Professional wrestling may never see another superstar quite like the limousine riding, leer jet flying, wheelin’ dealin’ kiss stealin’ son of a gun, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. However, if anyone’s going to come close, perhaps his own flesh and blood might have a better shot than most. While the efforts of Ric’s two sons ended in disappointment and tragedy, his daughter, Charlotte, seems to be walking closely in her father’s footsteps on her way towards wrestling history. Charlotte has already been integral in revolutionizing women’s wrestling in WWE, and Ric was proudly standing beside her from the very beginning. They eventually split onscreen, but the father-daughter connection remains strong in the real world, despite a few surprising stories and highly emotional moments that temporarily threatened to drive the family apart.
Most WWE fans are aware of Ric Flair’s penchant for partying and personal chaos, and it looks as though his daughter might mirror his career in this respect, as well. Charlotte isn’t as much a partier as Ric, but the personal chaos is definitely there, and sometimes that chaos spills onscreen and becomes part of WWE storylines to highly controversial results. The one thing that has remained clear about Ric and Charlotte’s relationship over the years is that Ric is very proud of his daughter regardless of what she does onscreen or off, and will most likely continue to support her as long as he is capable of doing so. To find some insight into why, keep reading and learn 15 facts you never knew about Ric and Charlotte Flair’s relationship.
15. Charlotte’s Mother Was Ric’s Second Wife
Although the exact definition of “Nature Boy” has never been pinned down, one thing we know for sure about Ric Flair is that he has a penchant for the ladies. Charlotte was born in 1986 when Flair was 37-years-old, so it goes without saying that her mother probably wasn’t the first love of his life. In fact, Charlotte’s mother, Elizabeth, was Flair’s second wife. Flair’s first wife was Leslie Goodman, whom he married in 1971 and divorced in 1983. He didn’t wait long before moving on to Elizabeth, as the two were engaged in August of the same year. Charlotte’s mother may actually be familiar to diehard WCW fans, as she made a handful of appearances working for the company during her husband’s feud with Eric Bischoff. The couple lasted nearly twice as long as Flair’s first marriage, and yet they still decided to call it quits in 2006. Flair has gone on to marry two more times since then, with each ending in divorce. Charlotte has never commented much on her father’s tumultuous love life, except to make it clear that she remains close with both of her parents regardless of what happened between them.
14. Ric Pushed Charlotte Into Sports At A Young Age
Surprisingly, Charlotte has gone on record several times to say that her father’s fame didn’t exactly inspire her to become a wrestler from a young age. This wasn’t because she lacked his athleticism, though, as she proved on the volleyball courts as a standout star from high school until college. Charlotte was so good at volleyball that she earned a full scholarship at Appalachian State University, where she became certified as a personal trainer en route to receiving her degree. Ric did his part in pushing his daughter towards athletic interests, as he claimed to bringing her to various sporting events by the time she turned 4. Ric also said that he always kept the pressure on his daughter to succeed, while also taking time to step back and celebrate her many successes along the way. In addition to volleyball, Charlotte also had great interest in collegiate gymnastics and basketball, with her father predictably calling her an incredible talent at all three sports she played.
13. David Flair Is Charlotte’s Half-Brother
The children of huge stars are always expected to have the same if not greater talents than their parents, and Charlotte has been proving to be one of the few to at least show promise of coming close to her father as she exponentially improves with each passing match. This isn’t a total anomaly within the sports world, but fans were still somewhat surprised by Charlotte’s success considering the disappointing career of Ric’s son, David. David Flair is Charlotte’s half-brother, one of Ric’s two children with his first wife. Their other daughter, Megan, is the only family member to have never gotten involved with wrestling in any way. To be fair, while David’s career didn’t match up to his father’s, that didn’t mean it was entirely unmemorable. David was responsible for plenty of entertaining and unique WCW moments, albeit far fewer decent matches. Unlike his sister, David apparently lacked his father’s enthusiasm for the business, which coupled with a lack of in-ring coordination caused his career to quickly peter out once WCW went out of business.
12. Reid Flair Is Charlotte’s Brother
In spite of their great success, Ric and Charlotte’s lives haven’t been perfect over the past few years, as they lost the youngest member of their family, Reid Flair, in 2013. Born in 1988, Reid was Charlotte’s full brother, and at one point seemed to show the most athletic potential of anyone in the Flair family. Reid made history as probably the youngest wrestler to work for WCW when he defeated Eric Bischoff on Monday Nitro in 1998 while 10-years-old, and had a promising amateur wrestling career that could have meant the childhood win was more than a goof. Tragically, Reid wasn’t without his vices, and they led to him being found dead in a North Carolina hotel room due to an overdose of heroin and prescription drugs. The Flair family was understandably devastated, although it wasn’t a complete surprise, as Reid had been struggling with substance issues for at least six years prior to his death.
