I was in between stops while traveling when I hopped on Cageside Seats and saw that Ric Flair was AEW President Tony Khan’s gift to a retiring Sting during last night’s episode of Dynamite. Initially, I was excited because I’ve followed the chronicles of Sting and Ric Flair since their first clash in 1988, through WCW’s closing in 2001, and into TNA (Impact Wrestling) in the late 2000s.
As I finished my break and returned to the road, my nostalgia began to fade as I recalled Ric Flair’s previous troubles related to sexual misconduct, which had temporarily driven him out of the industry. It got me thinking about how wrestling fans currently perceive him in comparison to Vince McMahon, who also has a history of alleged sexual misconduct. Additionally, I was curious about Tony Khan, who recently took a shot at McMahon on social media for similar issues, now bringing someone with a questionable past akin to McMahon’s onto his roster.
Regarding the fans, I can understand if they got caught up in the moment, especially if they watched it live because I certainly did just reading about it. But now, almost a day later, I wonder if they’re still excited about Flair’s presence in All Elite Wrestling.
As a refresher, in September of 2021, Vice Studios’ Dark Side of the Ring series, which covers controversial events in the history of pro wrestling, ran an episode titled “The Plane Ride From Hell.” The title was a nickname given to a string of scandals that unfolded during WWE’s return from the UK, which reportedly saw several of its superstars acting inappropriately. One of those stars was Ric Flair, who was accused of sexually assaulting a flight attendant during the trip.
Flair denied the accusations and later addressed his behavior as WWE and sponsors distanced themselves from him. Then, many fans wished he would retire quietly and disappear. However, he’s back now, and it seems he will be with Sting for the rest of his career, which Sting says will end at AEW Revolution next year.
Given Sting’s contributions to the industry, it makes sense for any promotion, including AEW, to give him a proper send-off. But Tony Khan’s decision to bring in Ric Flair, whose past is as problematic as Vince McMahon’s, raises questions about hypocrisy.
Is Tony Khan throwing stones at Vince McMahon while welcoming Ric Flair into his glass house? For fans who criticize WWE due to its former owner’s actions, how do they reconcile Flair’s alleged behavior now that he’s in AEW? Will they continue supporting AEW with Flair onboard, or will they move on?
What’s your opinion, Cagesiders? Please share your thoughts respectfully in the comments section.