It would seem that former four-time RAW Women’s champion Charlotte Flair on SmackDown Live may be booked as a babyface for the first time since late 2015. That’s what the latest WWE rumors suggest, as the future of the blue brand’s women’s division may include a feud between two three-woman factions, with Charlotte’s group taking on the newly-formed heel stable featuring Natalya, Carmella, and Tamina.
On this week’s episode of SmackDown Live, the beginnings of a Charlotte face turn may have been teased, as the self-proclaimed “Queen” of WWE women’s wrestling took on SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi in a rematch for the latter’s title. The match was declared a no-contest when the newly-formed alliance of Natalya, Carmella, and the returning Tamina ran in and attacked both competitors, establishing themselves as a new heel faction.
A new report from Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter suggests that this may mark a change in how SmackDown Live‘s women’s division is booked. Though it’s not sure whether WWE has plans to book Charlotte Flair as SmackDown Women’s Champion to add to her four championships from RAW, it now looks like WWE is planning a battle of women’s factions, with Natalya, Carmella, Tamina, and manager James Ellsworth starting a feud against Naomi, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte. That points to a face turn for the 31-year-old daughter of WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair, a change in character that few were expecting when she joined SmackDown via WWE’s Superstar Shakeup earlier this month.
According to Meltzer, the rationale behind Charlotte Flair’s face turn is simple – WWE wants to make her the key figure in SmackDown Live‘s women’s division and possibly the female face of the entire company. This appears to have been WWE’s long-term plan for the second-generation wrestler, as the company has long wanted her to play a similar role as former Women’s Champions Wendi Richter and Alundra Blayze (a.k.a. Madusa) were supposed to play in the ’80s and ’90s respectively. Richter abruptly left WWE in 1985 after failing to come to terms on a new deal, while Blayze was released by WWE in 1995 due to the company’s financial struggles, only for her to appear on rival company WCW’s programming and throw her Women’s Championship belt in a trash can.
Although WWE may be planning to at least make Charlotte Flair the top woman on SmackDown Live and aggressively push her as a babyface, Meltzer opined that it may be too soon to go for the Charlotte face turn, due to a lack of quality opposition in the new heel faction.
“Tamina has size, but has never been given a major push nor connected. Carmella is awfully light to be the big opponent as a far bigger and stronger looking face, plus James Ellsworth dooms the thing to mid-card fodder.”
Meltzer added that Natalya stands out as arguably the most deserving opponent for Charlotte as a top-caliber villain, due to her wrestling ability, status as faction leader, and the fact that she’s feuded with Charlotte in previous years, both in NXT and on WWE’s main roster. But since she is portrayed as a genuinely nice, hard-working person on the E! reality show Total Divas, Meltzer believes Natalya may have difficulty drawing heat from audiences as a top female heel on SmackDown Live.
While WWE did briefly mention how Charlotte Flair is now feuding with the brand-new heel faction of Natalya, Carmella, and Tamina, the company focused instead on the milestone she accomplished through her SmackDown Live main event match against Naomi. With that, Flair has become the first woman in WWE history to take part in a singles match main event on Monday Night RAW, SmackDown, and pay-per-view (Hell in a Cell 2016).
[Featured Image by WWE]