Tragedy strikes wrestling with death of Flair's son
A week away from WrestleMania, there should be headlines about the big show set in the midst of a long weekend of special events.
Sadly, however, the major news in the pro wrestling world this weekend was the death Friday of Reid Flair, youngest son of legendary wrestling star Ric Flair.
Ironically, last Monday's Raw from Philadelphia had Ric Flair sent home to Charlotte by WWE medical staff due to a blood clot in his leg that had many folks concerned for his well being, given that he had been unable to wrestle on a show in Japan a couple of weeks ago due to the same problem.
The Nature Boy was scheduled to appear as part of a legends panel selected to ask questions of the Rock and John Cena about their upcoming main event match at WrestleMania next Sunday. Booker T substituted for Flair and joined Dusty Rhodes, Mick Foley and Bret Hart on the panel as WWE creative had obviously just about run out of things they could do to further promote the match.
Reid Flair had just returned from Japan after working a tour there for the All Japan promotion and the twenty-five year old was scheduled to make an appearance with his father for shows in Maryland this weekend, according to wrestlingobserver.com.
However, he was reportedly found dead Friday morning in a Charlotte, N.C., hotel room. Sidetracked by substance abuse problems for which he was arrested in 2009, Reid was looking to make it as a pro after a successful amateur background that actually caused issues for Ric when he was in WCW and missed some shows to see his son wrestle. His sister, Ashley, wrestles in WWE developmental as Charlotte Flair and Ric had just been down there a few weeks ago to do an autograph signing and be in his daughter's corner for an NXT bout.
Pro wrestling is athletic entertainment and children of famous athletes and entertainers seem to have a devil of a time avoiding major problems for one reason or another. The list of second generation pro wrestlers who have died of drug and alcohol issues continues to grow. While the stories may all be a little different, the end results seem to be consistently sad and tragic.
Next Saturday evening will be the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies at Madison Square Garden. It was announced that Arnold Schwarzenegger will be inducting Bruno Sammartino, and Mick Foley revealed that Terry Funk will be doing the honors for him. Maria Menounos will introduce Bob Backlund, and it is expected that Lita will induct Trish Stratus. Booker T is thought to want his brother and former tag partner Stevie Ray to induct him, while it is anybody's guess who might introduce Donald Trump for the celebrity wing. An edited version of the ceremonies will be telecast on USA on Tuesday at 10 p.m.
An awesome trailer for the Bruno Sammartino documentary is up on various wrestling websites. It is worth checking out. WWE is apparently considering bidding for the movie version of Bruno's life that has a competed script, but has not been filmed as yet.
At Raw, John Cena riled up the Philly crowd a bit and made the Philly newspapers and local talk shows by saying Donovan McNabb was the best quarterback statistically in the history of the Eagles, but his lasting legacy there was that he could not win the big one. Cena vowed to win the big one at Mania when he faces the Rock.
Looks like they have managed to hold off the wrestling debut of Fandango until WrestleMania when he is scheduled to face Chris Jericho. It is a natural Dancing With the Stars kind of match-up. Hopefully, the guy can wrestle or this gimmick could be short-lived. I am already not a big fan of the dancing walrus, Brodus Clay. If Jericho can't carry Fandango to a decent bout, that would not be a good sign.
They did the classic wrestling weightlifting angle on Smackdown in Hershey with Mark Henry sabotaging Ryback just as he was about to defeat Henry and complete a 54th rep with 225 pounds in the bench press competition. Must have been some chicanery with those weights or those football guys at the NFL combine are comparative weaklings.
(Shamokin's Bill Gilger "arranges" the interview each week with The Insider.)