Natural Selection – The Greatness of Charlotte Flair

Editor’s Note: Greetings fellow wrestling fans. I would just like to let you know that we are currently looking for writers! Whether it be WWE, TNA, New Japan, Dragon Gate, Ring of Honor, anything, feel free to send in an application by going to Write with Us. Enjoy the column!

 

Okay, so before anyone gets their bloomers in a bunch I want to preface this article with three disclaimers:

  1. I’m NOT a Charlotte fan (not the person — I’m sure she is a delight — but the character)
  2. These thoughts are based on the perspective of a woman who watches wrestling weekly but also watches questionable reality television such as Total Divas. I love it! Can’t stop, won’t stop
  3. If you want a different perspective that also appreciates her journey and skill level, by all means, keep reading. If not, enter at your own risk

Let me start by saying, I didn’t like “Woooo” girls in college and I still don’t like them, especially in my wrestling content. You know those “Woooo” girls, the ones that huddle around a restaurant bar area in gaggles, around the ages of 22-25. They buy a round of shots, take them, then in unison shout “Woooo”. No thank you. By the way, I’m not saying Charlotte is a “Woooo” girl. I don’t think she is hanging out at bars, or a bad person, or even a bad wrestler. What I am saying is the Flair “Woooo” drives me nuts!

I said it! Let the hate begin.

As I get into writing this, I remind myself of all reasons being a wrestling fan is fun. It is because we all share different opinions, favorites, and non-favorites, and we have fun talking about it with one another within the wrestling community. Although I wouldn’t know directly, I suspect it is no different in baseball, basketball, or any other non-pre-determined sport you may be into. With that said, let’s dive in, shall we?

Charlotte is talented and I respect her talent very much. I often think it must be exceptionally hard for her to feel like an individual success within WWE due to her lineage and the way she has been set up. Even within my short time watching wrestling through a new lens, she has received criticism for:

1) Having her father ringside too often
This bugged the hell out of me too, likely because I’m actually interested in Charlotte and how she develops. Having Ric ringside always led to a heel move, like cheating to win. Even though that is not the case any longer, all WWE did was change the face of those actions by adding Dana Brooke. I’ll save those thoughts for Dana’s article, though.
2) Being on the receiving end of “heartstring promos”
Ooh, I felt really bad during that promo with Paige and Charlotte where Paige samurai sworded their promo with those comments about Charlotte’s brother Reid “not having enough fight in him”. Whether Charlotte knew that would be said (likely did) or even supported it (likely didn’t, but what do you say?) it stung me as a viewer. I was sad for her at that moment. With all the promo potential and words to throw back and forth I’m saddened that was the card WWE chose to play. Unsavory. I don’t need nor want that kind of negativity in something that is supposed to be family fun.
3) She has had a few slips of the tongue in her promos (especially when chants from the crowd interrupt her)

I’m also in Charlotte’s corner in this regard. Public speaking is hard enough when you don’t have a camera in your face. People aren’t born as great public speakers — great public speakers are developed. They deliver stronger presentations as they get more confident, as the mission gets clearer, and as the speaker believes in the message. Normally, the speaker creates the message to support a goal and a specific outcome. I can’t imagine being a successful public speaker without LOTS of continuous practice with a camera in your face, thousands of fans in the room, and maybe even interrupting you, AND not being author of the content. So back off, she does well most times and improves at it time over time. Keep ’em coming Char, do your thing!

