You have to feel sorry for Nature Boy Ric Flair. This week, after being the final set-up legend for Chris Jericho to beat up before Mickey Rourke got the glory at Wrestlemania XXV, Flair will venture to a place he's never been before: The world famous ECW Arena in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Only it's not the ECW Arena anymore. It's The Alahambra, and he's appearing as a guest television celebrity for the ROH promotion, which is taping television for Dallas Maverick owner Mark Cuban's HDNet cable network.
HDNet just lost Time Warner Cable in New York.
Flair is the main attraction at a bingo hall that is a decade past its glory, for a promotion that many think is on its last legs after booker/lead writer Gabe Sapolsky was removed from his position by ROH Owner Cary Silken.
Sapolsky, of course, is a protege of the best booker/lead writer in sports entertainment, the legendary (almost mythical) Paul Heyman, whose Extreme Championship Wrestling promotion was the tenant for the ECW Arena during the 1990's, and who broke so much ground in terms of how wrestling was televised, character development, contemporary characters, and even broke barriers on the closed door policies of the pay per view industry.
Ring of Honor has launched the careers of modern day stars like CM Punk and Samoa Joe, but the current product resembles only a little of the original vision, and the fan base appears to have reached its apex a few years ago.
Flair's appearance at the bingo hall past its prime, for the promotion past its prime, is exactly what the Mickey Rourke movie "The Wrestler" was about.
Maybe Chris Jericho has been right all along!
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