Now that TNA has officially withdrawn their sketchy lawsuit against WWE for contract tampering, there's nothing stopping WWE from signing Ric Flair to a long term, exclusive contract.
The lawsuit was actually dropped on Monday, but despite being involved in a segment on this week's 20th anniversary edition of Raw to put over The Miz as his latest copycat protégé and also being booked for next week's TV tapings, he wasn't immediately inked to such a deal. He's still only working for the company on a per appearance basis, which may suit Flair better as that allows him to continue to take independent or overseas wrestling dates, as well as be involved with outside endorsements, without having to get everything else rubber stamped by WWE.
However, in the long term I think it's inevitable that this current loose arrangement between Flair and WWE will be formalised in a more binding commitment. It shows the trust that Vince McMahon must have in Ric to allow him to work without a contract, as there's nothing in place to stop him from returning to TNA, if he so wished.
But why would Flair want to go back to work for the company who effectively put his career on ice for over six months by firing him, whilst filing a lawsuit that by its very nature barred his return to WWE, a goal of his which everyone in TNA was well aware of?
Well, the masterminds at TNA, who desperately want him back, think they have the answer, as Dave Meltzer discussed in this week's Wrestling Observer Newsletter:
"TNA still sends feelers to him. Key people in TNA watched the segment with Miz and thought WWE was humiliating him with the talk of him being broke and having made all that money and having nothing to show for it, and thought maybe he’d be open to come back."
Of course, this was a completely ridiculous line of thinking, given that heels have mocked Flair's personal problems on WWE television in the past and he never batted an eyelid about it. For example, see this segment where Edge ridiculed Flair for being involved in a highly publicised road rage incident that happened in Dec. 2005.
Also, Flair has never shied away from bragging about all the women he's bedded or spending much more money than he's earned, viewing it as something to be proud of. I guess this is why Hulk Hogan's sex tape has never been mentioned on Impact, while you know "The Nature Boy" would milk it for all it was worth.
Indeed, Meltzer confirmed that Flair had no problem whatsoever with his scripting on Raw and is still happy to be back in the big leagues:
"Flair felt that’s pro wrestling, it helped get Cesaro over and he considers his life and spending all that money on a good time as a badge of honor as opposed to something sad. The idea of the segment was for Flair to endorse Miz as a new babyface and to have Miz use the figure four as his new finisher. When he found out, Flair joked to Miz, "I hope they let you beat people with it because I never did.""
It's clearly much better to be treated as the top legend in WWE, than play second and third fiddle to Hulk Hogan and Sting in TNA. Why on earth would he head back?