The “Nature Boy” Ric Flair ended his legendary career arguably better than any other in pro wrestling history. Flair wrestled his last match in front of millions of people against Shawn Michaels. Flair had the most memorable send-off in WWE RAW history. Guess who is thinking about tarnishing it all for some extra cash? Woooo!
Following his career inside of the ring, Flair took a job as something of a goodwill ambassador for the WWE. The job reportedly paid Flair $500,000 a year to kiss babies, shake hands, and show up on television once in a while. Flair quit a few months later and walked away from it all for some lucrative outside paydays. Almost one year later it seems as if the Nature Boy is getting the itch one more time.
Ric Flair told Alex Marvez in an interview, “I want to wrestle again. I watch (WWE) and I can still do better than 90 percent of the guys there. I weigh one less pound than the day I retired. I still work out really hard and I wrestle my kid all the time. It’s not like I haven’t been in the ring.” Flair said he got the itch bad at Wrestlemania and he was surprised that he wasn’t included in the WWE Draft. Click here to read the entire interview.
[adinserter block=”1″]Let me preface this by saying that Ric Flair is probably my all-time favorite wrestler. I grew up on Flair and have enormous respect for him as a performer. That said, Ric Flair the man, has left a lot to be desired over the last few years. It is amazing to me that someone who prides himself on respect wants to do more to disrespect his great legacy than anyone else.
Flair’s desire to wrestle has been a recurring story almost since the day he retired. Last year Flair made headlines after a Q & A with fans in England. A fan asked a question about a possible comeback. Flair responded by saying that he was talking to promoters in Japan about a possible comeback. Flair followed that up by saying he wasn’t sure how Shawn Michaels would feel about it since he promised Michaels his last match.
Paul Heyman wrote a great piece in the Sun about Flair’s post-WWE activities last year. Heyman pointed to a Flair promo on You Tube for an independent wrestling company. Flair did the same kiss-stealing, wheeling-dealing promo we have seen for 30-years. Heyman said there is just something not right about seeing Flair sell his legacy like that. I couldn’t agree more and thank God someone in the wrestling business said it.
Even after all of the bitter feelings, Flair came back to be a part of WrestleMania. Flair reportedly turned down an opportunity to continue appearing in an on-air role outside of the ring. Flair subsequently began appearing on ROH television. One year after appearing in Philadelphia repeatedly for signings, Flair’s star-power only drew a reported 350 fans to his first ROH television appearance. The way to remember one of the greatest of all-time isn’t by appearing in front of 350 fans on a Thursday night in an 800-seat building.
The love affair that Flair’s fans have had with Flair is second to none. These same fans boycotted WCW when they sat Flair out. These same fans chanted “We want Flair!” anytime a promotion sat Flair on the sidelines. These same fans saved their money for a year to see Flair’s last match at WrestleMania. Yet, Flair is more concerned about how Shawn Michaels will feel?
Hulk Hogan, Bruno Sammartino, Andre the Giant, Dusty Rhodes, The Rock, and most of wrestling’s biggest draws never got the kind of sendoff that Flair got from the WWE. It was a special night for Flair’s fans, his family, and his colleagues. Unfortunately, for those that come after him, we will probably never see anything like that again in the WWE. Flair has made a fool of Vince McMahon for the last time.
Flair could come back if he chose to do so in a heartbeat. Indy promoters here in the states and around the world have been begging for this for a year. Yes, we all know Retirement Matches in wrestling don’t mean squat, but we were all promised that Flair’s would be different. While he hasn’t laced up the boots yet, if he has it his way Flair will break the promise with his fans, his colleagues, his family, and himself.
It is very easy for me to criticize Flair for even thinking of coming back. However, I don’t pay his bills. As of last year, Flair was still paying back an $800,000 loan to Vince McMahon. It is sad and disappointing that someone who made as much money as Ric Flair is practically working to break even. As easy as it is to criticize, who am I to tell Ric Flair to turn down making lots of money at 60 years of age?
[adinserter block=”2″]The fan in me is getting sick and tired of hearing this story. Nobody held a gun to Flair’s head and made him wrestle a Retirement Match. If Flair wasn’t ready to retire, he could have easily passed on the match until he was ready. What happens in Flair comes back one year from now? Will Flair’s legacy be wrestling in front of 350 fans on a Thursday night in an 800-seat arena? Nobody that loves Flair the way his fans do wants to see that happen.
A lot of veterans like to use Ric Flair as an example when teaching the younger talent. The next time a veteran brings up Flair’s ability to draw money in the 80s only second to Hogan, they need to finish the story. The story ends with a guy that didn’t save his money, failed to pay his taxes, and had to whore himself out to the last penny to make up for the millions he blew in limousine riding and jet-flying.
Ric Flair is being unfair to Ric Flair.
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