Induction?

Ric Flair TNAPro Wrestling fans let out a big, “Woo!” when the Four Horsemen were announced as 2012 WWE Hall of Fame inductees. Fans went nuts with the thought of seeing their favorite group of five reunited on the WWE stage but will the Horsemen be short their leader on March 31?

The leader of the Horsemen Ric Flair is under contract to rival TNA Wrestling. Flair’s contract would obviously preclude him from appearing for the competition. The WWE have given fans the impression that Flair will be there. So what is going to happen on March 31?

Dave Meltzer documents a fascinating story in this week’s Wrestling Observer newsletter regarding the behind-the-scenes activity surrounding the induction of Ric Flair. According to Meltzer, Flair wasn’t even notified until hours before the announcement was made and it gets better.

Based on what I’m told, it was a really ballsy move by WWE in the sense that TNA comes across second-rate no matter how they play this, particularly since if it comes down to a fight and Flair goes against orders, he comes across as a hero. If Flair doesn’t go because they won’t let him and they treat it like he’d be violating his contract, TNA also looks bad.

So there you have it. In other words, the WWE have more or less bullied TNA Wrestling into letting one of its contracted talent appear on their show. The WWE are counting on the fact that Dixie Carter and TNA management would be chastised by the fans and maybe even their locker room for not allowing someone to accept such a prestigious honor, especially Ric Flair. But would it really be that agregious of TNA to keep Flair away?

I think there are arguments to be made on both sides. On the one hand, TNA should let Flair attend the show. After all, this is regarded by most of the pro wrestling community as the highest honor they could receive from their peers. For someone that has put so much blood, sweat, and tears into the business, why be the bad guy and keep Ric Flair away from the Hall of Fame right?

On the other hand, what is the Hall of Fame really? It is an event, simple as that. It doesn’t exist as a physical site and is really just used to sell tickets, television rights, and DVDs. What does it really mean when guys like Koko B. Ware and Drew Carey are in it? Could you really fault TNA from holding back one of their talent attending a phony event? It isn’t as if Ric Flair is receiving a Kennedy Honor.

Plus, TNA have invested a lot of money into Flair over the last couple of years. Ric Flair chose to leave the WWE where he could have stayed and appeared on as many Hall of Fame shows as he wanted. Why should he be allowed to have it both ways? It is not exactly as if Flair has been a model employee of the company when you look back at 2011.

Additionally, the whole idea of having someone under contract is to prevent them from appearing on the competition’s show. Why should TNA allow one of its most valuable commodities to appear at one of the biggest WWE events of the year, earning the WWE ticket, DVD, and television revenue? Quite frankly you’d have to be a sucker to allow that to happen. Like it or not, Ric Flair appearing or not appearing will make a huge difference in the marketability of the ceremony. And announcing this without even attempting to make some kind of agreement shows you how little respect the WWE has for TNA.

The Nature Boy is planning to be there on stage as he says in the video below. He takes these things very seriously. He did have permission to attend last year’s event and even appeared on the WWE website. He did not however appear on television due to his TNA contract. All you need to do is listen to any interview where Flair talks about the Hall of Fame to know how much something like this means to him. I’d be shocked if he didn’t quit if he wasn’t given permission to go.

That all said, I think there is a compromise that can be made. TNA could allow Flair to go but not appear on television. That would certainly hurt the broadcast but the fans can still see and hear from the Nature Boy live. The WWE can save the speech for a future DVD release, and TNA saves face with everyone. All things considered, that is the most fair for everyone in my opinion. It can’t be an all or nothing stance from the WWE because that just wouldn’t be fair. There has to be some compromise here.

It also sets up an interesting precedent down the road. What if the WWE decides to induct Kurt Angle at some point? What if the WWE decides to induct the n.W.o. while Hogan is still under contract? What if the WWE decides one year that they want to honor Sting while he is in TNA? By letting Flair attend, the company wouldn’t have a leg to stand on if they blocked future inductees from attending the live ceremony.

Ric Flair & The Four Horsemen

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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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