May 19, 2009
Ric brings a certain Flair to ROH
By BLAINE VAN DER GRIEND - SLAM! Wrestling
He retired from pro wrestling a year ago, but still remains active in other capacities. Now at 60-years-old, Ric Flair is still styling and profiling, but also passing the torch to a new generation through his Ring of Honor appearances.
The relationship between Flair and Ring of Honor continues to blossom and Flair has made numerous appearances for the promotion. "The Nature Boy" has a date with ROH on May 29 at the former New Alhambra Arena/ECW Arena, four spots in June, and on July 25th, he will be at the Toronto show at the Ted Reeve Arena.
"Just having the name Ric Flair on our program is going to sell tickets," said ROH promoter Cary Silkin. "Flair being associated with the company is obviously going to lead to fantastic things."
Flair has already made a couple of appearances for ROH TV tapings and according to Silkin, he's been very well received in the locker room and returns that respect to everyone he encounters.
"Flair's impact in ROH has been very proactive," Silkin said. "We've had legends over the years that have been quieter and don't get involved. But Flair is always voicing opinions and if anybody were to ask him for advice, he's always happy to give it."
Kenny King worked one of the tapings Flair attended in St. Louis. He recalls that the entire locker room was overflowing with positive energy. King says it was like a gut check for everyone.
"It's great to have Flair working with Ring of Honor and endorsing our company," King said. "To have one of the top free names in wrestling associated with ROH is huge. Flair being in our locker room is like Joe Montana being in a football locker room. He's very well respected because Ric Flair is RIC FLAIR."
One of the greatest compliments a wrestler can receive is being told that they've had a good match, and King is very appreciative that Flair can contribute his expertise and advice to the ROH stars.
"He (Flair) doesn't watch all the matches, but there was one that I remember between Roderick Strong and Jay Briscoe and when Roderick and Jay came back to the locker room after their match, Ric took them aside and gave them some feedback," King said.
One of Flair's last wrestling-related appearances happened last month at Wrestlemania 25, where he cornered Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka and Ricky Steamboat against Chris Jericho, in an angle based on the Mickey Rourke movie The Wrestler. One of the co-stars of the movie also happens to be one of the biggest stars in ROH. And even though Necro Butcher has never been in the same locker room as Flair, he is very excited about the relationship and looks forward to doing business with Flair in the future.
The only ROH wrestler to have ever previously worked with Flair, before this relationship came about with ROH is the current ROH Champion Jerry Lynn, who has not only worked for the same promotion as Flair once upon a time, but also has been in the ring with him.
"I've wrestled Ric a couple times in WCW, but we've never actually had an opportunity to run into each other and talk things over," Lynn said. "It's always a thrill to have Flair in the locker room though."
Flair has done just about done everything he can do in the wrestling business, while Ring of Honor is just starting to develop and hasn't even reached its teenage years yet. Silkin is like a proud parent, ready to send his child off to school and into the hands of the new teacher, Ric Flair.
"This is like the Babe Ruth of pro wrestling working with our company," Silkin said. "Flair's just making public appearances for us right now, but we haven't seen the full bloom of this relationship yet."
Blaine van der Griend can't strut to save his life. Email Blaine at firstname.lastname@example.org.