The biggest story of the week continues to be Paige's controversial line during the Contract Signing segment on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw for the Divas Championship Match at Sunday's Survivor Series pay-per-view. Charlotte's mother and Ric Flair's ex-wife, Elizabeth, was infuriated over it. She described it as "lazy," "disgusting," "disrespectful," "cruel" and "sad." On his WOOOOO! Nation podcast, Ric Flair said he obviously has an opinion but he was afraid to voice it because he didn’t want what he said to affect Charlotte’s career. He said he never heard a word about it and started crying when he was watching.
WWE later issued a statement, claiming it was "a result of the strong advocacy of the talent themselves." A claim the co-host of Ric Flair's podcast, Conrad Thompson, says isn't true. According to Thompson, reports Charlotte came up with the line and/or approved it are false. Jamie Welton, here on Wrestling News World, examined if WWE went too far.
Before I give the consensus opinion, let's re-watch the segment and I'll follow with a detailed recap:
Charlotte said she didn't get into the business to make friends. But when she started down in NXT, forget that she and Paige come from the same background, she wanted to be like her. She was the naive sweet Carolina girl. Paige was the British badass. Charlotte said they didn't grow up like most little girls, they sat at home watching their parents night after night sacrifice their bodies. They cared about the WWE almost as much as they cared about them. That's why her late brother (referencing Reid, she stopped because she was choking up)... When her little brother passed away, Paige was there for her. Charlotte said she is here today because of him and the only reason - to fulfill his dream.
Paige said she had a tear in her eye; no that's confidence. Charlotte is so naive it makes her sick and it's embarrassing. Paige said she's so sick of this, Charlotte thinks everyone has her back, no one has her back and no one will have her back on Sunday. Not even her daddy, Mr. Four Horsemen. Where are you Ric? Why don't you come out and drop one of those famous elbow drops on your jackets because it's so impressive, you old fart.
Charlotte told Paige to shut her mouth or their won't even be a Survivor Series because she won't make it out of the building. Charlotte will continue to fight each and every day, just like everyone in her family. Like her dad did, like her little brother did and just like she does. Paige said, "you know what, you're wrong sweetheart. 'Case your little baby brother - he didn't have much fight in him, did he?" From there, the brawl ensued.
Several readers have contacted me through email or social media and asked for more opinion on the line. Going through all the mail, I believe most readers of this website were not offended over it but felt it was in poor taste. While I realize those are close together, the readers of this website saw Paige's line like Elizabeth Fliehr saw it, a lazy attempt to generate cheap heat. It's not they were offended over the subject matter but in the go-home segment to a major pay-per-view, the only thing WWE could come up with to get heat on one of the most talented Divas in the company was to mention the tragic death of Ric Flair's youngest son. That is where I believe the backlash stems from and not that a real-life tragedy was inserted into a storyline.
I will add that I believe Ric Flair deserves more respect than to have such a deeply personal tragedy brought up without warning live on national television in front of millions of viewers. I've stated on a number of occasions WWE must always be careful with this type of thing and it's imperative they get approval from the family. What's worse though is Flair, one of the greatest of all-time that's given everything to this business, is treated with such a low level of respect. This business is all about respecting the people that paved the way and take Ric Flair out of this business and it looks entirely different.
Not only that but in their statement, WWE basically puts it on Charlotte. Rather than apologizing, they point their big corporate finger before reaffirming their responsibility for all of their content. I agree with Elizabeth and the hundreds of readers that have contacted me. The line was a lackadaisical way to generate cheap heat and further reflected just how burnt out everyone is. Hundreds of thousands of people have flat out stopped watching Raw, not because of a lack of talent, but a lack of effort from Vince McMahon and the creative team. Blatant filler content and a lack of storylines; mentioning the unexpected tragic death of a boy in his 20s, who happens to be the son of one of the biggest legends of all time, reaffirms those complaints.
It's not that people are offended, people are begging for real entertainment. Not cheap shots and lines scripted at an attempt to "shock" someone but well-written storylines and thought-out programs that can help elevate the many names ready to break out as the next big-time superstar. The ending to this week's Raw was further reflective of just how bad the product has been the entire year.