Why Charlotte Flair is the Best

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The date was May 29, 2014. The event was the first live NXT Takeover special at Full Sail University. The match was Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya in the finals of the NXT Women’s Championship tournament.

Charlotte won the championship in what was considered as one of the best WWE women’s matches up to that point in history. Immediately after, it seemed as if all the praise was universally directed toward Charlotte. Sure, her performance was phenomenal, but Natalya was clearly the ring general carrying things.

Although Charlotte had started wrestling more than a year prior, this match was Charlotte’s official coming out party to the entire wrestling world.

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Like any second or third generation star, the road to success isn’t a guarantee in WWE. For every Dwayne Johnson and Randy Orton, there is the example of Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase Jr., two men who were never able to live up to their fathers’ respective legacies.

Just imagine the pressure Charlotte must have been under considering that her father, Ric Flair, is regarded as the greatest wrestler to ever live.

Charlotte’s success over the last couple of years is even more remarkable when you take into consideration that she never wanted to be a wrestler to begin with. The family star was to be her late brother Reid, who died of a drug overdose in 2013. It’s for this reason Charlotte often says that she’s living out her brother’s dream.

More than any other performer, Charlotte has been at the forefront of the revolution that has transformed the very fabric of women’s wrestling in WWE.

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Truthfully, I wasn’t the biggest Charlotte fan for a long time. When the NXT women’s division really started gaining momentum in 2014 I felt that Charlotte lacked the personality of her contemporaries Bayley, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch. Collectively, these four women became known behind the scenes as the Four Horsewomen.

When the three made their jump to the main roster in 2015, I was the least excited with Charlotte. Well, I was disappointed in their entire presentation. For several months, the company was in a strange process of transitioning from the Divas era of scantily-clad women with little to no wrestling background into the current era that is defined by a more athletic breed of female performers who grew up as wrestling fans.

Being that Charlotte was a good wrestler and Ric’s daughter, it made all the sense in the world to build the division around her. Charlotte defeated longtime Divas champion Nikki Bella at the 2015 Night of Champions PPV to begin her own lengthy run. Even after winning the championship I can’t say that Charlotte came across as a bigger star. She was just missing something.

Enter Becky Lynch.

The Irish Lass Kicker was a natural babyface who was a perfect foil for the soon to be heel Charlotte. In terms of entertaining television and storyline consistency, it was the first women’s program of the new era to really get over in a big way with the fans. By the time they wrestled at the 2016 Royal Rumble Charlotte had clearly established herself as the division’s top heel.

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Like many great wrestlers, Charlotte found her true calling as a heel. As a babyface, she was the epitome of a vanilla performer—technically proficient, yet bland. As a heel, she oozed confidence in and out of the ring. Even better is that her legendary father managed her for several months. Following the loss of his Reid, it was nice to see Ric having so much fun alongside his daughter.

To show how much of a cornerstone she had become in the women’s division, Charlotte entered WrestleMania as the last Divas Champion and defeated fellow horsewomen Sasha and Becky in a thrilling triple threat match to become holder of the new Women’s Championship. Her win on the biggest stage of the year solidified her standing as the #1 woman in WWE and effectively marked the end of the Divas era.

While Charlotte was already on the top of the mountain, it was her program with Sasha that took her to an entirely new plateau. There are certain wrestlers who can produce magic whenever they step into the ring together. Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat, Rock vs. Steve Austin, and Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn all fall into this category. Charlotte vs. Sasha is the women’s equivalent.

From July-December, they traded the Women’s Championship six times. While it was overkill in a sense, they tore down the house on so many occasions that I can overlook it. They headlined two episodes of Monday Night Raw and wrestled in three PPV singles matches, including the main event at Hell in a Cell. Charlotte vs. Sasha was voted by PWI as the 2016 Feud of the Year and finished 4th in the Wrestling Observer’s year-end poll.

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When the dust cleared there was little doubt that Charlotte emerged as the ultimate victor. While Sasha beat her on three occasions, Charlotte always came out on top when it mattered most, on PPVs. Speaking of PPVs, Charlotte had a streak of 16 consecutive PPV wins that ended with a loss to Bayley at Fastlane. Charlotte got her second WrestleMania moment in a losing effort against Sasha, Bayley, and Nia Jax. Having accomplished everything there was to do on Raw, Charlotte was traded to Smackdown in April.

