ric flair made another appearance on WWE Monday Night Raw last night, getting the full ring intro to talk on the mic for a few minutes that otherwise could have been spent on the Roman Reigns-Randy Orton main event.
The Nature Boy didn’t do anything significant in his time in front of the camera. We all pretty much knew already that he was going to swerve us by backing the hot faces, The Shield, against his former charges, the heels, Evolution, though we also expect that it won’t be long before Flair turns on The Shield to complete the reformation of Evolution.
The bigger question: do we care about ric flair anymore? The answer seems to be leaning much more in the direction of no than yes.
Flair is actually probably five years or more past us caring about him anymore, to be honest. His out-of-ring issues with money and the law have eroded the aura that used to surround The Man. At the height of his powers, from roughly 1983 to 1991, there was nobody bigger in the game, not even hulk hogan. Hogan was able to stay relevant after his own star began to fade, reinventing himself as Hollywood Hogan with the nWo in the late 1990s, then enjoying a brief resurgence in WWE in the early part of the 2000s decade.
Flair, for whatever reason, never did regain that elite status that he enjoyed in his glory years. He maintained some level of relevance with fans into the 2000s, but over the years he became a sad caricature of The Man, with little more to add to his cameo appearances than a half-drunk “Woo-o-o!” to the crowd.
A look at his rapidly aging face and thinning hair only serves to remind us when we see him that we, too, are getting older. The ric flair that was The Man in To Be The Man, You Have to Beat the Man is beaten-down, haggard, an Old Man, and what does that say about those of us who remember him being the champ when we were kids?
You almost wish that WWE would stop trotting him out there every so often; all it does is encourage him and discourage us.
I’d prefer to remember the Flair who was main-evening Starrcade, the 60-Minute Man, the jet-flyin’, limousine-ridin’ son of a gun, to the pathetic cartoon with his hand out for a quick few bucks to help him stay on the road for another week or two that he is now.
Which means he’d make a perfect addition to Legends House. Can we get creative on that right away?
– Column by Chris Graham