After tons of speculation regarding when he might finally return to the WWE, Ric Flair made an appearance on the Slammy Awards edition of Raw. His involvement was received so well that most fans would love to see him back in some capacity, even if it isn't as a wrestler.
At 63 years of age, "The Nature Boy" probably shouldn't wrestle unless the WWE really limits what he has to do, but there are definitely other ways to utilize him. Flair is one of the most popular stars to ever grace the wrestling business and he's a 21-time world champion, so there's plenty of value in him.
His role on the Slammy Awards show was evidence enough that there is demand to see him as part of the product. Not only did Flair interact with the WWE's top two guys in John Cena and CM Punk, but he put Paul Heyman in a Figure Four and held off an attack from The Shield alongside Ryback and Team Hell No.
Flair's portion of Raw brought in the highest ratings of the night and he also seemed to receive the loudest pop from the crowd.
Flair is an absolute legend who has accomplished essentially everything in the business, and no matter how the WWE decides to use him if and when he comes back on a full-time basis, it promises to be a successful venture for both sides.
Ideally, Flair should either serve in an authoritative role of some kind, or perhaps as a manager, which he did a great deal of in TNA.
Either position would make plenty of sense for him, but I would prefer to see him as a general manager because it is something that he has done in the past in WWE and he has proved to be quite good at it.
Vickie Guerrero obviously has a place within the product, as she gets plenty of heat from the fans whenever she makes an appearance, but GM (or managing supervisor) isn't the best job for her. A general manager gets a lot of mic time and is an integral part of the show, but Vickie isn't good enough in that regard to keep things interesting.
Flair, on the other hand, is one of the best ever when it comes to cutting a promo and he has built such an incredible legacy in the business that he can be taken more seriously as a person in power than Vickie can. After how well Flair was received on Raw, that possibility has to be going through the minds of the WWE brass.
Ideally, Vince McMahon will give Flair an opportunity to take the permanent GM position from Vickie and he'll manage to do so. Then Flair can act as an impartial general manager for a period of time until he begins favoring the heels and it's ultimately revealed that he's working with Dolph Ziggler and perhaps even CM Punk and The Shield.
How should the WWE utilize Ric Flair?
Many fans would love to see Flair manage Ziggler, and while it makes sense because of their similarities, I'd prefer Flair as a crooked general manager who is working to make life easier for Ziggler. Dolph has proved to be perfectly capable on his own, and he already has A.J. and Big E Langston in tow, so it wouldn't make any sense to add someone else to the mix.
If the WWE wants to use Flair as a manager, though, Randy Orton would seem to be the perfect candidate. Orton and Flair were stablemates in Evolution, and The Viper is probably the stalest superstar on the roster. He could use something to shake up his character.
Ideally, Flair could manage Orton for a little while until Orton snaps and attacks Flair. This would allow Orton to turn heel and it would immediately resonate with the fans due to Flair's popularity.
Also, perhaps it would lead to a reemergence of Orton's Legend Killer gimmick or something similar. Whatever the case, Orton is in desperate need of a transformation.
Flair can help the WWE in myriad ways, but it's up to the company to make it happen. I'm confident that Flair will be back in the fold on a permanent basis soon enough, and hopefully it's either as a GM who can carry his weight on the mic, or as a manager to revitalize a floundering career.