As most will know by now, Ric Flair made his long-awaited return to WWE last night.
(Flair's last appearance on Raw was in June 2009 in a street-fight against Randy Orton. Although he did make an official appearance at this year's Hall of Fame event when he was inducted, for the second time, as part of the legendary Four Horsemen heel stable).
Unsurprisingly, Flair's comeback was the highlight of the three-hour Slammy Awards ceremony, brightening up what was otherwise a rather average and by-the-numbers programme.
Whether it was engaging in a thrilling verbal back-and-forth with heel WWE champion CM Punk, standing up to rebel outsider group The Shield or interacting in a hilarious backstage segment with Team Hell No, Flair showed once again why he is so adored and renowned in the industry of professional wrestling.
Of course, Flair's segments on the show also raised questions about his future in the company. Was this a one-time guest appearance? Was he back as a full-time performer?
Certainly his spirited interaction with The Shield (who sought to attack him as he stood in the middle of the ring before Kane, Daniel Bryan and Ryback came to his rescue) seemed to hint that more was to come in this storyline.
In a (subscribers-only) report over at F4Wonline.com, Dave Meltzer provides an interesting update on the legend's current status with WWE, noting that Flair is not presently under contract to America's No.1 wrestling promotion and his appearance is considered a one-off:
According to WWE officials, Ric Flair has not been signed by the company and his appearance was considered a guest shot.
While many fans may be disappointed to hear this news, it may not be entirely surprising. After all, there is the WWE/TNA lawsuit (via F4Wonline) to factor in, which could greatly complicate any potential deal WWE could make with the star.
Flair's tumultuous private life, which is garnering him a ton of bad publicity, may also be an issue.
The Nature Boy is currently going through a messy divorce (his fourth one, by the way) with several allegations being thrown around (via TMZ.com). Per the Charlotte Observer he is also facing some major tax issues, owing a great deal of money to the U.S government on both the local and federal level.
Considering all this, WWE, a corporate company with a responsible image to maintain, may have decided against signing him back full-time—for now, anyway.