11. Charlotte Appreciated Ric More When She Started Wrestling
With volleyball and her other athletic interests taking up most of Charlotte’s time, she somehow failed to notice exactly how big of a star her father was for a shockingly long time. Charlotte knew Ric was a famous wrestler and understood her brothers were trying to follow in his footsteps to become the same, but she hardly realized that he was one of the preeminent legends of the industry considered by many as the greatest of all time. Charlotte said this changed at long last when she entered the business herself, and very soon realized how important her dad was to the strange world of wrestling. Charlotte did admit that she understood her dad was “important,” but for the most part the only thing she knew about her father and wrestling was that the business kept him away from home for weeks at a time. Once Charlotte started wrestling and loving the business, she began to understand how her father was willing to take those long trips that caused him to miss out on her childhood.
10. Ric Had Nothing To Do With Charlotte’s Training
For all of Ric’s efforts ensuring that his daughter had an interest in sports, he didn’t do much to make her interested in the wrestling business. According to Charlotte, her father never clued her into the insider terms of the industry at all, telling Chris Jericho on his podcast that her father’s philosophy was “wrestling is something you have to learn on your own.” Therefore, even basic terms like “heel,” “babyface,” and “kayfabe” were things Charlotte had to discover during her training, or at least on the Internet like the average fan these days. Ric continued stonewalling his daughter even once she began her training, with both of them adamant that he had and will remain to have nothing to do with her rapidly improving in-ring performances. It would also be reasonable to point out that Ric is hardly known for his skills as a trainer, having only trained one other superstar during his long career in tag team specialist “Sweet” Stan Lane.
9. Charlotte Wanted To Name Her Character After Her Mother
Onscreen, she has gone back and forth between being known as simply Charlotte or Charlotte Flair, in reference to her famous father and her hometown. In reality, Charlotte’s birth name is Ashley Elizabeth Fliehr, and there are more names to come when discussing what her original ideas were for her wrestling name. Initially, Charlotte pitched 10 names to WWE executives, with her favorite of the lot being “Miss Elizabeth.” As noted, Charlotte didn’t have much interest in wrestling prior to entering the business, and thus didn’t realize there was already a legendary WWE performer by that name. She chose the name as a tribute to her mother. Also on the list were Elizabeth Reid and Ella Reid, which managed to honor her brother, as well. In hindsight, Charlotte is fairly dismissive of the executives who settled on Charlotte, saying they probably simply settled the choice that required the least effort. True enough, it would have created a pretty confusing timeline had WWE let her do as she pleased and play with history as they often do.
8. Charlotte Nearly Spent Time In Jail For Assaulting Ric
On top of his boisterous career in the squared circle, Ric Flair has been well known for his many run-ins with the law over the years, and unfortunately there have been signs that his daughter might be echoing her father in this regard in addition to their similar career paths. Approximately four years before her wrestling career began, Charlotte was arrested for assaulting Ric and resisting arrest by assaulting a police officer in 2008. Charlotte’s boyfriend at the time, Riki Johnson, was also on the scene. The full story remains somewhat of a mystery, although we do know that The Nature Boy refused to press charges against his daughter. Charlotte still needed to face the crime of assaulting an officer, though, which originally saw her sentenced to 45 days in jail. Lucky for her, the sentence was suspended to probation and a small fine. Charlotte later married Johnson, only to divorce him two years later. Neither Charlotte, Ric, nor Johnson have spoken much about the incident since it happened.
7. They Travel In Groups Of Four
Chief amongst Ric Flair’s accomplishments in the wrestling world was founding The Four Horsemen, a group of superstars so iconic that they defined the term by which wrestlers working in pairs would be called (stables). Dozens of previous men had the honor of being called Horsemen over the years, with Flair, Arn Anderson, Barry Windham, and Tully Blanchard serving as the core four inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012. Although they never appeared onscreen as such, wrestling fans know that Charlotte has a backstage crew of her own that mimics her father’s famous group by calling themselves the Four Horsewomen. In addition to Charlotte, the other three horsewomen are Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, and Bayley, all of whom have remained intrinsically linked with the key moments in Charlotte’s career since they began together in NXT. The four cemented their status by posing in the ring with four fingers raised at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, in a moment that has existed outside of the WWE canon.
6. Ric Didn’t Know Charlotte Would Use Reid In An Angle
Charlotte hasn’t been wrestling for long, and yet she already has at least one highly controversial moment on her record that outshines any questionable angles her father may have reduced himself to. This list already covered the tragedy of Reid Flair’s early death, and while an important element of Charlotte’s life history and personal story, real-life tragedies of that sort have no place in the wrestling ring. Unfortunately, WWE proved that they feel differently on this subject in November of 2015, when Reid’s death was repeatedly mentioned during a contract signing between Charlotte and her rival, Paige. The segment started with a hint of respectability, with Charlotte dedicating the match to Reid, only for Paige to shatter any hope of decency by sniping, “your little baby brother, he didn’t have much fight in him, did he?” Many fans considered the attack far, far too personal for a wrestling angle, with both of Charlotte’s parents firmly in agreement. Ric opined WWE executives must have pushed Charlotte into doing the angle, and while he understood she had little choice, he remained deeply saddened and upset when he watched the segment unfold on television.
