Coming off Survivor Series, WWE reset Charlotte Flair in a way that could reinvent a dynamic performer whose character had grown stale. I lay out what WWE should do with Charlotte Flair heading into WWE TLC, and a way to keep the character fresh and exciting going forward.
“Charlotte Flair snapped!” exclaimed Renee Young as we witnessed what WWE has labeled as a ‘brutal attack’ over Ronda Rousey. “Charlotte’s completely lost it!” Michael Cole stated after we witnessed Charlotte attack Ronda with a series of kendo stick shots, a Natural Selection on a steel chair and attacking officials. “Thank you, Charlotte” chant is heard from the crowd after she stomps on a chair that has been wrapped around Ronda’s neck.
This move effectively turned Charlotte Flair from a face (hero) into a heel (villain), despite the outpouring support of the crowd chanting their thanks and support of Charlotte for what she has done. The move is unexpected and unexplainable. The notion that Charlotte has snapped during this match is valid but would have made more sense had it happened sooner.
Just weeks prior to Survivor Series, Charlotte competed in a Last Woman Standing match with former best friend and current Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch. In a match that tested everything in her, Charlotte came up short. She was the one who could not perform after a count of 10 was established. She was the one who, despite an epic rising from the ashes, or in this case chairs and announcer table, was on the receiving end of a losing battle. That is the moment when she should have completely lost it. Instead, it was the battle with Ronda Rousey that caused the Queen to show the cracks in her armor.
As we learned on the November 20 edition of Smackdown, it was not a one-time occurrence as the cracks were still in her armor. The IIconics decided to interrupt Charlotte after she was assessed a $100,000 fine by Smackdown General Manager Paige for her attack on the WWE officials at the event. She continued the ‘snap’ persona of Charlotte as she defeated Billie Kay in her first match of the night and then faced Peyton Royce in another match before a disqualification was called due to interference. While the women assumed they had the advantage, Charlotte didn’t allow the numbers game to overpower her. On the outside, as the women went to grab a chair, Charlotte recovered and speared both women. In a ‘crazed look’, Charlotte slammed one by one and then both of their heads in a fury of shots against the announcers table. Slamming Billie against the barricade, Peyton into the steel steps before finally tossing both over the announcers table. As they recovered under the desk, Charlotte stood above it. High and tall. With that same look she has displayed since Sunday night. A look that says she is here to destroy, not conquer.
At the Nov. 27 edition of Smackdown, Becky Lynch returned from the legit injury she had and the cat and mouse game between them continued. So much so that Paige set a match between the two women for the SDL Women’s Championship once again, in a TLC match. It will be a first for both and the entire women’s division. It is not met without resistance. It comes from neither Charlotte nor Becky but rather the SDL women backstage. They are tired of seeing Charlotte get a chance and they want their own. Paige arranges for battle royal to see who will be added to the match. The winner ultimately turns out to be Asuka. The very woman Charlotte has defeated on the grandest stage of them all at WrestleMania this very year and ended her undefeated streak. Asuka and Lynch have yet to face one another on the main roster in a one on one match.
The Dec. 4 episode of Smackdown Live airs tonight. I am unaware of what direction they will have Charlotte go in, and what I’m proposing may make no sense once it does, or maybe it will align with the direction WWE intends to go. But let’s be honest, predicting what WWE wants to do when the game plan isn’t as cut and dry as they prefer it, is like trying to force a square into a triangle.
What I would prefer is for Charlotte to continue the ‘crazed’ Queen persona.
It was a piece of commentary from the attack that Charlotte placed on the IIconics that was stated that stuck out to me. For the entirety of her career on the main roster, Charlotte has been a winner. A two-time Smackdown Women’s Champion. A four-time Raw Women’s Champion. The final Divas Championship champion. “Charlotte Flair doesn’t want to win matches, Charlotte Flair wants to hurt people.”
This is the direction Charlotte should go. It’s exactly what the character needs. Charlotte does not need to win another match, she could never have to win another match and her impact would still be felt. She just needs to set out to destroy. Everyone but herself, because she’s already at the stage beyond “repair”. She’s been broken since SummerSlam. Even if WWE hasn’t acknowledged it until the match at Survivor Series. A sadistic, pain inflicting machine reminiscent of a heel Stone Cold Steve Austin (circa early 2001), or a female cerebral assassin ala Triple H is the way to go.
