Respected mainstream wrestling journalist Mike Mooneyham recently appeared on the Blogtalk Radio “Ring Side Rap” internet radio show filling in for host Les Thatcher.
The subject of the Ric Flair/European tour controversy came up and Mike had the following to say (the following trascript is pieced together form various other sites transcripts but is very accurate according to what I have listened to please check out the link above for full audio), “I knew a lot of it wasn’t true as it was portrayed. TNA owes him a lot of money. All he was doing was asking for an advance on money that they already owed him. He spent $10,000 just to bring his wife over there of his own money. Yes, he wasn’t going to take a bunch of money overseas on this tour because they still owe him back money and they owed him money for every date on the tour. That was his understanding.
He was merely asking for an advance on money that was already owed to him. That never came out in any of these stories. The stories I read were, oh he is hitting guys up at the bar for, you know, to help with the bar tab. That wasn’t true. He said those guys don’t have money anyway. You know? (Host interjects: Well, they all work for TNA too.) Yeah, exactly. They don’t have any money. He is not even blaming this TNA agent who refused to give him an advance.
The guy said well ever since Dustin Rhodes, we don’t do this anymore. Flair said, am I Dustin Rhodes? You know, he wasn’t cutting a promo on him exactly, but understand where he is coming from. Am I Dustin Rhodes? Am I that to this company? I can tell you one thing. When he signed on to TNA, he signed on for Ric Flair treatment. He signed up for star treatment. The big thing with Ric is respect, okay? He wants to be respected and he certainly deserves respect.
He doesn’t want to be treated like Joe Jabroni. That is pretty much how he was treated as far as his interaction with this TNA representative. Ric then said, put it on your credit card. You don’t have the money? Put the expense on your credit card. So they didn’t do it and he said I will see you when I see you. He just wasn’t going to the next show. He had no intention of not showing up in London or doing the rest of the tour. It was more of that he was taking a stand. I support him in that.”
As we reported earlier there are many parts of this story till to be fleshed out and this is another layer. Mike Mooneyham is usually gold when it comes to legitimate wrestling journalism so you have to believe this is what he was really told.
How much of what Mike was told is truth and how much is spin from Flair? Who knows, Flair could be 100% correct, or he could be on the wrong end of a misunderstanding considering his many business difficulties in the past.
Some questions on my part is how what is an “advance on money that was already owed to him”? If it was already owed to him it was not an advance. It is proper payment requested for services rendered. If it wasn’t already owed to him then it was a requested advance.
In the old days with WWE and WCW it was very common for wrestlers on tour to receive an advance and you could see Flair asking for one. What is different of course is the fact that TNA is a new company, owned by a corporation and many have policies and accountant hoops that must be gone through for any major expenditure. Trust me if the bean counters aren’t told that money is to be released, it will not be released. I can also see Flair being very upset about his situation and being compared to Dustin Rhodes though I’m sure it wasn’t intended. Ric Flair is no Dustin Rhodes.
One thing we can be certain of is the spin of the dirt sheets has been in full force on this story. When it first broke, Flair was portrayed as drunken over the hill wrestler having a tantrum for more money. In the newest interweb spin cycle TNA is being portrayed as greedy and unable to pay it’s debts. The truth is likely neither when you peel back the layers. All employers/employees hit bumps in the road. When it’s the greatest wrestler of all time and a young company taking on a Goliath in it’s industry the spin is bound to happen.