Breaking Down Ric Flair's Value to the WWE Moving Forward

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2012

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 21:  Hulk Hogan's opponent Ric Flair is greeted by the crowd during Hulk Hogan's Hulkamania Tour at Rod Laver Arena on November 21, 2009 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)
Mark Dadswell/Getty Images

When Ric Flair’s music hit on Monday Night Raw, the long-awaited and highly anticipated return of the Nature Boy to the WWE scene was complete.

While the two-time Hall of Famer and in-ring legend received an enormous pop and will every time he makes his way through the curtain, it is imperative that the WWE uses the veteran to his fullest during his latest stint with the company.

According to F4WOnline via Wrestling Inc., while the future of Flair in the WWE is unclear, the 16-time world champion returned to the ring and could be part of the build to WrestleMania 29:

As seen on last night's RAW, it appears that Ric Flair is back with WWE for the time being. Flair had reportedly been in talks to be the spokesman for more lotteries. WWE likely wouldn't want one of their contracted performers doing something like that so it's possible that those lottery talks are over. We should have more on Flair's status with WWE in the next few days.

There are bound to be serious concerns within the company about Flair’s age (63 years old), especially with the recent heart attack to fellow legend Jerry “The King” Lawler.

While Flair’s in-ring career may be over for the most part, it was obvious Monday that he is still ready to wrestle and ready to work.

Whether Flair returns to the WWE to participate in a match, to become a manager of a superstar or to become general manager of Raw, the programming will be better with the Nature Boy involved.


How This Helps WWE

While the possibility of seeing Flair in the ring is a scary notion because of the legend’s advanced age, there is no denying just how good he is on the microphone and for furthering storylines.

Ric Flair knows wrestling.

With a need for more faces on a heel-heavy roster, putting Flair with a younger star in a long-term storyline—an angle that could culminate in Flair screwing the young talent and losing a match—that would get the fresh face over.

That’s a tried and true way to handle the return of a veteran, but Flair may be a different story.

There is a serious chance that WWE wouldn’t trust Flair in the ring for a full match at his age, so if the Hall of Famer is involved in the long-term booking for the company, it will likely be as an on-camera mentor to a blossoming young star.

No matter which future main-event star they put Flair with, the rub of working with a legend like the Nature Boy instantly will help them elevate to the upper-echelon of wrestling’s hierarchy.


Question on Everybody's Mind: Who will Flair work with?

The possibilities are endless for who the WWE legend could work with, but there is no way Flair will be working with any sort of heel faction or stars.

As seen by the Chris Jericho heel turn, returning superstars should return as faces.

While working a program with Triple H leading to a WrestleMania match against the likes of Shawn Michaels or Brock Lesnar would make sense, there is an even better option for the wrestling legend.

Dolph Ziggler.

With a serious group of fans that love everything that Ziggler does—and the rest just failing to realize his greatness yet—the time for an eventual face turn is almost upon us, and Flair will be at the center of it all.

Ziggler will likely be world heavyweight champion soon enough, and what better way to build a potential main-event face than by giving him the belt and the man that made the title famous?

Flair will get the crowd on his side and will be viewed as a face for the rest of his career. Instead of trying to force him as a heel, the WWE should allow him to get a star like Ziggler over as one of the company’s top good guys.

This could either culminate in a match between the two at WrestleMania 29 or with Flair helping Ziggler beat one of the company’s top heels.

A heel Randy Orton, with his ties to Flair, would be a very intriguing possibility as Ziggler’s WrestleMania opponent.


Final Word

While there were concerns about how Flair would be used when brought back by the WWE, the company has become masterful with the addition of veteran stars back onto the card.

With a heavy infusion of new talent over the last several months, the returning wrestlers on the road to WrestleMania 29 will be complementing the already blossoming fresh faces.

Adding the likes of Flair to a potentially monumental few months is a no-brainer for Vince McMahon and company.

The WWE as a business is programmed around WrestleMania, and while many fans question the return of legends and their inclusion in major storylines, as long as the veterans help get the current talent over as future legends, the company will be self sustaining and successful.

Say what you will about Flair’s off-camera issues (h/t TMZ), but this man knows the business of wrestling in-and-out, and he can get people over with the best of them.

As seen by his short time on television so far, Flair can make an impact and move the needle; the WWE would be foolish not to keep him around as long as he improves the product.


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