First and foremost, I’m trying to be retired over here! Yet, there are many “wrestling fans” online who are spouting off opinions that make me want to throw a brick through my computer screen! What is wrong with you?
Specifically, I want to speak about online opinions regarding 2 wrestlers…
“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair
Let’s talk about Sasha Banks first… Recently, she made an appearance with Naomi at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (or C2E2). As you may know, both Sasha and Naomi walked out of the WWE recently over creative differences and this was their first public appearance since walking out. There are some rumors that both wrestlers will be returning soon, but neither one has yet to appear on WWE television.
Reportedly at C2E2, wrestling fans or anyone standing in line for an autograph or photo op with Sasha Banks were told to “keep their distance” from her. If you look online at the many fan pictures with just Sasha or Sasha/Naomi together, fans were at least 4 feet away from Sasha at all times. However, Sasha did make a few exceptions for a few female wrestling fans by actually hugging them and embracing the female fans in photos as well.
Obviously, if Sasha had COVID concerns, she wouldn’t be at C2E2 whatsoever let alone hugging FEMALE wrestling fans.
Of course, Sasha’s choice to maintain distance between MALE wrestling angered the Internet Wrestling Community and she was belittled and attacked by “fans” because of this reported distancing request. “How dare she”, many asked, as these were her loyal fans wanting photo ops with her.
Really? Loyal fans? The ones who trashed her HARD for leaving the WWE abruptly? You’d act as though Sasha leaving personally insulted those said fans, as if she wasn’t allowed to do what she wants in her life (even if destructive to her career).
On top of that, Sasha Banks is a female in the WWE, an attractive one at that. Male wrestling fans are constantly making passes at her whether it is during her matches inside the ring or hitting on her outside of the ring. Every WWE female employee deals with that, as the majority of wrestling fans are males with testosterone flowing through their bodies. Furthermore, many of the female wrestlers have to deal with actual stalkers who find out where female wrestlers actually live and/or where they are staying on the road.
For Sasha as well, she’s a black female… While Jim Crow laws are forbidden and many in society have evolved, there still exists racism in our country. NBA players, in particular, have been harassed for many years and you can see the racial tensions that still exist in various pockets of the country.
Thus… Sasha Banks has to aware of (a) angry WWE fans who are upset about her leaving the WWE, (b) horny wrestling fans, and (c) possibly racist wrestling fans.
Do you see why she might be wanting to maintain some distance at a Comic Con? Particularly part (b).
Now, one can argue that Naomi should be dealing with the SAME problems as Sasha yet she embraced wrestling fans at C2E2. However, let’s get very real now… Naomi is NOT the superstar of the likes of Sasha Banks. Banks has been one of the top stars in the WWE and not just in the women’s division for the past 5-6 years. Sasha Banks is a female performer who somewhat transcends WWE and her role in the STAR WARS Mandalorian was big for her career outside of the WWE.
So yeah, if she is wanting to maintain distance from wrestling fans, I understand it. Just because you’re a wrestling fans DOES NOT give you the right to touch female wrestlers. If she doesn’t want to hug you, that’s the way it is. It’s very likely that she’s fed up with the cat calls, racist comments, or anger about her quitting the WWE. If you want to improve conditions at future autograph signings, be less creepy and ignorant toward her. Simple as that.
If you want more access to Sasha Banks, then start treating her as a fellow human being. She’s not a sex object, nor is she someone that is a verbal punching bag for venting frustrations in your own life.
Now, onto Ric Flair…
I’m so tired of the “wrestling fans” who keep insisting that Ric should retire. Yes, he’s had several “retirement” matches, as he just had one recently and then just 1 week later, he’s working another wrestling show and has instantly regretted calling that tag match his “retirement” match. He’s the Brett Favre of Pro Wrestlers (or the Mr. Tito of Pro Wrestlers?), as he cannot decide whether to stay or know.
I say he should 100% stay and say SCREW YOU to anyone attempting to dictate what Ric should do with his life.
If Ric Flair wants to die in a Pro Wrestling ring, it’s his right to do so. Period. End of story.
What else is Ric Flair going to do with the rest of his life? He has no job skills other than being Ric Flair and there remains a subset of wrestling fans who still want to see him working at wrestling promotions. Flair has been a Pro Wrestler for FIFTY YEARS. He has no college degree or any other productive skills behind him other than being the Nature Boy. At age 73, anyway, he’ll face ageism for any attempts to take up any jobs.
