The Associated Press issued the following:
‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair looking for return
By DAN GELSTON
Associated Press Sports
Thurs., May 28, 2009
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -Ric Flair still has a few more trademark “Woooooo’s!” left to howl inside the squared ring.
A year after the former WWE champ – and arguably the sport’s most renowned name outside of Hulk Hogan – retired from wrestling, Flair is back on the mat for a Philadelphia-based wrestling company that hopes the “Nature Boy” can give the next generation of stars a brand-name boost.
The 60-year-old Flair is stylin’ and profilin’ again.
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“If Brett Favre can come back once in a while, I certainly can,” Flair said.
Flair isn’t lacing up the boots for another main event when he appears Friday as an ambassador for the Ring of Honor promotion. He’ll be pushing a company that prides itself on putting more emphasis on the sport of wrestling than on the WWE’s often outlandish entertainment style.
“I do like working with the young guys and talking to them a lot,” Flair said. “They’ve got some great kids. It’s very professional. I wouldn’t put my name somewhere I didn’t think was professional.”
Flair is scheduled to cut an extended promo and maybe dish out some of his trademark chest chops at Friday night’s taping in Philadelphia. The promotion will tape six, hour-long “Ring of Honor Wrestling” television shows on Friday and Saturday for cable outlet HDNet.
That’s about as different from World Wrestling Entertainment’s method as an amateur wrestling match and a steel cage bout. Flair is still in the mix for the sport’s No. 1 company, battling the bad guys from the outside at the signature Wrestlemania event, last month’s pay-per-view card, and this week’s live Monday Night RAW TV show.
Not bad for a wrestler who was forced into retirement when he lost to Shawn Michaels last year at Wrestlemania 24.
Flair hasn’t donned his robe or assembled a new crew of Four Horsemen since that match. The WWE gave Flair an unprecedented emotional TV farewell that saw good guys and bad break character to pay tribute to his 35-year career.
It’s one reason why Flair hasn’t done the one thing all retired wrestlers do at one point – un-retire.
“I would like to, but I’m not going to do anything to rock the boat,” Flair said. “I’m in the same kind of shape I was last year when I retired. It’s hard to stay away from something you like so well, especially when you still feel like you can do it. If I did wrestle, it would be overseas, it wouldn’t be here.”
Still, Flair believes he will walk down that aisle, lock up and wrestle at least one more time.
“In my gut, I do,” he said. “Do I think I will? Yes. I’m not going to take no easily. Like I’ve said, I haven’t retired, they retired me.”
Flair, who has lived in Charlotte, N.C., for 35 years, has become a popular pitchman in retirement. He makes appearances for Wal-Mart and Coca-Cola, and served as a celebrity judge in a burnout competition at NASCAR’s All-Star race. He’s booked for autograph signings and personal appearances almost every weekend on the independent circuit. Some of his and his family’s legal troubles have also made him a staple on Web sites such as TMZ.
Everywhere he goes, fans flash Flair the four-fingered Horseman sign or want him to “Woo!” for the crowd.
He’s happy to oblige, and wants to entertain the fans for the WWE, ROH or whatever company wants him. Flair just hopes the behemoth WWE will let him keep working his side job at spreading the word about Ring of Honor.
“They don’t look at Ring of Honor as being competition to them,” Flair said. “If everybody just focuses on their own brand and what they’re trying to accomplish instead of worrying about the other guy, it usually works out much more better.”