Charlotte Flair: A Comparative WWE Analysis

Charlotte Flair: A Comparative WWE Analysis

Earlier this week, DailyDDT published an op-ed that explored the criticism Charlotte Flair receives from fans, primarily as a result of what some fans perceive as undue favoritism the Superstar receives; favoritism they claim is due to who her father is—Ric Flair.

The author of the article labels Charlotte a “corporate champion”—praising the legacy wrestler for her talent and aura, while simultaneously stating she “lingers at the top and threatens to demean and squash any worker that has legitimately made their way up the mountain.”

Charlotte responded to the article via a Twitter thread, insinuating that the criticism is sexist in nature, and stating that a side effect of “excelling at something” is to always be in the title picture.

Gorilla Position, a UK WWE fancast who has recently announced the show would be taking a break, posted a tweet that seemingly also addressed the debate mentioned within the article. The tweet strongly states Flair is “WWE’s greatest female performer, ever.”

Gorilla Position makes the claim that Charlotte’s GOAT status is “not up for debate”, but Bell To Belles would have to disagree; it’s absolutely up for debate. The nature of wrestling creates a situation where it’s hard to determine who “the greatest wrestler of all time” is, especially within WWE. Kayfabe, momentum, and predetermined results muddy up the numbers and statistics that would make the title of GOAT easier to give.

In sports like football and basketball, analysts and fans can use numbers and statistics universal to that sport to rank players, and determine with greater ease (not perfect ease) who is at the top of their sport. With wrestling, it’s not so clear who is the “corporate champion”, as the DailyDDT author labels. Who is being pushed by executives, who is winning over executives for a push, and how does WWE’s creative team affect the trajectory of which Superstar sees success? Do executives choose who gets a title reign from the start, or does the skill of the wrestler and response from the fans create legends?

Though we make the argument that it’s not so easy to determine who the best WWE Superstar of all time is, we also agree that numbers and circumstances do exist that make the decision easier to narrow down. The article from DailyDDT is an op-ed, and the tweet from Gorilla Position states opinions disguised as fact. While it’s clear Charlotte is in the circle of female Superstars that belong in the GOAT discussion, it’s not so clear which woman takes home the top title.

Bell To Belles believes in providing the numbers, statistics, and facts to readers in order to properly arm fans with the knowledge needed to form their own decisions. So, numbers, statistics, and facts were collected on 10 women that are often included in the “WWE’s greatest female Superstar of all time” conversation: Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Bayley, Becky Lynch, Asuka, Paige, Nikki Bella, Lita, Trish Stratus, and Chyna.

To give a full picture of what “greatness” might be measured by, we collected information on the following categories for each woman: trainers, WWE timeline with any absences (to determine how prone they are to injury/personal issues), list of “firsts”, number of WWE titles, total WWE title reign length, average WWE title reign length, their best and average WWE win record, number of pay-per-view appearances, number of pay-per-view main events, how they win most of their matches, overall weighted WON ranking, awards from entities other than WWE, media the women appeared in not controlled by WWE or self-promoted to show mainstream popularity, and to provide a clearer picture of their experience and skill, we included how many promotions they appeared for and matches they worked, outside of WWE.

Below is the information collected, mostly from CAGEMATCH and The Internet Wrestling Database, with further verification, if needed.

Specifically Trained By (all women also trained in WWE PC)

  • Charlotte Flair – Lodi, Ric Flair
  • Sasha Banks – Brian Fury, Hanson, Brian Milonas
  • Bayley – Jason Styles
  • Becky Lynch – Finn Balor, NWA UK Hammerlock, Paul Tracey
  • Asuka – Yuki Ishikawa
  • Paige – Ricky Knight, Sweet Saraya
  • Nikki Bella – Tom Prichard, Natalya
  • Lita – Dory Funk, Jr., El Dandy, Ricky Santana, Kevin Quinn, Jeff and Matt Hardy, David Sierra
  • Trish Stratus – Dave Finlay
  • Chyna – Killer Kowalski

