Already a WWE Icon, Charlotte Flair's Queendom Stretches Well Beyond the Ring

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterJune 29, 2018

Credit: WWE.com

If you want to see the artistry of a moonsault, a lean athlete flipping in the air with a blend of grace and violence, check out Charlotte Flair in action on WWE SmackDown Live any Tuesday night.

More and more, though, sightings of The Queen aren't limited to the ring. As her star grows, one can see Flair's peacock swagger, her hearty smile and her larger-than-life aura in a number of other arenas. The ring ropes can't contain her; she's bound to make an impact beyond suplexing her foes on to the mat.

Flair's appearance in the 2018 ESPN the Magazine Body Issue is a prime example of that.

Flair joined recent NFL draftee Saquon Barkley, Houston Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel and others in stripping down, and she became the first WWE Superstar to do so while with the company. It's an honor she had trouble processing at first.

"I was like, 'Are you sure? I'm really going to be in it? This is happening?'" she told Bleacher Report.

She had long admired the competitors who posed for the magazine, and here she was set to be a part of it herself. The girl who won high school state volleyball championships in North Carolina was now sharing the same pages as a Super Bowl champion, Olympians and All-Stars.  

"It was a bucket list dream of mine," Flair said. "I've always been a big fan of the Body Issue. Growing up as an athlete and having a very athletic body, I was always able to relate to them and look up to the athletes who posed for it. The message is: strong is sexy. And we all come in different shapes and sizes."

The invite to the Body Issue offered Flair a chance to be an ambassador for WWE, for pro wrestling and for the women's division. She is having to get used to this kind of opportunity more regularly. Another one is headed her way Sunday, when the Special Olympics USA Games kick off in Seattle. WWE will be there in a big way with several Superstars making appearances.

The former Raw and SmackDown women's champion will walk alongside Team Florida during the Opening Ceremony, speak at the Coaches Rally and serve as the social media ambassador for the ESPN | Special Olympics Unified Sports Challenge

Flair isn't sure what the social media gig entails yet, but she is looking forward to it. 

"I'm honored to have the opportunity to see these athletes who are performing at the highest level and taking a chance, just to support them," she said. "We have so much support as WWE Superstars. Now I get the chance to cheer them on."

Even in her outside-the-ring endeavors, Flair has still brought wrestling with her. When she played Heather Rockrear in Psych: the Movie in 2017, for example, she got to kick as much ass as she does on a nightly basis in the squared circle. As one of the movie's villains, she smashed her fellow actors through tables in one fighting scene.

Flair had to be cognizant of how heavy-handed she was during each take on set.

"I had to make sure I wasn't going full out on my punches," Flair said. "When I was doing Becky [Lynch's] armbar—the Dis-Arm-Her as a shoutout to her—I had to be sure not to crank it really hard."

Flair said it was an odd experience working without an audience, especially as a rookie actor with experience limited to delivering WWE promos and playing up the pain she felt in the ring. 

"I'm only used to live performances," she said. "The crowd always lets you know whether they are into it or not."

Leading man James Roday assured her she would do just fine.

"He said, 'You're basically Charlotte,'" Flair said. "'You're just a badass henchwoman, and you're wearing all black.' I thought, 'I can do that.'"

Flair looked right at home on the screen, inexperience and all.

More movie roles are sure to follow. The presence she's developed in WWE will help her follow The Rock, Batista and John Cena's lead and make her mark as an actor. When listing her goals in and out of the ring, she talked of being a part of a major Marvel or DC movie.

"I'd love to be an action hero," she said.

Watching her fend off an attack from The Riott Squad or fly off the top rope to crash into Carmella, it's not hard to imagine Flair doing just that. 

There's a lot to accomplish between the ropes, though, before she shifts her focus to non-WWE ventures. For one, as she continues her evolution as a WWE performer, she strives to improve on the verbal side of things. She wants to be looked at in the same light as her famous father did as a talker.

"My dad was just so charismatic and witty," Flair said. "One day, I hope people say that I was just as good as my dad on the mic in my own way. I will never be saying 'Space Mountain' or 'limousine riding,' but I hope people say I can control an audience, that I was as captivating as him."

The Queen also has more tangible items on her checklist.

The second-generation Superstar wants to collide with Banks, Lynch and Bayley in a Fatal 4-Way match as they did in NXT. She wants to enter the Royal Rumble and eventually serve as general manager on one of WWE's weekly shows.

And as she has made clear in the past, Flair is determined to be the headline act for WWE's version of the Super Bowl.

Will Charlotte Flair main event WrestleMania?
Will Charlotte Flair main event WrestleMania?Credit: WWE.com

"I want to main-event WrestleMania," Flair said. "For the women to main-event, all I think it's going to take is the right storyline."

That's no pipe dream. Flair vs. Ronda Rousey would be worthy of that spot. In fact, a good number of the potential scenarios wherein the women's division makes history by going on last at WWE's biggest show would include Flair.

The WrestleMania marquee is reserved for marquee stars. She has proved herself to be that in WWE. And more and more, her stardom is stretching beyond the mat and into the mainstream.

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