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The Iron Jung #1: Ric Flair



10 April 2008

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Welcome to the first column from the Iron Jung. Throughout this journey onboard this Jung Dragon, you’ll agree with things I say, you’ll disagree with things I say. You’ll love me, you’ll hate me. But lets get one thing straight. You’ll always come back for more. I am your host, your star, your hero in action, your girlfriend’s secret special attraction. An ode to Joel Gertner? No no! It’s more a tribute to our departed, fallen idol, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. See we can all do catchphrases too?

So that’s the burning topic in this current climate of professional wrestling. Arguably the finest worker this side of Aldo Montoya has hung up his robe. Now first things first, let’s get all of the sentimental garbage out the way. Yes we all know of the silver fox’s wonderful achievements inside the squared circle. The myriad of titles he’s won since his debut back in the 70’s. The array of fantastic matches with legends likes Terry “Flash” Funk, Steamboat Willy and the phenomenal El Gigante. The plethora of promos that made you buy PPV’s while also turning the television down when your girlfriend kept asking “why’s he shouting so much?” If there was something great to be done, Flair didn’t just do it he did it in a style matched by few. So it all boils down to the question that every fan debates almost daily. The question that not even insiders can answer. The question that causes generation’s of fans to collide in a state mass confusion. You know what I mean...

So how long will his retirement last?

Okay okay, I hear what you’re saying. How dare I be so cynical to suggest that Ric Flair will go back on his retirement vow especially after all the wonderful things the WWE have done for him over the past month. And Greg Valentine. Well that’s just it. Flair’s a whore for this business. When he returned to the WWE at the start of this decade he wasn’t a newcomer out to prove a point or current star from another federation aiming to cause destruction and impact ala 1991. He was a mid 50’s guy whose best days weren’t just behind him, but a distant memory. A guy who wasn’t going to take the company to a bright future. A guy who’s value had diminished so much they even jobbed him out to Rico, (and for those thousands of you now scrawling your scalps going “who the hell is Rico?” it’s spelt wikipedia and there you can find out about loads of other nobodies who achieved nothing in wrestling yet somehow did something memorable once. Otherwise known as “The Paul Roma Syndrome”).

He wasn’t brought in on the proviso he was a legend and deserved to be on the grandest stage. He was brought in because the Invasion angle had Titanic’d, they’d squashed half of WCW’s roster within months of them joining and WWE’s headline crew was getting so thin because of injuries and tantrums that anyone who once drew a dime was now getting another chance at space mountain. Oh and Triple H adored the man. Which was probably more significant than anything else I’d mentioned.

Now fast-forward to 2008 and what has Ric done? He’s had the odd good match here and there with Edge, Undertaker and Cripple H to name but a few but apart from that, anything significant? No not really. Yet each week he was fit and available, we’d be seeing Flair putting his body on the line, like some jazzed up old-timer cursing how these youngsters are ruining the world. We all knew it was wrong. Yet Ric seemingly didn’t. Now the man has forgotten more great promos than MVP has delivered. Why didn’t he stick to being a manager? It worked with Evolution half the time and the Nature Boy could have offered his worldly advice to the next green schmuck in-line to get given the monster push. But he didn’t. And so brings my point full circle. Flair loves the limelight. He loves being whooed at, handing out those chops like they were buy one get one free, strapping on the figure four and watching rookies scream like a baby. And that’s why he’ll never go away.

But I don’t want to see his flabby breasts and Miss Marple hair gallivanting across a ring thinking it’s Starrcade and it’s Dusty Rhodes, not Mr Kennedy ready to launch an elbow. It's not 1986 and Russ Abbott isn't cool anymore. I've let go, why can't he? Which is why as everyone got all emotional on Raw and at WrestleMania, from The Big Show to HBK crying like he refused to put Bret Hart over so made up a pathetic excuse of having a career ending knee injury but returning a mere 4 months later without even the slightest hobble you little bald pansy (deep breath), I couldn’t help but thinking “this will feel really cringe-worthy in a few months when he comes back”.

Flair is like Terry Funk. He’ll never truly retire. Heck it’s why I have so much respect for the fountain of truth, Hulk Hogan. Sure the man tells more tall tales than the boy who cried wolf, but at least he knows his worth. Bugger off for a while, till they come begging, then milk the spotlight for all its worth, do as little as possible, collect the 123 and that fat pay cheque and then go back home all smug and dirty. That’s what a guy like Flair should have done. But he took the other option. While Hogan won’t ever get a send-off like Flair did, at least he knows his importance to wrestling and that they need him more than he needs them. He'd break a hip for them...but only if they paid him a fortune. Even despite the love-fest on Raw, Flair will be back. He knows he won’t be able to resist. He'd risk destroying his legacy, breaking every bone and jobbing to the next flunky from We're Not Ready Wrestling just to be wanted. So look forward to Flair v HHH at WM28 and the Flair retirement celebrations Take 2 the night after. Oh and Greg Valentine.

The Iron Jung

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