The conversations surrounding Charlotte Flair seemingly never change. Regardless of her performance, there feels like an immovable cynicism to Flair’s fate. Her opportunities are debated, her position questioned. That’s a debate that frankly, doesn’t need revisiting but considering Charlotte’s recent handling on WWE TV, its relevance is obviously rather clear. With that being said, Flair has been on a journey of her own. Over the last 3 and a half years, Charlotte has evolved tremendously in front of our very eyes, visibly developing while on the biggest stages imaginable.
Regardless of any fan’s view on the circumstances, Flair’s performance as of late has made that progress clearer than ever. For well over a year, Charlotte was SmackDown’s central female protagonist, a traditional babyface that the division was understandably built around. During that time, many felt that Flair was miscast in the role, a lesser version of the villain that had once been so pivotal to the RAW division’s heights. There’s likely some truth to that perception but either way, this latest presentation feels like Flair’s finest yet.
With more personality and confidence than ever before, Charlotte has recently looked particularly at home. This entitled, smug persona is a great fit and Flair is embracing the heat that comes with it, smiling at the disapproval and responding with an arrogance befitting of her situation. As of late, Flair has been presented as the clear corporate choice, leaning into a critique that’s followed her whole career. At this point, the narratives about Flair are established and unfortunately, her immense body of work will likely have to wait for its warranted admiration.
Considering that, Flair’s job is obvious. While her on-screen portrayal embraces that negativity, Charlotte must continue to embrace her own steady improvement. The debate will rage on but in truth, Flair’s recent performances are hard to argue against. Two years ago, Charlotte’s in-ring consistency took an obvious leap, creating magic alongside Sasha Banks and elevating the division as a result. Her work with Bayley continued that progress, establishing another Horsewomen cohort and soon departing the flagship brand as well.
At that point in time, Flair’s prolific performances were rightly celebrated. She’d delivered in the spotlight and proven her worth, becoming one of WWE’s most valuable performers and silencing many of her critics too. However, things soon changed. Moving to SmackDown for her aforementioned babyface stint, Flair’s arrival was greeted by a pivotal chain of events. After initially looking set for an obvious clash with brand titleholder Naomi, Flair’s ‘turn’ instead took center stage. The route to that point wasn’t smooth either, altering the division’s whole fabric along the way.
Among ardent fans, that almost rebuilt some resentment. A title scene once built on a new approach with fresh faces, Flair’s presence had changed that, making its totem pole more obvious and effecting Naomi’s title reign as a result. None of this was Flair’s fault of course but for detractors, that rarely makes a difference. Charlotte is the face of those moves and for most fans, that’s enough to make her culpable. From a performance point of view, Flair’s output also admittedly took a hit.
This isn’t a matter of pointing fingers but I think it’s undeniable that with this new group, Charlotte’s potential dance partners weren’t quite of the caliber that had allowed her to thrive on RAW. It’s always easy to forget that Flair herself was and is still learning. This is a performer still relatively fresh to her profession and one that becomes more poised with each outing. Considering that, this role was a new challenge for Flair and while she certainly didn’t fail, it didn’t reproduce the critical heights that had established her among the elite.
Either way, Flair rose to the occasion when it mattered most, putting on a WrestleMania thriller opposite Asuka. That match was a reminder of Charlotte’s ceiling, a unique ability to feature in dramatic, enthralling title tilts that frankly, take your breath away. However, the famed result of that match was a huge portion of the story, with Flair’s victory only furthering the perception surrounding her status as ‘the chosen one’ so to speak. Well, that feeling finally came to the fore last summer, with Flair suddenly standing in the way of a red hot Becky Lynch.
The rest of that story is already etched in history and if you’re reading this, I’d imagine that at this point, your opinion is very much established. Though often criticized by some of wrestling’s more avid fans, Charlotte had remained a mostly popular figure among live crowds. When briefly presented as the hero opposite Lynch though, that aforementioned resentment was reignited in more passionate fashion than ever. Fortunately, creative adjustments were made and Flair did what she’s always done, she simply got better.
Regardless of the audience’s reaction, Flair consistently delivered when paired alongside Lynch, with the pair most famously producing a monumental effort at the historic Evolution event. Her personality continued to emerge as well, with the rivalry visibly helping Flair’s promos along the way. Now once again the antagonist, it’s suddenly undeniable that perception aside, Charlotte Flair is in the midst of her absolute peak. Learning on the job is no easy task but under the brightest spotlight as well as the greatest scrutiny, Charlotte Flair has become great.
Inside the ropes, Flair’s prior heights have returned and frankly, she’s arguably improved on them as well. As a character though, Flair’s never appeared more believable. There’s a palpable comfort and confidence to her now. This isn’t someone forcing an act but instead, a star that seemingly believes every word coming out of her mouth. Presence has never been an issue for Charlotte but as of late, she’s been projecting a whole new level of star power in my view.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion and when it comes to Charlotte Flair’s WrestleMania status, no one's been hesitant to share theirs either. However, at this point in time, any questions surrounding Flair’s quality seem rather misplaced. Over the last three years, Flair’s shoulders have handled an unprecedented degree of pressure and though this journey hasn’t always been a smooth one, she's become a better performer for it. Her route there may be up for debate but in truth, Flair’s qualifications as WrestleMania headliner are frankly undeniable.
First though, Charlotte heads to Fastlane, taking on her famed rival Becky Lynch in one final stop before Ronda Rousey and WrestleMania. Her participation may remain up for debate but when ‘the grandest stage of them all’ arrives, I think her impact will quickly become clear.
Charlotte Flair is great. We either embrace that now or do so later but at this point, her body of work speaks for itself.