Charlotte Flair is the undisputed Queen of WWE – a four-time world champion born into wrestling royalty.
The daughter of the legendary ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair ruled Monday nights as the face of Raw’s women’s division.
Her epic feud with Sasha Banks over Raw’s women’s title helped redefine people’s perceptions of female superstars.
They then made history by becoming the first women to compete in a Hell in a Cell match and headline a WWE pay-per-view.
Now, having finally lost her undefeated PPV streak to Bayley, Charlotte has moved to SmackDown on Tuesdays to start afresh.
In doing so the 31-year-old, from Charlotte, North Carolina, has been reunited with her best friend and onscreen rival Becky Lynch.
She spoke to the Mirror about the move, facing Becky and Sasha, plus her dad’s thoughts on her breathtaking WrestleMania moments.
On April 11 you were drafted to SmackDown in the ‘Superstar Shakeup’. How are you settling into your new home on Tuesday nights?
Well I’ve already been in a title match so pretty well! I’m the number one contender. Ha ha. It feels great to be over here. You know, new opportunities, new storylines, I can’t wait to see where my character goes with this brand. The first Monday night was a little weird, because I hadn’t missed a Raw since I debuted, but I’m so happy to be here and I’m just looking forward to seeing what this division does with a little bit of a shake-up.
For viewers, the switch means we will see you compete against a different set of opponents, on Tuesdays instead of Mondays. But what does moving between the shows mean for superstars on a practical and personal level? Does it bring about a big change in your schedule?
It doesn’t really change my schedule that much because it’s Saturday to Wednesday versus Friday to Tuesday, but I guess my personal level I’m reunited with my best friend in real life, Becky Lynch, and my mentor Natalya. I started basically with both of them when I debuted, so personally it’s awesome. Professionally I’m looking forward to facing Carmella, I’ve never faced her, I’ve been in a title match with Naomi, there is Tamina, so the opportunities for new storylines or to add a fresh coat of paint to my character, with new characters to interact with, I’m pretty excited. It’s like energising.
The Mirror spoke to Becky recently, who told us for all your history, she feels the two of you have barely scratched the surface in terms of what you are capable of producing together in the ring.
Well that’s it because I started my heel turn and then we had that match at Royal Rumble  and WrestleMania  and that was it. So, we worked for I think about two months together in live events singles and we were so knew to the main roster and figuring out how to interact with the crowd and how different it was to NXT, and getting into our characters.Now look where we are today, I can only imagine what we could produce now versus then. Plus I’m sure she is still pretty upset about what happened in Dallas, ha ha, when my dad kind of helped me win!
You set a very high bar on Raw with your epic feud against Sasha Banks, leading to the first women’s main event at a WWE pay-per-view, at Hell in a Cell in October. Do you think you and Becky could reach the same heights if given that opportunity to work a long programme?
I have no doubt in my mind. I feel I could do that with Becky and I also feel I could do that with Natalya. I worked both of them in two different programmes when I was on Raw, but that would be a dream of mine to main event with my best friend Becky on a pay-per-view or show… it would just be awesome, given if people really look back at the history of our storyline, from PCB [Paige/Charlotte/Becky], to separating, it would be great.
We spoke with Sasha earlier this year about the Channel 4 documentary for All 4, Smashing Glass Ceilings: The Women of WWE. What was it like being the focus of a documentary like that and how you have helped change perceptions of women in the industry?
I was very honoured but it’s so hard – they were obviously filming for Hell in a Cell but we wouldn’t have had that match had I not been a part of PCB with other women, or having my match in NXT with Nattie for the NXT Women’s Championship. It’s a collective effort of all the girls, so I was like ‘gosh, I wish every single girl was shown on here’. I’m so flattered and honoured to be able to tell my story about why I started wrestling and why it’s important to me, but we really had that opportunity because of the women that came before us, the women that were working then and now.
I remember Sasha saying she hadn’t been able to watch it all the way to the end yet, because she got too emotional!
Ha ha yeah because we lived it, so it’s hard to watch it back.
Throughout the rivalry you both pushed yourselves to the limit physically, delivering hard-hitting matches the likes of which fans haven’t perhaps expected from WWE’s female superstars in the past, or at least haven’t seen regularly. It felt like week by week and month by month you were taking it to the next level.
Well she wants to be the best and I want to be the best and when we step in that ring together it just shows.
Did you feel like given that long feud, your work with Bayley and all you had accomplished on Raw as a four-time world champion, the time was right for you to move to SmackDown?
That’s a tough question. I think I would have been happy with whatever choice they made but given what I was capable of producing on Raw, I want to do the same with the girls here. I look at it as a whole new challenge of having to see if I can do that again on SmackDown.
In the months leading up to WrestleMania, we saw you feud with Bayley, who captured your Raw Women’s Championship on Raw in February, then defeated you at Fastlane in March, which was your first pay-per-view singles loss. It was quite a surprising result, especially given how much emphasis WWE had put on your winning run and the 16 victory streak.
Ha ha yeah, you know I tell people it was a statistic, not the story. The pay-per-view thing was more a cool statistic. The story was here’s this underdog, that in Charlotte’s eyes was just a fan and didn’t belong in her presence. And I think that was the bigger focus, that she finally did it, she slayed the dragon, ha ha.
Bayley defeated you at WrestleMania 33 in your fatal four-way elimination match with Sasha and Nia Jax to retain her title. The result didn’t go your way but you did have for me the most spectacular entrance of the night. What was it like emulating your father Ric Flair’s entrance at WrestleMania 24, in his retirement match against Shawn Michaels?
Oh my gosh, I was feeling it! Like last year I was so nervous I could barely… I was like ‘Am I going to fall? My dad’s beside me, it’s my first Mania, what am I doing here?’ Then when I walked out this year, I just knew I belonged and I knew how far I had come, so I just enjoyed the moment, I soaked it up, and I was singing Beyoncé in my head as I walked down the ramp, I was like ‘this is so great’. Last year I had the pressure of my dad being beside me and don’t mistake this for ‘I wasn’t thrilled to have with my dad with me’, but this was kind of like my first moment, my first entrance, like I had made it. Of course I will always be Ric Flair’s daughter, but it meant this time I was like ‘you know what? I’m Charlotte’. I was so proud.
Did he know that was the plan to recreate his last entrance?
He was sitting backstage crying, don’t worry! He still sits back there when I walk out for my entrance. He probably would have walked out with me if I let him!
You have no idea, ha ha.
What did he say to you afterwards?
Erm… well he’s just my dad, he’s so biased, he was like ‘oh God, unbelievable, awesome’. He’s my dad. He loved the robe. He likes when I do cool flips. He was was like ‘the corkscrew moonsault, unbelievable!’
You have become renowned for your beautiful moonsault – one of the highlights of WrestleMania 32 was you hitting a moonsault to the outside onto Sasha and Becky. Then at WrestleMania 33 you upped the ante by adding a corkscrew, this time taking out Sasha and Bayley. How did that come to be part of your arsenal? It’s breathtaking.
I only pull it out at big moments. I need to start planning what I’m doing next year. I need to make that highlight reel every year! Ha ha
Catch Charlotte this month when WWE Live returns to the UK! For more information regarding all WWE Live events in the UK visit www.bookingsdirect.com