WWE star Charlotte Flair discusses SummerSlam, Becky Lynch chants and social media trolls
WWE star Charlotte Flair is one of the most decorated wrestlers in history, winning multiple world titles while entertaining fans around the world. She will be competing Saturday for the Raw women’s title against Rhea Ripley and Nikki A.S.H. in a Triple Threat match at the SummerSlam pay-per-view in Las Vegas. She talked about a variety of topics during a recent phone interview.
Q. You’re in a Triple Threat match at Summerslam. Do you prepare for that differently than you do when you are in a match with one other person?
Flair: I’ve been very fortunate to have many Triple Threat matches in my career, so it’s something I’m very prepared for. Although being the bad guy, I almost feel like it’s double hard for me, because Nikki and Rhea will be focusing on me while I have to focus on both of them.
Q: When you’re standing backstage waiting for your music to hit, what’s going through your mind?
Flair: I think it’s like “Oh man, I’ve got to go out there and be the queen today.” When I’m out there, something takes over, but when I’m in gorilla position [what wrestlers call the backstage position], I’m wondering how do I get to that place because I’m so nervous still. And then something happens when I hear my music and walk through that curtain. It’s a switch I guess you could say.
Q. I’m guessing having fans back helps a lot too.
Flair: Oh my gosh. I was so nervous, excited for Money in the Bank. I usually walk out cold with my mannerisms, but at Money in the Bank I couldn’t hide how happy I was to see everyone in the stands. I was smiling ear-to-ear instead of scowling.
Q. It seems fans save the “Becky Lynch” chants for your matches. Just watching as a fan, on one hand it’s cool to hear the chants, but on the other hand, it seems a little disrespectful to the people in the ring. How do you feel about it?
A. Given our history, and it’s been two years since our feud, everything happened when she turned on me at SummerSlam a couple of years ago. So I think it’s natural for fans to do that and it doesn’t make sense to do it to anyone else.
Q. Does it bother you?
A, No, I like it because it allows me to play back with them. And realize, if they aren’t reacting at all, that’s bad. It gives me a chance to play and have a cheeky line. At Money in the Back, I may have gestured to the audience, but that was more like “Don’t be disrespectful to Rhea Ripley. This is your first night back and do not do that and you are going to enjoy the show and don’t do that to her.” And by the end of the match they were chanting “This is awesome.” Rhea and I have never had the chance to dance in front of a live audience. That was our first time to really show them how great this rivalry has become.
Q. I was at Survivor Series a few years ago when you were wrestling Ronda Rousey. During the match, a kendo stick comes out. How do you mentally prepare and what is it like to get hit full force with a kendo stick?
A. All credit for that match goes to Ronda Rousey. That’s how tough she is. She took one for the team and completely let me crush her. And you can’t prepare for it. That’s why she’s so tough. That was all her, not me.
Q. When you came back recently from some time off, it seemed like 90% of the fans on social media just wanted to talk about “She looks different. She had this done” or “She had plastic surgery.” But when a guy like Randy Orton comes back, it’s “Great, Randy Orton is back!” I follow a lot of wrestlers on Twitter, and the comments female wrestlers get compared to male wrestlers is like night and day. What is your advice to young girls and women out there on how to deal with the worst parts of social media and how do you deal with it?
A. Two things. So, I was really hurt by the social media criticism when I returned because I came back in the best shape of my career. Because I had lost 20 pounds, people assumed things. I made a point to come back in the most incredible shape ever. And it was really the first time since 2015 that I had been away for a significant amount of time. In terms of social media, it’s a day by day thing. I always have to remind myself that it’s easier to be negative than positive. It’s easier to hide behind a keyboard. And someone that is putting someone else down for their physical appearance already must hate themselves to some degree. So you have to feel sorry for them that they do that to themselves. That’s the only way that I can deal with it. I say to myself, “Why are you in such a bad place to feel that about me.” In terms of negativity, I pick and choose my shots, try not to respond, because they want the shout out, the want the notoriety, they want the attention. It’s so important to not get negativity life. Just rise above it, wear that invisible crown, hold your chin high, and don’t let the crown slip.
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