Professional Wrestling’s “Women’s Revolution” got a shot in the arm in the summer of 2015 when then-NXT Women’s Champion “The Boss” Sasha Banks made her Raw debut alongside “The Lasskicker” Becky Lynch and daughter of 16-time World Champion Ric Flair, Charlotte. The latter of whom became the most pushed figure in the history of women’s wrestling, while Becky Lynch grew a groundswell. In the last year, however, Becky has had a transformation into “The Man,” and has become the most recognizable name in women’s wrestling. She’s garnering more media attention than anybody in the business the last year, became the first women’s wrestler to ever lead the company in merchandise sales and defeated Ronda Rousey in the main event of WrestleMania—a match she wasn’t even penciled to be in—thanks to her brash and compelling character that has shrewdly combined elements of being an underdog and badass into a perfect solution. Lynch refers to herself as “The Man” because of her countless victories over Charlotte. Lynch has even renegotiated her contract recently according to reports. She is now (if the reports are accurate) making the highest base salary of any full-time female wrestler of all-time. This excludes her merchandise residuals, which are top of the company, and any bonuses. Lynch has turned herself into an absolute megastar.
With fame and fortune, though, comes a lot of envy. The envy, however, has been from a surprising party in that of wrestling legend Ric Flair. Following a Lynch Twitter exchange with Taylor Swift last week after the musician put out a song called “The Man”, Flair sent out a tweet claiming that he is the only “Man.” In fact, he has even begun the process to try and trademark the phrase.
“The Nature Boy” is synonymous for the phrase “To Be The Man, You’ve Gotta Beat The Man”, which ironically is why Becky started using it anyway. The issue is that any trademark shouldn’t and probably won’t hold any weight in court. “The Man” has been coined in virtually every entertainment medium you can find and covers way too much ground to trademark. And if having “The Man” in your nickname goes against a trademark he doesn’t even have yet then any name that includes “the man” would go against it. That opens up a can of worms for wrestlers such as Sting.
Ric Flair yesterday did an interview with TMZ explaining his actions. In the interview there were some interesting points raised by the 2x WWE Hall of Fame inductee:
- Ric went to WWE specifically a long time ago and asked them to pay him to allow Becky to use “The Man” name, which he currently has zero rights to. They said no, and he ultimately took it to Triple H, who is known for being one of Flair’s best friends. Triple H declined. Flair has said WWE has lost respect for him because of everything that went down.
- However, because no agreement was imminent between the two parties, he is applying for a trademark so that they legally have to pay him to use the moniker.
- He has no beef with Becky for using it, but will only allow her to continue doing so if he receives financial compensation. If he does not receive such compensation, he will “take legal action” against the company.
- It has caused a “rift” between him and his daughter Charlotte, who apparently vocally sided with Becky on the matter. It is, according to Ric, for his family as he wants to financially support his wife for the future.
Personally, what I think this boils down to is he thinks he’s God’s gift to the industry and because he used something that very vaguely resembles what Becky is currently doing, and he sees the amount of money she’s making for the company (more than anybody else as of right now), he just wants a piece of the pie.
Last week, Ric Flair posted a video in which he was quoted saying (verbatim) “I can’t read my watch because it has too many diamonds on it.” He’s obviously not strapped for money right now. Flair certainly has had a rough financial history that includes a boatload of alimony, tax run-ins with the IRS (and not the wrestling character) and at one point even filing for bankruptcy. Despite this, he currently has a net worth of $3 million. This is absolutely more than enough money to support two people.
What this is actually doing, however, is putting his daughter in an uncomfortable position. PSE’s own Brad Shepard (@TheBradShepard) took to Twitter today saying that “the heat Charlotte has with him over this is legit” and that “some people believe it could get a little nasty.” Imagine being Charlotte right now, after you had the controversy with your dad regarding the accuracy in the contents of their co authored book, and seeing him do this?
Ric Flair threatened the promotion to sue them over a trademark he does not have to try and scare them. The WWE did not budge, and thus he’s now applying for the trademark to try and force their hand. Ric Flair is applying for the trademark, claiming they’re using something he used; as if he didn’t completely rip off Buddy Rogers’ “Nature Boy” nickname, or elements of characters such as Johnny Valentine and Gorgeous George. A court is going to laugh in his face at this because of how little weight it actually holds.
Why is he doing this? Because Becky Lynch is making so much money that he wants to twist it just enough to get more money to support his overly lavish lifestyle? This crazy, old man is all about the money, rather than supporting and giving back to the industry that made him one of the most recognizable faces of the 1980s. It’s a disrespect to Pro Wrestling, it’s a slap in the face to a women’s evolution that his own daughter is at the forefront of and reflects very poorly on Naitch himself. Ric Flair needs to fade out of the limelight before he completely tarnishes the reputation he spent 50 years building up. Flair is one of the greatest of all-time, no question. But he doesn’t have a case in this. This man made his living building a legendary persona inspired by elements that were directly stolen from previous performers. That’s Pro Wrestling. The old adage is “what’s old is new again” and rings true in wrestling more than anywhere else.
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(Photo Credit: WWE)