Ric Flair arrived in AEW a little more than a month ago, joining the company to work with his old friend Sting as The Icon prepares for his final match at next March’s Revolution PPV.
Though he hasn’t been around long, his run has already been marked by controversy. Some fans aren’t interested in seeing Flair at all after Dark Side of the Ring resurfaced sexual misconduct claims against him. Some who accepted Flair’s explanations for his past behavior or were willing to look past it as they said goodbye to Sting had second thoughts after word spread of a promo he cut that was reminiscent of some of the things he’s been accused of in the past.
In an interview with the New York Post, AEW owner, president & head of creative Tony Khan spoke about the decision to have Flair on his shows. Khan says Sting is “very loyal” to Flair as he feels he owes his career to The Nature Boy (Revolution will be held at Greenboro Coliseum because of the two men’s history in the building during the 1980s and 90s).
Khan also says AEW’s partnership with Wooooo! Energy means that not only is the promotion not paying Flair, but they’re getting money when the wrestling legend appears on Dynamite or Collision:
“We’re not paying Ric Flair; Ric Flair is essentially paying us. We’re getting paid by Wooooo Energy for all of his appearances, so we’re collecting revenue from them.”
Now, the conversation between The Post‘s Joseph Staszewski and Khan is focused on plans for Sting’s retirement and doesn’t delve into the backlash to Flair from AEW fans. Khan’s answer might have been different if the latter had been the focus of the interview.
But as it stands, the fact AEW is turning a profit on Flair’s presence isn’t going to address anyone’s concerns or criticisms about his involvement.