It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when Ric Flair will wrestle again. The Ric Flair comeback tour is coming soon. Flair’s un-retirement plans took some new turns over the past week with more revelations, surprising comments, and possible dates announced for Flair’s first matches.
It is a familiar story indeed. I have been writing about Ric Flair’s intentions of returning to the ring for over a year now. Ric Flair wrestled what was meant to be his retirement match at WrestleMania XXIV. Ironically only one person was aware that this would not be his last match and that was Ric Flair.
Overall, there was an immediate backlash within the WWE when the rumors of Flair’s return started. Most in the WWE have come to terms with Flair’s return by now and have been rather supportive of Flair. One of Flair’s biggest fans is WWE announcer Jim Ross. Ross last week wrote about Flair returning on his website.
Yes I think Ric Flair will wrestle again but I don’t know if it will be for WWE. Ric is getting offers that involve “serious money” as my late father would say which Ric likely won’t be able to turn down. Ric has said publically that he pays over $20K per month in alimony so the man has to stay pretty damn busy to keep his legally bound commitments. Nonetheless it is great to see “Naitch” back on TV and this Monday night should be no exception. There will never be another like him. – http://www.jrsbarbq.com.
Triple H is one of Ric Flair’s best friends and biggest supporters. I was a bit surprised to hear Triple H’s recent comments about Flair’s impending return to the ring. Even in the face of inevitability, Triple H isn’t ready to start rooting for “Naitch.”
On the “Busted Open” show on Sirius XM, Triple H said “There’s a part of me that’s bitter sweet. As much as I enjoy Ric on the show and I miss seeing Ric Flair on the show, I feel that he was given the ultimate sendoff in the business. There have been so many guys in the past…they retire and un-retire then they retire and they un-retire. It’s almost a joke when they un-retire. He really wanted to be the guy who said, meant it, and did it. I don’t know if he misses the business or he needs the money. I’m not sure what it is, but if he’s thinking about coming back there has to be a pretty good reason because he was pretty adamant about that never happening.” – WWE.com.
I have a lot of respect for where Triple H is coming from. I also think a big part of this has to do with Triple H’s friendship with Shawn Michaels and of course loyalty to his father in-law. Flair has been public about not returning if he does not get Michaels’ blessing. Vince McMahon has been steadfast in his position that Flair’s last match was at WrestleMania XXIV.
At this point it isn’t about it, if it is about when. Dave Meltzer recently reported in his Wrestling Observer newsletter that Flair has numerous offers to wrestle in Europe, South Africa, China and Egypt starting in July through mid-2010. It is reported that Flair’s offers to wrestle have been for six-figures per match. Meltzer also reports that Flair is adamant about not wrestling in the United States unless it is for the WWE. Flair was also adamant about retiring, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that changes either.
The plot thickened on Thursday with an announcement from Italy’s Nu-Wrestling Evolution. The promotion officially announced Flair for dates in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban beginning August 30th on their website. The announcement only promotes that Flair will be there. There is nothing is mentioned about Flair wrestling. However, if Dave’s report is valid than the only conclusion to draw is that these will be Flair’s first matches back inside of the ring.
After seeing WWE RAW this past Monday, I can’t imagine that the WWE has changed their minds on Flair wrestling. Flair has been buried for the last two weeks on RAW. Orton has made him look washed up and over the hill. I can’t imagine that the WWE has any immediate plans for Flair to wrestle after seeing how they booked the Nature Boy for the last two weeks.
This could all change at a moment’s notice. Ricky Steamboat wasn’t expected to wrestle after WrestleMania, yet plans changed. Now that it has become inevitable Flair will wrestle, the WWE could change their minds. Will the WWE let several international promotions cash in on Flair’s return when they likely have first dibs in Flair’s return? Vince McMahon has always been about business first, and the best move for business at this point may be to put Flair back in the ring themselves.
On the other hand, who is to say that this “Un-Retirement Tour” even takes place? In order to pay Flair the reported six-figures a match, the promoters will have to make money on their investment. I have no idea how any promotion outside of the WWE could make that kind of return on their investment. My only guess is that somehow this will all conclude with a DVD release and a possible delayed telecast of Flair’s matches on pay-per-view in the United States.
As I have said before, it is easy for me to sit here and judge Flair but I don’t walk in his shoes. As of last year he was in debt to Vince McMahon for an $800,000 loan. He reportedly pays over $20,000 a month in alimony. Autograph sessions and conventions aren’t going to pay those kinds of tabs.
Sadly, Ric Flair may be morphing into The Wrestler. Sure he is making boatloads of money for appearances and possible matches. However, the bottom line may be the same kind of profit margin that Randy the Ram was taking in at the end of the day. I love watching the Nature Boy, but I have little interest in seeing Flair compete regularly on WWE television at this point.
Ric Flair always said, “To be the man, you have to be the
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WWE Hall of Famer, “Cowboy” Bob Orton will be appearing at George’s Cards and Collectibles in Fairless Hills, PA on June 6 from 12-2 PM. Check out http://www.georgescollectibles.com for more information.