Serving whose best interests?
Some critics may think that Mr. McMahon imposed a "keep winning or you must retire" ultimatum to Ric Flair simply out of vindictiveness and a longtime hatred of the "Nature Boy." But the Chairman insists he is only looking out for the 16-time World Champion's best interests.
"I'm legitimately concerned about the wellbeing and health of Ric Flair," McMahon told WWE.com. "Ric Flair's fate is in my hands. If he gets hurt, it's on my watch. He's well past his prime. We all know that. If he gets hurt what will people say? ‘That damn McMahon forced him to compete because all he cares about is making a buck for his business.'"
The Chairman appeared offended when it was suggested that his motives were somewhat less than benevolent. His eyes widened a bit, as if to ask, "How could you think such a thing?"
Mr. McMahon said that he had heard the rumors about a possible Flair retirement announcement before Raw this past Monday and had hoped they were true, just because he knows the Nature Boy has had a long a glorious career that should be celebrated properly.
But when the Dirtiest Player in the Game said he would "never" retire, he felt a need to intervene. That's why the Chairman imposed a win or go home for good mandate: the next match Flair loses -- whether it be by disqualification, pinfall or submission on Raw, ECW, SmackDown or on pay-per-view -- will be his last. He will be forced to retire, and his legendary 30-year career will end.
"My reasoning was twofold. I'm genuinely concerned about Ric Flair, but I'm also genuinely concerned about my business," he said. "Over the years I've allowed too many people to go out on their terms when they were well past their prime and had no business being in the ring. … I'm the Chairman of this company. People are going to start going out when I say they'll go out. That's how it's going to be from here on out."
A smile crept across Mr. McMahon's face, but then it slowly faded away. Darkness began to shroud his eyes as he appeared lost in thought. The Chairman insists he is concerned about Flair's health, but nothing is ever that simple with Mr. McMahon. After all, his relationship with Flair goes back 30 years and it has always been rocky. What else is going on? Or what is the real the motive behind the Chairman's ultimatum for the Nature Boy?