The pro wrestling world is furious over the close of WWE RAW and the angle between Charlotte and Paige for the Divas title. While no doubt the angle was controversial, nobody other than the Flair family need to be offended.
The angle in question came at the close of the November 16, 2015 Monday Night RAW. Whether it was coincidence or an attempt to piggyback off of the Ronda Rousey news, RAW put a Divas championship contract signing in the coveted final segment of the show. A historic moment, marred by what some are calling a disgusting angle.
Paige and Charlotte were booked to shoot a final angle for Survivor Series 2015. Again, an odd choice to close the show considering the inconsistent booking of their feud. The contract signing turned into the usual verbal debate, but these two went down a road that some argue should have never been traveled.
Charlotte’s late brother and Ric Flair’s late son, Reid Flair wound up as an unlikely topic for the contract signing. Charlotte was first to bring him up, which I think is important to remember here, especially when Paige has been blasted for “going there.” The debate ended with Paige telling Charlotte that Reid wasn’t much of a fighter before it turned into the usual contract signing brawl.
For those unaware, and for most casual viewers who hung in there during this segment, they weren’t, here is some background on Reid Flair. Reid was an aspiring professional wrestler, who according to his family, absolutely loved pro wrestling. Reid passed away on March 29, 2013, from an accidental drug overdose, losing a deadly struggle with a painful addiction.
As soon as the segment on RAW was over, fans all over social media went on a rampage against the WWE for the angle. Bloggers and analysts criticized the company for booking an angle around Reid’s death. While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I don’t think anyone other than Reid’s family have the right to be offended and if they gave it the green light, I’m fine with it.
Anyone who has watched Ric or Charlotte talk about Reid know how painful Reid’s death was to his family. Charlotte was just on a Table for 3 episode on the WWE Network in tears talking about her brother. It was so emotional for her that even moving on in the show to other topics, she was still visibly shaken after discussing him. Ric is no different, often breaking down into tears when Reid comes up. We are only seeing Reid’s sister and father here, I am sure it is just as painful if not more to those who haven’t appeared on television.
Some have questioned whether Charlotte was acting or not in the Paige angle since she had no visible tears running down her cheek. Who knows, but it was apparent that she got so flustered and choked up at one point that Paige had to jump in and take over the promo. One thing that nobody will ever doubt is the love and pain she has for her lost brother.
Everyone deals with grief differently. Unless you have walked in those shoes, you have no right to judge. Having lost a close brother myself, I can empathize completely with Charlotte’s emotions. Maybe in some way, using his name as part of a historic RAW angle was her way of paying tribute to her brother. Maybe knowing her brother was a big pro wrestling fan, she reasoned that he would have loved it. Who knows, but until she speaks about it on the record, I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.
At the end of the day, she could have easily refused to do the angle. I would hope and guess that she also got approval from her family on the script. What is the worst that would happen to her? She’d get jobbed out and fired? Again, until she speaks about it on the record, I have to presume she was okay with everything scripted. Thus, I have no sympathy for her in that regard, while others have painted her as a victim.
Quite honestly if you take a step back and look at the angle with an objective eye, it was a pointless angle. As mentioned earlier, the mass audience watching this has no idea what the circumstances were behind Reid’s passing. Second, the company knows how emotional Charlotte gets about the subject. Expecting her to remember lines and stay in character during this was very short-sighted. I don’t think you want your “tough” Divas crying on television. It was just a weird angle all the way around. Finally, the creative behind it was some of the least creative and cheapest you’ll see on a pro wrestling show.
I don’t sit on a jury to decide what is or isn’t offensive. It’s scripted television, the same way a soap opera is scripted or a television sitcom. The Flair family is the only jury who have the right to be offended and if they are okay with it, so am I.