What's Ric Flair's role in Sting's retirement? "The Nature Boy" shocked the wrestling world when he debuted in AEW on the 25 October episode of Dynamite. In case you missed it, AEW President Tony Khan announced that he had a gift for The Stinger, who recently announced he'll retire in 2024 at AEW Revolution. Flair put over the Stinger during his appearance and discussed how closely their careers have been entwined.
Now, reports are coming in that Flair's appearance wasn't a one time affair. Dave Meltzer reported in the 30 October edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that:
Flair had no contractual ties with WWE. He probably would have come in earlier as they were in talks when the Dark Side of the Ring episode hit and pretty much all talks ended. But Tony Khan wanted him to be part of the Sting storyline and he’s supposed to be on the show as part of this through March. I believe part of this is also that AEW will help promote his “Whoooo” energy drink, or at least that is what is being talked about.
Sting's career took off in March 1988 when he was put into a program with Ric Flair. Sting received an NWA World Heavyweight Championship match against Flair at Jim Crockett Promotion's inaugural Clash of Champions TV special. Sting wrestled Flair to a 45-minute draw. While he didn't win the title, the match thrust him into the main event, a role he remained in for the remainder of his career in Jim Crockett Promotions and its successor, World Championship Wrestling. Sting and Flair had dozens of major matches, both as enemies and as allies.
Now that Sting's career is reaching its end, it appears Flair will play a major role in it. Sting said as much in a recent tweet:
The idea of Ric Flair helping Sting with his journey is huge in light of their shared history. However, it also invites the question whether Sting should trust Flair. After all, Flair has repeatedly betrayed Sting in storylines throughout their careers. Whether it was Flair kicking Sting out of the Four Horsemen when he refused to give up an NWA World Championship match he earned, Flair tricking Sting into joining him in a tag match against Arn Anderson and "Flying" Brian Pillman (only to betray Sting), or the many times he's tried to take Sting out of wrestling, Flair's dirty deeds outweigh the times he's helped Sting.
Fans will have to wait to see how things play out. Regardless of whether Flair serves as friend or foe, bringing him in for Sting's last hurrah is a clever idea that hopefully will attract fans of old-school wrestling.