With Ric Flair’s surprise return to WWE RAW on Monday, it’s believed that TNA’s ongoing lawsuit against WWE is the reason that Flair’s return was not promoted in advance and why Flair has not signed a contract with WWE.
Flair has always been a strong ratings draw and Monday was no exception. When Flair was on television, RAW viewership rose from around 4.1 million viewers to 4.7 million viewers, with big spikes in the key male demographics.
Flair’s return has been planned for several weeks. There have been several angles discussed regarding how to reintroduce the 2-time Hall of Famer, including one where he would introduce his daughter, Ashley, who is currently training at NXT as Charlotte. Originally, Flair was not supposed to do anything physical, but those plans went by the wayside.
Flair won’t be wrestling again, but he will be doing an on air feud with CM Punk, presumably after Punk’s program with the Rock is over. When Flair arrived in Philadelphia, he was ordered to undergo an EKG to make sure his heart was healthy enough for him to get physical on RAW with Punk, Heyman and The Shield.
Flair’s return was kept a secret from most of the WWE crew. There was some buzz that he might be appearing, but he was kept in a trailer away from everybody else. Even as names were leaking out on Monday about who was at RAW (Billy Gunn, Boogeyman), WWE did a good job of keeping Flair’s return a surprise.
(Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter)