An article by Mike Mooneyham
(Published March 21, 1999)
Dogging 14-time world heavyweight champion Ric Flair has become a popular pastime for ECW’s Shane Douglas. Throughout the ’90s Douglas has been openly critical of Flair, blaming him for his lack of a push while Flair was booker at WCW, and chastising Flair for not “passing the torch” to younger talent in the business.
The controversial Douglas, 36, who left both WCW and the WWF on less than favorable terms and has threatened to bolt ECW in recent months, has blasted Flair in a number of interviews and on ECW television. In the past Flair has chosen not to respond to Douglas’ charges in a public forum. That changed, however, on a recent edition of the WCW Live Internet show where Flair broke his silence and fired some stiff verbal shots of his own.
“He (Douglas) is a quarterback that thought he was going to go in the first round, that went in the seventh round, that knew because he went in the seventh round he had to play harder, but never made it,” said Flair. “He threw the ball 10 yards shorter. He ran the 40 a tenth of a second slower.”
[ad#MikeMooneyham-336×280]Flair said Douglas, who spent only several months in the WWF during 1995-96 and accused the Shawn Michaels-led “Clique” of hastening his exit, has a long track record of pointing blame for his own failures.
“Everything he’s done in life, he’s done behind the scenes, and he’s cried about everything and everybody,” said Flair. “If it’s not me, it’s Nash. If it’s not Nash, it’s Hall. If it’s not Hall, it’s McMahon. If it’s not McMahon, it’s Bischoff. At some point in time, you have to look in the mirror. The problem is, the kid has never grown up.”
Flair also questioned the validity of Douglas’ longstanding plan to attend medical school.
“Ten years ago, he told me he was going to be a medical doctor. Everything in his life is pretty much a dream, or a thought, or an afterthought. And I’m happy that he’s making money where he’s at, because he’d never go anywhere else. He’s been given the opportunity and some guys cut it, and some guys don’t.
“Doctor Douglas, who never went to school. Doctor Douglas, who never made it in WCW, who blamed me for it. I wasn’t the booker, however. Doctor Douglas, who didn’t make it in WWF. Doctor Douglas, who’s alienated himself. Doctor Douglas, who is blown up at 220 pounds. You can’t beat my 11-year-old son. How ’bout that? God bless you son.”
As expected Douglas didn’t let Flair’s comments go unchallenged. The following remarks were posted after a recent ECW show:
“The invitation’s been there, be a man, come do it face to face. It can be in WCW if you want, it can be in the parking lot. Hell, I’ll come to Charlotte to your gym, and work out if you want. The invitation’s open, Ric, you name the time and the place, I’ll be there.
“Why don’t you come and maybe get a challenge from somebody who can maybe make you look better. No matter, Ric, as old and broken down as you are, this little old `quarterback’ that couldn’t make it, can still make you look decent.”
Douglas (real name Troy Martin) has been billed as “The Franchise” since his arrival in ECW, although owner Paul Heyman originally wanted Steve Austin, part of his Dangerous Alliance in WCW in the early ’90s, to portray that role.
A mid-card performer at WCW during the late ’80s and early ’90s who rose to championship status at ECW, Douglas has frequently used ECW as a platform to voice his opinions. Last year the Pittsburgh native challenged Flair to a series of shoot matches.
“My proposal would be a series of three matches – one in Pittsburgh, one in Charlotte and one in Philadelphia so it would be fair to everyone,” Douglas told the Washington (Pa.) Observer-Reporter. “I’ve proposed this through unofficial channels. Right now, he has a decision to make. If by next June he hasn’t decided, it’s too late. At this point, if it wasn’t a shoot and I’d do a fake wrestling match, that would kill my legitimacy forever. It would kill me (professionally).”
“Flair has his feelers out right now to see if it’s still possible to have a match with Shane Douglas,” he added. “Because five years of animosity has built up, it would be a huge pay-per-view draw. I dislike Flair. He was the measuring stick for the ’80s. When you talk about the best wrestler in the world, he was and proved it night in and night out. But he also used whatever political connections he had to keep a guy like Shane Douglas down.”