Feature: Steve Anderson on Ric Flair, Formerly of WWE


Wow, what a run.

Or should I say, Whoo, what a run!

Ric Flair and WWE have parted ways. While not as shocking as the 1991 announcement that WCW and the â<80><9c>Naitchâ<80> terminated their relationship, this is still a bit surprising. Flair seemed to be settling in to a post-wrestling ambassador role with the company. So much for the Season 1 DVD release of â<80><9c>Stylinâ<80><99> and Profilinâ<80><99>.â<80>

Remember when seeing Ric Flair under a then-WWF banner was an unlikely dream come true? Remember when Flair wrestling Hogan was a dream match denied a Wrestlemania main event only to become a booking nightmare of faux retirements and cross-dressing?

Flair second and most-recent stint saw him become the â<80><9c>co-ownerâ<80> of the fed after the debacle that was the â<80><9c>WCW/ECW Invasion.â<80> He seemed reborn and rejuvenated. He no longer showed the stress of WCWâ<80><99>s mishandling, nor was he forced to wear a t-shirt in his matches. Ric Flair was back. He never won the world title again, but he did add tag team and Intercontinental gold to his roster of accomplishments.

At 59 years old, Ric Flair is starting a new chapter of his career. The hair is a little thinner. The creases on his face are a little deeper. The body has seen more than its share of wear and tear. But while the body is showing its age, the spirit is clearly young and strong.

Some call him the greatest performer ever in the business. Others call him an overrated wrestler who repeats the same routine over and over again. To me, Ric Flair makes wrestling history. Ric Flair is wrestling history. Things change. Superstars come and go. But the one constant is Ric Flair. He doesnâ<80><99>t star in movies. He doesnâ<80><99>t headline a reality show. His wanderlust from the ring has been limited to cameo appearances in non-wrestling capacities.

Ric Flair is a wrestler. Not a wrestler/something-else. And certainly not a sports entertainer.

WWE will not feel the loss of Ric Flair as much as WCW did back in 1991. Few fans will be chanting â<80><9c>We Want Flairâ<80> this time around in arenas around the country. Yet, the â<80><9c>whooâ<80> that is shouted in unison by the crowd when a chop connects will remain.

That is only a part of Ric Flairâ<80><99>s legacy. A legacy that will continue.

TNA is an easy fit for Flair and a likely destination. I frankly canâ<80><99>t see Flair doing indie bookings, but he may be up for it. He cut his teeth on life in the territories, going from town to town. The business is in his blood and remains his passion.

You have to ask yourself why Flair would stay in this business after all the abuse he received by shortsighted promoters? Just look at his face when he holds that mic. Those tears shed are real. He wears his heart on his sleeve. An emotional Ric Flair promo is guaranteed entertainment.

Ric Flair was no angel and had his share of faults and shortcomings. But when you mention the greats, you talk about Flair. When you talk about great interviews, you talk about Flair berating Eric Bischoff. When you reminisce about the greatest matches, who doesnâ<80><99>t refer to the Flair-Steamboat wars of 1989?

Ric Flair is wrestling. Safe to say that Ric Flair remains in wrestling. He has given us a lifetime of memories and I suspect that new memories are right around the corner.


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