Flair-ing up SmackDown

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June 15, 2007

If there is anyone who knows how to adapt -- and remain successful -- in the sports-entertainment business, it's 16-time World Champion Ric Flair. In Monday's draft, the "Nature Boy" was sent from Raw to SmackDown, but for Flair, who has seen his fair share of ups and downs throughout his tenure as a WCW and WWE Superstar, becoming acclimated to new surroundings shouldn't pose too much of a problem.

But now that Flair is approaching the twilight of his career, it seems that starting over on a new brand could be his toughest challenge to date. One has to wonder if Flair still has enough gas left in his tank to work his way from the bottom up.

"If I'm in the twilight of my career, why is my first match as a member of the SmackDown roster against the World Heavyweight Champion?" exclaimed an agitated Flair, referring to his showdown with Edge in tonight's broadcast (8/7 CT on The CW Network). "As long as I can breathe, I'm going to compete at a top level."

According to the Nature Boy, there is nothing that can stop him from maintaining the reputation he's built over the years. On top of that, anyone that's followed Flair's career understands that he didn't earn the nickname the "Dirtiest Player in the Game" because he accepts losing.

"Hey, man, there is always a way to win, and I'm going to do what I have to do to find it — bottom line. And that goes for whoever I'm competing against," assured Flair.

Tonight, the confident, old-school newcomer has the unique opportunity to stake his claim as a championship caliber competitor in his SmackDown debut. Most Superstars are put through the ringer to attain that status in WWE, but with Flair's solid reputation and past accomplishments, he's presumably allowed to skip that step.

"During my career I've proved I'm capable of beating the best, and if Edge is the best, that's who I belong in the ring with," said Flair.

While showing absolutely no signs of apprehension about his move in the draft, he also knows that he's not alone. Another draftee, (no, not Chris Masters), Torrie Wilson, is also moving to Friday nights. Flair and Wilson have connected over the past few weeks as the Nature Boy has helped Torrie cope with the realization that her ex-boyfriend, Carlito, wasn't worthy of her company.

"Torrie is a sweet girl who deserves the right companion, and that's what she's getting by coming to SmackDown with ‘Naitch'," said the always-animated Flair with a huge smile.

Another potential ally that is already solidified for Flair is with former Evolution member, and the current No. 1 contender to Edge's World Heavyweight Championship, Batista. The two share a rollercoaster history with one another, but someone as seasoned as Flair knows that having someone as fierce as The Animal on his team could give him the extra edge (for lack of a better word) he needs to gain immediate success. 

Can Flair capitalize on this unique opportunity, or will Edge sneak out another victory? If the 16-time World Champion plans to make an immediate impact, he'll have to begin tonight.

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