WWE Hall-of-Famer Ric Flair has spoken out in defense of WWE's coronavirus handling, looking to dispel criticism of the company, which is currently in the midst of a coronavirus outbreak, with 30 people reportedly testing positive over the past five weeks for COVID-19. Flair appeared at a recent set of television tapings, sparking concern that the 70-year-old who is high risk could be exposed to the virus. However, Flair doesn't share that concern.
Flair was interviewed by Wrestling Inc.'s daily podcast, and he jumped right into the topic without even being asked. The interview started off with an opportunity for Flair to plug his online store, and when asked what people should be buying, he said, "Masks. They seem to be the most popular." From there, he immediately transitioned into a defense of WWE.
"That's where the worlds at. They're very popular," he said. "My observation this past week is that clearly the WWE is doing everything and following every guideline possible regardless of all the bullshit that you guys see and hear. After being there and actually watching everybody, they're observing every precaution."
Flair went on to describe the testing process at the tapings he was at as orderly, contrary to rumors he claimed were making their way around the dirt sheets. "The testing and all that was conducted as professionally as could possibly be," Flair said. "Three doctors, organized, yes, people had to stand in line, but that was because of so many people being tested. But nobody was together; everybody had a mask on. It was just one of those things. The company does everything first class, and in my estimation, I would scrutinize anybody that said otherwise at the highest level. I grow tired of hearing the bullshit that it's all mixed up, and people are disorganized. That is the exact opposite."
Of course, Flair's appearance came the week after WWE finally instituted a testing process after months of simply doing temperature checks. The company had even begun letting select fans into the tapings when suddenly several people tested positive, and that number ballooned into over two dozen. So when Flair arrived, WWE was already reacting to that by instituting testing policies, and it wasn't those testing policies that were generally being criticized in the media, but rather WWE's lack of policies prior to it blowing up in their faces.
Nevertheless, Flair went on to defend the actions of Mark Carano, John Laurenitis, and Vince McMahon. "Carrano, Ace, Vince himself, I could go down a list of people that are making sure that everybody's life is at a best possible place while they're there for the event," Flair said. "And morale is good. And morale is great. So, you know? And for the kids that choose to go home, or the superstars that choose to go home, the company, they're not mad. It's not like, 'oh man, he's gonna lose his spot.' That's the biggest crock of shit. I'm sorry to be… I'm just upset that I come home, and Wendy hears this crud. Absolutely not. Absolutely not."
Flair continued to defend the testing that WWE waited until June to implement as organized. "There's no confusion," he said. "Everybody just wanted in at one time. If you were first in line and on time, you got in. That's the deal. They told me to be there; I walked in the door. I was allowed to go ahead of a few people. I'm fortunate enough that the company puts me in that light. But as far as safety measures being practiced, everything is to the guideline. So I don't want to hear any more of that."
Flair then attacked journalists for reporting on WWE's lackluster handling of COVID-19 up until they had dozens of people infected at their tapings. Prior to that, not only was there no testing, but mask-wearing was reportedly discouraged in the WWE Performance Center. WWE has reversed course on that in the last few weeks, arguably because the practices were exposed to the public by reporting. But Flair had a bone to pick.
"The sensationalistic journalism that's going on with wrestling right now is so exaggerated and just people looking to start shit," Flair said. "They got nothing else going on in their life. All we can do is follow the guidelines and do the best we can. If a person elects not to do it, god bless them. It's not a big deal. They got a product to produce, and they're gonna take the people that will participate and do it. There's no hard feelings. It's a bunch of bullshit."
Asked if he would return after learning that even more people tested positive following his appearance, Flair said, "I went back the next day. What are you talking about? Of course, I would. And I've got a preexisting condition, and I'm in my seventies. Let me tell you something: you are safer going to a WWE event than going to a Kroger's grocery store."
"I would like that to be headlines," Flair said.