The name "Ric Flair" conjures memories of extravagant robes, dynamic entrance music, world championships, leg locks and, certainly, "Wooos" for more than one generation of fans. Thanks to Charlotte Flair, his daughter, the same memories will live on with the next generation.
Charlotte is among the most accomplished WWE superstars, capturing 13 women's world championships, two NXT women's championships and winning the 2020 Royal Rumble, among other accolades. She is quickly gaining on Ric's once record-setting 16 world title reigns, one many expect Charlotte to eventually eclipse. According to Charlotte, who will defend her world title at WrestleMania, her success in sports entertainment has deep sentimental value to "The Nature Boy."
"Oh my gosh, he is always crying," Flair told CBS Sports. "That's what it means. Always crying. Oh. You know, I'm his kid. I'm carrying his legacy. I can't imagine what that feels like for a parent."
"My dad never main-evented WrestleMania," she said when asked to compare and contrast their careers. "In ways I want to be like my dad. I wish I had like a quarter of his charisma... He is so unapologetically him and he was from an early age. I'm just now starting to figure that out in myself. He never shied away from who he was."
Check out the full interview with Charlotte Flair below.
Charlotte waves the Flair banner with immense pride, but locking up Figure Eight leglocks was never how she expected to continue her father's legacy.
"I didn't grow up a WWE fan. I didn't grow up a wrestling fan," she said. "Everyone just assumes because my dad is who he is. I didn't get in the business until super late. It's more just about respect. Like when I had my match against Trish at SummerSlam, it wasn't the inner child in me, it was more what Trish meant to the business, and she came back to want to wrestle me, so I have to live up to her expectation. So it's never like a little kid moment. It's more like these moments that cause pressure.
"My dad was my role model. My dad's a wrestler. So my moments that I've learned to have my inner child are through the relationships and the bonding I've made with the talent and what they have shared with me."
Charlotte has only ever competed under the WWE banner, but she actually made her professional wrestling debut for World Championship Wrestling (WCW) at 14-years old. You just have to remind her of that fact.
"I'm going to give you the most honest answer that you're not going to believe. Sometimes I forget that all that stuff happened," Flair said. "I have to be reminded because I played sports my whole life. That was my focus. I was a gymnast from the moment I could walk, then basketball, volleyball, diving, all-star cheerleading. I ended up going to college on a volleyball scholarship. That was just always around.
"Even if you look at Starrcade, you see me, both my brothers and my sister from a young age. It was always around... When I put on Russo in handcuffs, I had to be reminded of that recently. Or when we took a jet. My dad did something in like Atlanta and we stood in the ring or something, I can't remember. My dad, my uncle Arn [Anderson]. I don't remember who was there. I think it was the Four Horsemen. It was some kind of angle. Those little moments, I think because it happened so much and I didn't really have to do anything except standing there. I didn't really think about it."
Flair will defend her SmackDown Women's championship against former UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey in a pivotal match on night one of WrestleMania 38. Flair vs. Rousey is currently scheduled to close out the wrestling portion of Night 1, taking place inside AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Saturday, April 2. Rousey has had a contentious relationship with WWE's vocal portion of fans in the past. Flair argues that segment of the audience should not dismiss how well Rousey has done in her young WWE career.
"I didn't know fans saw her in the wrong way. What percentage of people really say that," Flair said. "If I listen to what people said about me, oof, I wouldn't be here today. First of all, I'm facing Ronda next week. Don't take this as I'm going to bat for her. I'm just saying, you can't knock someone who did something in one year that takes many years and years and years to learn or to grasp. And she did a pretty damn good job in one year. It's just easier to be negative."