Photo Credits – WWE, NOTO and Bleacher Report
In just a few short days WWE will be holding one of their signature events but the most compelling story going into the show has more to do with what has gone on outside of the ring than what WWE has actually intentionally presented on TV. The wrestling fan audience loves to be surprised and not know what is going to happen and for the most part that doesn’t happen too much anymore because a lot of things either leak ahead of time or it becomes predictable booking. However, this match with Becky and Charlotte is a story that blurs the lines between real and fiction. Stories that blur the lines are always the most compelling and offer the most promise because it makes the audience question, “wait…was that supposed to happen?”
In just under ten years, Charlotte has held 15 singles Women’s Championships, one tag title reign and won a Royal Rumble and has had countless classic feuds and rivalries over the years. For her entire career, she has tried to fight back the stigma that she is only where she is because of who her father is and she has certainly proven herself but let’s be real she would not have been hired in the first place with ZERO training or experience if she wasn’t Ric Flair’s daughter and she was certainly given opportunities and pushes that other talent wouldn’t have gotten so quickly and many would never be given those opportunities. To say who her father is, didn’t open doors for her would just be ridiculous. In no way am I knocking her for taking those opportunities and she certainly made the most of those opportunities but despite all of that questions have arisen on whether or not that it has gone to her head and she now has a massive ego.
In that same period of time, one of Charlotte’s best friends, Becky was struggling to make her mark in the business as she wasn’t seen as a top star by the company until 2018, when Becky found a character that truly connected with the audience, “The Man”. Becky suddenly became the most over performer of not only the women’s division but the company as a whole. Becky has less than half the Women’s Championships at 6 compared to Charlotte and they are tied for Royal Rumble wins at 1 each. Becky like Charlotte has had countless classic feuds and rivalries over the years as well. Becky scratched and crawled her way into the WWE by making her way through the indies unlike Charlotte.
The animosity between the two likely started due to professional jealousy because competitive talent that get into the business want to be at the top and they know there can only be one number one. Triple H and Rock were in similar situation as they both came into the company around the same time and Hunter had more experience in the industry but saw the Rock as the generational talent getting higher up the card. So the similarities between the Charlotte and Becky situation is striking between a talent that was given opportunities to get their foot in the door because of their name vs someone that had to scratch and crawl to get that same opportunity of working for the WWF. Now don’t get me wrong just because you have the name to get you hired in the first place doesn’t mean you are going to keep that job because of it. The Rock turned into the most popular performer of all time and is beloved. Hunter went on to have a tremendous career as well and both men have said that there was competitive jealousy as they were both trying to move up the card and viewed each other as their top rivals at the time.
The Rock and Austin had professional jealousy because you had two megastars that both wanted to be the world champ and the face of the company. Drawing another striking comparison with Becky and Charlotte, in the present day, both have established themselves as the top female performers in the company and although they both have belts, they both want to be considered the best of best and knows the other stands in their way to do that. Austin and Rock freely admit that there was a professional rivalry between the two because they both wanted the same thing.
Becky and Charlotte were very close best friends for many years but deep down the jealousy between them both has likely been simmering for a long time. From Becky seeing Charlotte getting opportunities in NXT and WWE that she wasn’t being given likely bothered her and Charlotte seeing Becky getting over as The Man and possibly thinking Becky was more respected by the fans and her peers likely bothered her too. Like I said this is very common between compeitive performers that egos and jealousy start becoming a problem because they both want the same thing and only one can have it.
Fast forward to 2021, the night of the Draft it became crystal clear that WWE was building towards Becky vs Charlotte for Survivor Series by having this closing image to that episode of Smackdown.
THE INCIDENT THAT LIT THE MATCH
The segment was controversial to begin with as some fans absolutely hated the idea of Becky and Charlotte exchanging titles as they felt it diminished the value of the titles. Personally, I wasn’t super offended by the concept since they did it last year with the New Day and Street Profits exchanging the tag titles the same way. The Women’s title and the tag titles are specifically designed to be brand specific and all it says is that you are the top woman or tag team on that brand so they are the two types of championships that are exchangeable in my opinion if you are going to just exchange them. The WWE, Universal, IC and U.S titles could just be moved over and really aren’t brand specific as the women’s and tag titles as they don’t use the Raw or Smackdown in their names like the women’s and tag titles do.
Anyway, supposedly Charlotte was not a fan of the idea of exchanging titles as she thought it made her look week and for some reason thought losing the title to Bianca Belair would make her look strong? It became clear when Charlotte was drafted to Smackdown, the show literally featured a stare down between Becky and Charlotte and the announcers specifically mentioned the battle for brand supremacy that could feature these women facing each other for their respective brands.
Becky reaches for the Raw Women’s title during the exchange and Charlotte literally dropped the title and it was at that moment it became clear that Charlotte possibly went into business for herself and didn’t care how she made Becky or WWE looked. Charlotte claims it was an accident but Becky and Sonya didn’t seem to buy it and personally I don’t buy it either but the only person that knows for sure is Charlotte. It became clear that despite staying in character, Sonya Deville, demanded that Charlotte pick the title up and hand it to her. I thought, Sonya looked legitimately pissed and it turns out that she was as it has been reported that she was ready to fight Charlotte backstage. Charlotte picked the title and handed it to Sonya who gave it to Becky and a clearly legitimately pissed off Becky threw the SD Women’s title at Charlotte. The heat didn’t end in the ring as once backstage, Becky gave Charlotte a piece of her mind about her unprofessional behavior in the ring and although they didn’t come to blows it was clear that the two were no longer on good terms.
