Ric Flair, Becky Lynch, and WWE have been going back on forth on who has the right to call themself “The Man” since Lynch first referenced herself that way during her Summer 2018 program with Ric’s daughter Charlotte. Flair has, or course, described himself using the term in the past, most famously in his “To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man” promo on Ricky Steamboat.
Ric didn’t file a trademark for “The Man” until after Becky started using it, and the fact she continued to call herself that until she took a break from WWE in 2020 led most of us to assume Flair was unsuccessful in securing the rights, or any of the legal action he threatened.
But over the past several months, Lynch has stopped using “The Man”, instead calling herself “Big Time Becks”. It seemed like it could just be part of her heel turn and character evolution.
In many of his semi-regular shots at Becky on social media and his podcast, The Nature Boy indicated that he won the battle with Lynch & WWE over “The Man”. The latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter more or less confirms that. It’s not clear if the United States Patent and Trademark Office awarded Flair rights, and there’s been no reporting of a court decision. But Dave Meltzer notes WWE has given up fighting their two-time Hall of Famer over “The Man”.
Guess they thought they couldn’t beat the man, so Becky Lynch can’t be The Man*.
UPDATE: Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp says WWE could use “The Man”, “they just opted to move away from the moniker.” So it’s a matter of whether you think the made that decision to appease or at least stop battling Naitch, or because they wanted to make a clean break for Lynch’s post-SummerSlam 2021 heel gimmick.
* At least on television. There’s still quite a bit of Lynch “The Man” merchandise on WWE Shop, but most of that is discounted, so the company could be moving away from the fight there, too.