- Ric Flair’s signing with AEW is reminiscent of Randy Savage’s deal with WCW, where a sponsorship deal covered Savage’s salary for years, showing a similar arrangement with Wooooo! Energy Drink could make Flair’s services cost nothing to AEW.
- Eric Bischoff speculates that AEW could use Flair as a manager to leverage his promo skills and give a boost to a current in-ring talent.
- Flair’s controversial signing may be justified if the Wooooo! Energy Drink deal covers most, if not all of his salary, adding business savvy to the decision and benefiting from having one of the biggest names in wrestling history involved.
Word emerged this week that, rather than just bringing in Ric Flair for a single appearance or particular angle, The Nature Boy had signed a multi-year deal with AEW. One point of emphasis in AEW’s press release on this matter was a connection between the company and not just Flair, but his Wooooo! Energy Drink, which is to be stocked in the locker room, sold at event venues and marketed via television broadcasts, including being featured at the announce desk.
Ric Flair’s AEW Deal Is Reminiscent Of Randy Savage’s Deal With WCW
While Ric Flair’s entrance into AEW has drawn some criticism in the vein of Tony Khan being hypocritical, or Flair otherwise not having much to offer the company at this point, it has also generated some real buzz given the sixteen-time world champion’s overwhelmingly legendary status in the wrestling business.
In the November 3 episode of 83 Weeks, Eric Bischoff discussed that there are marked parallels between the circumstances surrounding Ric Flair’s AEW signing and how Bischoff brought Randy Savage into WCW. After all, a noteworthy part of Savage starting with that company was that it didn’t actually cost WCW anything for years, on account of a sponsorship deal with Slim Jim that covered The Macho Man’s compensation.
Bischoff elaborated, “The Slim Jim deal covered 100% of Randy’s salary … for a couple years … I got Randy for free!” before estimating that Slim Jim paid approximately $750,000 for WCW to feature their product in ways that included the brand logo on turnbuckles and have Savage throw beef jerky out to fans at ringside. “People tune out of commercials but they can’t tune out of in-program,” Bischoff said, in explaining why this kind of promotional deal could be so valuable to a brand. He went onto speculate that Wooooo! Energy would be featured in much the same ways and, similarly, could quite possibly make Flair’s services ultimately cost nothing to AEW.
Eric Bischoff’s Thoughts On How AEW Will Use Ric Flair
While acknowledging he lacked insider knowledge on how AEW intended to use Ric Flair, Bischoff theorized the most obvious application would be to use him as a manager and let his considerable promo skills give a current in-ring talent the rub.
Bischoff had also commented earlier that, if Flair were capable and willing, he would make fantastic final opponent for Sting at AEW Revolution 2024. While most fans aren’t eager to see The Dirtiest Player in the Game actually work a match again, Flair has hinted more than once that he’d love to.
While signing Ric Flair was a controversial move for AEW, Eric Bischoff’s points about the likelihood that the Wooooo! Energy Drink deal is covering most, if not all of his salary adds a dimension of business savvy to this choice. Flair himself may not bring enough value to the product to justify the six-figure salary he’s presumably commanding, if the cost is–practically speaking–negligible overall to AEW, then it certainly doesn’t hurt to have one of the biggest names in wrestling history involved in the product.