WWE Superstar Charlotte Flair is an amazing athlete and tough competitor, who loves to win.
She strives to be No.1, finishing first, and often times does. So placing second is not the goal nor the satisfaction, but still there are two ‘seconds’ that hold a special place in her heart.
Being second generation in pro wrestling to her father, the great Ric Flair, is one of them.
The other is co-authoring with her dad their story “Second Nature: The Legacy of Ric Flair and The Rise of Charlotte” (St. Martin’s Press).
Written with Brian Shields, the autobiography chronicles (first-hand) the legacy of one of the best all-time Ric Flair as well as the rise of one of the best our-time, Charlotte Flair.
“I am honored to be a part of my dad’s legacy and to be able to talk about it in the book,” she said, “and what I think most about the book is I hope it changes someone’s life hearing my story.”
We see the exceptional athlete, the hard working competitor and the beautiful, smart and strong woman, who is already a six-time champion in WWE. The top prize six times since debuting on the main roster in 2015. She wears the Flair name (and robe) with pride, but make no mistake about it. What she is accomplishing is because of what she does and how she does it - not because of that surname.
She is understanding what it takes to be a superstar and a champion. From NXT to Raw and SmackDown, she signs autographs for fans, poses for photos with them and is involved in charity -- all the time smiling and profiling.
She said: “The easiest part was writing about how much NXT means to me and how I’m NXT homegrown, writing about the relationship with The Four Horsewomen, writing about Sara Del Rey, Norman Smiley, Lita, Fit Finlay, especially Dusty Rhodes, and what they meant to my career -- obviously there are many more people -- and my match with Nattie, putting me on the map.”
Charlotte with her father Ric Flair in her corner defeated Natalya Nattie Neidhart with her uncle Bret The Hitman Hart in her corner for the NXT title at NXT TakeOver on May 29, 2014. It marked her first championship in the company.
Even with that, it’s not all been butterflies and pana cakes for Charlotte in her 31 years of existence. There were good times and not so good. She had a nice childhood in Charlotte, N.C. and a loving bond with her family. She noted how she excelled in athletics in school and on the club/travel circuit, but she also revealed some rough times, very rough, like when mom and dad divorced, the passing of her brother Reid and dealing with an abusive husband.
“The hardest part was opening up and writing about my first marriage,” she said. “For so long I was ashamed of my past, and I think that crippled me a lot in having confidence. When I was working with Brian [Shields] on the book -- I had to journal the past two years working on this project -- I literally one day would be like, ‘Oh, I’m not going to add this in there. Oh, I’m not going to add it. I am going to add it. I’m not going to add it.’ It was up-n-down, a roller coaster, but when I decided to commit to sharing my experience and owning who I was, it also helped me therapeutically move forward. I know how far I’ve come, and to be able to share that with others and let them know they’re not alone, their past does not define them, and they can make strides in their personal life, I just hope I change someone’s life.”
Charlotte, a college graduate and former certified personal trainer, is a role model for all, especially girls, teens and young women.
“When I started wrestling and then turned into the Evil Queen, I created this character who I needed in my personal life,” she said. “This woman who is strong, intelligent, confident, empowering. That’s what I needed in my personal life. So to know that I created this character who I looked up, who I wanted to be like when I walk through the curtain, and knowing that I can create this character, bring her to life, be a positive role model for little girls and men and women, it means everything to me.”
For Charlotte, 2016 was a banner year. She was ranked No.1 of the Top 50 women’s wrestlers in Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Female 50 and was also PWI’s Woman of the Year. She and Sasha Banks earned Feud of the Year (men or women). They were the first women to capture that honor. Her match against Banks at Hell in a Cell in October 2016 was the first match featuring women to headline a WWE pay-per-view. They also main evented Raw in a singles match in October and November 2016, a first for a women's match since 2004. They also set a record for a WWE women’s match at “Roadblock: End of the Line” in December 2016 at over 34 minutes.
Charlotte is helping lead the charge of this revolution of the evolution of women’s wrestling. Women main eventing pay-per-views, Raw, SmackDown, NXT. The advent of The Mae Young Classic. The respect afforded them by fans, management and their male peers.
She had plenty to write from experiences inside and outside the ring, a writing process that spanned two years.
Did she get any writing tips from WWE Hall of Famer and New York Times Best Selling author Mick Foley?
“Mick Foley would always be a phone call away from me,” she said. “He means a lot to me and my family, but on this book, I really just worked with Brian [Shields], because I hadn’t opened up to a lot of people about my past. So it was really me journaling for two years and Brian just continuously reading the journal entries and figuring out where to go with my story.
