Billy can’t believe he’s bringing Flair back home (Picture: NWA)
The Smashing Pumpkins star has wasted no time, with the Nature Boy set for an emotional homecoming this weekend at the Chase for the legendary promotion’s anniversary show less than a month after he left WWE, and the NWA boss isn’t ruling out more work together in the future.
He exclusively told Metro.co.uk: ‘I think that’s one of those situations where you just see where it goes.
‘Ric Flair, I don’t know if there’s a bigger legend in wrestling, right? You could say Vince McMahon but Vince McMahon, although he has wrestled, he’s an owner and a personality first and a professional wrestler second, and I think he would agree with that.
‘Ric is the most decorated story and probably most mainstream thing, to this date, in professional wrestling which is pretty incredible considering how long he’s been in the business.’
Billy heaped praise on the Hall of Famer for the work he’s done to promote the show far beyond his contractual obligations, and noted Flair should make the most of his newfound freedom after leaving WWE.
‘He has so many opportunities and I think he should explore all these opportunities. I’m glad to be in business with him on this, of course I would love to have him back,’ he smiled.
‘My sense of it is it means a lot to him too. The NWA is where he made his name. When people think of the legend of Ric Flair, they often refer back to him as an NWA Champion.’
Corgan has crafted a fantastic event for fans this weekend, with Sunday night’s headlined by Trevor Murdoch battling Nick Aldis for the Worlds Heavyweight Championship with his own career on the line.
He even suggested there are comparisons to be made between Murdoch – who was trained by the late legend Harley Race – and Flair himself when it comes to the believability of everything they say.
Trevor Murdoch can carry on his mentor’s legacy this weekend (Picture: NWA)
‘I started watching probably when I was four or five years old. I used to watch it with my great grandmother who was in her 80s and was from Belgium, barely spoke English,’ he laughed.
‘The memory implanted in me was these early rough and tumble men, mostly, who made you feel something.
‘I remember watching RIc Flair on television and thinking, “Who is this guy?” Ten years old, you’re watching going, “Who is this guy? What’s he talking about, and why does he make me angry when he talks? Why do I care that he’s riding around in a jet?” ‘
This is something that has stuck with Corgan over the years, and despite the vast differences in presentation, he sees the same attributes and authenticity in Murdoch.
Ric Flair made his legacy in NWA before joining WWE (Picture: WWE)
‘I’m looking for that same thing, 50 years later I want somebody to come through the television. Trevor Murdoch is a great example,’ he pondered.
‘He was very, very close to Harley and this really means a lot to him. I mean, to the bones – that is not a work, it is to his bones.
‘This opportunity means a lot to him. And then when I watch him on television, it’s the same guy. He’s that guy.’
That even continues to the brash, larger than life champion Aldis himself, and Corgan insisted the real man isn’t far away from the character he portrays on screen.
‘He’s not turning it up to 11, he is that guy. Nick Aldis is kind of an abrasive, irritating personality,’ he laughed.
Aldis has held the gold for four years (Picture: NWA)
‘He’s quite charming, quite funny, but when he wants to turn the deathray on you -which he has on me a few times – he is that guy.’
For Saturday night’s NWA EmPowerrr show, Billy largely handed over the reigns to Nick’s wife and all-round wrestling legend Mickie James, who made the most of the freedom typifying the current wrestling landscape.
‘She was in a closed situation like the WWE – obviously their business model is very particular, no shade in talking about it,’ he added. ‘But I think everybody else in the business has figured out, “Hey this is actually where we’re all going, we’re all kinda moving in the same direction.” ‘
‘Mickie navigated all that, that was Mickie who handled that,’ he pointed out.
When it comes to the weekend as a whole though, it’s clear that having Ric Flair himself involved is a major badge of honour for Corgan, especially after growing up watching him for so many years.
‘Looking forward to NWA 73, obviously great card, but it’s hard to sit there and think, speaking strictly for myself, that I’m gonna be watching Ric Flair step through those ropes,’ he said with obvious joy.
‘Not only an NWA ring, but I’m the one who put the ring there, you know? [laughs] That’s pretty wild! That’s pretty wild, that’s a crazy journey for me.’
*NWA 73 airs Sunday (29) at 1am on Fite TV, where unlimited replays of Saturday night’s NWA EmPowerrr are available. Order both shows in a bundle here.