Ric Flair is one of the most revered legends in the entire professional wrestling industry. Yet, oddly enough, he now appears to be at odds with WWE, a company where he’s a 2-time Hall of Famer. If you’re not in the loop, this is what happened—Flair revealed to TMZ in an interview that he filed a trademark for “The Man”. While he didn’t mention WWE’s reaction, he did reveal that his own daughter Charlotte Flair was unhappy about it. Here’s what he had to say:
“When I first saw this go down in August of 2018, I thought, ‘Cool, ‘The Man’ – my gimmick – versus my daughter, Charlotte.’ Okay, that’s the day it started, right after SummerSlam. I thought, cool. So I said, ‘I’m going to make some money; it’s my trademark and they have it to use.’ I’ve been saying it since 1981.
“So I got my worded statement, I sent them a text and the lawyer, who just has no respect for me whatsoever which is something I’m not going to deal with much longer, he said, ‘You’re wrong. It’s not even close.’ I said, ‘It’s not even close?’ So, boom, I sent him another text, he didn’t respond. So I had my lawyer call him and he blew off my lawyer. This is all in 2018 or in January of ’19.”
In essence, what you need to know is that Ric Flair has no issues whatsoever when it comes to WWE using the term “The Man” for Becky Lynch. He has openly stated that he’s been one of her biggest advocates, but the reality is that he wants WWE to pay him a licensing fee for the money they make off it via merchandise. In his view, it was done to protect his family and help them out in the future. He cited one of his health scares a couple of years ago when he was in the ICU for 31 days before getting out.
He also revealed that he spoke to Triple H about it, but didn’t state what his response would be. If you were Flair, it would probably be wiser not to get on Triple H’s bad side because he has always been one of the biggest advocates and supporters of The Nature Boy. Unfortunately for him, he has gotten on the bad side of his own daughter Charlotte Flair, who he revealed is mad at him for filing the trademark:
“It’s funny, my daughter is so mad at me, because I filed [the trademark application] not even understanding, it’s not with Becky. I have no beef with Becky.”
Flair also has an alternate motivation in doing so. He revealed to TMZ in the same interview that he signed a deal with Adidas and that they’re “fixin'” to make Nike the 2nd biggest brand in the world. Instead of Air Jordan, he wants Air Flair. Now the big question in all of this is a rather simple one – Is Ric Flair right in trademarking the term “The Man”?
From a personal point of view, he probably is. But one must note that while he has filed for the trademark, it’s yet to be approved. So if it isn’t approved, then all of this can go to waste. Either way, it’s something similar to when legendary Boxing Announcer Michael Buffer trademarked his catchphrase “Let’s get ready to rumble!”.
In doing so, he managed to earn millions – not only from announcing boxing but from the general use of the line in merchandise, a video game and more. He collected a lot of paycheques and revealed that his personal wealth from that phrase alone accumulated up to $400 million.
It basically became his brand because he would sue anyone who would use it without a license. One radio station got sued for a whopping $180,000 just because a DJ accidentally said “Let’s get ready to rumble” on air. While Flair wouldn’t be anywhere as stringent about it, he probably feels that due to the fact that he was known as “The Man” for so long, it’s his right to trademark the term.
The biggest damage that could potentially be done in all of this is a strained relationship with WWE. He openly stated in the TMZ interview that while he doesn’t care what WWE thinks about him personally, they’ve probably lost respect for him. This is where the entire dilemma comes in to play. Everyone has a valid point of view in their own right. Charlotte Flair is valid in being mad because it affects her and the company’s relationship while potentially putting her in an awkward position.
For WWE, they know that The Man has been the phrase that helped Becky Lynch’s persona reach a whole new level, It’s all going to boil down to the result of the trademark filing. If Flair is successful, then WWE may be very stringent or force Becky Lynch to drop the name “The Man” as they wouldn’t want to pay royalties for it.
All in all, it’s a messier situation then it needs to be and all we can hope is that it’s resolved in a way that’s best for everybody.