Yes, Ric Flair doesn’t have much of a retirement plan to fall back on… He was “wheeling and dealing” between heavy partying and being unable to maintain a stable married life (though he tried many times). That’s HIS fault on how he spent his money, but at the same time, which promotion did he ever work for that had a Pension plan? Which promotion did he work for that contributed equal amounts of Payroll Taxes in his name? Which promotion provided Healthcare for Ric BESIDES when he was injured in a ring?
In fact, if Ric were to work for both WWE and AEW right now, he’d literally be working under the same payment conditions as he did during the 1980s. He’d be an “Independent Contractor” with either WWE or AEW right now just as he was with AWA, NWA, WCW, or WWF back then. That’s a FACT, as AEW only provides benefits to wrestlers who perform double duty as wrestlers or other duties (EVPs, for example). Had Cancel Culture not attacked Ric Flair for what he allegedly did during the “Plane Ride from Hell”, thanks to the Dark Side of the Ring‘s allegations, he would have worked for AEW as an Independent Contractor for Tony Khan UNLESS he gave Ric other duties beside portraying a character on AEW Dynamite.
So yes, Ric Flair spent all of that money… But Verne Gagne, Jim Crockett, Vince McMahon, and Eric Bischoff burned through many wrestlers without paying a shred of benefits. Furthermore, ALL OF THOSE promoters KNEW Ric’s lifestyle and did nothing about it. They also knew the behaviors of the many DEAD wrestlers who didn’t survive that lifestyle, too. They didn’t care because when paying performers as Independent Contractors, there is no accountability for the promotions. If a wrestler dies, you stop paying them without assuming any liability. While Ric Flair was the one who spent the money and partied hard, NOBODY from the wrestling business attempted to calm Ric down and care about him long-term. They enjoyed the money that he put in their cash register but they never cared about the long-term well being of the performers who made them rich.
Of course, now, wrestlers today are taking good care of their finances because they grew up seeing many dead wrestlers or bankruptcies of ex-wrestlers. That said, wrestlers today still have to hire accountants, pay for their own health insurance, and set aside money, on their own, for any type of retirement that they seek after wrestling. Every attempt at unionizing has been smashed by Vince McMahon and even Tony Khan has an infrastructure at AEW that would discourage wrestlers from organizing.
YES, Ric Flair needs to own how he spent his money and the many relationships that he’s ruined… But employers need to protect their employees from themselves… I know from working in the financial industry that institutions monitor your finances to ensure safety and reliability from handling other peoples’ finances. Many places have implemented Wellness Programs, including the WWE (they were forced to, thanks to Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit), to keep employees healthy or on the right track to be healthy by incentivizing them towards goals. Pro Wrestling didn’t quite do that… Ric Flair worked through the peak of the Cocaine, Pills, and Steroid era where the promotions themselves lacked regulation. From the WWE standpoint, Ric was there at the peak of of the usage before the Federal Government began sniffing around in mid-1992. Ric was in WWE when both Eddie and Chris died. Jim Crockett let Ric party HARD during the 1980s and allowed him to use private jets to enable that lifestyle. Then, it was reportedly “anything goes” during the mid to late 1990s WCW.
To his credit, the only one who has really cared about Ric Flair‘s well being has been Triple H. Flair was down in his dumps following WCW’s closure and upon his WWE return. HHH was there for him and helped revive Flair’s career during the 2000s. Then, HHH helped bring Flair back to the WWE during the 2010s and as an added bonus, took really good care of Charlotte Flair in NXT and helped mold her into a major superstar. That said, Triple H was there more as a shoulder to lean on and the WWE toxic environment around Ric, which hit a wall when Eddie & Chris died, was controlled by Vince McMahon. Now, the curtain has been unveiled on Vince McMahon. Thus, if Vince was having affairs, he would have no issue with talent who was having affairs as long as it was kept quiet (see Matt Hardy vs. Edge). And remember, Vince McMahon not only chartered that plane from the 2002 “Plane Ride from Hell”, he was reportedly on that same flight and did nothing.
As I’ve said many, many times in my columns… It’s all about the ENABLERS of bad behavior who makes things worse.
At age 73, Ric Flair probably shouldn’t be wrestling… Just the bumps and bruises received in the ring, alone, should warrant him to want to stop wrestling. Bones are more brittle and organs are more at risk, the older you get. BUT, if wrestling keeps Ric Flair happy and it’s the one thing that he totally lives for, then why should we stop him?
