I spoke with several other sources today who are close to the Ric Flair/WWE situation and I have received a few updates.
Firstly, it seems as if NBC and Bonnie Hammer were not pushing for Flair on WWE TV, it was more that Vince McMahon was considering putting Flair on Raw in a long term role. However, when the NBC and Bonnie Hammer "more star power" conversation happened, Flair was immeditately taken off the Raw radar as the network does not consider Flair to be the type of star they want heading Raw. It was at this time that Vince McMahon decided to put Flair on Smackdown, however tensions arose between the two parties and Flair has been stalled out ever since.
NBC feels that Ric Flair is "wrestling star power," whose popularity has not crossed over into the mainstream world like it did with The Rock, Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan and to some extent John Cena. Additionally, NBC felt that having Flair return to Raw would not provide the show with the constant star power that they are getting every week with guys like Shaq and Jeremy Piven. While it’s no secret that most within the wrestling world hated the Raw episode featuring Piven, the network loved it because he brought mainstream credibility to WWE as he is a popular commodity amongst younger audiences who watch "Entourage," etc.
NBC’s general feeling with Flair is that he is an aging star who does not connect with the younger audience as someone like Piven or Shaq does, and that although Flair might spike Raw ratings for a week or two, he would never benefit the show on a long term basis. Smartly, Vince does not want Flair for just one week, he wants something substantial for him if he is going to use him at all, otherwise, Flair is just like Sgt. Slaughter; you bring him out once, use him up, then put him back out to pasture.
So with no room for Flair on Raw, Vince decided he was going to use him on Smackdown, but then, as we reported several times, Flair pissed McMahon off by wanting to work other dates with other promotions while working with WWE, so Vince decided that he didn’t need Flair and we haven’t seen him on WWE TV ever since.
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