WWE Botched Charlotte’s Split from Ric Flair


Right idea, bad execution on Charlotte’s split from Ric Flair.

WWE needed to separate Charlotte from her father, Ric Flair. That much was evident, but WWE’s execution left a lot to be desired.

Charlotte established herself as a preeminent talent on NXT with only sporadic appearances from The Nature Boy and in that setting, Charlotte was presented as the main attraction not the sideshow for her father’s shtick.

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But since her arrival in the WWE, Charlotte has struggled to effectively make her mark as the major player she’s been positioned as since being called up from NXT. For babyface Charlotte, Flair was a nice addition to the package, but heel Charlotte was never going to find her way or make a genuine connection with the fans as they refuse to boo Flair.

Not that Flair didn’t provide a ton of ammunition having virtually a hand in every Charlotte defense of her WWE Divas/Women’s championship. On Monday Night RAW, Charlotte abruptly dismissed Flair as her manager/second/spotlight stealer.

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It was the right decision, but it didn’t make a lot of sense. Charlotte beat Natalya largely on the strength of Dana Brooke posing as Flair and throughout her title reign, Flair has been the deciding factor in her successfully holding onto the belt. What motivation did Charlotte really have in breaking up a winning formula?

It’s why Natalya should have won the WWE Women’s title at Payback. In addition to giving Natalya some badly needed credibility as a viable threat to win the title whenever she faced the champion over the next two to three years, it would put a chink in the Flair armor. And given Charlotte a reason to question dear ol’ daddy’s worth if his presence at ringside didn’t ensure she would remain champion.

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The Extreme Rules match could have played out mostly the same way albeit with a more creative bit of interference from Brooke than dressing like a bad Flair cosplayer. Charlotte would get the win, but more importantly, she would regain the title thanks to her schemes and didn’t need Flair’s help to do it.

Knowing this was the endgame, the writers, Flair and Charlotte needed to do a better job of foreshadowing this payoff. Let Flair ramble on a bit too long, start waxing nostalgic about what he did when he was the best in the world and show Charlotte visibly annoyed when the fans don’t respond to her Woooos like they do her father.

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Wrestling doesn’t have an offseason so it’s perfectly fine for the writers to use each week in progressively telling a story. This Charlotte/Flair split felt like watching an action movie that skips past the climactic battle to go to the happy ending.

Slowly asserting Charlotte’s independence would have likely aided her obvious discomfort and uncertainty when segments don’t go as well as planned. Flair could have helped her navigate through the transition by guiding her through those moments instead of being a grinning spectator. And maybe in the course of that slow burn, the writers could have done a better job of explaining why Charlotte aligned with Dana Brooke.

If the writers wanted to get real clever, they could have called up Tessa Blanchard. Tessa could have gotten in Charlotte’s ear saying how her father, Tully Blanchard, warned her that Flair was a spotlight-hogger who always kept him in the background and was now doing the same to his own daughter.

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Ultimately, Charlotte has everything to succeed as a major player in the WWE for the next half decade. Cutting the cord from Flair was an essential first step even if WWE bungled the payoff. Now let’s see what Charlotte can really accomplish.