If you take a look at any older person who legitimately lives through their 70s or 80s with a sound mind, it’s because they are quite active in their social life and they do physical things to keep them in shape. My grandfather was a World War 2 veteran and was still cutting his grass and doing yardwork into his late 80s. He was still driving, too, at that age without any fears of being too old physically to drive.
I guarantee that Vince McMahon‘s health will suddenly go downhill now that he’s lost his main passion in life. YES, it’s HIS FAULT that he lost it, but my point is that Vince lived for being a wrestling promoter and without that joy in life, he’s gonna struggle.
Just as Ric Flair struggles without his “wrestling fix”. And many of you CANCELLED Ric Flair for allegations made on the Dark Side of the Ring special about the “Plane Ride from Hell”. For one, the individual in question took a settlement from the WWE and then the WWE did nothing to discipline Ric Flair back then. See my comments about “enablers”? Nobody protecting wrestlers from themselves? Quite the opposite, WWE pushed Ric Flair as co-owner and then as a key member of Evolution after this plane ride. Meanwhile, they terminated the employment of Scott Hall and Curt Hennig for their actions on this plane ride. Between this plane ride and the Dark Side documentary, WWE ran cartoon segments on the WWE Network about Flair’s partying and ESPN ran an entire 2 hour 30 for 30 documentary about Ric Flair’s partying.
ALL OF YOU knew of Ric’s partying ways and womanizing, yet it took Dark Side of the Ring‘s allegations to CANCEL Ric?
And because of that, WWE or AEW won’t employ him despite some actual value that Ric still has as a veteran.
So what else can Ric Flair do with his life and how can he put his wrestling skills to good use?
He tried podcasting and that was a disaster. He appears at many autograph signings but if you’ve ever attended one with Ric Flair, he always looks bored. He cannot sit still and just sign things for hours.
And that is why he heads back to the ring, taking bumps at the tender age of 73.
Speaking of enablers, did you notice WHO was in that match with him? His son-in-law Andrade and 2 good friends Jeff Jarrett and Jay Lethal. They must not have had a problem with him wrestling, as Flair was cut open to bleed and reportedly passed out twice inside the ring.
As long as there exists a promoter who will pay Ric to wrestler, he’s going to wrestle whether you like it or not.
There’s actually a simple solution to all of this with Ric Flair, a solution that will solve many problems with Ric Flair. Bring him back to WWE.
Triple H is back in charge and he needs some wisdom on the wrestling business behind him. Ric can be subjected to regular Wellness Policy reviews of his drinking or other possible substances WHILE participating in the wrestling business gives him something to live for. Having Ric Flair around can also not only pick his brain for wrestling ideas, but utilize him as a talking head for WWE Network specials. I think that we can trust Triple H regarding Ric Flair’s handling based not only on past actions, but taking good care of Charlotte as well.
Otherwise, if Ric wants to keep wrestling these many “retirement” matches, who are stop him? If his FAMILY won’t stop him, as Andrade was in that Tag Match, then who are we to judge?
For many wrestling fans critical of Ric wanting to keep wrestling, would you like to have your life dictated by others? We just went through a COVID-19 pandemic in which many refused to wear masks or get vaccination shots. My body, my choice, right? Well, can’t Ric Flair say that about remaining a Pro Wrestler? His 73 year old body, his choice? Or are we going to be hypocritical on that stance because “my body, my choice” only works on specific things that lines up to your opinion or politics? If you are sitting on your couch, reading this with a cigarette, a cold glass of beer, or eating unhealthy food… Aren’t you doing that because it’s your body and your choice? So why shouldn’t Ric Flair want to keep wrestling?
After all, Ric Flair wrestling in the ring only harms 1 person specifically and that is Ric Flair. The other party at large, his family, seems to be endorsing Flair still wrestling. Andrade wrestled in that “retirement” match with Ric. Charlotte says nothing. Conrad Thompson and his wife, Ric’s other daughter, says nothing.
It’s funny to me how many people want to dictate how other people run their lives. Could you just stop that and worry about yourself instead? Why on earth do you care what happens in someone else’s home, who they date, or what they are doing with their bodies? What business is it of yours to attempt to control others?
Is Ric Flair, wrestling at the age of 73, doing illegal things? NO. Is it probably a bad idea to keep wrestling at 73? It sure is… But who am I to dictate what makes Ric Flair tick or keeps him happy? Being “the Nature Boy” and performing for an audience is what keeps him alive.
