HEYDORN’S TAKE: Ric Flair’s latest move the work of a master carny

BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH ASSISTANT EDITOR (@zheydorntorch)

Ric Flair (art credit Joel Teach © PWTorch)

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Who let Ric Flair back into the carnival?

Look, I’m not normally the kind of guy who wants to get into other people’s business. Just not my style. The COVID-19 pandemic response from individuals evaporated some of this mindset into thin air, but my approach is usually you do you, I’ll do me, and we’ll be all good.

Hearing the news that Ric Flair is going to be wrestling another match this summer made me chuckle, roll my eyes, feel for the guy, and want to yell into the ether all at the same time. It’s not necessary. No, no, no. Flair is a 16-time world champion, a living legend, and a businessman with money on the table despite recent accusations of despicable behavior during his time on top of the wrestling industry.

So, it’s actually in the interest of showing respect when I say, let’s not do this, Ric. Stay the hell away from the inside of a wrestling ring. On second thought, here’s a little disenchantment and frustration, too. Shame on him  for considering the move and shame on the promoter that made the consideration possible.

Ric Flair is 73 years old. He hasn’t had a wrestling match in over ten years. He almost died in 2017 due to well documented and unfortunate medical issues. And, umm, again, he’s 73 freaking years old! It’s amazing how that obvious fact doesn’t stick out more.

What are we doing here? Flair is wrestling on July 31 in Nashville for Jim Crockett Promotions? Like, excuse me? What is that at this point? Anyway, he’s wrestling and per PWInsider, it’ll be a multi-man match. Oh, and Summerslam is also the day before in Nashville as well – total accident on Flair’s part, I’m sure.

With those details on the table, let’s break down this phenomenally stupid idea. For this to happen, there must be overwhelming fan support behind it, right? Well? No. In a PWTorch.com poll with 637 responses at the time of this writing, 91% indicated they did not want to see another Ric Flair wrestling match. A small sample size, yes, but stunning feedback as well.

Ok, but then for this to happen, Flair must be able to have a good match, right? Wrong. First of all, it’s a multi-man match. Nothing wrong with those, but those don’t scream “Ric Flair.” Flair was the traveling champion’s champion. You know, as they say, wrestling once a day and twice on Sunday. He wasn’t protected in those matches. He was the guy. The fact that this “last match” is being booked as a multi-man affair aluminates the ridiculousness of it. Flair can’t be himself, so the idea is to hide him away in the match – a slap in the face to Flair’s legacy, not an embracement of it. Second of all, no, he can’t have a good match. What 73-year-old could?

Zack, Flair still wants to prove he’s a draw. It’s about business. Nah. It isn’t. It’s a charade. The weekend Flair is scheduled to wrestle, Nashville will be the wrestling capital of the world. Fans will descend on the city for WWE Summerslam and Flair’s potential audience are those fans. Some will attend, but it’s a thing to do for an audience already in place, not a destination event of any kind.

I could go on and on. Then, I could go on and on some more. When you wade through all the nonsense pertaining to this story, only one logical reason reveals itself as to why this is happening. Ric Flair wants to wrestle. He just wants to. That’s it. An example of wrestling being a disease for Flair as he referenced in his 30 for 30 ESPN documentary.

The thing is, there are checks and balances in place for this type of stupidity. The major one being, promoters don’t have to book Flair in the match. If Ric Flair has a wrestling match and nobody is there to see it, did it really happen? Promoters have a responsibility here. Flair is a 73-year-old man with a history of major health problems. Say no. Fighters that shouldn’t be fighting want to fight, but they don’t get to. Why? It’s dangerous for them and they need to be protected from themselves. Flair is the same way at this point.

I mean, I get it, kind of. Maybe. It’s easy to fall into the doldrums of thinking by booking this match, Flair’s legacy is enhanced and extended. It isn’t. The best-case scenario is an awful match with limited Flair involvement. Worst case? Not going to go there.

Yeah, this is a bad idea. A play on nostalgia, but nostalgia should only go so far. Flair is one the best wrestlers in the history of the business. Maybe the best. Not here, though. This here is a carny move from a master carny.


CATCH-UP: HEYDORN’S DYNAMITE RECEIPT 5/11: Leaning into Long Island weirdness slows momentum on key stories

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