Debunking The Myth That Charlotte Is Only Successful Because Of Her Father
Ever since Charlotte Flair won the then Diva’s Championship from Nikki Bella, she has been the on again, off again face of WWE’s “Women’s Revolution” that started in 2015. With a record 8 Women’s Championships on the main roster, she has seemingly been in and out of the title picture since she, Sasha, and Becky were famously called up from NXT. While many would attribute the debut of a women’s only pay per view and the debut of women’s wrestlers in the main event of WrestleMania to the contributions of Ronda Rousey, Charlotte has been the one receiving the most kayfabe accomplishments and has, along with others, helped set the stage for Ronda to take WWE women’s wrestling to the next level. However, despite how much Charlotte has accomplished in WWE, and no matter how much she will accomplish in the future, when her career is over there will be a dark cloud hanging over it. There are many wrestling fans who believe most of her success has been handed to her because of who her father is, and that she hasn’t really earned the majority of her kayfabe accomplishments. I, along with the history of WWE, strongly disagree with this.
While Charlotte has a different character than Ric Flair, she very much employs several of his trademarks. Her theme music is a remix of Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30, the famous song Ric used for his entrances. She comes to the ring in fancy robes, she uses knife edge chops, does the strut, her finisher is a modified version of the figure four, and she always uses Ric’s famous catch phrase “Wooooo!” She doesn’t display the wild energy in promos that he had, nor does she really try to convey that she lives the party lifestyle that Ric did. For the most part, her character is someone who pretty much idolizes and emulates her famous and very successful father as a performer. As a heel she thinks she is better than her adversaries because her father was such a great wrestler.
However, simply playing up the trademarks of Ric Flair has not been what made her successful. Every wrestler needs the right character in order to allow them to be successful. But the right character doesn’t automatically make them successful. Steve Austin was not on pace to become a huge draw until he found the version of his Stone Cold character he is best known for. Rocky Maivia had to change his name to The Rock, become extremely arrogant, wear $500 shirts and start referring to himself in the third person before he found himself on a path to super stardom. If they stayed as The Ringmaster and Rocky Maivia, respectively, they probably wouldn’t have become nearly as successful. However, while a bad character can prevent success, a good character does not automatically guarantee success. Austin and Rock became mega stars because of their great characters and more importantly, their overwhelming charisma.
Now I’m not saying Charlotte is nearly as charismatic as Austin or Rock. What I’m saying is she has enough charisma to be over with the fans and it’s not just because she promotes herself as Ric Flair’s daughter. There have been many WWE wrestlers who had fathers or uncles who were big stars in the wrestling business, yet never managed to have nearly the amount of success that Charlotte has had, despite employing their trademarks the way Charlotte does with Ric.
Natalya’s uncle is Bret Hart. Her entrance music is a remix of his theme music, she wears his famous colors of pink and black, and she even uses the sharpshooter. She’s had a respectable career, in my opinion. But she didn’t possess enough “it factor” to warrant stronger pushes. Curtis Axel’s father and grandfather are “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig and Larry “The Ax” Hennig, respectively. His stage name is a combination of their names, he used to use a remix of Mr. Perfect’s theme music, said the word “perfect” in his promos like Curt did, and even uses his perfect plex. He initially got a strong mid card push, gaining cheap victories over Triple H and Cena, and won the Intercontinental Championship, the title his father was famous for holding. However, in time it became clear that Curtis Axel was nowhere near as entertaining as Mr. Perfect, and he soon became a jobber. Ted Dibiase Jr. is the son of the great “Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase, the evil millionaire who thought money ruled everything. Ted Dibiase Jr. used the catchphrase “Priceless”, obviously paying homage to his father, and used a version of the Million Dollar Dream as his finisher. Ted Dibiase Jr. spent a good amount of time as a henchman for Randy Orton in the stable “Legacy”, but after the group was disbanded, he soon found himself at the bottom of the card, very dissimilar to where his father was.
Why has Charlotte Flair succeeded when so many second generation wrestlers whose fathers were major stars have failed, basically doing the same thing she’s done? It’s because she has more to offer than those wrestlers did. She’s charismatic and elicits good crowd reactions, as you can hear many fans yelling “Wooooo!” when she comes to the ring. Charlotte’s 5 ‘10”, which is kind of tall for a woman, and she towers over many of WWE’s women’s wrestlers. She’s muscular for a woman, but not to the point of looking masculine. Size and a good physique have always been important to Vince McMahon. She’s a great athlete for a woman and has a lot of creative moves in her repertoire, some of them only being possible because of her great athletic ability. I wouldn’t say she’s good at carrying lesser workers to great matches, as can be seen by her boring matches with Nikki Bella. But when she works with more skilled workers, like Asuka, Paige and Sasha Banks, she can really shine and certainly carries her end of a very good match. Charlotte’s acting was below average at first, which hurt her promos, but she eventually got the hang of it.
