Jim Ross has discussed Ric Flair’s departure from WCW in the early nineties when a power struggle at the top of the company left the perennial world champion looking for pastures new.
Flair left WCW two weeks before The Great American Bash in 1991 with WCW President firing him and vacating the WCW World Heavyweight Championship that Flair had held. Having previously been the booker in the company as well, Flair left that role in late 1990 with Herd apparently looking to diminish Flair’s role further. This led to The Nature Boy’s run in the World Wrestling Federation that is most fondly remembered for his WWF Championship win in the 1992 Royal Rumble match.
Jim Ross was discussing the 1991 Great American Bash on his Grilling JR podcast and got into Ric Flair’s dispute and departure from the company before the event.
“I think that both parties dropped the ball on getting it solved. Getting it solved before it festered as they say in Oklahoma. It was like an open wound and it kept getting more infected. It never was gonna heal the route this thing was taking. So they both [Flair and Herd] got some explaining to do so to speak. But Herd’s problem was he was spouting off things in wrestling vernacular, that if you knew anything about the business or been around longer than a week or two, you knew that [Herd] didn’t know what he was talking about. I just think these two cats, they’re both so hard-headed, they both believe in what they said and Herd hurt himself by saying things that a veteran would talk about, instead of coming up with ideas that were laughable.”
“I always believe until someone throws their hands up and walks away that there’s a way to solve an issue, it’s called communication. Being reasonable, being fair on both sides. Here’s how I’d have looked at it as a head of talent, I gotta know how much of my budget I’ve gotta cut, total dollar number. […] I would figure out a way to get you your number and never touch Flair’s money. It’s called management, strategy. So I’m gonna forsake this veteran that’s basically the base of our brand and has got more name identity than anybody else on our roster over mathematics now. It became more than mathematics, it became personal between those guys. Herd dug his heels in and he’s making a statement ‘I’ll show these sons of b*tches who’s in charge’ and then there’s Flair who says ‘I’m Ric Flair, I ain’t gotta put up with sh*t.’ I’m just disappointed that communication didn’t happen and it could have been done very easily.”
Ric Flair eventually returned to WCW in 1993 after Jim Herd had departed and Bill Watts was briefly running the wrestling side of the company. He stayed with the company until their eventual demise in 2001, competing against his long-time rival Sting on the final episode of WCW Nitro.