Ric Flair has been at the center of controversy ever since last week's edition of Dark Side of the Ring covered the 2002 "Plane Ride From Hell," which featured a flight attendant accusing "The Nature Boy" of sexual assault. Flair has been a free agent ever since he was granted his release from WWE back in August, but he was still a consistent presence on the show thanks to his trademark "Woo!" being in each's show opening signature video package. Fans began noticing on this week's Raw that the "Woo!" has been removed, and the brief clip of Flair that usually flashes on the screen has been swapped with the deceased Ultimate Warrior.
On top of that, Flair's merchandise page on WWE Shop has been taken down, as has the first episode of the WWE Story Time animated series that saw Flair narrate a sexually promiscuous flight with several flight attendants.
Flair has since released two statements regarding the situation, repeatedly denying the accusations. The first one, which dropped just as this week's Raw was getting underway, read, "Every person that I've worked with, from my lawyer to my publicist to my wife has said to not post a response; but I've never from past behaviors before and I'm not going to start now. I want to clarify a few things: About four years ago, I gave ESPN full access to my life for a '30 for 30' special. They covered taxes, financial issues, adultery, divorces, the passing of my child and drinking/partying AT LENGTH. Rory Kamp, desperate to matter for another 15 minutes, did an interview about it this morning. When Rory's lips are moving, he's typically lying, but one part of what he said was the God's honest truth: 'I'd never heard that he had forced someone to touch his genitals,' Karpf admitted. 'Everything with Ric that was construed as negative I tried to address in the 30 for 30. His drinking, his philandering, his adultery, his money problems, there's quite a bit, but never, at least in the people that I spoke to, no one ever brought up that he would force himself on somebody.'
"I allowed my personal life and the lives of my wife and children to be turned upside down for one reason: Whether it's good or bad, even the really bad, the truth has to matter," he continued. "Even in wrestling. My issues have been well documented over my 40+ year career. The impact of drinking too much (which nearly killed me 5 years ago) has been told time and time and time again. The reason Rory (or anyone else for that matter) never heard stories of me forcing myself on ANYONE is simple: it never happened."
Flair's second statement once again denied he forced himself on the flight attendant, though did admit he had stripped naked and began parading around the plane during the flight.
Ric Flair replaced by Ultimate Warrior in WWE’s intro package: pic.twitter.com/LbPgDHpHD6— WrestlePurists (@WrestlePurists) September 22, 2021