Reports emanating out of last night's SmackDown taping don't look good for WWE veteran Ric Flair.
As first reported by the Wrestling War Room podcast who were live-tweeting the Manchester, New Hampshire event, the 67-year-old appeared to have crossed the line in a promo with female wrestler Natalya.
According to the @WWRPodcast's account of events, Flair ended a rant directed towards Natalya by telling the Women's title contender to "kill yourself". As you might expect, Flair's controversial comments haven't gone down well with a lot of fans.
The report was followed up by the same source stating Flair was simply riffing during his time on the mic and, responding to claims by Natalya that Bret Hart could beat him up, had uttered the very non-PG remarks during a slip of the tongue moment.
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In the eyes of some fans responding on social media this morning, however, that is no excuse for telling someone to commit suicide. Below is a selection of the responses from angered WWE fans:
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As alluded to in a lengthy Facebook post by the original poster of Flari's remarks which attempted to add context to the situation, the 15-time WWE Champion is very much of the old school.
For the majority of his career, he operated in an era where the rule inside the squared circle was effectively 'anything goes'. As a result, in the heat of the moment, it sounds like Flair fell into old habits as he was looking to fulfill his role as a heel.
Nevertheless, there can't be many people who don't think the veteran went too far on this occasion. Even if you are trying to play a part - Natalya is currently feuding with Flair's daughter Charlotte over the Women's title - making references to suicide is never ok. It shouldn't have been in the old era, and it most certainly isn't in the PG boundaries the WWE works within at present.
Still, it doesn't appear there was anything seriously malicious in Flair's comments, regardless of how bad they sound.
It is unclear at this stage how fans in attendance at the SmackDown tapings, or indeed Natalya herself, reacted to the "kill yourself" remark but, hopefully, Flair has taken the chance to apologise privately in the time since.
With the Hall of Famer set to be by Charlotte's side as the female star does battle with Natalya at Payback this weekend, it will be interesting to see the in-ring chemistry between everyone involved after Tuesday's incident.
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