So unless his FAMILY stops him or unless WWE/AEW can forgive him regarding “Plane Ride From Hell” allegations to provide him a valid role in their companies, he has only 1 avenue to get his “wrestling fix” and that is performing again. Yeah, it will be ugly as you aren’t quite as limber at 73 as you were earlier… But if it keeps Ric happy and sane in his older age, who are we to stop him?
I guarantee that most wrestling fans criticizing Ric of still performing would be PISSED if someone tried to control their lives or personal freedoms. We’ve seen nothing but anger over health recommendations regarding a pandemic while many businesses went under due to forced quarantines. Then, just wait until you get into your 60s and the younger management at your workplace starts dropping subtle hints to retire. Then, wait until your kids or grandkids start suggesting that you go to a Retirement Home for the rest of your life.
Let Ric be Ric in his older age… As long as his family is OK with him still performing, then so should you. If Ric wants to die in a professional wrestling ring, that is his choice. He’s too old to go back in time to revisit his spending decisions and he cashed in too many checks from wrestling promotions to seek any proper retirement.
The SAD FACT is that Gagne, Crockett, McMahon, and Bischoff should have taken better care of their talents BESIDES paying them lump sums as “independent contractors”. Working 300+ dates per year, when are they going to learn about finance? They are too busy working matches, traveling, healing, and working out to maintain the look that those promoters want of a pro wrestler. None of those guys paid Payroll Taxes, provided Pensions, or provided Health Insurance both short and long-term. Furthermore, each of them created cultures that “looked the other way” when wrestlers were doing substances, drinking heavily, partying hard, and putting the promotion at risk when involving women in each town or city. Ric had many RED FLAGS come up during the course of his wrestling career that promoters overlooked because when it came to gametime, Ric ALWAYS delivered inside the ring. That’s what mattered to the promoters and thus the enabled Ric’s careless behavior instead of protecting him as an employer should.
The damage has been done to Ric and all he has left to offer is to perform at Independent wrestling functions because y’all cancelled him from ever participating in WWE or AEW. If he still wants to wrestle and his family is OK with it, then you’ll see more of these “tragic” retirement matches that each of you will continually cry about.
Once again, go blame the enablers of bad behavior, please, but also realize that you’d cry rivers if your personal freedoms were taken away.
And please, educate me on how Ric Flair can make an income as an ex-wrestler whom you’ve decided shouldn’t work for WWE or AEW in the future. You weren’t on that “Plane Ride from Hell”, but many of Ric’s fellow wrestlers and reportedly the McMahons were on that plane that Vince chartered. Vince McMahon paid a settlement to the one offended, just as he paid settlements to all of the women he has victimized.
Are you seeing the bigger picture, yet?
Let Ric wrestle, as he has nothing else to lose other than the life he dedicated and gave to wrestling anyway. In return, the wrestling business enabled and abused him.
I can’t wait for your “worst take ever” comments, but I don’t give a damn. ALL OF YOU would throw fits if your personal freedoms to do what you want, whenever you want were challenged or taken away.
Treat your employees well and take care of them, as many need protection from themselves at a younger age. But don’t enable them to bad behaviors. If they are partying hard or spending their money (at times, what they don’t even have) on ridiculous things, talk to them and teach them life skills. Ric Flair was just a warm body that drew money to all of these wrestling promoters and as long as he was standing upright, they didn’t care what he did the night before. This “independent contractor” stuff is total nonsense and can set-up most wrestlers to FAIL unless wrestlers spend their own money on accountants, insurance agencies, and financial advisors. You may think that wrestlers have money growing on trees, but they assume a larger Federal/State/Local tax liability than you and their earnings window is tighter than yours.
Ric Flair is just another wrestler that the industry used and abused, as he worked over 350 matches per year for many years… Now, he’s yet another broken down older man who is still clinging to his wrestling fix while having no other skills as a fallback plan. Thus, he has to somehow keep wrestling especially if Cancel Culture demands that he cannot help WWE or AEW in any way, shape, or form.
I’m not going to watch these Ric Flair “retirement” matches because I just don’t have demand to see a 73 old guy performing at a small Independent venue. But, as long as Ric still wants to perform and his family is on board, who am I to judge? I’d hate for an Online Community to yell at me to stop doing something that I love when I’m 73, even when it absolutely does no harm to the critics.
Worry about yourselves… If Ric Flair wants to boldly die in a Pro Wrestling ring, the place that he loves the most in life, then that is his choice.
Worry about yourself instead of what other people do with their lives that is 100% legal to do.