Ric Flair Endorsing The Shield Signifies the Torch Being Passed

Sebastian MaldonadoFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2014

CONCORD, NC - JANUARY 20:  Former American Professional Wrestler Ric Flair speaks with the media during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, held at the Embassy Suites, on January 20, 2010 in Concord, North Carolina.  (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)
Jason Smith/Getty Images

Ric Flair endorsed a wrestling stable to win on May 4 at Extreme Rules. It wasn’t the team anyone expected.

The Nature Boy made quite the entrance on the April 28 edition of Raw. He hugged Triple H, Randy Orton and Batista, each of whom are his former Evolution band mates. These three men will take on Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns at Extreme Rules.

Flair went on to discuss how he witnessed everything come full circle. The word greatness came to mind, and Flair stated that he was surrounded by it. However, he didn’t describe Evolution. Flair was crediting The Shield.

Yes, Flair threw his former teammates under the bus and supported The Shield.

It wasn’t meant to disrespect Evolution, but his action only reflects the sign of the times. Flair, like any veteran knowing when the future becomes the present, confirmed his alliance and support of The Shield. Flair knows the writing is on the wall; The Shield is now the present.

Ric Flair endorsing The Shield signifies the torch being passed. But how can one man pass the torch to an entire faction? Simple: Flair knows a few things about factions.

The two-time Hall of Famer was part of arguably the most influential wrestling stable in history: The Four Horsemen. Flair joined forces with Tully Blanchard, Arn and Ole Anderson to dominate the NWA in 1986 and 1987. Flair became part of various wrestling incarnations until 1999, when WCW took over for NWA.

Flair also became a founding father of Evolution who dominated the wrestling world from 2003 to 2005, becoming the main focus of Monday Night Raw during that time.

Fast forward to today, when Flair is retired and is looking at wrestling’s future in The Shield and wrestling’s present in Evolution. To be more accurate, Evolution is the past and The Shield is the present.

The reality is that a wrestling legend is realizing his old teammates are not the future. Flair, a retired wrestler, acknowledges Evolution as a distant memory and sees Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns as the next big players. Perchance one of them will emerge as the next top dog. No one knows who, but Flair has to believe it’s one of them. Why else would he label The Shield great?

Ric Flair endorsing The Shield signifies the Nature Boy passing the torch. The former leader of The Four Horseman recognizes where greatness now lies. For Ric Flair, how quickly the hands of time circle toward the future. Flair knows that the wrestling of yesteryear is gone and clearly envisions its future: The Shield.