WWE Timeline with WWE Absences

SuperstarWWE Timeline
Charlotte FlairNXT in 2013, main roster in 2015 – Absent 2 mos. in 2013, 5 mos. in 2020
Sasha BanksNXT in 2012, main roster in 2015 – Absent 1 mo. in 2013, 3 mos. in 2019
BayleyNXT in 2012, main roster in 2016 – Absent 1 mo. in 2017
Becky LynchNXT in 2013, main roster in 2015 – Absent 3 mos. in 2014, 1 mo. in 2019, in maternity leave now
AsukaNXT in 2015, main roster in 2017 – Absent 1 mo. in 2017
PaigeFCW in 2011, NXT in 2012, main roster in 2014 – Absent 1 mo. in 2013, 1 mo. in 2014, 6 mos. in 2016, 11 mos. in 2017, currently retired from in-ring action
Nikki BellaFCW in 2007, main roster in 2008 – Absent 2 mos. in 2008, 8 mos. in 2012, 4 mos. in 2013, 1 mo. in 2015, 7 mos. in 2016, 8 mos. in 2017, 5 mos, in 2018, currently retired from in-ring action
LitaWWF/E in 1999, WWE part-time in 2007 and 2010-present, WWE trainer/producer/PT wrestler 2015-2018 – Absent 9 mos. in 2002, 8 mos. in 2003, 4 mos. in 2004, 11 mos. in 2005, 2 mos. in 2006, 2007-2012, 2013-2018, currently retired from in-ring action
Trish StratusWWF/E in 2000 – Absent 2 mos. in 2001, 1 mo. in 2003, 1 mo. in 2004, 4 mos. in 2005, 4 mos. in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012-2017, currently retired from in-ring action
ChynaWWF from 1998-2001 – Absent 2 mos. in 1999, 2 mos. in 2001

WWE Titles, Total Reign Length, Average Reign Length (unranked)

SuperstarTitlesTotal Reign LengthAverage Reign Length
Charlotte FlairNXT – 2, Divas -1, RAW – 4, SD – 5, Tag Team – 1 (13)989 days76.1 days
Sasha BanksNXT – 1, RAW – 5, SD – 1, Tag Team – 2 (9)540 days60 days
BayleyNXT – 1, RAW – 1, SD – 2, Tag Team – 2 (6)964 days160.7 days
Becky LynchRAW – 1, SD – 3 (4)616 days154 days
AsukaNXT – 1, RAW – 2, SD – 1, Tag Team – 2 (6)1,027 days171.2 days
PaigeNXT – 1, Divas – 2 (3)427 days142.3 days
Nikki BellaDivas – 2 (2)307 days153.5 days
LitaWWE/F Women’s – 4 (4)160 days40 days
Trish StratusWWE Women’s – 7, Hardcore – 1 (8)829 days103.6 days
ChynaWWF Women’s – 1, WWF Intercontinental – 2 (3)295 days98.3 days

Matches – Total and Average Per Year

SuperstarTotal Matches in WWEAverage WWE Matches Per Year
Charlotte Flair883 matches106 matches
Sasha Banks817 matches81.7 matches
Bayley830 matches92.2 matches
Becky Lynch758 matches94.8 matches
Asuka563 matches105.6 matches
Paige403 matches80.6 matches
Nikki Bella599 matches49.9 matches
Lita324 matches36 matches
Trish Stratus521 matches43.4 matches
Chyna91 matches22.8 matches

Win Record – Best and Average (years with more than 5 matches were included for best record)

SuperstarBest Win RecordAverage Win Record
Charlotte Flair2015 – 74%50.1%
Sasha Banks2016 – 75.4%44.4%
Bayley2016 – 90.6%73.5%
Becky Lynch2020 – 100%61.5%
Asuka2017 – 97.8%95.3%
Paige2013 – 72.9%60.3%
Nikki Bella2017 – 88.9%61.9%
Lita2002 – 71.4%60.2%
Trish Stratus2005 – 91.9%57.9%
Chyna2001 – 87.5%53.8%

PPV Appearances, PPV Main Events, Longest WWE Singles Match, Wins Most By

SuperstarPPV AppearancesPPV Main EventsWins Most By
Charlotte Flair509Pinfall – 51.08%
Sasha Banks414Submission – 53.61%
Bayley404Pinfall – 80.33%
Becky Lynch4210Submission – 63.46%
Asuka305Submission – 58.55%
Paige170Pinfall – 54.84%
Nikki Bella313Pinfall – 91.36%
Lita221Pinfall – 90.83%
Trish Stratus421Pinfall – 84.21%
Chyna232Pinfall – 77.27%

