According to a source within TNA, a major issue which lead to tension between Ric Flair and TNA was the handling of the Gut Check segment on iMPACT! featuring Alex Silva.
Flair reportedly went off script when he chose Silva as the winner, which is now causing issues for TNA for two reasons. First of all Flair went into business for himself, which has upset people. Secondly, Silva is from Quebec, requiring TNA to spend more time and money getting him a US Visa if they want to use him regularly.
As noted several days ago, several TNA sources have now confirmed that Ric Flair has “quit” TNA Wrestling. According to three different TNA sources, Flair no-showed several TNA events last weekend and didn’t show up to the iMPACT! tapings last Monday and Tuesday. TNA is trying to smooth things over but as of now, he is done with the company. Flair and Dixie Carter have had talks over the past week. There are rumblings that Flair will be signing with WWE under a “Legends Deal” to help promote the WWE Network. Flair also has an energy drink and lottery endorsements which he’s making money from.
As we noted earlier, people close to Ric Flair and TNA have confirmed that the two sides are at a major impasse, as there is a ton of heat on Flair for conduct outside the ring. One TNA source described the situation as, “being at the point it’s not worth keeping Flair around.” There have reportedly been a number of incidents involving Flair at local establishments and bars in Orlando since coming to the company. Sources say that Flair was banned from drinking at the Hard Rock Cafe in Citiwalk due to an incident with him “acting inappropriate”, leading to venue management banishing him.
There have been reports from talent in TNA that Flair has not been able to cover bar tabs repeatedly, and company management getting a call from the hotel and/or bar seeking payment. The most recent incident at the hotel TNA utilizes for their wrestlers and staff, which the company has had a great relationship with for years. This was reportedly the last straw in the situation, as Flair was pulled from the Louisiana house shows and the final TV Tapings before Impact Wrestling goes live on May 31st.
Many have compared this to the situation on the European tour last year, where TNA’s Craig Jenkins, after several days of fronting Flair money to cover a bar tab, refused to do so again. Flair then screamed at Jenkins in front of the entire crew and refusing to get on the TNA tour bus to head to the next date, and was then left behind. Publicly, Flair blamed the matter on the company not giving him “advances” like he would get when touring for WWE, citing that he was “used” to that treatment.
Many forces within the company have been against having him as a regular since he came into the company, noting that while he carries a high price tag, he hasn’t translated into drawing money or ratings for the company. And now with these issues, it seems, as all they are getting is “Ric Flair level behavior,” not “Ric Flair level performances.”
Others within the company feel that Flair and WWE put them in a “no win situation” when Flair was announced for the WWE Hall of Fame, noting that the company had no choice but to allow him to go in, or else they would look like they were denying Flair and the fans. Flair reportedly did not know that he was getting inducted but he publicly told fans he would be there “on stage” before a deal was signed that would allow him to appear.
Spike TV sources also note that there have also been a number of requests from the network end to keep Flair dressed and not have him near nude/in his wrestling gear and bleeding on TV at his age. There was even an order of arrest out for him if Flair did not pay the agreed settlement by a certain date. That order was issued because Flair had missed several agreed dates for payment of the settlement. The money was eventually paid and the NWA World title belt, which Highspots.com was holding as collateral, was seen displayed at WWE AXXESS this year. Most believe that WWE paid the debt and acquired the belt for their archive.
Unfortunately since leaving WWE, Flair has had several issues. He signed for a number of appearances with Ring of Honor, and then pulled out citing his relationship with WWE. Most feel that Flair realized ROH weren’t going to use Reid Flair following a drug arrest. When Flair didn’t pay back an advance given to him, ROH filed a lawsuit against him Flair also had issues with Highspots.com over money owed to them.
Another source reports that Alex Shelley has quit the company as well. We can’t confirm that as of this writing. As noted earlier, WWE is looking at doing a “cruiserweight” show on the WWE Network and they are said to be interested in Shelley.
We’ll keep you posted as we hear more.