This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Since joining the promotion in early 2010, he has never been used correctly by them. That such a dynamic, charismatic personality like Flair has spent a large part of his tenure managing the bland, nondescript Gunner says it all.
Throw in some backstage tribulations apparently involving tantrums, unpaid bar tabs and other highly unprofessional behavior, and it looks like both sides are thoroughly sick of each other and ready to go their separate ways.
No doubt Flair, who spoke glowingly about the WWE during his Hall of Fame speech this year, is keen to return to the promotion. The WWE, currently low on genuinely over stars, would surely welcome him back with open arms.
Of course, there is a major hurdle: TNA’s current lawsuit against the WWE, in which the promotion accuses their competitors of using inside information to interfere with contracts, heavily mentions Flair’s name.
Due to these complicated legal issues, a weary WWE may put off bringing in Flair as soon as possible, instead letting some time pass so they cannot be accused of capitalizing on any insider information.
Regardless, it seems inevitable that Flair will be back at some point—especially with the new three-hour Raw format due to start in July. With all that extra airtime to film, the promotion is going to need all the stars they can get.
While his status may have fallen due to his thankless stint in TNA, Flair remains over and is still capable of eliciting a strong reaction from the crowd.
But what will his role be when he does return?
Well, first of all, let’s rule out him being used as a wrestler.
The out-of-shape, physically wrecked Flair simply can’t go in the ring anymore, as some of his atrocious and downright embarrassing matches in TNA have perfectly illustrated.
Flair, who still insists on acting liking he’s decades younger than he actually is, may not like this, but it’s the harsh truth. His days as a wrestler are well and truly behind him.
Furthermore, the WWE will surely wish to adhere to the result of WrestleMania 24, which saw Flair lose to Shawn Michaels and, per the provisions of the bout, retire from in-ring competition. This is another perfectly valid reason to keep him out out of the ring.
However, there are plenty of other roles for Flair besides that of a wrestler.
The most obvious option is to use him as a manager. Certainly his trademark wit, charisma and style could greatly aid some struggling mid-carder, like Ted DiBiase Jr. or Kofi Kingston, and help them get over with the masses.
He could also serve as his daughter Ashley’s manager (she recently signed a developmental contract with the WWE and is due to start for the company this summer). A father/daughter pairing onscreen would be an unusual and compelling idea that could surely help the fledgling Diva rise to prominence in the company.
In addition to this, Flair, along with Paul Heyman (currently working with Brock Lesnar in Lesnar’s lawsuit storyline with Triple H), could even help herald in the new age of the male manager—a once-staple character of wrestling television that has petered out in recent times.
Flair could also come on board as an authority figure, possibly as a babyface foil to John Laurinaitis. It is easy to imagine “The Nature Boy” interacting with the likes of Laurinaitis, John Cena and Triple H on Raw every week.
Flair's energetic and vibrant personality could hopefully bring out the best in Cena, who has been phoning it in for a while, churning cheesy, childish promos that make most onlookers roll their eyes.
Summarily, Flair returning to the WWE at some point throws up a few possibilities for him.
Certainly, the veteran can use his charisma and presence to help the company's struggling onscreen product in myriad ways. There is every reason to hope they will not make the same mistake as TNA and squander his skills on tedious mid-card acts or in muddled, nonsensical storylines.
Let's just hope they keep him out of the ring.