I spoke with WWE Superstar Charlotte Flair in the days leading up to her Wrestlemania 32 title defense against Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch. We discussed her upcoming Triple Threat match, the problems taking championship titles though airport security, and her goals for the Women’s Evolution…
• A cage match
• A submission match
• Main eventing a WWE pay-per-view event
• Mixed tag matches
• Updating a championship
Check…check…check…check…check…not bad for two years.
So, what’s next for WWE’s “Queen”? Oh…just a date with someone who hasn’t been pinned or submitted in over two and a half years at this Sunday’s Wrestlemania…
Gordon Holmes: First and foremost, I noticed you had to duck out of last week’s Mixed-Match Challenge match last week, is everything alright?
Charlotte Flair: Yeah, I’m good. I had dental surgery at the last minute and my mouth was too swollen so they kept me off of TV. But I am A-OK.
Holmes: Excellent. And you’re going to be going toe-to-toe with your Wrestlemania opponent Asuka in the Mixed-Match finals.
Flair: I know! Maybe I’ll end that streak on a Tuesday night. (Laughs)
Holmes: And this will be the first time you two have ever squared off in a ring, correct?
Holmes: I’ve been thinking about this, with the Women’s Evolution, there has been a lot of talk about firsts. The first Women’s Royal Rumble, the first Hell in a Cell. With this being Title vs. Streak…this is almost the first “big fight” feel…which, to me, is very rare.
Flair: Like you said, there have been so many firsts. But for me personally, I’ve had so many big matches. But how have we not crossed paths? So, when Asuka won the Women’s Royal Rumble and I was in the ring with her and Alexa Bliss and then Ronda Rousey came out, I was thinking, “I really want Asuka to pick me. That’s who I want at Wrestlemania.” Just the Empress vs. the Queen. Not to sound corny, but it just feels right. It’s the perfect storm. And she has so much respect worldwide and I have such respect for her and her style. She already has a story, with us not even having this long build, it just works. I have the title, she has the streak. Who’s supposed to beat who? It’s two bulls going head to head.
Holmes: Now when you break the streak, either during the Mixed-Match Challenge or at Wrestlemania, what’s the etiquette? Do you buy her a consolation fruit basket?
Flair: (Laughs) I’ll just shake her hand. Because everybody bows down to the queen.
Holmes: It seems like there are a lot of parallels between yourself and Ronda Rousey. You came in with the pressure of being Ric Flair’s daughter. Her coming in as one of the biggest names in MMA. Have you had a chance to talk to her or give her any advice?
Flair: I haven’t seen her since the Royal Rumble, but Ronda didn’t get where she is in UFC without working hard and dedication. I think the only thing that’s different in our industry is the level of entertainment that you have to put behind it. But, she’s already done movies. So, if she can excel at something like that, I know she can do the same here. Having Kurt Angle as a partner, I’m sure he’s given her loads of advice, being an Olympic athlete and making the transition to WWE. I have no doubt in my mind that she’s been in pressure situations. She probably does better under pressure. I hope I get to see her at Wrestlemania and tell her, “You know who you are.” That’s what my dad always says, “Just know who you are when you walk through that curtain because that’s all that matters.”
Holmes: This has kind of been downplayed, but there are four women’s matches at this year’s Wrestlemania. That has to be exciting.
Flair: It is! The Women’s Evolution is full steam ahead! It just shows how important the women are to the company now. Almost every female is on the card. And Alexa vs. Nia, me and Asuka, the mixed-tag match, the battle royal…every one has its own story. There isn’t a throwaway match.
Holmes: You’re one of the flag-bearers for this movement. Have you started mentoring any of the young talents who have come up to help them get to the next level?
Flair: I feel like I still need to get to the next level! (Laughs) Obviously with the Riott Squad I had the chance to face Ruby Riott at Fastlane. And, you want to make the most of every opportunity. And that was an opportunity. And helping talent understand what I didn’t understand when I first debuted was, what’s most important is; how do you make the audience feel? Whether it’s good or bad, whether you’re a good guy or a bad guy, you have to let them know your character. Worry about the match, but connect with the audience whether it’s bad or good. That’s what you’re here to do.
Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Becky Lynch.
Flair: Friend…I would say best friend.
Holmes: Ruby Riott?
Holmes: Sasha Banks?
Holmes: Alexa Bliss?
Flair: (Laughs) “Blister” is what I called her in NXT. (Laughs) She was my little Blister.
Holmes: Nia Jax?
Holmes: Ronda Rousey?
Flair: Awww…but that’s not a word. Sweet.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Asuka.
Holmes: Oh…we didn’t talk about any of the gentlemen and their matches. Real quick, if you could only watch one of the men’s matches, which one would it be?
Flair: AJ and Shinsuke Nakamura. I’ve gotten to know them both really well on Smackdown and AJ is a mentor to me. Shinsuke I love to death and to see their careers come full circle. Knowing what they’re capable of and how good this match is and what it means to both of them…I’m really excited for this match. But, I’m still telling them that Asuka and I are stealing the show.
Holmes: Of course.