Ric Flair: Is He Too Much Trouble for WWE to Rehire Him?
One thing is obvious: Controversy has plagued wrestling legend Ric Flair.
It's difficult to know where to begin when discussing Flair's multitude of legal and personal woes in recent years. How about Highspots.com high-profile lawsuit against him over unpaid debts in 2010? Or ROH taking legal action against him that same year over claims that he owed them money too?
Or how about his tempestuous—and very public—relationship with his fourth wife Jacqueline Bains Beems? And that's only scratching the surface of Flair's family problems.
And then there's the infamous Grantland article from last August, which saw writer Shane Ryan meticulously untangle and detail Flair's complicated financial and legal history. Hey, it was a messy job, but someone had to do it.
A stunning, impeccably well-researched article, the piece not only confirmed the dire state of Flair's business acumen, it actually portrayed the legend as even more of a reckless spender than previously thought.
Once published, this explosive article sent shock waves through the industry, with current WWE announcer Jim Ross noting on his Twitter account that he had read the piece, and admitting to one follower he found it “disturbing to read.”
Loyal friends like Mark Madden and Chavo Guerrero quickly jumped to Flair's defence, but the damage had arguably already been done: Flair's already-floundering reputation was even more in tatters than before.
Flair's relationship with his last employer TNA, American's No. 2 wrestling promotion, was also blighted with controversy.
Flair famously stormed out of the company's 2011 European tour, reportedly over financial issues and a matter regarding a massive unpaid bar tab (even at 63, Flair is still as much a party boy as he ever was). He quickly returned, but the relationship between the two parties was far from smooth from that point forward.
To the surprise of no-one, Flair was officially fired from TNA in May, amid stories that the company had grown frustrated with his no-shows and his irresponsible behaviour including, yes, running up more bar tabs and expecting the company to pay for them.
It was no great loss, to be honest: TNA never learned to use Flair to the best of his abilities, with the star even finding himself relegated to managing lacklustre mid-carder Gunner for much of his tenure.
Flair's name is also heavily mentioned in TNA's current lawsuit against WWE (TNA are taking legal action against their competitor for issues related to contract interference).
No doubt fearful of giving TNA any more ammunition to use against them in court, this matter alone should prevent WWE from snatching up his services any time soon.
That said, even with the lawsuit, the fact is at some point in the future the promotion will be free and clear to sign Flair back.
However, considering the controversy that is constantly swirling around the legend, should they? It's an interesting question, and one that WWE management may be posing to themselves at the moment.
Certainly, despite all his personal flaws, Flair remains a dynamic, charismatic presence that can serve as a huge boon to promotion's stale, flagging product. It is easy to foresee "The Nature Boy" showing up as Raw's new general manager, or serving as the manager of some up-and-coming star, both roles he could perform admirably in. No doubt WWE fans would welcome him back warmly too.
But Flair's problems should force the company to seriously debate whether or not to re-sign him.
He just may be too controversial and troublesome for them to deal with—especially when considering Linda McMahon's current Senate run and the attempts of the once risque company to evolve into a spotless PG product.
WWE have surely worked too hard on their latest image overhaul to allow Flair to jeopardize it. At the very least, Vince McMahon and company will have to have a long talk with the legend about changing his outside-the-ring behaviour before agreeing to bring him in again.
Many people would love to have Ric Flair back in WWE. No doubt he would love to be back. But WWE are really going to have to think this one over. Quite simply, he may not be worth the trouble.
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