I believe WWE saw these qualities in Charlotte back in NXT and because of that, she was selected long ago to be the on again off again face of the women’s division, seemingly always in the title picture. Much the same way Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins were chosen by Vince to become big stars before they even broke away from the Shield and had real single’s careers. At times there were women’s wrestlers who got bigger crowd reactions than her, yet she was still getting a stronger push than them. This is no different than when Dean Ambrose was consistently getting better reactions than both Roman and Seth for a long time after the Shield broke up. Despite how the fans reacted to Dean, Roman and Seth were the ones who kept getting the spotlight, and Dean had to stay in the upper mid card for a long time because he was not one of the chosen ones.
And while Charlotte was chosen by Vince McMahon, I don’t believe she was chosen because she was Ric Flair’s daughter. That just cannot be the case. Vince has shown time and time again, he doesn’t give any second-generation wrestler any more than an initial opportunity with the company just because their father or uncle was a big star. Scott Putski’s father was Ivan Putski, a star from the WWWF era. And because you probably don’t remember Scott Putski, needless to say he had a brief, underwhelming career. Cody Rhodes was a decent worker with decent charisma, so Vince allowed him to have a decent career as a midcarder in WWE. But he was nowhere near as successful as Dusty Rhodes because he had considerably less charisma. D.H. Smith had nowhere near the career that The British Bulldog had. And while this wasn’t in WWE, this next example shows this isn’t a stance that is specific to Vince. During the Monday Night War, Hulk Hogan had a nephew on the WCW roster, Horace Hogan. While Horace did have the same size and, unfortunately, the same receding hair line as his famous uncle, he did not possess any of the charisma that Hulk Hogan had. Thus, he never main evented a pay per view, was never in the title picture and is remembered mostly as being part of the N.W.O. B-Team. Even Hulk Hogan couldn’t pull strings in the back to make him a star in WCW.
Now I know what you’re thinking. Triple H is now the Vice President of Talent and is close friends with Ric Flair. And because of this, you think Triple H has influenced Vince McMahon to give so much success to Charlotte. This is something I disagree with. While Triple H was always great at influencing Vince McMahon, even before he had an executive role with the company, in some areas Vince is very much set in his ways and can’t be influenced by Triple H, like thinking that Roman Reigns should stay a face, despite being booed so heavily. I doubt Vince is going to change his long running stance on only giving success to wrestlers who either have earned it, or just thinks could be a big star on paper just because Triple H is good friends with Ric. Vince believes in Charlotte.
In May of 2001 David Flair, Charlotte’s half-brother and Ric Flair’s son, signed with WWE and started wrestling in Ohio Valley Wrestling, then WWE’s developmental promotion. In late 2002 David was released from WWE without ever getting a promotion to the main roster. Ric Flair was part of the company at the time and had started an on-screen relationship with Triple H, so it’s fair to assume their real-life friendship had started by that point. As I said before, Triple H was always great at influencing Vince even before he had an executive role, and at the time was dating Stephanie McMahon and was even sitting in on creative meetings. Couldn’t he have persuaded Vince to keep David a part of WWE if he really wanted to? Why didn’t Triple H go to bat for David Flair back then the way he’s gone to bat for Charlotte today? Because Charlotte has qualities that make her much more valuable to women’s wrestling than David was to men’s wrestling. And plus, Triple H is a huge fan of wrestling history. Don’t you think he’d want guys like David Flair, Ted Dibiase Jr., Cody Rhodes, etc. to be main eventers?
Vince McMahon may give someone a roster spot because their father was a big star and think it would be marketable for them to carry on their legacy. But all he does is give an initial opportunity. He won’t give wrestlers sustained success unless they either earn it or he sees something special in them and is persistent on trying to make the fans see it too. If they don’t have the “it factor”, Vince is not afraid to demote them the way he did Curtis Axel. Much the same way Charlotte’s half-brother, David Flair, was released from the company before he even got past developmental. Charlotte has something special to offer and David didn’t.
Charlotte Flair is undoubtedly a Hall Of Famer. She’s had a very successful career in WWE so far, but many critics say she’s been handed everything because she’s Ric Flair’s daughter. This is something I strongly argue against and history agrees with me. So many second generation wrestlers whose fathers or uncles were big stars have fallen flat in WWE because they didn’t have as much to offer to the wrestling business as Charlotte does. It’s just a shame that, in the eyes of many, Charlotte’s WWE career will forever be tainted.
Last edited by AliFrazier100; 05-08-2019 at 01:33 PM.