“Nature Boy” Ric Flair may be appearing once again with the WWE, but don’t expect him to lace up his boots anytime soon.
Additionally, it looks like Flair won’t be taking any bumps at all.
According to an article posted on WrestlingInc.com, the WWE is concerned about a health issue with Flair. Because of this undisclosed concern, they don’t want him getting involved physically with the wrestlers beyond what happened with him and Big E Langston.
The article states:
PWInsider reports that word coming out of RAW is that WWE no longer wants Ric Flair doing anything really physical. While he threw some chops at Big E Langston on RAW, don't expect him to take any bumps or get into any brawls on WWE TV. There is some sort of health issue that WWE is concerned about with Flair. The feeling is that they would rather be safe than sorry.
While there is no word on what health issue the WWE is talking about, it could be any number of things.
On January 26, 2013, WrestlingInc.com reported Flair had been pulled from his match in Japan due to another undisclosed health issue. That article stated people backstage noted Flair’s left leg was swollen.
A few days later Flair texted WrestleNewz.com to update them on his health. He wrote:
"Thank you for your concern. I made it back, and I'm now in San Fran. My leg is hurt with a condition called septic bursitis. Ouch!"
Septic Bursitis is a very serious medical condition that requires immediate attention. It is caused when a bursa becomes both inflamed and infected. A bursa is a soft cushion that lies between bone and soft tissue.
Flair has also admitted to suffering from alcoholic cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart muscle due to alcohol abuse. As reported on WrestleZone.com and Grantland.com, he wrote about his health problems in his autobiography, Ric Flair: To Be The Man:
"Through my many years of partying, I also developed something called "alcoholic cardiomyopathy," a weakening of heart muscles. I first detected that there was something wrong when my heart began skipping beats. I went to a cardiologist friend who told me that when your heart pumps, it expands to a rubber band. But mine was doing it too much. Initially, I thought that steroids might be responsible, but the doctor dismissed this theory. My heart was fluttering from thirty-five years of hitting it hard.
It's the part of the price of being Ric Flair. In exchange for the glory and the good times, I acquired a heart condition, self-esteem issues, and cataracts from tanning beds—and very nearly wrecked my marriage to a great woman. But incredibly, I remained ageless in other ways. And in 2002, at nearly fifty-three years old, I was about to see if I could show a new generation of fans what they missed in the 1970s and 1980s."
(The actual passage from the book can be seen here.)
Whatever their concern is, it must be serious. When Flair returned to the WWE in December 2012, he was involved in a physical altercation with The Shield. What the WWE doesn’t want to do is put Flair’s health, and perhaps his life, at risk.
Too many wrestlers hang around this sport long after their time has come and gone. Whether the lure of the crowd, the want of a paycheck or simply not knowing what else to do, men who are way too old to step in the ring continue to do so. Recent examples include Vince McMahon and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan.
It’s nice the WWE wants to put Flair’s well-being over the money to be made having him wrestle. Even if he weren’t to compete in a match, a physically altercation outside the ring could be just as costly.
Flair is a big name in the wrestling world. He doesn’t need to compete or fight to draw numbers. His mere presence on a show is enough. These continuing health concerns should be taken to heart, permanently.
There is a serious lack of good managers in the WWE. Perhaps that is where Flair needs to go to next.