The Biography series on A&E, in partnership with WWE, has done a decent job of toeing the line between stories of interest and WWE infomercials. Tonight’s episode, featuring the very much in-progress career of Charlotte Flair, felt more like a WWE Network show than any of the previous entries have. There’s some interesting stuff, certainly, but it’s just too soon to give Charlotte Flair a Biography-style retrospective.
We open, naturally, in Charlotte, NC, in 1986 when Charlotte was born into the famed Flair family. She wrestled with her brother Reid in the living room, seen with some home video footage, then travelled around with her father Ric for wrestling, sitting front row for his matches but never having a notion of entering the business herself.
Rather, she dominated other athletics like gymnastics and especially volleyball, all the while keeping an interested eye on the women wrestlers she saw while going on tour with her dad. When she was front row at Ric’s retirement match at WrestleMania, though, she was finally overwhelmed by the love and respect she saw directed at her father, and not long after in 2012 she was in Tampa training in Florida Championship Wrestling.
Trainers Sara Amato and Norman Smiley recall Charlotte’s issues with promos coming off as over-thought and stiff, and with footage of her first attempts it’s as plain as day to us as well, but they also spotted her natural athleticism and willingness to learn all that she could. Her brother Reid, who had dreams of being in the WWE as well but was battling addictions, died due to an overdose in 2013 just as Charlotte was finding her feet in the ring, landing feelings of guilt in her as she lived the dream that he wanted, too.
Taking the advice from Dusty Rhodes to move forward, she excelled through the transition from FCW to NXT, winning the Women’s Championship and aligning herself with Bayley, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch before arriving on Monday Night Raw. Not slowing down, she wins the Divas Championship in September of 2015 and it all keeps going up from there.
With Ric acting as her manager, she forces herself to own more of her own character in order to not simply fall into his shadow. Winning the newly-minted WWE Women’s Championship, she embarks on a publicity tour just as Ric suffers serious health issues, but she finds her way through the uncertain times by working hard and continuing to win titles.
Some of the most interesting material in the show has her opening up about her ever-present struggles with self-confidence, which she says comes to play when she’s still recognized as Ric Flair’s daughter and not for her own accomplishments. It’s also based in how she perceives her own body and how others critique it. She speaks of getting her first breast augmentation surgery at twenty years old as a way to try and improve how she felt about herself, and that it took a long time to believe in herself for her innate qualities and strengths.
Ric calls her the greatest professional wrestler he’s ever seen, while Charlotte says it annoys her when he says that. Still, she thinks she can get to that point and truly believes she’s just getting started. She talks about meeting Manny Andrade in 2018, and how he has constantly supported her through to their marriage in 2022. The show closes with Charlotte visiting Reid, who is never far from her thoughts, and hoping that someday she’ll hear “Woos” in the crowd that she knows belong to her and not her father.
Charlotte has an interesting story to tell, and when it comes time to look back upon a longer life and career, it will be better told. Until then, this episode is best for Charlotte Flair fans.
- Slam Wrestling’s Ric Flair, Charlotte Flair and family story archive
- Slam Wrestling’s WWE on A&E archive