Charlotte is currently set to compete in the first ever women’s Money in the Bank ladder match this Sunday. It’s a safe bet that her performance will be among the highlights of the match.

When looking at the top women wrestlers in WWE, she stands atop the heap. She has the entire package—looks, workrate, charisma, verbal ability, and tenure on top. She is in a completely different league than her predecessors Trish Stratus and Lita. It almost feels unfair to compare her with any woman that came before 2014 since the goal of women’s wrestling in WWE was much different up to that point in time.

If Charlotte keeps up her current pace for another couple of years then it will be increasingly hard for any woman to measure up to her stature. When the book is finally written on her career she will likely go down as one of the best women wrestlers this country has ever produced.

Keep Moving Forward

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It’s currently 12:45 am ET as I write this. I want this post to serve as a reminder to everyone grinding toward their dreams. No matter how far behind you think you are in life, don’t give up. Every morning you arise is another opportunity to reach your dreams.

Don’t be concerned with those around you who belittle your ambition. Keep grinding away and those same people will  eventually be watching from the sidelines as you march toward victory.

The race is not given to the swift, but to the one who endures. Don’t worry about how long it takes you to get to the finish line. Just get there.

Start Writing Now

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If I could offer one piece of advice to an aspiring writer, it would be to start writing now.

You can read every style manual, how-to-article, and book on the craft, but it won’t replace the physical task of putting pen to paper.  Whether your aim is to create a popular blog or write a bestselling novel, you must sit down and start somewhere.

Before starting, you must first come to grips with the reality that you’ll never be a perfect writer. There will always be that extra sentence you wish you would’ve included after seeing your work in print. More than any other endeavor, writing is a never-ending quest for satisfaction. Writing becomes a lot more enjoyable after accepting this truth.

The most effective writing you can do is the kind without restraint. Just grab a journal and start writing about whatever topic excites you. Don’t worry about grammatical errors. Forget about whether your words flow smoothly. Just get something down on paper. You can revise later.

Many aspiring writers cripple themselves by holding their work to an unattainable standard of perfection. Writing is difficult enough without the added pressure.

Just have fun.

Outside Your Comfort Zone is Where the Magic Happens

 

It’s amazing what can be achieved by taking risks. We live in a world where we’re conditioned to conform to a standard set of rules for just about everything.

We go to school, graduate, and maybe go to college or technical school to earn an advanced degree. We get a job in our desired field and work until retirement. We watch the same television shows, eat the same food, hang out with the same coworkers, sit in the same seat at church, and generally try not to do anything outside of our safe zone.

On a bigger scale, we often do what others think is best for us, or what comes easy, instead of what is best for our own personal growth.

I’ve spent most of my life playing it safe in so many areas. Sometimes I’m scared that pushing myself to try new things will result in me having to work harder or look plain stupid.

A couple of weeks ago I was asked by one of the ministers at my church to participate in our Easter Sunday skit. I mainly stick to ushering duties at church. My thought process is to stick with what I know best.

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I answered yes since the minister is someone I greatly respect. I was a bit hesitant, but I wasn’t going to flat-out refuse. Though I was a little uncomfortable when I started attending practice, I found myself getting more into the role and started having fun. Well, the big performance was yesterday and I nailed it!

Multiple church members congratulated me on my performance following service. I never knew that acting was something I’d enjoy so much.

As I was leaving, I bumped into another church member who told me that I seem to thrive in situations that force me to go outside of my comfort zone. I never thought of myself in this manner. I think I’m quite the opposite, but perhaps their words were conformation that it’s time I stray more outside of my creative, professional, and spiritual boundaries.

In what ways have you been able to step outside your comfort zones?

Chase Your Dreams

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I spend a lot of time writing about dreams on this blog. Not the actual dreams you experience while sleeping at night, but the short and long-term dreams you wish to achieve someday.

I feel it’s my duty as a blogger to inject some level of hope and optimism into my writing.  If someone takes the time out of their busy schedule to read my blog then I owe it to them to write something that will make some kind of an impact on their life.

