What’s in a name?
For Ashley Fliehr, more commonly known for her professional wrestling persona Charlotte — the answer is a lot.
Since making it to the main roster of World Wrestling Entertainment and acquiring all the notoriety that comes with it, Fliehr is no stranger to addressing the stylin’, profilin’, sequin robe-wearing big elephant in the room.
It’s no surprise.
As the daughter of wrestling icon, Ric Flair, the shadow of “The Nature Boy” looms large over the WWE diva. It’s a reality that Fliehr is undoubtedly very aware of. It’s also a reality that she does not run away from.
“If I didn’t acknowledge the fact that my father is Ric Flair, people will ask why,” Fliehr said. “If I do, well, either way someone is going be negative because of what my dad has meant to the industry, and I take that (legacy) very seriously.”
Despite calling it “a mixed blessing,” however, it is one that Fliehr is proud to embrace. Although her father’s name is notably absent in her singular in-ring name, it’s remains pervasive in her wrestling persona. Whether it be her remixed entrance music, the signature — whoo! — cry, or her variation on her father’s Figure 4 finisher, the Figure 8, Fliehr tries to strike a balance between paying homage to her family legacy while also charting a path of her own.
It’s tough being Michael Jordan’s kid, no doubt. It’s equally challenging to have a 16-time world champion as your father when you’re trying to make a name for yourself in the same industry.
“I feel the pressure to continue to get better to fulfill my own legacy but also continue my dad’s,” Fliehr said. “I want to make an impact in the industry like my father did but in my own way, whether it be refining the (Divas) division or reinventing a major pay per view.”
So far, Fliehr has taken the first step by obtaining the top prize in WWE women’s wrestling as Divas champion. Although Fliehr says she was ready for it, the experience continues to feel surreal. Despite being champion for more than a month now, it still feels like a dream, Fliehr said.
“I do feel the pressure just to continue to get better, especially being on top of the division with all the talent coming in,” Fliehr said. “It’s awesome.”
The increased role also comes with an increase in responsibilities. These include appearances at events such as Wizard World Comic Con, which Fliehr did for the first time in October at Tulsa with WWE Heavyweight champ Seth Rollins. Fliehr is slated to make her next appearance at the Wizard World Reno Comic Con, which runs from Nov. 20-22 at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. Fliehr says she will be on hand for the first day of the event, which will also feature WWE wrestler Dean Ambrose. Despite adding to an already packed schedule, Fliehr maintains a cheerful demeanor and says she looks forward to such events.
“It gives me a chance to reach out to my fan base and give perspective on who Charlotte is while being myself and talking as Ashley,” Fliehr said.
It will be Fliehr’s first time in Reno, which will be her last stop before heading to WWE’s Survivor Series 2015 event in Atlanta. Appearances in marquee events such as Wrestlemania, Summer Slam and Survivor Series are much sought by WWE talent — especially matches that involve title belts. It’s a big change for Fliehr, who used to perform in front of smaller audiences in the WWE’s developmental program NXT. Then again, Fliehr is used to growing up in the limelight. She has seen the adoration that his father receives from fans, including those seeking autographs or pictures when they see him in public. She has also seen the flipside where fame quickly turns to infamy.
“When a normal 19-year-old gets in trouble it usually doesn’t make the paper, but when my brother got in trouble, it made the news” Fliehr said. “Whether it’s for something positive or not, my family was always in the paper.”
Fliehr says her father did not spoil his children. She remembers her dad being tough on her when she was a kid, especially when it came to structure and training. One of the worst things you can apparently do in Ric Flair’s eyes was to give less than 100 percent.
“He always says don’t do something unless you want to be the best,” Fliehr said. “He didn’t want you approaching things half heartedly.”
It’s a mindset that continues to stick with Fliehr to this day. Asked if she has any advice for her fans, Fliehr laughed and said, “Anything worth doing, do it with flair.”
Now that she has earned her own bigger platform, Fliehr hopes she can set a positive example, not just for girls but boys as well. This includes the importance of perseverance and using past mistakes as learning experiences that make you a better person.
Also important is continuing to better yourself, striving to improve and coming up with new things. Fliehr shared how she came up with the Figure 8 move, for example, which has since supplanted her old flipping cutter finisher known as “Natural Selection.” While playing around with her father’s Figure 4 move, Fliehr decided to do a bridge.
“My coach Sarah (Del Rey) and a couple other people in the ring were like, ‘Oh, you can bridge out of that, that’s cool!'” Fliehr said. “Then (NXT wrestler) Simon Gotch said ‘You should call it the Figure 8 because it’s twice as good as your dad’s.”
Yep, she’s a Fliehr, alright.
Read the Interview here : http://www.rgj.com/story/life/2015/11/02/reno-comic-con-wwe-divas-champ-charlotte-talks-natural-selection-flair/75070162/