Wednesday, September 9, 1998
SLAM! Wrestling Guest Column
Dreaming of a return with Flair
Now that all the dust is settling it definitely appears that Ric Flair will be returning to work at WCW starting next Monday Nitro. The word on the street is that Flair and WCW have agreed to work together while all the details are ironed out regarding the lawsuits, countersuits, and other contractual terms. All eyes will be on WCW Monday night to see the reformation of The Four Horsemen and the return of a legend. But then what?
Ric Flair is on the threshold of returning to an industry and a legion of fans that are anxiously awaiting him. The crowd reaction when he walks the aisle will most likely be among, if not the, loudest response ever heard in a WCW arena. Flair's fans, both rabid and casual want him back for several reasons.
First of all they hate the way that Ric has been treated by WCW, and in that they share the contempt that Flair allegedly feels for Eric Bischoff and company. They miss the class and style in which he spoke, performed, and played the fans. Quite simply they miss "The Nature Boy" and all that the persona brings with it. Will this reaction be sustainable though when Ric walks into a company that has very little room for him, and has had very little respect for him? Will the fans continue to support Flair when his Four Horsemen group scraps and claws to get beyond mid-card status? I doubt it...
The truth is this. Ric Flair, over the past two years, has had his status and place in pro wrestling history degraded by the bookers, executives, and wrestlers in WCW. Flair sat back and watched the Four Horsemen, once the most feared stable in wrestling, dismantled in favor of an ever growing NWO led by Hulk Hogan. Flair has been bumped from main event status by putting over Hennig, Syxx, Hart, Hogan, Giant, and countless others.
WCW in effect, over the last two years, has taken all that Ric Flair has given them and spit in his face. Now, however, they want him back, or at least don't want him going to the WWF. They are promising a rebuilt Horsemen angle, and who knows maybe a title run into glory.
My advice ... SCREW 'EM RIC!
Oh, how poetic it would be to see Ric Flair enter to his music on Monday Nitro, wearing a suit, styling and profiling, walking to the ring, the crowd going insane, and then grabbing the microphone. On live TV Ric could deliver the shoot to end all shoots.
He could disintegrate the pomposity of Eric Bischoff. He could regain the pride that has been bruised. He could prove once and for all that he is the legend and the icon of WCW. Ric Flair could walk out of the ring on Nitro telling WCW to shove their lowly mid card status right where the sun doesn't shine. Ric Flair could walk out of a WCW ring like every talent wants to -- leaving the fans wanting more.
You see, the thing that WCW never realized is that they could try and destroy the image and success of Ric Flair, but they could never destroy, nor even tarnish the legend that is Ric Flair.
WCW..."Whether you like it or not, he's the best thing going ... yesterday, tomorrow, and today!"
In an ideal world Ric Flair would already be treated that way.
Greg Dillard is from Cincinnati, Ohio. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org