In a continuation of last week’s WWE.com interview, NXT Diva Charlotte discusses why she decided to finally pursue wrestling, her athletic background and the pressure that comes with being the daughter of wrestling legend Ric Flair.
Did her father push her to try wrestling?: It was something he always said I would be phenomenal at, but not something he pushed. Dad always pushed me to pursue college sports and a degree. He said wrestling would always be there. When I finally told my dad I wanted to give it a go, he said, “OK, kid, let’s get you in ring shape.” I’ll never forget the first day I hit the ropes with my dad and little brother. He’s always believed in me, no matter what I wanted to do.
Being athletic from childhood: I really have tried it all. My parents put me in gymnastics at a very young age, and I competed until the 7th grade. My favorite events were vault and floor. As I got taller, my parents wanted me to make a decision. Dad wanted me to start basketball and volleyball, while my mom wanted me try competitive cheerleading, so I did them all.
From 7th to 9th grade, I was on an all-girls senior squad for the Charlotte All-Stars. In my two years with them, we won three national championships. While cheering I was also playing basketball and volleyball. Dad would send me to Nike camps during the summer because that was an off-season for all-star cheerleading.
[During] my junior year of high school, I verbally committed to a Division 1, full-ride volleyball scholarship to Appalachian State University as an outside hitter. I ended up graduating from North Carolina State University with a degree in Communications. While growing up, I also took tap, ballet, diving and little league softball.
Why she finally chose to pursue wrestling: I was personal training at the time and had been doing it for two years. I’ve always been competitive, and when the opportunity came up last year I jumped to the challenge. I was getting older and knew if I didn’t at least give it a try, I would always regret it. I want to defy the odds. I feed off that.
The pressure of living up the to Flair legacy: Imagine your toughest opponent is actually the shadow of your father. That’s what I feel every day. I know how athletically gifted I am, but Dad wasn’t the greatest because he had all these crazy moves, it was because he could connect with his emotions and mannerisms. I want to be able to do the same.
I worry that my accomplishments or failures will always be compared to my dad in certain critics’ eyes, but I have to understand I can’t and won’t please everyone. At the end of the day, my driving force is wanting to be compared to my dad as one of the greatest in history, and I know with patience and the amazing talent I work with today that nothing will stop me.
Having her father present for her NXT debut match: Surreal is the only word I can think of. … My dad will be proud of me no matter how grand the stage is. Having him there was so special, but some of the most joyful moments that night were getting to introduce him to all the talent, coaches and staff that I work with. I was proud to show Dad that I was doing well in a business where he is idolized as one of the greatest of all time. The entire night was unforgettable to me. Obviously doing the “Flair Strut” at the end was pretty amazing, too!
You can read the full interview on WWE.com.