So Where Does That Leave Survivor Series?
This is certainly not the first time performers were asked to work together despite there being legitimate heat with one another. Here’s the thing despite as heated as this feud between Becky and Charlotte it is minor compared to these two feuds:
Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels
Coincidentally, enough this is also a feud based on egos and jealousy that culminated in a match at a Survivor Series. Bret and Shawn were friends for years but once they were both competing for the top spot jealousy and egos ended that friendship. Now Shawn freely admits he was a jerk back then and Bret was stubborn and didn’t want to lose to Shawn in his last WWF match before leaving for WCW because Shawn told Bret he wouldn’t do the same for him. Despite this animosity the two men were professional in the ring with one another and Bret says Shawn was professional in the ring and they took care of one another despite their animosity towards one another. Of course that match ended in the infamous Montreal Screwjob and Bret and Shawn would trade verbal shots with one another until they made peace in 2010 and are still friends to this day.
Edge vs Matt Hardy
Now if you are looking for one of if not the most nuclear personal drama turned into a storyline then look no further than Edge vs Matt Hardy. They were the best of friends like Charlotte and Becky and Bret and Shawn, when they were climbing up the WWF ladder. However, when Matt was off the road rehabbing from an injury his girlfriend, Lita (Amy Dumas), began having an affair with Edge (Adam Copeland). When Matt found out he was justifiably pissed off and it put WWE in a very awkward spot because if the parties couldn’t co-exist in the company then they’d have to fire someone. Right or wrong the company decided that Edge and Lita were more valuable to the company and fired Matt Hardy. The audience would demand Matt’s return and after sometime had passed, they wanted to turn the real life drama into a storyline. Reluctantly, all the parties involved were willing to work together and make some money off the situation that they were suddenly thrust into.
In a Sportskeeda interview from 2020:
Talking to Peter Rosenberg, Edge talked about their backstage animosity and how they managed to use it to their advantage.
“You gotta be pros, and also, back to my point of finding positives when it doesn’t seem like there are any on the surface, you gotta dig underneath the surface, this was one of those. And you go, OK, we’re here, now what do we do? Well, let’s try to make some money together, and let’s try to further both of our careers out of this, and hopefully out of this, we can not only be stronger performers, but stronger people too, and that usually doesn’t happen within the context of a wrestling storyline. So it’s a little bit more because of that.”
Edge further said that it was one of the first feuds where the audience did not know how much is real and how much is kayfabe. Edge also believes that the program helped, both him and Matt Hardy to establish themselves as singles competitors. He also revealed how the incident helped Lita in her career:
“And I think that’s also, maybe the first instance of people going, oh wait, there is reality in this too, and that’s why it’s remembered. And I think in terms of us kind of splitting off from E&C and the Hardys respectively, I think that one was what set everything in motion going forward, and for Lita as well, because that flipped her entire character on its head and she was able to adapt and take it and run with it when if you had said two years earlier, probably the most popular female in the industry could end up being the most despised, that’s not possible.”
Despite all this real life heat like Bret and Shawn, they were able to work together and be professional in the ring and neither man took any liberties to injure the other and protected each other and Matt even put Edge over ending the feud. Since that time both men have made peace and are on friendly terms with each other.
So make no mistake, WWE has likely had conversations with Charlotte and Becky to ensure that they will be professional in their match at Survivor Series because if for one instant if they thought they wouldn’t be the match wouldn’t be happening.
No since the incident the two women have been trading shots at one another whether it be during in ring promos, tweets or interviews. How much of the comments are based on real life feelings towards the other and how much is based on two performers blurring the lines to make their match up mean that much more is really unknown and that is what makes this match so compelling. It is the most compelling match on this poorly thrown together PPV. This match far exceeds any tag lines of “Brand Supremacy”, these are arguably the two best women wrestlers in the world having a match with real life drama that blurs the lines and it is unclear who will come out on top.
One top of all this insanity, Ric Flair and Becky have been trading tweets back and forth and Flair has been tweeting that WWE is trying to bury his legacy. It is really unclear if Flair is being serious because he asked and received his WWE release months ago and praised the company in multiple interviews and at NWA 73. Since that time there has been backlash against Flair due to a Dark Side of the Ring episode, which made WWE drop Flair from their opening intro. So the question of whether or not Flair will pop up at Survivor Series like he mentioned or him having real heat with WWE and Becky adds more questions to this whole feud.
Will Charlotte and Becky ever be real life friends again? I think if Bret and Shawn and Matt and Edge can make peace, I’m sure somewhere down the line these two can make peace and be on friendly terms but until then I fully expect the two women to put on a hell of a match but I fully expect it to possibly be a stiff match but the blurring of the lines makes this a must see match for fans and I for one look forward to seeing what will happen this Sunday.