WWE is in damage control mode after a panel discussion promoting for WWE 2K14 went awry. Hall of Famer Ric Flair and well known broadcaster Jim Ross both behaved oddly and appeared to be inebriated. Ross blamed his bizarre behavior on his Bell’s Palsy, which can lead to slurred speech. But that doesn’t explain the randomness of his commentary.
Almost immediately, “JR” held up a glass and proclaimed the liquid in it was Snapple. He’d later allude to being able to remember part of his presentation if he hadn’t had so much Snapple. No one, at least on camera, had asked what it was. He said he would have arrived at the press conference earlier but was receiving a catheter. It only got more cringe inducing from there. After greeting the viewers watching on popular streaming service Twitch TV, he questioned whether anyone knew what Twitch TV was. Yes JR, it’s kind of a big deal with the kids these days.
He later joked that the event was “sponsored by Grey Goose.” Ross hasn’t just been a broadcaster for WWE, he’s a former Vice President with the company. He knows public relations, and wasn’t practicing good PR here.
As for Flair, he mentioned going drinking before the event and his plans to drink after. He went so far off the prepared script Paul Heyman just ripped it up, and there was a fair amount of profanity too. This may have cost the wrestling legend a job as a PR ambassador for the promotion. Flair lost his youngest son Reid to a drug overdose in March, and it’s understandable that the tragedy’s taking a toll on him.
This is the inaugural year of 2K Sports publishing the annual wrestling sim, and it was not a good first impression. Wrestling Observer is reporting that WWE officials were far more upset than anyone at 2K Sports. You can watch the train wreck unfold here.