Charlotte Flair EXCLUSIVE: Why WWE gave her short title reigns in 2019 and ‘it still bothers’ the Queen she’s referred to as Ric Flair’s daughter

9 Nov

Charlotte Flair is already a 10-time world champion in WWE and she’s only 33-years-old.

The Queen was wrestling royalty before she even stepped in the ring owing to the fact Ric Flair is her father, but since her main roster debut five years ago she’s proved that whatever her name, she’s one of the best performers on the planet.

Charlotte Flair and her father Ric have a combined 26 world title reigns

talkSPORT had the chance to catch up with Charlotte on the first leg of WWE’s UK tour in Brighton and we talked everything from Triple H to online criticism, title reigns and everything in between.

Hi Charlotte! Welcome to the UK in November – lovely time of year I’m sure you’ll agree. These tours can be gruelling, but do you enjoy performing all over the world?

I’ve had the chance to do international tours for a few years now and when I go overseas, I really feel like I’ve made my mark. They know who Charlotte Flair is and it feels really special. Like I can just feel the energy whether I’m in the UK, China, Australia, South America – it’s awesome.

One thing fans have criticised over the past year is the amount of title wins you have and how short some of those reigns have been. What do you say to those who say you need longer, more meaningful reigns?

My title wins in the last year have been for bigger picture moments and unfortunately, people don’t see that. It’s not like… I beat Asuka and then Becky wins both titles – you know? It’s a very loaded question. For me when I get to play the villain, I think it’s tremendous. To be able to say ‘So? I’m the 10-time champion! It doesn’t matter if it was for five seconds!’

I think good guys need to back up what they say and they need to be fighting champions, so it just really depends on what role I’m playing. [Losing the title when Bayley turned heel] is a newer example. So if you’re looking at it from a storyline perspective or if you’re looking at the deeper meaning into how things happen, it just all depends.

It seems like we’re finally moving past the point where people imply you’re only getting certain positions or shots because of your last name – your body of work is undeniable now. How much did that bother you though?

I still get bothered. Going into WrestleMania last year we were at ESPN, me, Becky [Lynch] and Ronda [Rousey] and they had both girls’ highlights and mine was like ‘Ric Flair’s daughter’. I did the Sports Illustrated body issue – first one ever, male or female – Sports Illustrated accomplishments and that’s what you label me as? In this women’s evolution? Seriously? No, it still bothers me.

Ric and Charlotte Flair pose for the cameras

It still bothers me when I see my graphics sometimes and I see Ric Flair’s daughter as part of my graphic, what is that got to do with who I am? Yes, he’s my dad. Yes, I’m continuing his legacy. Yes, I have some of my father’s nuances, but my dad couldn’t touch me athletically. It still bothers me.

My dad being referred to as Charlotte’s dad will be the biggest history I can make [laughs].

I spoke to Natalya recently about the possibility of Evolution 2 and it seems to be the most requested thing from fans these days which is quite the feat from a few years ago. Are you also lobbying hard for it?

I definitely want an Evolution 2, but I’m one of those talents that’s like ‘No, I want to be on a card with the men and have the best match’. It’s not like here’s a men’s pay-per-view and here’s a women’s pay-per-view. No – at WrestleMania, I want to have the best match on the card.

That’s celebrities, male talent, legends, female talent – I want it to be ‘she had the best match’. So, do I think Evolution 2 is a huge opportunity and exciting? Yes. But I like being on a card with men saying I’m better than all of you.

So you don’t necessarily think Evolution needs to be an annual thing?

I mean, I don’t see why not. I’m not saying it doesn’t need to be annually, I’m just saying for people who complain there wasn’t ever an all-women’s pay-per-view it’s like, why? What was there, four women’s matches at WrestleMania last year? That’s four women’s matches, that’s incredible! We’re getting the exact same opportunities.

I spoke to you on a phoner about a year ago and I asked you who you thought was the brightest light in NXT and you said Bianca Belair. NXT has grown a lot even since then, is she still your pick?

Still, Bianca Belair. But when you get up to the main roster, it’s a different animal. On Raw and SmackDown, right now, Nikki Cross has my eye. I know we’e on different brands [laughs] but I know we’ll probably end up on the same brand [eventually].

Bianca Belair is still my pick for NXT right now though, for sure. Because you either have the ‘it’ factor or you don’t. I had to grow into it. When I first debuted and I won the Divas championship, I didn’t feel ready. And then I won the Women’s championship for the first-time at WrestleMania 32 and I was like ‘OK, now I’m ready’. But right now, Bianca Belair already has that ‘it’ factor and you can’t teach that.

The four horsewomen of WWE – Charlotte Flair, Bayley, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch

Triple H seems like such a father-figure in NXT. You obviously came through NXT under him and have known him for most of your life anyway, what he like to work under in NXT?

Since I’ve known him for so long and he’s so close to my dad, I’m very shy to overstep my boundaries. There was a huge chip on my shoulder when I started like ‘Oh, she gets handouts’ or ‘Oh, she’s the favourite’ and I’m like ‘Nope, I do the exact same thing you do every single day and probably more.’ That’s how I got where I am.

So you can tell just how much he cares about the talent. Especially for the women, when the Four Horsewomen were in NXT and giving us those opportunities and not knowing where it was going to go. He really believed in us and I don’t know if having little girls of his own maybe changed his heart [laughs] I don’t know! But he really just believed in us from day one and you can see that it’s continued for him to want the same opportunities for his women in NXT. Also him hiring Sarah Del Ray, that was him basically saying ‘No, we’re putting a focus on the women’.

I’ve always wondered with wrestling couples, what do you guys talk about when you get home? Like, the schedule is so gruelling and that, do you guys still talk shop when you go home?

We do about us. No about other talent. But, it’s usually just about the negatives. What I did wrong, what I can do better. Sometimes I’m like ‘woah, was I that bad?!’ [laughs].

Charlotte Flair and Andrade are a couple

I help him with some aspects of his performance and he helps me with certain aspects of mine, because we have two totally different styles. I help him with certain things that he can’t help me with and he helps me with certain things that I don’t know.

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