WWE superstar and current SmackDown women’s champion Charlotte Flair recently spoke with Shakiel Mahjouri from CBS Sports about this weekend’s WrestleMania 38 pay-per-view, where the Queen will defend the gold against the 2022 Royal Rumble winner, Ronda Rousey. Highlights from the interview are below.
Says she did not grow up a wrestling fan:
I didn’t grow up a WWE fan. I didn’t grow up a wrestling fan. 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.
On Ronda Rousey’s relationship with fans:
I didn’t know fans saw her in the wrong way. What percentage of people really say that… 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.
On her appearances in WCW as a teenager:
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. 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 stand there. I didn’t really think about it.