Wrestling legend Ric Flair returned to WWE for the special "Old School" edition of its flagship show two weeks ago. As announced this past Monday, he'll also be on the special panel at this week's WWE Royal Rumble PPV.
This was an interesting move on the company's part, especially after the now-infamous 2K14 press conference last August in which a rowdy Flair ended up going off-script and turning the whole thing into a debacle.
Several reports, from the likes of Bryan Alvarez and PWI (via CageSideSeats), mentioned that the company was furious over his behavior, and the star was promptly pulled from various PR events over SummerSlam weekend.
Mike Johnson later reported that Jim Ross' departure from the company one month later was at least partly due to the feeling from the management that the announcer, who was hosting the press conference, had failed to properly control the situation. (Presumably Ross was supposed to grab and physically throw Flair off-stage.)
So what has brought Flair's return about? And can we expect to see "The Nature Boy" on Raw in a more featured role in the near future?
Over at PWInsider, Mike Johnson divulges some details, noting that the company has renewed its faith in Flair after he impressed management with his backstage conduct in his recent appearances:
In asking around, I was told that since Flair was on "super best behavior" when he was booked by the company for Old School Raw, they are more open to using him again, but it's still on a case by case basis. Sources indicate that Triple H was heavily involved in getting Flair to address his personal issues last year during a Flair family meeting where HHH, via phone call, pretty much told Flair that he would be cut off from working with and for the company again until he addressed his issues. Now that Flair was done that, the company will use him again.
Granted, Flair's personal life still seems to be in a state of disarray.
The Charlotte Observer noted last week that the star still has a warrant out for his arrest in North Carolina stemming from unpaid spousal support. No doubt the tragic passing of his 25-year-old son Reid 10 months ago has left its scars too.
But, still, it's nice to hear that the notoriously troubled Flair is at least making steps to get his life back on track. Credit should also go to Triple H for taking charge of the situation and laying down the law to the legend.