Though retired from in-ring action, professional wrestling legend Ric Flair is never far from the WWE these days. Not only is he on a legend's contract with the company -- he makes promotional and televised appearances to promote the product -- but Flair's daughter, Charlotte, is currently the WWE divas champion, and he's been by her side quite a bit on television.
With WWE looking to give a major push to its women's title match ahead of the company's Survivor Series pay-per-view on Sunday, Charlotte and her opponent, Paige, were booked for the main event of Monday Night Raw this week. And the showdown, which was played off as a contract signing, included a moment that's had fans buzzing since -- Paige utilizing the untimely death of Charlotte's then-25-year-old brother Reid (due to an apparent heroin overdose less than three years ago) to further their storyline.
While it is certainly not the first time that WWE has used real-life issues to inject tension and passion into storylines, considering the circumstances, the company has been under a lot of heat for the creative decision.
That fervor continued this week when Ric Flair, Charlotte's father, opened up about the angle; he noted that he was never consulted about the decision and watching it unfold live on television hurt him deeply.
"I never heard a word about it. I started crying while I was watching it," he said. "Nobody called me and nobody's called me today. That would indicate that they just assume that's good."
That statement came after Flair spent an extended period of time explaining the situation and how he needed to stay reserved in addressing the situation -- as not to rile up WWE executives or potentially hurt his daughter's future with the company.
"Here's the problem: I obviously have an opinion, but I'm afraid to voice it, because I don't want anything to affect [Charlotte's] career. I would just say I know that Hunter [Triple H] and Stephanie [McMahon] and Michael Hayes have her back," he began. "You know, I think if anything that could be considered a negative, I don't think she feels like she's comfortable enough to say no to anything yet. She's only been up there three months. It's a pressure cooker and a tough spot to be in. Even though she's the champion, it doesn't mean that she goes, 'Hey, this is what I want to do and what I'm not going to do.' I think if you're asked to do something, that's pretty much the way things operate up there."
Flair, who just came back from Europe while traveling with WWE, continued: "One person approves everything. ... I really don't want to have an opinion. I was very sensitive to it, obviously, because it's a very sensitive issue and it's new. I know her mom is on fire, but I can't just go out on a limb and say what I think."
Flair went on to say that the televised interaction was "intense," though if he was a fan unattached to the emotion of it, he still would not have enjoyed hearing that line. He called the pull-apart brawl "as good as Brock Lesnar and [The Undertaker]" and referred to his daughter's promo as maybe "the best I've ever seen from a woman or diva all-time. She was on fire."