Jim Herd's tenure as the WCW executive vice president from 1989-92 has made him one of the most infamous figures in professional wrestling history. Depending on who you ask, his creative and booking decisions during that run were what caused WCW to struggle so much in the early 90s, as his ideas were often alienated the southern fans of Jim Crockett Promotions and infuriated the wrestlers backstage. One of Herd's most notorious moments came in July 1991, when he fired Ric Flair while "The Nature Boy" was still the WCW World Heavyweight Champion, eventually leading to Flair showing up on WWF programming with the title.
The story of Herd and Flair not getting along backstage is well-documented, but for decades one particular aspect has persisted. Herd apparently believed Flair's tenure as a main event star was coming to an end by the early 90s and wanted to have him drop "The Nature Boy" gimmick in favor of a Roman gladiator persona, Spartacus.
In a new interview with Conrad Thompson on AdFreeShows, Herd stated outright that was a lie.
"When you're brainstorming those things, you get all kinds of feedback from those guys," Herd sad (h/t Fightful). "That's where the lie that I wanted to change Ric Flair's name came from. That came from one of the meetings, but it was never considered. One of the things that was considered, and he didn't like it so it became -- there was a wrestler were going to call The Zodiac Man. Every match, at the end of the match, you could go out the door and they would throw these discs that were redeemable at fast food places. They would catch them and if you could prove you were a Leo after the match, you'd get another disc. It got so complicated, but his name was going to change every month with a different promotion. I think Ric heard we wanted him to be the Zodiac Man. It was just another lie that came out of those meetings. A lot of it was tongue in cheek in those meetings."
Herd was fired from the company in early 1992, and a year later Eric Bischoff took over as EVP. Under Bischoff's leadership, WCW would manage to not only finally turn a profit but also compete directly with the WWF in the "Monday Nights Wars." WCW folded as a company in 2001.