When the folks at WWE and 2K put together the WWE 2K14 Symposium (watch the full video here) that took place this past weekend as part of SummerSlam festivities to both promote the video game and the big pay-per-view (PPV) event in Los Angeles, surely no one thought it would take on a life of its own in the days following the presentation.
But, thanks to a certain "Nature Boy" and his larger than life style, that's exactly what's happened.
The story, if you haven't been following, is that Flair was a part of a panel of wrestlers of today and yesteryear that would answer questions volleyed by event emcee Jim Ross. All was going just fine until Flair went off the rails, acting drunk, cracking jokes on Daniel Bryan that could be construed as "burying" the guy just one night away from the biggest headlining match of his career against John Cena, telling tales about Cena being a huge drinker, and even mentioning matches he had with Mick Foley in TNA.
The fallout of this saw WWE immediately pull Flair from further PR stops to promote the video game, yank him from a planned surprise appearance at SummerSlam, and pump the brakes on signing him to a marketing deal with the company.
Talk about heat. He's even drawing it from fans.
To be fair, there are plenty of folks who believe WWE overreacted to the situation. Executives at 2K didn't seem to mind Flair's behavior at all, so why would anyone else?
For his part, Flair told Stone Cold Steve Austin on the Steve Austin Show, which taped after the Symposium, that he isn't really sure what the problem is with how he acted:
"I don't know what happened last night. They told me to entertain 'em and I did. But apparently it wasn't received the way it was supposed to be. The people running the game loved it but the problem is corporate WWE gets mad at me, number one, which upsets me because I love the company and respect them so much. I guess we just drifted and told stories and they wanted the focus of the evening to be about the game. Everybody with the game was happy with it but WWE corporate..."
To be fair to Flair, he also strongly put over how great WWE is and has been to him throughout his time there, including a really touching story. The short version is he gave his Hall of Fame ring to his son, Reid, just before they put his casket into the ground. Then, he gave his other son, David, the Hall of Fame ring he was given when he was inducted with the Four Horsemen.
So what did WWE do? They made him another ring and had his son's name engraved on it.
That heartwarming tale was lost in the shuffle of his many tales told during the presentation and despite it, WWE didn't like how he carried himself throughout the evening. He obviously doesn't seem to agree and it seems we'll simply have to wait a while for this to just blow over.
Time heals all wounds and all that.