Charlotte Flair discussed her time away from the ring last year, her storyline with her dad and more in a new interview with Sports Illustrated. You can check out some highlights below:
Om her time away from the ring: “It was most beneficial just to decompress and not be on. I left my robe, I left my gear, I left my boots, and just tried to be human instead of being so wrapped up in every second and every moment. I’m always so overcritical of myself. Here’s the thing—if people ever think they’re hard on me, I’m 10 times harder on myself. It took me a few weeks. When you’re so used to that lifestyle and the go-go-go, at first it was like, ‘I don’t need to be somewhere? They don’t need me? The show still goes on?’ I’ve never really talked about this with other performers, so I don’t know if they feel this, but everyone is replaceable to an extent. You know what I mean? There will never be another Charlotte, but there will be a place for another Charlotte … another talent stepping into that position. This division means so much to me, so it was hard to step away. Watching Asuka be the backbone, I thought to myself, ‘I pride myself on being so reliable for this division,’ so it was just a matter of letting go and focusing on the medical things I needed to take care of.
“By the end of my time off, I realized I should have done this a long time ago. I feel like I’m probably in the best shape I’ve been in since I started. And I couldn’t work out for the first nine or 10 weeks, but I was able to eat pancakes and pizza whenever I wanted. I had to stop that a couple weeks before I came back [laughing].”
On if watching Asuka and Sasha Banks while away gave her different perspective of them: “I didn’t necessarily look at it differently. I’ve always believed that everyone who is meant to shine will shine, and that’s exactly what happened. They were incredible. The people who are meant to shine will shine, and they’re exactly where they’re supposed to be.”
On working with Io Shirai and Rhea Ripley as NXT Champion: “Our triple-threat [at TakeOver: In Your House in June] was one of my favorite matches of the year. I want to be selfish and have the opportunity to work with Io more. I also know that, with how Rhea and I finished, our story still isn’t finished. There is a lot more that needs to be told. Whenever that comes full circle, I know it’s going to be a major moment. Rhea and I aren’t done. I had the opportunity to lay the groundwork for two different rivalries with Rhea and Io, and the saga will continue.”
On working with her dad as of late: “It’s funny. In 2015, I was so nervous, like a little stress ball, wanting so badly to prove myself and make it. Not that some of those same things haven’t changed, but I am now in a much more confident place. The camera guys laugh when they see us together backstage, and I’m saying, ‘Dad, you need to be here. You need to do this, right here, stop that!’ [Laughing]. Part of that promo my dad did where he was like, ‘Hey, I know you’re a big star, but I’m a big star, too,’ there was a lot of truth to that. I never thought that we’d be on camera again on opposite sides, so I’m interested to see where the story goes.”