Popular podcast host Conrad Thompson believes that the popularity of Ric Flair has never dropped in pop culture, despite his controversial “Dark Side Of The Ring” episode last year.

Thompson recently spoke with Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman on “The Wrestling Inc. Daily” regarding Ric Flair’s decision to return to the ring for one final match. The Nature Boy is going to be competing during Thompson’s “Starrcast V” event as he resurrects Jim Crockett Promotions for one night only.

The announcement that Flair will be returning to the ring has seen some criticism from fans and those in the business with certain people being worried about the WWE Hall of Famer’s health. But there are also some people who don’t want to see him back because of the “Dark Side Of The Ring” episode that aired last year about the infamous plane ride from hell. This brought up some negative stories about the Nature Boy, including him exposing himself to a flight attendant and, as she alleged, forcing her to touch his genitals.

“No, I totally understand,” Thompson said on people questioning Flair being welcome back to pro wrestling. “I am a big fan of ‘Dark Side Of The Ring’ and all that they do, and I think a lot of the folks who put it together, we’ve worked together a lot and on their new projects. I’ve been helpful behind the scenes on that, sort of helping connect the dots, I think they are creating great content. But I also know the story they talked about is a story that is 20 years old, they got one side of the story, they didn’t get two I don’t know that was necessarily new information for folks who kept up with the news back then.

“But I would say, that I don’t know that the phrase comeback is really accurate, I mean he had a Carshield commercial airing the next week, he’s been making public appearances ever since. His dance card is full on the autograph circuit, and he’s shot multiple television commercials since, including just one a couple of days ago.”

After the episode aired there was a lot of talk within the internet wrestling community about potential repercussions, and Tommy Dreamer ended up being suspended by Impact Wrestling for his comments that concluded the episode. But, when it has come to Flair, he has continued to be busy in his work, even though he is no longer employed by WWE.

“You know how many wrestling fans there are in the world and how many Ric Flair fans there are in the world?” Thompson questioned. “And do you know how few of them watch ‘Dark Side’? In the scheme of things, this is an inside the bubble thing and I’m not dismissing any of the allegations or what was said or any of that, I wasn’t there, I don’t know.

“But what I do know is, pop culture is still celebrating Ric Flair and never stopped. Now some wrestling fans may have said, ‘Well I don’t like that behavior and all of that,’ and I certainly get it and am respectful of that, but I don’t know what happened, I wasn’t there. A lot of other folks don’t know what happened and all this has been covered is my point.”

Flair has always been a controversial figure due to his larger-than-life personality and partying lifestyle which has provided a lot of ups and downs over his life. There have been numerous incidents in his private life and in his career that have left audiences questioning him, yet he does still remain a popular figure around the world, particularly as rappers continue to reference him.

“If you’re a fan of Ric Flair you’ve probably had to reconcile in your mind that, ‘I wish he wouldn’t have done that,’ or, ‘I wish he wouldn’t have said this,’ and you’ve forgiven him for probably multiple things in the past,” he said. “That’s what’s going to make the roast fun and that’s what is the charm of the Nature Boy, to know the Nature Boy is to love him and I think a lot of folks still do. Which is clear to me based on the reception that we got when we announced on Monday that he was having his last match, I mean, it went super-viral it was everywhere in every media outlet. So the idea that there’s not an interest in what he does anymore is not true.”

In recent times there have been mixed reports about the future of “Dark Side Of The Ring” as a show and whether or not it will continue. Nothing has been confirmed at this point in regards to that, but Thompson did give more insight into his continued role with the DSOTR producers.

“We have always been polite and friendly and always will be,” Thompson stated. “I don’t know that I can spill the beans on what their working on, I know a lot of folks have speculated on what it is, but I know what it is and who they’re talking to and a lot of the reason I know some of that is because they would say, ‘Hey man, can you help us get a hold of so-and-so?’ It just so happens I usually can, so I have been very helpful and will always continue to support the project. I wish in hindsight that that could have been handled a little differently, but it is what it is now.”

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit The Wrestling Inc. Daily with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.

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