So I watched the WWE 2K14 symposium earlier this week.
That's where pro wrestling legend Ric Flair got started and couldn't stop, kinda like the old days when you were a kid on your bicycle and went down a hill so fast you knew it was suicide to hit the brakes, so fuck it, you hung on and hoped you didn't crash.
"The Nature Boy" crashed that night in Los Angeles, and fans are still picking through the wreckage.
WWE officials were apparently so incensed at Flair's behavior -- which may or may not have been influenced by a few shots of grandpa's old cough medicine -- that he was yanked from a planned SummerSlam angle involving the red-hot Daniel Bryan, who just so happened to be the same wrestler Flair was taking potshots at during his meltdown.
It was kinda sad, actually.
Not the fact that Bryan was taking his lumps. Hey, I'm a dude, I get it. Boys will be boys and all that jazz. You round up a few of your peers and you take your licks like a man. But that's just it. Flair is no longer one of the "boys" and he hasn't been for a long, long time.
Look no further than his symposium rant, where he romanticized the careers of Harley Race, Blackjack Mulligan and Bruiser Brody.
I know it's hard for old-timers like Flair to understand, but this generation of fans doesn't give a shit about those guys. They haven't been relevant in 25 years, maybe more. Like "The Nature Boy," they were great in their day and the fact that THIS BUSINESS has evolved does not diminish their accomplishments.
In some cases, it elevates them.
But just because you weren't blading in some Tar Heel gymnasium in front of 250 locals, trying to earn a few hundred bucks in between television appearances, doesn't mean you don't have the right to be STANDING TALL when you finally hit it big and make it to the promised land.
Bryan worked hard, got the necessary push and capitalized on it.
As far as I'm concerned, at this present time, he can share a stage with any pro wrestling superstar, past or present. Will he have that right in a few years? We don't know yet. Part of becoming a legend is being able to withstand the test of time, which these days has become a formidable task.
Heck, the size of the roster alone makes it very difficult to stay at the top.
Flair probably watches the current product with a certain degree of disdain, convinced that most of today's talent wouldn't cut it in the rough-and-tumble business of yesteryear. Well, I've got news for you, Naytch, that's a two way street. Does anyone really believe THIS BUSINESS has gotten any easier over the years?
There's a reason we have a wellness policy.
Flair had a chance to do something Hulk Hogan didn't, and that's go out on a high note. While Hulkster is turning the Impact Zone into his own personal playground, writing checks the audience won't cash, Flair could have been riding high in the biggest company in the world, on one of the biggest pay-per-views of the year, alongside one of the biggest stars in the industry.
But he won't.
He won't, because he can't accept that he's become a historical prop, a living encyclopedia of all things wrestling who can still uncork a couple of chops, generate a few cheers and yell "Woooooooo!" when he runs out of stuff to do. That's what happens when you reach 64 and that's okay, because that's all the fans want from you. Leave the bright lights and big cities to the younger guys who can still work.
Isn't that the nature of Evolution?