Impact Wrestling has indefinitely suspended WWE legend Tommy Dreamer for comments he made in the Vice documentary series Dark Side of the Ring. The series' episode on Thursday tackled the infamous 2002 flight known as the "Plane Ride from Hell," during which intoxicated wrestlers fought each other while the plane was in the air and reportedly harassed flight attendants. In his interview, Dreamer defended Ric Flair, who was accused of forcing one of the flight attendants to touch his penis.
"We are aware of Mr. Laughlin's comments on Dark Side of the Ring," an Impact Wrestling spokesperson confirmed to Fightful, referring to Dreamer by his real name, Thomas James Laughlin. "The views expressed by him in the interview are completely unacceptable. We can confirm Mr. Laughlin was suspended this morning with immediate effect, pending further action."
In Dark Side of the Ring, Dreamer and fellow wrestler Rob Van Dam talked about how Flair walked down the airline aisle wearing only his wrestling robe and swirled his penis as a joke for his fellow wrestlers. Flight attendant Heidi Doyle said Flair also went into the galley in the back of the plane, asking for a Coke, and allegedly forced her to touch his penis. "I couldn't move. I couldn't get away from him," Doyle said, reports TVLine. "He was spinning around his penis and he wanted me to touch it... He took my hand and put it on him."
While Van Dam corroborated Doyle's allegations, Dreamer defended Flair. "Ric Flair is not going to try to impose by force any sexual stuff onto anybody," Dreamer said. "He's just flaunting, styling and profiling and [doing the] Ric Flair stuff where everybody's going to laugh about it, but obviously somebody took offense to it."
In the past, Flair denied Doyle's allegations. However, the WWE and several wrestlers did settle a 2004 lawsuit Doyle and another flight attendant filed over the "Plane Ride from Hell" incident. Doyle and the second attendant sued the WWE, Flair, and other wrestlers for assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and false imprisonment.
Dreamer referenced the settlement in Dark Side of the Ring. "If that's how she felt, maybe she should have not taken a payout and went to the fullest extent of the law to then truly put this heinous person in jail," he said. "I feel this is trying to portray someone as a sexual predator, and it... it's not. It's a joke, it's a gag, and today, 1,000 percent inappropriate... I've hung out with Ric Flair. I've never seen him try to force his will against anybody."
Doyle said she did not believe Flair's intent was rape, but she told Vice what the WWE Hall of Famer did was wrong. "It was wrong, and he goes to sleep that night and thinks he made it back from his wrestling trip in Europe, and maybe he has a headache because he had too many cocktails on the airplane," she said. "And yet, that night I didn't go to sleep."