WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley has been telling anyone who’ll listen what he thinks is wrong with WWE. He’s spoken to Stone Cold Steve Austin about it at length, and gone as far as to say that WWE’s current product was making him reconsider being a fan. His opinion eased up a little surrounding news that his son had gotten a job with WWE creative, but he says that had nothing to do with it, and that his criticisms are still valid.
One person who disagrees with that assessment is fellow Hall of Famer and regularly reoccurring WWE legend “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, who discussed Foley’s approach on a recent episode of The WOOOOO! Nation Podcast. It’s a little like hearing Patterson yell at Brisco at this point, but here’s what he had to say:
“The problem I have is you’re not there. Like, to me, Mick has become a Monday morning quarterback. He’s only observing what he’s watching on TV. Do you know what I mean? And I don’t think it’s fair to the company to be ostracized or scrutinized by someone that’s not there.
He’s just saying ‘this can happen,’ but if you’re not there on top of it, watching it take place or unfold or come together, whatever the terminology would be, it’s just hard for me to understand how you sit back and critique it.”
That’s the setup for the old food critic comparison. “I don’t like this sandwich.” “How are you qualified to say the sandwich wasn’t good? Are you a chef? Were you in the kitchen when we were putting it together? Do you know what we went through to make it?” Whether you were there or qualified or not, at the end of the day, you’re just a dude eating a crappy sandwich. That’s not the end-all-be-all of criticisms, but it’s something. “Did entertainment entertain me?” is probably the most subjective question there is — like trying to define art — but if enough people say it, particularly peers and people who’ve done what you’re doing and people you respect, isn’t it worth considering?
At the same time, Flair knows what he’s talking about. WWE certainly had a set of plans before they lost John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Cesaro and numerous other performers to injury, illness or (in Cena’s case) hiatus, and one of the most difficult things to do in live entertainment is call an audible mid-performance to make it all make sense, and stay engaging.
Here’s the full excerpt from the conversation, for context. +1 for the photo choice.