When Ric Flair joined WWE in late 2001 he became the on-screen co-owner of WWE, before being named General Manager of Monday Night Raw as the brand split took effect.
While Flair wrestled intermittently during this period it was widely believed that his full-time wrestling career was over. However, as 2002 progressed Flair wrestled on an increasingly regular basis to the point where his matches became common place on Raw and at pay-per-views. This theme continued for the next few years until the Nature Boy finally ‘retired.’
Jim Ross Admits WWE Didn’t Know How Best To Utilise Ric Flair
On a recent episode of his Grilling JR podcast, WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross looked back at No Mercy 2002. At the event Flair was defeated by Rob Van Dam. The match came after Flair had wrestled regularly on television for a number of months.
Reflecting on Flair’s in-ring involvement, Ross admitted that WWE didn’t really know how to get the best out of the 16-time World Champion. The announcer explained that by having Flair wrestle so often, and lose consistently, took away his star power as an attraction.
“I don’t know that we had a good handle on how to book Ric. I think that what we should have done in hindsight, which is always pretty viable, is Ric should have been booked as an attraction. Seldom used, but when he was used, used in a positive manner.
In other words, he would go over more often than not. And I don’t know that we knew how to book him. You know, Ric’s own scenario was Ric didn’t really want to ever be a babyface. You know, he likes being a heel. That’s what he grew up on, that’s what attracted him to the original AWA territory..”
Speaking on his own podcast, Ric Flair recently discussed returning to WWE after he left the company back in August 2021. Flair said that while he would “love” to be part of the company, he is unsure whether he will make a proper return.
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