It has been an interesting week for Vince McMahon's cavalcade of disfunction. It started with the shocking news that WWE had released superstar Bray Wyatt completely out of the blue. Then it continued with the revelation that NXT star Adam Cole has not been under a firm contract since his deal expired in July and he has turned down WWE's offers for a continuation past the end of August. But maybe the most "huh?!" inducing news of the past week was the surprising reveal that multi-time WWE Hall of Famer and wrestling God "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair asked for and was granted his release from the company.
WWE's statement on Flair's release was short and almost stinging with animosity, simply stating "We have come to terms on the release of Ric Flair as of today, 8/03/2021."
No acknowledgement of his greatness, his multiple WWE Hall of Fame entries, not even the standard well-wishing in his future endeavours. No, for arguably the greatest pro-wrestler of all time, a simple blunt stating of facts was enough.
Well, Flair himself at least took a different approach today in a statement on his personal Twitter page, where he made clear that this wasn't an anger-driven decision and that he is very grateful to WWE for what they've done for him.
The statement from Flair reads as follows:
"I Am Officially Able To Respond To All The Press Related To My Requested Release From WWE, Which They Have Given Me. I Want To Make It Really Clear With Everyone That I'm Not Upset With WWE At All. They Solely Are Responsible For Putting Me In The Position Of Life That I'm In Right Now, Where I'm Seen In The Brightest Light Ever. We Have A Different Vision For My Future. I Wish Them Nothing But Continued Success! Thank You For Everything! Nothing But Respect!"
Whether or not Flair is being sincere here or simply knowing not to burn bridges is totally up to him, but it has been heavily reported that Flair was very unhappy with how he was being used in the company and more importantly, how his daughter Charlotte was being used as of late.
Dave Meltzer reported on his Wrestling Observer Radio show that when Flair went directly to Vince McMahon himself about it, he wasn't exactly met with sympathy and it was the Chairman's decision to hand Flair his pink slip.
"He had sent a message, I think it was a text message, but he had sent a message to Vince McMahon, and it was basically complaining about Ashley's….Charlotte's booking, her situation, and now he's gone. I've seen it said it was his decision to leave, and I just know from people who I know who are closer to this situation than I am that say that it was Vince's decision."
This is all strange and we're all still learning more about what went down, but whatever caused it, the fact is WWE and Vince McMahon have sent one of wrestling's Mount Rushmore names packing and it's worth thinking about that Flair has had some pretty heavy health scares recently and is not young.
It would really be a dark shame for WWE if this is how they said goodbye to a true legend.