During an interview with WWE’s UK broadcasting partner BT Sport to promote Survivor Series, SmackDown Women’s champion Charlotte Flair addressed the criticism she receives for her position in the company.
“Yes, it obviously does rub people the wrong way. But if I was a man would it rub people the wrong way? I mean, no one ever looks at a man and goes, ‘Why does he want to be the World champion again?’ Or, ‘He’s been on top all these years.’ Is it because I’m a woman? Because I’ve done it all, because we have a smaller division? Why?
“What — ‘Charlotte’s difficult.’ Why, is it because I stood up for myself, because I stand up for what I believe in? That makes me difficult? But if I was a man, I’d have big balls, right? No, I know how good I am. Man or woman, I’m the best... no, but really, is it because I’m a woman?
“That’s what — so, I’m just supposed to come this far to come this far and be like, ‘Alright, yep, take my spot. All these years of hard work, please, just take it.’ No. If you’re gonna take it, take it. But you’re gonna have to take it from me.”
As with all things pro wrestling/sports entertainment, and especially with Flair’s on and off-screen stories, it’s important to remember that one of Charlotte’s goals in this interview is to sell her fictional character and the matches that character takes part in. The closing lines in particular do a good job of that.
Whether she’s playing her role throughout her chat with BT Sport is open to speculation, however. The criticism Flair’s asked about is real, and has come from both fans & other WWE characters. To whatever extent her answer is coming from Ashley Fliehr, it’s not unassailable. While some complaints about her 13 title reigns are rooted in sexism (like racial bias, gender bias is so engrained in human society that even the most diligently neutral people’s thoughts or actions are influenced by it at times), there are men like Hulk Hogan and John Cena who’ve been in similar positions, and heard the same objections. It’s not strictly because she’s a woman.
Her opponent at Sunday’s PPV agrees, but we also can’t know whether this is Becky Lynch, Rebecca Quin, or some mix of the two.
No one on our roster acts like this, man or woman. Gender ain’t the issue here. https://t.co/YtbiZLVvrr— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) November 16, 2021
Lynch has reached a place in the company and the business where there are those who are “rubbed the wrong way” by her success, too. There are those who blame the Raw Women’s champ for the unscripted scene we saw play out between her and Flair on the Oct. 22 SmackDown.
It leaves a lot of room for debate, as these “work or shoot” situations always do. Normally, that’s great. Here, it’s a bit of a bummer, because whatever part of this is real involves a broken friendship and no small amount of bitterness & bad feelings.
But the show must go on, so it’s on to the next interview, and Survivor Series.