Unlike my previous articles with Nattie and Naomi, Charlotte is not one of my Total Divas friends. I haven’t been privy to seeing Charlotte in any forum outside of the ring and I wasn’t watching her during her time in NXT. My first week at Talking Sheet was the week that her, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch came up to the main roster. It took a while before that went over. Did it ever? For weeks we talked about the lack of continuity and what the “Divas Revolution” was or was not. I think I speak for all of us when I say “Glad we are past that phase”. Also, can we all give a “Hell yeah” to the Women’s Championship?!  <insert high five here>

I fully admit that had I been on her journey from the beginning, with her entrance into NXT, I may feel differently. Those of you who listen to Talking Sheet already know I have changed my mind on wrestlers like Bayley through that journey. I firmly believe that it is a big deal to connect with the wrestlers and really feel their struggles, determination, and hard work. I believe that aside from in-ring performance those connections are key. Because I haven’t been along on her ride, I have done a fair amount of research on where she came from and how she happened to become the Women’s Champion. It’s pretty fascinating and inspiring, I’d say. I wanted a snapshot of her transformation from her debut in NXT to current day, so between YouTube and The WWE Network (only $9.99 a month), I watched Charlotte in her early years but two matches stood out:

Charlotte vs. Bayley, July 17, 2013, (NXT Debut), 7 Mins
This was a FANTASTIC match. For not being a Charlotte fan, I really liked Ric introducing her to the ring. You could tell she was nervous but her performance was incredible. I wish she still did all those crazy moves. She still does some but I have not seen her wrestle like that in that capacity in WWE. Hell yeah, “Natural Selection”(not sure the move had a name even at that time)! She sure did look a lot different than she does today, which is not shocking or bad, just notable.
Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks, Dec 11, 2014, NXT Takeover R-Evolution, 14:36 mins

Oh, man! Now we’re talking. I had a great time watching this match. With all due respect they both fought like men. Charlotte looked and acted way more confident in the ring. My favorite part was when Charlotte would talk shit to Sasha. Even the crowd was chanting “This is wrest-sling!”. That must have felt really great for her to hear that. Their skin was red and bruised and they were clearly getting tired but Charlotte stayed focused and worked it. She won the match using Natural Selection from the top rope! Incredible!

As we know, work in the ring isn’t all there is to being a star, which is especially true for women in WWE. So now we get to the super fun stuff: the look.

Charlotte’s Attire

When I first saw her in her NXT debut her hair was dirty blonde and her gear was basic, likely polyester, the kind of material that made my skin itchy just thinking about it. I think she is naturally brunette; however, I think blonde is fitting for her. In the match with Sasha, her gear was leagues better than in 2014. The black and silver was fitting and I enjoyed the design. It gave her a solid style. And we mustn’t forget about present day. I am sorry but in this regard she gets an A+ on the gear/robe combination. I, myself, hate that I love this because to me it’s another reference to Ric and his gimmick, not Charlotte and what it looks like to be “Charlotte”.

I love the robes — the blue and red one are my absolute favorites. I thought I was in love with Eva Marie’s red feather robe. Nope! Not anymore. It’s commanding — the robe elevates her “importance” just by sitting on her shoulders. Her gear under the robe is fitting, much better for her gymnast body as well. If I were her, I’d seriously wear those robes outside the workplace in any situation, from a trip to the grocery store or even just to unload the dishwasher.

So why don’t I like her?

This is tricky. It is tricky because I don’t like her as the champion and I don’t like her character. She makes me angry. I want to see her win matches like the two referenced above. I get that she’s a heel and she’s supposed to play dirty sometimes. Just, you know, not ALL the time. One might argue that means she is doing exceptional in her role as a rule-breaker. I can be good with that assessment — it must be something like that because the only true reason not to like a wrestler at all is because they don’t have talent, and she clearly does, in many ways.

All in all, though, I admire her strength. I can criticize all I want but I’m not the one on TV every week and I’m not a WWE superstar. I truly hope she does feel proud of her success. She is a fun wrestler to watch.  I especially enjoy her matches with Natalya, they always seem to be really engaging.

Truth be told, through this process I may have developed a soft spot for her, having read and watched some background matches and articles. But that’ll be our little secret. 😉 Sea Ya!

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One thought on “Natural Selection – The Greatness of Charlotte Flair

  1. Charlotte has definitely improved on the mic recently, but in-ring it feels she has been the same for the past year now.

    Like

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