Dreaming is such an important part of life. No matter how big or small, you should always be striving toward something. My eventual dream is to write a book. I’m not exactly sure what kind of book it will be, but I do know that it will be inspirational in tone to some extent. Every encouraging blog post I write gets me closer in that direction.

If you don’t have any dreams then I encourage you to grab a sheet of paper and jot down three things you’d like to accomplish. Keep it practical, but don’t be afraid to launch out into the deep. Then begin working to mark each one off your list by a set time. Putting a timeframe on your dream is crucial as it will help you remain focused in reaching key benchmarks along the way.

Don’t let another day pass without working toward your dreams.

Freewriting: Bullying

Few things are more shameful than people who make fun of others and exert their authority over those who they deem as weak. Deep down, bullies are miserable human beings. How much must their life suck in order to constantly spend their time cutting down others.

While bullying is prevalent in school, it occurs in all walks of life, especially in the workplace. I’ve worked in environments where people were incessantly bullied for the dumbest of reasons. It’s easy to get caught up in office gossip. While you may not be a participant in the physical act of bullying, condoning the behavior makes you just as responsible.

If there is a bully reading this then I encourage you to stop before you go too far. If you’re being bullied then I encourage you to pray for those who bully you and not be a pushover. Facts prove that most bullies back down when they’re challenged.

I take bullying seriously because I experienced it growing up. It didn’t feel good then and it doesn’t feel good to see others go through it.

Embrace Your Flaws

This world is full of phonies. Far too many people are concerned with being a carbon copy of others instead of embracing their individuality.

You were created as a one-of-a-kind being, flaws and all.

Speaking of flaws, now is a good time to discuss retired WWE superstar AJ Mendez Brooks, better known to fans as AJ Lee. In her new autobiography, Crazy Is My Superpower: How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rules, Mendez Brooks goes into ample detail about living with bipolar disorder.

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“But the interesting thing about flaws is that they truly are in the eye of the beholder. Weaknesses can turn into strength with just a simple shift of perspective. One day I made the choice to stop throwing myself a pity party. I would embrace what society taught me to shun. What was once my shameful secret was now going to become my secret weapon, she writes.”

She elaborates further.

“When I harnessed its seemingly uncontrollable might, I realized bipolar disorder’s powers could be used for good. My diagnosis didn’t have to be an affliction. That is the gift that being bipolar gave me. I used my gift to take myself from being homeless to being an athlete and entertainer on international television.”

You may think there is something wrong with you because you don’t look or act a certain way. What if you were created this way for a reason. The very flaw you think is holding you back could be what elevates you to a higher level of living.

How are you making your flaws work to your benefit?

As Mendez Brooks writes, “embrace your ‘crazy,’ your ‘weird,’ your ‘weakness,’—the things that others will mistake as flaws but will end up being your greatest strengths.”

Freewriting: Vision

A person without a vision will never reach their intended destination. Vision is what separates the successful from the unsuccessful. It helps you attain believable goals on a daily basis as you march toward the completion of your dream. It keeps you motivated during rough times. Those without vision wander through life aimlessly. Grab a vision for yourself and begin working to make it happen.

Freewriting: Laziness

It feels so good to come home after a long day of work and plop down on the couch to watch my favorite television shows and bury myself in social media. Why must laziness feel so good. It should at least hurt a little.

There are lots of productive things I should be doing with my free time, but laziness keeps me from doing so many of them. It saps my motivation. Laziness is comparable to a disease. It slowly eats away at my core and leaves me a shell of my former self. It’s the ultimate dream killer.

I must kill this laziness seed before it grows any further.

 

Don’t Be Afraid To Create

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We truly live in a “do-it-yourself” culture.

A long time ago, aspiring musicians shopped their demos around to record executives in order to secure a deal. Writers submitted their manuscripts to numerous publishers in the hopes of being accepted.

The rules have changed.

Musicians can now get the attention of major labels through the content they upload onto their personal You Tube channels. Writers can cultivate an audience through blogging or self publish their works.

Technology has changed the entire dynamic on how anyone can get their message across. It’s easier than ever before to cultivate an audience for your niche. No topic is too obscure.

If you’re passionate about something then don’t be afraid to create the content you want the world to see. It may take a while for others to catch on, but don’t be discouraged. Just remain persistent and others will soon follow.