“I journaled on flights. I journaled at home,” she explained. “What I mean by journaling is me on my laptop, typing away randomly. It made me very raw emotionally, but I think that showed in my work, while I was on Raw those two years. I had that epic feud with Sasha. when I first turned heel on Becky [Lynch], and then after WrestleMania 32, winning the new women’s championship and journaling that whole summer about how I felt about things, I think my emotion was coming out in my work. When I had those three pay-per-views with Nattie, turning on my father, I was just very emotionally connected, because [chuckle] I was tapping into so many things that I hadn’t really thought about.”
Charlotte is only 31-years-old, and she will have plenty of career and life to tap into - not out to. (Withstanding tapping out to former UFC champ and possible future pro wrestler Ronda Rousey). Would she be interested in writing another book 5, 10, 15 years down the road?
“I would love to write another book,” she said, “I just wish it has a more happier ending, maybe [chuckle]. No. In [Second Nature], it was definitely a book of triumph, and I think if I have an opportunity to write another one, I would like to write about where my confidence has taken me and not necessarily so much of the hurt and pain but write more about the positive things that are to come, and hopefully one of those in main eventing WrestleMania.”
That would be another first for women in WWE.
“I think [women’s wrestling] is only getting bigger and better,” she said. “I think with the Mae Young Classic, bringing in 30 women from all over the world shows what an impact women have in the company. With that being said -- on the main roster to having bigger storylines and main eventing Raw and SmackDown and Hell in a Cell -- WrestleMania is in our foreseeable future.”
No longer called Divas, they are Superstars, just like their male counterparts.
Charlotte added: “It’s just a matter of delivering on every opportunity that’s given to us.”
And they are.
“Second Nature” (St. Martin’s Press) is on sale online and at book stores.
Go to www.SecondNatureBook.com.
Second Nature Trail
Learning more about Charlotte from the book “Second Nature”
Favorite movies include “Cool Runnings” (about the Jamaican bobsled team) with John Candy and “Ghostbusters” (the original) with the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man. Did she see the remake of “Ghostbusters” with the female cast?
“I never saw the female ‘Ghostbusters,’ but that’s mainly because of my job, not because I wouldn’t enjoy it. I usually fall asleep in movies these days. No lie.”
She loved Back Yard Burgers in Charlotte, N.C.
“My favorite burger was the double bacon and cheddar. My current [training and healthy diet] regimen, though, does not allow [chuckles] for burgers. When I back to Charlotte recently, the one I went to is not there anymore. I don’t even know if Back Yard Burgers exists still. I think the closest thing to a Back Yard Burger would be a Jack In The Box, maybe.”
Charlotte and a WWE alum shared the same Pre-K class at St. Stephens United Methodist Church Preschool in Charlotte, N.C.
In elementary school, Providence Day school in Charlotte, N.C., she brought a WWE Hall of Famer (the actual person, not the pillow buddy) to Show-N-Tell.
She starred in athletics at Providence Day School and Providence High School. She helped the high school volleyball team win two state titles, and she won numerous accolades and awards.
Her favorite subject: Social Studies, learning about people, society and the world (which she now travels).
She received a college scholarship in volleyball to NCAA Division I Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. She later transferred to North Carolina State University where she earned a degree in Public Relations.
She never planned to become a professional wrestler but did get involved in an angle between her father and her half brother David with Vince Russo in WCW.
She is very close to her dad. When he was recently hospitalized, and it didn’t look good, how did she deal with it?
“I had a lot of support from the fans, my friends, my family, and especially the company -- everyone from talent to the higher ups at the office,” she said. “Everyone was reaching out. It just made me realize what counts in life. Having been on TV and being with my dad...I was like, ‘Dad, you didn’t have to get sick for me to take a week off to come visit you in Atlanta. I mean I would have come to Atlanta.’
“It puts life into perspective. I was glad I had the opportunity, and my dad made it. Now we move forward.”
He miraculously recovered, and he cam continue seeing what his daughter has to offer to pro wrestling/sports entertainment.
So far, so very good.
- SECOND NATURE
The Legacy of Ric Flair and the Rise of Charlotte
By Ric Flair and Charlotte
With Brian Shields
St. Martin’s Press
Now On Sale
320 pages, plus one 8-page color photo insert
$25.99 USD / $36.99 CAN
$12.99 USD – E Book
Charlotte is on a book signing tour. For information on getting the book and the tour, go to:
- WWE IN MIAMI
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