Richard Reacts to WWE Blowing Flair’s Return
In the professional wrestling industry there are always going to be hits and misses because let’s face it – no matter how well a promotion is run and no matter how smart the creative team can be – it is impossible to accurately project fan reactions. Well, last night WWE had one of the biggest misses that I can remember with the return of Ric Flair. The complete randomness of the Chris Jericho/Shawn Michaels/Batista program reached new heights when Ric Flair (who had not been seen since his farewell on Raw the night after WrestleMania) showed up for an impromptu return to defend Michaels against Chris Jericho. It was way too soon to bring Flair back to television in the first place and the way that it was handled last night was down right mind blowing. Let’s take a look at what happened and my problem with it.
Chris Jericho came out after one the dreadful Million Dollar Mania giveaways and delivered what I thought was a good heel promo. Jericho is a natural heel and can come off so obnoxious he can make even the smartest wrestling fan hate him. Out of the blue they played Ric Flair’s music and completely out of nowhere – there he stood. Now I would think that WWE would want to capitalize on the tremendous ovation that the Salt Lake City crowd gave him by staying with it, but what do they do? They go to commercial. When we return, the reactions have died down so much that Ric Flair looked about as significant as Charlie Haas did in the bikini blow out from earlier in the night. OK, maybe not that bad but you get my point.
Flair delivered a good promo to Chris Jericho but I thought it was goofy how they had Jericho follow Flair out of the building. Shouldn’t Ric Flair have chased the cowardly heel out of the building and into the parking lot? Instead, Jericho jawed to Flair the entire way out until Triple H came out and stopped Jericho. This is when the entire segment lost any momentum that it could have had. The segment came off like Hunter was protecting an 85 year old grandpa that couldn’t fight his way out of a wet paper bag. For goodness sakes, Flair came out and started the altercation! Hunter defused Jericho by asking him if he didn’t think that he had created enough problems already. After Jericho walked away, making it seem like it was no big deal even though he was just confronted by the most decorated wrestler in professional wrestling history, they cut to commercial.
Back from commercial, they have Triple H, the WWE Champion and the top babyface on Raw ARGUING with Flair. Again, it came off like Flair was an 85 year old man arguing with the much stronger and tougher Triple H about how he could defend himself. If the segment wasn’t already a big enough train wreck, they had Vince McMahon come into the scene and have Flair ejected from the building because he is retired. This was another thing that I thought made absolutely no sense what-so-ever. McMahon has been playing a babyface because of the money giveaways, so why have him get involved and throw Flair out? Furthermore, if McMahon didn’t want Flair at TVs then how was Flair able to deliver his promo in the first place? Flair was escorted out and the entire thing was over after Vince announced the main event of Jericho vs. Hunter.
Instead of bringing Ric Flair back at SummerSlam or next week during the heat of battle on the WWE Draft episode of Raw – they threw away what could have been a great moment and derailed it in some of the worst booking that I have ever seen. The entire return segment did not make one bit of sense. It made Flair look old, incompetent, and washed up. It made Chris Jericho seem like he didn’t even care about Flair and even worse it made Triple H (the top babyface) come off like a heel. The fans were confused about McMahon because he was giving away a ton of money all night only to eject Ric Flair from the building because he is retired. Talk about a blown opportunity – I do not believe that could have gone any worse. If anything else – Flair deserved better.
Richard Gray can be heard each and every Tuesday night from 9:00-10:00 EST on WrestleZone Radio, exclusively here on WrestleZone.com.