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MASSIVE HEAT ON TOP TNA NAME AND WHY HE MAY NEVER RETURN TO THE COMPANY

By Mike Johnson on 2012-05-21 13:00:00
A number of readers have asked why Ric Flair has disappeared from television and missed several TNA house shows since appearing in a Gutcheck segment on Impact Wrestling, judging Alex Silva.

Sources close to Flair and TNA have confirmed that the two sides are at a major impasse as there is a ton of heat on Flair for conduct outside the ring. It was described to me by one TNA source as, "being at the point it's not worth keeping Flair around."

There have been a number of incidents involving Flair at local establishments and bars in Orlando since coming to the company. At one point, sources indicate Flair was banned from drinking at the Hard Rock Cafe in Citiwalk due to an incident with him "acting inappropriate", according to one source, leading to venue management banishing him.

There are also stories aplenty within the company of Flair not being able to cover bar tabs and company management getting a call from the hotel and/or bar seeking payment. Most recently something similar went down at the hotel TNA utilizes for their wrestlers and staff, which the company has had a great relationship with for years, that was the final tipping point. At that point, Flair was pulled from several Louisiana house shows and the final TV Tapings before Impact Wrestling goes live on 5/31.

A similar issue led to Flair's meltdown last year on the European tour, where TNA's Craig Jenkins, after several days of fronting Flair money to cover a bar tab, refused to do so again. This led to Flair screaming at Jenkins in front of the entire crew and refusing to get on the TNA tour bus to head to the next date. Flair was left behind, missed a show and then returned to the tour the next day, apologizing to the locker room when he arrived. Publicly, Flair blamed the matter on the company not giving him "advances" like he would get when touring for WWE, citing that he was "used" to that treatment. Those comments upset people within the company because of the perception that the company "wasn't taking care of talents."

There have been a number of forces within TNA that have been against having him as a regular since he came into the company, noting that while he carries a high price tag, he hasn't translated into drawing money or ratings for the company - and now, his work in the ring isn't "Ric Flair level" anymore, but "Ric Flair level behavior" remains.

There are also some in the company that feel that Flair and WWE put them in a "no win situation" when Flair was announced for the WWE Hall of Fame, noting that the company had no choice but to allow him to go in, or else they would look like they were denying Flair and the fans. To be fair, Flair didn't know in advance he was getting inducted but he publicly told fans he would be there "on stage" before a deal was signed that would allow him to appear at Wrestlemania and the Hall of Fame.

Spike TV sources also note that there have also been a number of requests from the network end to keep Flair dressed and not have him "near nude" (i.e., in his wrestling gear) and bleeding at his age on TV.

Flair debuted for TNA on 1/4/10, the first episode of the Hulk Hogan/Eric Bischoff regime. He was made the mentor to AJ Styles and manager of Fortune with the idea of creating a modern day Four Horsemen style group. That led to Flair being part of Immortal and until the Gutcheck Judging role, he had most recently been managing Gunner and running with Eric Bischoff in their feud designed to get Garett Bischoff over.

Since departing WWE, there have been a number of issues with Flair. He signed for a number of appearances with Ring of Honor, then pulled out of them, citing his relationship with WWE (although it was more likely that he realized they weren't going to use Reid Flair following a drug arrest). When Flair didn't pay back an advance given to him, ROH filed a lawsuit against him. Flair also landed in court over money lent to him by Highspots.com and at one point, there was an order of arrest out for him if Flair did not pay the agreed settlement by a certain date. That order was issued because Flair had missed several agreed dates for payment of the settlement. The money was eventually paid and the NWA World title belt, which Highspots.com was holding as collateral, was seen displayed at WWE AXXESS this year, potentially pointing to WWE as having paid the debt and acquiring the title for their own archive.

There was word making rounds over the weekend that Flair was done with TNA, but we have not been able to confirm that.

When contacted today, TNA declined comment on the Flair matter, citing that he was still officially on their roster.