In this business, the old age motto of keep your friends close and your enemies closer has been at the forefront of every friendship. WWE thrives on friends turned to bitter rivals trope. It’s exactly what happened between Charlotte and Becky. The Queen had allowed someone to get close to her. It did not matter that personal experience and experience of her father knew that this was a bad idea. It was sweet and lovable Becky Lynch. Until the moment she felt Charlotte had stolen what was hers. What she had earned. What she deserved. What was meant to finally be her moment.
There will be one more night of an official airing of Smackdown Live before TLC. This is where you set the stage for Charlotte. Instead of the obvious tag match all of the women in the match against 3 other competitors or having them each in a match against someone, allow Charlotte to have a one on one match. It can be any of the women on the roster. Naomi, who she has history with Royal Glow, one of the IIconics again, Sonya Deville, Mandy Rose, Lana, Carmella, etc. The point should be to continue the crazed persona. This time, Charlotte disqualifies herself. She hits them with a kendo stick. Or a chair. Or use a ladder. In the end, Charlotte stands tall. She stands victorious, even if the win doesn’t go to her name. Although, given how Survivor Series turned out, I imagine WWE creative will just set it up so the women have a backstage spot or talk on the mic to avoid risking injury.
Regardless, when TLC rolls around, the objective for Charlotte should be clear. Charlotte is not to win. But Charlotte does determine the outcome. Remember, Charlotte is broken. Charlotte is crazed. Charlotte is setting out to destroy everyone in her path; even if they are unaware of it.
At TLC, Charlotte has the match won. She has the pin over Becky. But she pulls her up. She stops the referee before he can count to three and make it official. Thinking this is an opening, Asuka goes on the defense of Charlotte. She thinks she has the pin and it’s almost a mirror image of how SummerSlam went, without the friendship involved to be broken. But Charlotte does not give up. She kicks out at two while Becky is still recovering. Charlotte finishes off Asuka. She lays Becky’s body over Asuka for the pin. Charlotte takes a step back, goes out of the ropes and yet stands on the ring apron. As the ref has counts to three, Charlotte takes a jump off said ring apron and leaves up the ramp. Becky is in the ring confused but nonetheless grateful for the fact that she gets to hold onto the title she has worked so hard for. Asuka doesn’t lose the match to Becky and Charlotte does not win.
Charlotte heads up the ramp and never looks back. But we see a smirk. We see the Queen pleased with herself and she heads through the curtains. Backstage, in exclusives and interviews, they try to get Charlotte to open up. She does not. The upcoming Smackdown, they try to once again get Charlotte to explain why she helped her former best friend and why she didn’t take the championship back. Charlotte ignores them and goes out for her match. It is another loss but she destroys another woman on the roster. Not enough to bury them but just enough to where we continue to see her destroy everything in her path; whether it was placed there or because she wanted it there.
It is clear to anyone watching – the Queen remains, but she’s a broken Queen. Maybe the Queen we’re used to was left behind when Charlotte was hugged in the ring at SummerSlam before her former best friend attacked her. Or maybe the moment Charlotte emerged from the series of chairs at Evolution is when we missed her.
Or maybe, just maybe, the broken Queen was lost and was only allowed to show herself when Charlotte had something to prove on behalf of her entire locker room. Because proving her own self for the sake of her is one thing. But when you are carrying a brand on your shoulder, a brand that you know did not see you as their number one option, it can cause anyone to snap or lose themselves.
And that’s what Charlotte is trying to do – prove herself to everyone. Or maybe she’s trying to prove herself to…herself. She’s trying to prove that Charlotte is still in control. That the Charlotte that we know is still genetically superior to her competitors. Yet, the battle between Becky and herself forced Charlotte to be a step behind. It forced her to fall back and not have a proper game plan that was nothing more than defense. But in doing so, it opens a door for Charlotte.
‘No man succeeds without a good woman behind him.’ If Becky Lynch is the man, then it is time to allow Charlotte to be the ‘good woman’ behind him while blazing a path that has yet to be explored all her own.