One thing you can say with near-certainty: in 2013, the WWE should place the spotlight firmly on returning two-time Hall of Famer Ric Flair.
This has become clear in recent times, as Flair proved himself (and continues to) far and away as the highlight of the Raw product.
In December, he brightened up an otherwise-routine Slammy Awards show when he appeared to present John Cena with the “Superstar of the Year” trophy. He later argued with WWE Champion CM Punk and brawled with heel trio The Shield.
Notably, if somewhat predictably, Flair’s return turned out to be the highest rated part of the show, per ProWrestling.net.
He made another appearance last week when he was a guest on Miz TV at Raw's 20th Anniversary Show.
Flair joked around with the clearly star-struck Miz , churning out his patent one catchphrase and signature move after another. The pair also beat down Antonio Cesaro, after the United States Champion interrupted and dished out some mean work/shoot insults to the “Nature Boy”.
The spirited segment went a long way to establishing Cesaro and Miz as genuine stars, serving to remind viewers of Flair’s overwhelming charisma and raw talent.
Unsurprisingly, this was also by far the highest rated portion of Raw (via CageSideSeats). Yes, Flair even managed to boast better numbers than The Rock’s concert at the end of the show. Now that’s impressive.
This media success is just one reason WWE must give Flair a regular and major role on the show. He’s one of the few genuine draws it has left.
At a time when the company is struggling in the ratings due to a three-hour format, the importance of this cannot be underestimated. OK, Flair won’t be able to turn things around entirely—he’s only one man, after all—but he can certainly help keep the numbers at an acceptable level.
Of course, many would point to the wrestler’s highly publicized problems as a reason to shy away from using him.
Even the most devoted fans of Flair would admit he has a messy and deeply flawed personal life.
At this point the man has four failed marriages under his belt, with the latest one shaping up to be particularly vicious, as TMZ recently noted. What about his mountain of financial problems?
Aside from his aforementioned mentions on TMZ, Grantland writer Shane Ryan put together a stunning, widely read article on Flair’s financial woes last year.
Even at the age of 63, the star seemingly can’t keep out of trouble and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. Neither is the fact that, due his celebrity status, his antics get constant publicity.
That said, is Flair really the type of ambassador an image-obsessed company like WWE needs? Would any other wrestler on the roster get away with being constantly in and out of the gossip sites:
Of course, it’s worth pointing out that WWE hasn’t historically ducked away from Flair’s issues.
Indeed, in his past two appearances they’ve even had the heels poke fun at his multiple marriages and poor financial planning.
If the dysfunctional aspects of Flair’s life don’t bother a company that is often willing to joke about it on-screen, why should anyone else care?