As we reported here yesterday, Ric Flair got himself in hot water with WWE management by going off the rails and hijacking the WWE 2K14 symposium on Sunday evening before the SummerSlam pay-per-view.
Not only were they irked about The Nature Boy talking so brazenly about drinking heavily (which goes against the promotional spin that WWE wrestlers are more interested in playing video games than partying nowadays) and mentioning how he had stole the show with Mick Foley in TNA, but perhaps the biggest faux pas was burying Daniel Bryan.
When Bryan humbly stated "I honestly feel like I don't belong up here", Flair instead of putting the guy over and telling him how wrong he was, retorted "Hey Daniel, 41 years of wrestling [Bruiser] Brody and Blackjack [Mulligan] you can imagine how I feel about you being up here, good Lord, Jesus Christ, what would Harley [Race] say about him?"
The comment was highly ironic given that Bryan was blowing away respected veterans with his ability as far back as 2001 when he was beginning to make a name for himself on the indy scene. After being on hand to see in person the then Bryan Danielson face Brian "Spanky" Kendrick at the King of the Indies, a one-off tournament of the best independent talent in the country, Red Bastien told Dave Meltzer that the older guys wouldn't want to admit this, but Danielson was better than they were in their primes, while Nick Bockwinkel congratulated him on his performance by saying "I would have been proud to have been on any card you were on." However, Flair probably thinks that today, even at age 64, he's still the far superior worker, given how he was pitching to face John Cena at WrestleMania XXX.
Clearly, Flair couldn't have picked a worse time to bury Bryan. Later that very night, he was headlining the biggest PPV event of the summer and was about to enter into a major program with Triple H. By openly criticising Bryan, Flair was essentially questioning Hunter's handpicked opponent and the future direction of the whole company, as Bryan is set to be pushed as the top babyface on Raw while John Cena is out injured with a torn triceps.
The fact that Flair caused the script of the night's proceedings to be thrown out the window, with Paul Heyman going so far as to rip up all the questions Jim Ross had prepared to ask because he knew there was no stopping Naitch when he was on such a roll, would have been problematic enough under the best of circumstances. WWE likes to be in control at all times and only a chosen few can get away with deviating even slightly from their planned narrative on rare occasions. Due to his legendary status, Flair might have had enough leeway to get away with one slip up, but not a whole stream of rambling nonsense.
His merry fun had immediate consequences, as Flair was pulled from making a surprise appearance at SummerSlam over the bizarre train wreck he had caused (though others were guilty of egging him on too), according to Dave Meltzer on his subscriber only radio show late Sunday night. It has also potentially jeopardised the lucrative WWE legends deal that he was in town to sign. I wonder how Flair will blame his ex-wives for that?