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WWE’s botched Charlotte Flair’s heel turn

Drew addressed this in his latest Raw reactions post, but I feel it bears repeating.

Partly that’s because I was so excited for WWE to finally let Charlotte Flair return to playing a villain on their main roster shows. After years of watching them push her as a babyface, when many fans and even at times The Queen herself seemed to want her to be a heel - and when several storylines would have benefited from Flair breaking bad - she returned after WrestleMania 37 as a bad gal.

She did it with a great promo that brilliantly played with the audience’s perception of her. But almost as soon as this new Charlotte push began, it started to go off the rails.

The fault isn’t with Flair’s performance, either (although maybe she always would have come up short in comparison to The Guy on SmackDown who’s thrived after a similarly belated turn). It’s because rather than leaning into the obvious story with Rhea Ripley - where Charlotte uses the advantages she feels she’s entitled to to duck the younger wrestler, and Ripley has to fight to get a chance to avenge her WrestleMania 36 loss to The Queen - they opted to make Rhea’s character as unlikeable as Charlotte’s.

Flair’s “medical update” last night (July 5) was the latest example. Instead of just calling Flair’s bluff (feigning an injury the champ caused with a post-match cheap shot), we get a bad, prolonged scene where The Nightmare proves she can fake being hurt, too. Rhea does get the upper hand in the inevitable brawl, but not before Charlotte corners the champ for a bit and makes her look scared.

Ripley followed that up by going on Raw Talk and yelling at host Kevin Patrick for pointing out she still hasn’t beaten Charlotte. Yeah.

Roman Reigns’ Head of the Table gimmick works for a lot of reasons, but chief (pun semi-intended) among them is because whether Reigns thinks he’s in the right or not, he’s been set opposite challengers the audience knows to be worthy, and noble. There’s a reason Roman quickly moved past Braun Strowman & Bray Wyatt after he returned last summer. Jey Uso made a much better foil for his character.

If I was giving WWE the benefit of the doubt, I’d say maybe they’re telling a story where Rhea learns she can’t lower herself to Flair’s level, and comes out of this feud a better person. But I’ve given them too much rope already with my initial excitement about Charlotte’s turn.

It’s much more likely they’ve just needlessly complicated an easy story with Flairs involvement.

That is something we’ve definitely seen WWE do before.

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