Ric Flair's much-anticipated debut in AEW has finally become a reality, but as recent reports suggest, this debut could have happened much earlier if not for the significant backlash that followed the airing of Dark Side of the Ring's 'Plane Ride from Hell' episode.
The Nature Boy, a two-time WWE Hall of Famer and a 16-time World Champion, made his grand entrance into AEW during this week's Dynamite, introduced as a 'gift' from Tony Khan to the legendary Sting. Flair's presence in AEW has ignited excitement among wrestling fans, especially as he recently revealed his plan to retire at AEW Revolution 2024 in March next year.
In a surprising turn of events, it has come to light that Flair's potential AEW debut was on the horizon as early as 2021. Following his release request from WWE, many expected him to make the leap to AEW, especially since his son-in-law, Andrade El Idolo, had recently severed ties with his manager, Chavo Guerrero.
Speculation ran rife that Flair would step into Chavo's shoes. However, according to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio, AEW had indeed sought to bring Flair on board in 2021, but the controversy surrounding the Plane Ride from Hell episode altered their plans.
"I know that he was gonna go there, what was it about...it was right when that Dark Side of The Ring thing came out that he was gonna go there. I think, I don't know this but I was assuming he was gonna go as the manager of Andrade but he and Tony Khan had a verbal deal, and after Dark Side came out, you know they...it was not the right time.
So they saved it for now."
Ric Flair's AEW Future
The infamous Plane Ride from Hell incident, which occurred in 2002, saw several WWE Superstars causing disruptions during a flight following a European tour. Flair was alleged to have worn nothing but his entrance robe and engaged in inappropriate behavior.
Flair, however, has vehemently denied any wrongdoing. As for what's next for Ric Flair in AEW, only time will tell. Flair has recently hinted on Twitter that he is ready for the 'journey,' suggesting that more appearances for AEW might be in the pipeline ahead of Sting's impending retirement.
While no official announcements have been made regarding Flair's future AEW appearances, fans can't help but anticipate what this wrestling legend has in store for the AEW universe.