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Call her The Nature Girl or a Genetically Superior Athlete — but whatever you call Charlotte Flair these days, one thing’s for sure: The Queen has staked out a sensational WWE career all her own, one that’s stepped well outside the enormous shadow of Ric Flair, her WWE Hall of Famer father.
Thanks to Flair’s recent win over Ronda Rousey for a record-setting 6th SmackDown Women’s Championship, there’s no name hotter in the WWE right now than The Queen. Plenty of fans walked away from her WrestleMania 38 win filled with speculation over how it all could’ve gone differently — but then again, that’s just another way of saying Flair will stay firmly planted in the middle of all the intrigue as she and Rousey get set for an "I Quit" rematch at WrestleMania Backlash on May 8.
There’s a ton of pent-up drama leading up to that face-off, potentially elevating a Flair-Rousey rematch into what could become the most talked-about event of the night. But for anyone who’s followed Flair’s career, drama is just part of the wildly entertaining package. To tide us over ‘til then, here’s a look back at five of The Queen’s most career-defining moments.
1. Making WWE History At WrestleMania 32
No spotlight on women’s wrestling had ever been brighter than the one that shone on the coming-out party that was WrestleMania 32, and at the end of an epic 2016 night in Texas, The Queen had the spotlight all to herself.
Teeing off in a triple-threat bout alongside Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch, Flair did much more than walk away with a new title. She made WWE history as the Superstar who put the final finishing move on the outgoing Divas championship series, ushering in the new WWE Women’s Championship era as its first-ever winner.
Triple-threat matches are always epic, but this one took things up an extra notch: When things got down to the wire and it looked like Flair had Lynch locked down for the win, it was none other than Ric Flair who made sure Banks stayed out of the way, giving his offspring all the runway she needed to pin down one of the biggest “Wooo!” moments of her career.
2. Headlining WrestleMania 35
Along with Ronda Rousey and eventual winner Becky Lynch, all eyes were on Flair in 2019 when WWE shook things up with the first-ever WrestleMania main event where women took the top billing.
The winner-take-all hype meant way more than just an achievement for the record books. At the time, these three were at the height of a headline-stealing feud going all the way back to Rousey’s then-recent entrance into the WWE arena, as a first-time Raw women’'s title winner the summer before. Flair and Lynch, meanwhile, were deep in the middle of a very public squabble stemming from Flair’s triple-threat SmackDown defeat of defending champion Carmella at the 2018 SummerSlam.
When the dust finally settled, Lynch had won the match — but all three notched one big “W” when it comes to grand-slam storylines worthy of a headlining act. And the lasting fallout from WrestleMania 35 laid a ton of behind-the-scenes narrative groundwork, ensuring Flair would remain at the center of some of the WWE’s most intriguing unresolved grudges.
3. Crushing The Main Event Triple Crown
If you’re picking up on a history-making theme here, there’s a good reason: Flair’s career has been defined by tons of major WWE “firsts,” and few were as huge as the 2017 rumble that set her apart as the first female wrestler ever to headline the tantalizing trinity of big-ticket singles events: pay-per-view, Raw, and SmackDown.
In an epic title bout that Flair narrowly lost to reigning SmackDown Women’s champion Naomi, Flair still notched another coronation as WWE royalty with her singles title appearance, becoming the first female Superstar to compete in all three formats. Scores get settled in the ring in the WWE, so it’s super-rare to buy into the idea that anyone — even The Queen — can walk away with a moral victory.
But even in defeat, Flair’s 2017 SmackDown showing marked a defining moment in women’s wrestling, and it came at the end of a ridiculously bruising match gauntlet; one that had already seen her inside the WWE Hell in a Cell… not to mention beating out Sasha Banks for the 2017 Raw Women’s Championship.
4. Taking Out Ronda Rousey Head-To-Head
Yep, that just happened — and we mean, like, just happened. Flair held on to the SmackDown women’s title at WrestleMania 38 earlier this month, and the win came against Ronda Rousey — in recent years perhaps the biggest obstacle (alongside Becky Lynch) standing between Flair and unfettered world domination. Finally taking a straight head-to-head against Rousey when everything was on the line, this match came with plenty of controversy to keep the competitive flame smoldering until the two have their shot in May at another high-stakes face-off.
It’s probably fitting that Flair’s big win had a handful of razor-thin escapes, the kind of oh-no, heart-stopping moments that froze fans to the edge of their seats. A three-count with Flair on the mat would have ended the match, but she was saved when the referee spotted Flair’s leg on the rope. Then, what would’ve been a Flair tapout fell by the wayside when the ref — busy recovering from a nasty accidental spear — simply wasn’t there to count it. He was back on point, though, when the momentum quickly shifted Flair’s way, putting the match on ice for good with a perfect boot to Rousey’s noggin.
5. Battling Ronda Rousey To An Epic DQ
This year’s SmackDown win wasn’t the first time Flair had gone head-to-head with Ronda Rousey: That honor goes to 2018’s Survivor Series, with a bonkers one-on-one match in which Flair unleashed some of the gnarliest tricks in the WWE playbook. Needless to say, it was her way of rudely introducing the UFC crossover Superstar to the hard-knocks world of professional wrestling, and it only deepened fans’ frenzied approval of The Queen’s knack for eye-popping tactics.
No one had ever seen Flair snap quite like this before. The fight started out like a classic in the making, bringing the feel of two lion-hearted titans willing to trade well-timed blows for the full count… or, at least, things looked that way until Flair, frustrated at facing an opponent who just wouldn’t stay down, decided to go full beast mode. The Queen knew full well that she’d yeet her chances at a clean win by going wild on Rousey — first with a kendo stick, before stepping things up with a steel chair — but by that point, there was just no stopping her.
Once she veered the fight into self-sabotaging disqualification territory, Flair rewrote her own story in fans’ minds as a fierce contender who wouldn’t hesitate to get ruthless. The weapons-wielding antics, of course, cost her the match on a disqualification. But they also elevated her savage street cred with fans, while simultaneously giving future challengers a bone-crunching reminder that this is one Superstar whose line you definitely don’t want to cross.
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