In a new interview with Sporting News, SmackDown women’s champion Charlotte Flair discusses her journey to the main event of WrestleMania, and the importance of what that moment means for women everywhere. Flair also reveals her initial reaction when she found out she’d headline, her father, legendary superstar Ric Flair’s reaction. She also puts over Asuka as a staple of the women’s division. Highlights are below.
GETTING THE OFFICIAL WORD THAT SHE’D MAIN EVENT:
It’s one of those things that I had been saying during a couple of interviews that I’m going to main event WrestleMania — whether it’s in five years, this year, next year — so, when I found out, it was just a rush of emotions. You’re saying something and you’ve proven it to the universe and it finally happened. All I wanted to do is text everyone who had been a part of my journey and who helped me get to where I am. I was emotional and I wanted to text [trainers from the WWE Performance Center] Sara del Rey, Fit Finlay and Norman Smiley and the production crew. This has been a collective effort from all the women from the past and the present and we’re hopefully paving the way for the future of the rising stars of NXT. This means absolutely the world to me and I feel like it truly is my destiny.
WHAT THE MOMENT MEANS FOR WOMEN EVERYWHERE:
Yes, there’s been a women’s movement around the world, with the women’s soccer team, with women like Serena Williams and you’re right … this wasn’t something forced. It was something very organic. In 2015, when the #GiveDivasAChance hashtag trended for three days, WWE listened to the audience and gave us opportunities, but had we not delivered time and time again and proving that the audience was connecting with the female stars on an individual level, I do not think we’d be here today.
RIC FLAIR’S REACTION:
My dad is my biggest fan, my biggest supporter, my best friend. He truly understands what it has been like in the journey, with the ups and downs and helping me every day in how to get better, what I need to do to get better, what I did to get here. He’s been so connected with what it has taken me to get here that … he just said, ‘You deserve it and you did it all on your own.’ He emphasizes that every single day that ‘You did this all on your own. This has nothing to do with me.’ And just, ‘I’m proud of you.’
THOUGHTS ON ASUKA:
Here’s the thing — last year, when I wrestled Asuka to break her streak at WrestleMania 34, all I could think about is making her proud. I mean, she’s wrestled all over the world. She had this incredible streak that no one had seen in the history of the business. So, for me, wrestling her … everyone had so much hype for this match, so it was really living up to the expectations and cementing my legacy. And then, obviously, having the title match out of nowhere with her [on SmackDown last month], in my opinion, will only open up more doors for people to see the magic that Asuka and I could make and that’s the bigger picture.