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How it Coulda Been Betta: Symbol of Excellence

Ric Flair was a bit of a surprise last night, though maybe he shouldn't have been. What it should have been, for sure, is a heck of a lot better than it was.

Ric Flair...the law of diminishing returns.
Ric Flair...the law of diminishing returns.

As RAW opened last night, I immediately had an idea for this week's "Betta" and it surrounded the opening angle. I loved the way they gave us the final push for Cena/Wyatt. John's promo was strong and sensible, unfortunately he'd ruin it a few hours later as he went to a "donkey" place in a secondary interview with Renee Young. The image of the children in black choir robes and later, the sheep masks, was exceptionally well executed. Quickly here was my idea...

When the lights came back on, one child should have been inside the cage with Cena, wearing a Cena shirt, jorts, and high tops. He or she should have simply walked up to a stunned Cena, handed him a sheep mask, then turned and walked to a corner and knelt in the direction of the turnbuckles. It would almost look like the ending of the Blair Witch Project, just in terms of the corner positioning. Everything else would have been identical. It was very well done, but if you're okay with utilizing a child actor in this way, think of the jaw dropping moment it would have been and just how much more creepy it would have looked like.

Also, it would have reminded everyone that a cage without a roof would not be any kind of safe haven.


But as I had that idea in mind, here comes the final segment. Evolution enters the ring, and kudos to H and Batista for being in suits and only Randy in wrestling gear. Ric Flair's music hit and the thought that immediately hit me was that the Nature Boy was there for the Shield and would set it up in an awesome promo, even if it was just to eventually screw the Shield on Sunday night or in the future.

Flair entered, looked good with the shades and the suit, and proceeded to waste our time for three minutes. What he said about Evolution was nonsensical rambling that didn't connect with anybody, and when he revealed he was there to offer his endorsement to Rollins, Reigns, and Ambrose, I'm not sure 50% of the building even realized it.


So it's easy to make it better, just deliver a better promo. But here's something specific that could have been done. Had Flair come down to the ring and invoked Arn Anderson early, saying that the point behind the Horsemen was always made clearest by the man who named them, the man that always spoke the mission statement. The Horsemen were "four men working individually, thinking collectively, for one goal."

Picture it, then picture Flair raising the four fingers, the symbol of excellence in the industry for so many years. He repeats..."four men working individually, thinking collectively," -- then he spins to face Evolution, backing slightly toward the Shield, and he morphs the four fingers into a fist... "for one goal." Ric raises his fist as Dean, Roman, and Seth follow and all four end up with a fist in the air.


Flair could then leave, or he could stay at ringside, or quite frankly anything else. It's the promo that mattered, the promo that would sell it. If he turned on Sunday, it would work. Right now, I'm not sure enough people even know that he aligned at least in spirit with the NEW symbol of excellence.

So without question, Flair's role last night in a final segment that immediately went to crap as soon as he finished his words, could have been a hell of a lot better. The match after didn't really work. The beating at the end and the Shield comeback, none of it worked. It fell flat, because Flair was either booked wrong, or he was just horrific in his execution.


(UPDATE: 3:37 PM CT - My cohost on Squared Circle Radio, Brandon Haghany, sent me a message that makes me rethink my position. "Don't ever hand Ric Flair a live microphone again." Thought that was a potentially astute point worth mentioning in 2014.)

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