Can WWE Fix the Reported Charlotte Flair Drama?

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistOctober 30, 2021


WWE appears to have a serious Charlotte Flair problem on its hands.

Flair lit the wrestling world on fire with a segment on the October 22 edition of SmackDown that featured her and Becky Lynch swapping titles.

Long background story short, WWE held a draft and the roster changes were about to go into effect, but the women were drafted to opposite brands, meaning they needed to swap titles because they are named after the shows. Yes, it is as silly and ridiculous as it sounds, and the odds anyone would come out of it looking good were essentially zero.

Anyway, Flair didn't appear to go with whatever was scripted and instead dropped Lynch's title on the mat. Sonya Deville, overseer of the whole silly thing, screamed at Flair to pick it up, which she did. Lynch then threw Flair's title at her in disgust.

One could argue this ridiculous thing was all scripted. But WWE was quick to edit a taping of the segment, and according to PWInsider.com (h/t Wrestling Inc's Sai Mohan), Lynch and Flair had a massive confrontation after the show.

Go figure. Flair presumably didn't want to look weak and, in the process, dropped a title on the floor and made another Superstar look bad—both big no-nos—and derailed a planned segment on live television, which is about as big of a no-no as it gets.

According to PWTorch (h/t Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats), there's enough heat on Flair that few Superstars want to work with her. And according to Fightful Select (h/t Ortman), Flair has been outspoken about booking for a while.

So what is WWE to do? The Queen has indeed had miserable booking for a long time. She hot-potatoes title runs endlessly, never looks weak and has had some weird storylines. Her father, Ric Flair, left the company amid some of those weird storylines.

Speaking of leaving the company, Flair's fiance, Andrade El Idolo, did just that in March and now performs for All Elite Wrestling, which continues to gobble up a ton of former WWE stars and is an attractive place to go for proper storytelling, among many other reasons.

So reading between the lines, WWE could punish Flair and maybe worsen the divide to the point she goes and joins a competitor. Or WWE could ignore it, which might signal to other talent that the punishment for derailing a live segment is a slap on the wrist, if anything.

It's an impossible situation for the promotion. Or so it seems.

If, and it's a pretty big if, rumblings are true about Flair's dissatisfaction with booking, then WWE could—wait for it—improve the booking.

This hardly means throw Flair back into main event feuds for titles. Rewarding her for seemingly derailing a television segment with more title runs and shots would send a terrible message too. But maybe the answer is leaning into the drama, blurring the lines between reality and programming and using Flair to prop up the women's division, building up younger stars.

Because let's be honest: Few have the power to build up the next generation of main eventers like a Flair does. Putting over younger talent while outside the title scene and working in some fun character development of a downward spiral that eventually lets her be an underdog in fans' eyes could help many beyond Flair herself.

This sort of feels like the aftermath of that infamous encounter between Seth Rollins and The Fiend when fans were so tired of the former's character that he had to change up everything. Give Flair a character change, let her take some lumps and slowly build her back up while others command the main event scene. It can work—it has for Rollins.

But maybe that's asking too much. Flair has been endlessly booked like a generational talent. Maybe that's the crux of the problem. And perhaps the bridge already had a nuclear warhead dropped on it and it's a matter of time before she's gone.

As always with WWE, though, there's an angle that could see it turn disaster into the start of something special. It just needs the bookers and the Superstar to make it work.

Whether WWE and Flair can fix it doesn't just have those factors at stake, either. We're talking about Flair's legacy here. If this is how it ends, it spoils everything that came before it. And allowing it to get to that point would be one of the most damning insights into WWE's process and booking. Don't forget the possibility of her going on to strengthen an already red-hot competitor that's showing no signs of slowing down.

To the WWE fanbase's credit, they would embrace WWE leaning into this and doing something totally different with Flair that props up other Superstars. But it's up to WWE and Flair to make it work, and whether that happens is as unpredictable as anything in this wild wrestling world.