Shortly after WWE.com confirmed Ric Flair's attendance at this year's WWE Hall Of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday night, TNA issued their own press release, which we obtained from Mike Aldren of the Wrestling Globe Newsletter:
International celebrity the Nature Boy Ric Flair is set to become the only wrestler in history to be inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Hall of Fame twice. Flair's dominant 1980s wrestling group, the Four Horsemen, known to be the greatest in ring performers of all time, will be granted their seat in the Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Miami, FL on March 31st, the day before Wrestlemania XXVIII. Flair will be inducted along-side fellow members of the Four Horsemen: Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham, and J.J. Dillon.
The news of Flair's second induction was followed by a firestorm of controversy. Questions flew about whether Flair would attend the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony as he is currently under contract with Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling. Understanding what a huge honor this is for Flair, TNA is graciously supporting him in the decision to attend the Hall of Fame ceremony alongside his fellow inductees.
"Being inducted once was one of the greatest accomplishments of my career, so I'm humbled and honored to be recognized again. I wouldn't miss the ceremony for the world," says Flair.
TNA President Dixie Carter says, "We are proud of Ric's many accomplishments and contributions he has made to the world of professional wrestling and beyond. We wish to congratulate him on yet another honor he truly deserves."
The press release was necessary because WWE's announcement flagrantly ignored the fact that Ric Flair is still an employee of TNA Wrestling and his appearance was dependent on Dixie Carter's approval. Clearly WWE does not want to give TNA any exposure in return for this favour or help portray them as the babyface company for not standing in Flair's way in picking up the honour in person, so it is left to TNA to toot their own horn. If TNA didn't look minor league enough already by how WWE steamrollered over them to obtain Flair's services for this year's WrestleMania weekend, then WWE's lack of acknowledgement is the icing on top of a bittersweet cake.
There is still no word on the terms of the agreement made between WWE and TNA that allowed Flair's unique appearance to happen and we'll probably never know for certain, as both sides are probably bound to confidentiality. We'll just have to wait and see what happens over the weekend, but I fully expect that Flair will be a full part of all the festivities. The Nature Boy failing to appear with his Four Horsemen brethren on the WrestleMania pay-per-view itself to soak up the fans cheers, like Bret Hart refused to do at WrestleMania 22, would come off as awkward and make TNA look like the bad guys they desperately don't want to be seen as.