5. Their Split Drew Controversy From Fans
Six months after bringing up her brother’s tragic death, Charlotte engaged in another highly controversial segment on Raw, albeit for entirely different reasons. The one similarity was that her family was once again involved, this time in regards to her father’s role as her manager, which he had been performing on and off since 2015. On May 23, 2016, Charlotte villainously “disowned” her father onscreen, ending their professional alliance and writing Ric off television for the indefinite future. The basic idea of separating the two wasn’t horrible, but fans felt the segment itself was a failure, with neither able to play their role to the crowd’s satisfaction. Charlotte’s voice broke repeatedly as she attempted to berate her father and decry how hard it had been to step out of his shadow, making it hard for fans to buy her sincerity and turning the moment into a dud. The good news is that it hasn’t hurt Charlotte’s career in the slightest, and there could be plenty of time for Ric to make a return and get a more appropriate sendoff at some time in the future.
4. Ric And Charlotte Are Happy About The Split
Fans and critics alike have complained about the segment that separated Ric and Charlotte’s onscreen alliance, but at least two people were completely cool with it: Ric and Charlotte. Regardless of how people responded to the breakup, the end result was the same, that being Charlotte Flair was free from her father’s influence and able to shine as a star on her own. Typically, wrestlers only need managers if they lack microphone skills, and Charlotte admitted that she felt self-conscious about being paired with her father because it meant her mic skills apparently weren’t up to snuff when she was alone. Ric’s legacy is also so important to wrestling that there will always be fans unable to look past him if he’s standing near the ring, so simply having him nearby genuinely could have been holding Charlotte back in small but important ways. With all of this in mind, the two may well be right in their belief that it was a good thing that they separated once and for all.
3. Ric Is Highly Impressed By Charlotte’s Moves
Ric Flair is such a great wrestler that a theory existed during his peak, alleging that he could wrestle a broomstick to a decent match. The flipside to this theory is that Flair’s matches could occasionally lean towards the formulaic, at least when neither he nor his opponent felt like giving it their best effort. Practically every wrestler in history might be guilty of phoning it in once or twice, and Charlotte is probably no different from her old man in this regard, either. Although, it will probably be a bit harder for her to sleepwalk through corkscrew moonsaults and her other highly aerial trademarks than it was for Ric to go through the motions of his mat-based offenses. The Nature Boy himself admits that his daughter’s in-ring skills are hugely impressive, pointing out in an interview that he had “never done a moonsault to someone off the top rope.” One downside might be that Charlotte’s style isn’t quite as viable as Ric’s in the long term, though we’re rooting for Charlotte to prove us wrong on that.
2. Charlotte/Sasha = Steamboat/Flair?
The concept of comparing Charlotte’s career to that of her father has become so widespread that Ric himself is getting heavily caught up in the action, lining up countless parallels that only a person with firsthand knowledge would be able to realize. Perhaps the most interesting comparisons Ric has been drawing aren’t those about his daughter, but rather those about the women his daughter are bound to be linked to through history, both as her rivals and her closest friends. Speaking with Sports Illustrated, Ric went so far as to compare some of Charlotte’s most memorable feuds to the greatest in his own career. According to Naitch, Becky Lynch is Charlotte’s Sting, Bayley is her Shawn Michaels, Nattie Neidhart is her Wahoo McDaniel, and most importantly, Sasha Banks is her Ricky Steamboat. Nattie also earned a comparison to Harley Race for her role as Charlotte’s first high-profile opponent. Each of these comparisons must have been highly flattering to the women named, especially Sasha Banks, who Flair went on to claim had chemistry with his daughter comparable to that of the greatest feuds in wrestling history, including those he had nothing to do with.
1. Ric Already Thinks Charlotte Is The Greatest Of All Time
It should be pretty clear by now that Ric Flair is an extremely proud father, and Charlotte has given him dozens of reasons to feel the way he does. That in mind, Charlotte has only been in the wrestling business for a little over four years and still has a long way to go in terms of matching her father’s accomplishments. Granted, Ric doesn’t exactly see it this way, as he already refers to his daughter as “the greatest of all time.” Part of Ric’s charm has always been a degree of self-aggrandizement, and perhaps he was understandably overhyping his own daughter for the purposes of an interview, but there’s a good chance that Flair was simply telling the reporters what he truly believed. All that’s left for Charlotte to do is prove her father correct, and even if she isn’t the greatest of all time, merely setting out to impress Ric Flair will most likely be enough to send Charlotte to her place in history, standing proudly beside her old man.