For at least a week (that we in the internet wrestling community were aware of) leading up to last Thursday night's live Takeover event on WWE Network, the plan had been for two-time Hall of Famer Ric Flair to introduce Hideo Itami to the WWE Universe.
Word came out at the last minute that Flair would be off the show for "personal reasons". There were still rumors that he would appear at this week's Smackdown tapings in Biloxi, Mississippi and then at Night of Champions this upcoming Sunday (September 21st), but nothing concrete to about plans for him.
Now, we most likely know why. A PWInsider report confirms that the 16-time World champion had several minor surgeries recently and is still hospitalized in Georgia. Mike Johnson was told that the procedure corrected several ongoing medical issues that Flair was dealing with, none of which were life threatening. He is officially off of this week's events. WWE is expected to make an official announcement on Ric's status soon via their official website - perhaps as soon as this afternoon.
Cageside Seats wishes the Nature Boy a speedy recovery, and we'll update you with new information as it becomes available.