WWE announced during the Feb. 4 episode of Raw that Ric Flair will be on the Feb. 25 episode.
The stated reason is to celebrate the Nature Boy’s 70th birthday, and (WOO!) that’s a good reason!
An unspoken reason is because WWE is allegedly worried about their ratings, and trotting out a Hall of Famer like Naitch (WOO)! is one of their favorite tricks. Starting to promote it three weeks in advance increases the likelihood word will spread and more people will tune in to see the original Horseman.
But we can’t shake the feeling this will somehow play into what feels like an inevitable (WOO?) WrestleMania Raw Women’s title main event. Becky Lynch’s storyline suspension gives the McMahons a reason to replace her as Ronda Rousey’s opponent for MetLife Stadium, and Charlotte being the last women eliminated by a not-officially-entered Lynch in last month’s Royal Rumble provides kayfabe justification.
On the latest Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer reports that a Becky/Charlotte/Ronda Triple Threat is “pretty much a lock at this point”. And given The Man’s recent penchant for punching anyone who tries to grab some of her ‘Mania spotlight, a confrontation with the Nature Boy that feeds into the idea the Flair name helps the Queen steal Becky’s moments would probably help pop a number.
We’ll see if that’s how it plays out, and if Meltzer’s sources are right.
In the meantime, happy early 70th, Ric (WOO)!