News broke on Monday morning that Ric Flair had been officially released from his WWE contract. Wrestling Inc. initially reported that it was "The Nature Boy" who requested the release, thought Fightful Select followed up with a bit more information. According to Sean Ross Sapp, Flair was frustrated by certain WWE booking decisions and had reached out to Vince McMahon personally to air his frustrations. This was followed by his release request. The 16-time former world champion was involved in a controversial storyline early in the year that involved both Charlotte Flair and Lacey Evans (it was hinted that Ric and Evans were romantically attached), but the story was scrapped when Evans announced she was legitimately pregnant.
Flair talked about being uncomfortable with that storyline while speaking with Ariel Helwani back in May. He explained, "In this instance, I didn't [feel comfortable]. The one thing I've learned is you're not going to win a war when someone's got their mind made up. She most definitely didn't like it, but the one thing that I can say about me is I always said yes. I didn't want to be that guy that was always going 'Oh, that isn't perfect for me.'
"When that was all over, I was mad but now I just look back and say it wasn't it. This was something that when I got to TV, Mr. McMahon wasn't there to argue the point with and he had stuff going on, I don't like to put the pressure on someone if I can't talk to him," he continued. "He just made up his mind, I think a lot of it was because [Lacey] was a marine. God only knows we cannot give enough back to the people that serve in the military and I think he wanted her to be successful and the way to get successful sometimes is to take two people that are doing really well and give them the rub."
He later added, "She's [Evans is] a really nice girl and all that, but it didn't fit this time. We made the best of it but ultimately, she's pregnant with her husband now. It was never anything personal, I barely know her and her whole life is her husband and her daughter. I didn't like that one, to him [Vince McMahon] I'm always going to be the 'kiss stealin', wheelin' dealin', yanno what I mean? Which is great because he likes that."