Number of Promotions and Matches Outside of WWE

  • Charlotte Flair – 0 promotions/0 matches
  • Sasha Banks – 16 promotions/54 matches
  • Bayley – 11 promotions/59 matches
  • Becky Lynch – 24 promotions/62 matches
  • Asuka – 37 promotions/866 matches
  • Paige – 25 promotions/260 matches
  • Nikki Bella – 2 promotions/2 matches
  • Lita – 9 promotions/13 matches
  • Trish Stratus – 0 promotions/0 matches
  • Chyna – 5 promotions/20 matches

Overall Weighted WON Ranking (at time of publication, ranking includes male and female wrestlers)

  • Charlotte Flair – #225
  • Sasha Banks – #192
  • Bayley – #308
  • Becky Lynch – #267
  • Asuka – #240
  • Paige – N/A
  • Nikki Bella – N/A
  • Lita – N/A
  • Trish Stratus – N/A
  • Chyna – N/A

“Firsts”

Superstar“Firsts” within WWE
Charlotte Flair-Woman to headline a WWE pay-per-view (with Sasha Banks)
-Woman to headline WrestleMania (with Becky Lynch & Ronda Rousey)
-Woman to compete in a women’s Hell in a Cell match (with Sasha Banks)
-4th Women’s Grand Slam Champion, 5th Women’s Triple Crown Champion
-Inaugural WWE Women’s Champion (return after Divas Championship retirement)
Sasha Banks-Woman to headline a WWE pay-per-view (with Charlotte Flair)
-Woman to compete in a women’s Hell in a Cell match (with Charlotte Flair)
-Woman to headline a NXT TakeOver (with Bayley)
-Participated in the first Iron Woman match in WWE history, longest women’s match at the time (with Bayley)
-Participated in first women’s match contested in the Middle East (with Alexa Bliss)
-3rd Women’s Grand Slam Champion, 4th Women’s Triple Crown Winner
-Inaugural WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion
Bayley-Woman to headline a NXT TakeOver (with Sasha Banks)
-Participated in the first Iron Woman match in WWE history, longest women’s match at the time (with Sasha Banks)
-Woman to defend a title in Saudi Arabia
-3rd woman in WWE history to hold two concurrent titles
-1st Women’s Grand Slam Champion, 1st Women’s Triple Crown Winner
-Inaugural WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion
Becky Lynch-Woman to headline WrestleMania (with Charlotte Flair & Ronda Rousey)
-Inaugural SmackDown Women’s Champion
-Woman to hold both Women’s Raw and SmackDown Championships simultaneously
-Longest-reigning Women’s Raw Champion
-Woman to win a WrestleMania main event
-First WWE Superstar to appear on the cover of ESPN The Magazine
-Woman to be featured on the cover of a WWE 2K video game
-Holds the record for most pay-per-view main evented in one year for a female Superstar (2019)
-Only woman to win PWI Most Popular Wrestler of the Year in 2019
-First woman to lead WWE in merchandise sales
Asuka-First female Japanese wrestler to sign with WWE in over 20 years
-Longest-reigning NXT Women’s Champion
-Billed as longest undefeated streak in WWE history (though statistically incorrect)
-First to have won both the women’s Royal Rumble and women’s Money in the Bank matches
-Inaugural women’s Royal Rumble match winner
-2nd Women’s Grand Slam Champion, 3rd Women’s Triple Crown Champion
Paige-Youngest Divas Champion
-Inaugural NXT Women’s Champion
-First to hold Divas and NXT Championship simultaneously
-First Diva to win the title in her debut match
Nikki Bella-Longest-reigning Divas Champion
-2020 WWE Hall of Fame
Lita-Involved in first three Raw main events that featured women
-First time women alone main-evented Raw (with Trish Stratus)
-Competed in first-ever women’s steel cage match in WWE (with Victoria)
-2014 WWE Hall of Fame
Trish Stratus-Set record for most titles at 7 during her time at WWE
-2013 WWE Hall of Fame
-Has appeared in more WWE video games than any other female with 26 appearances
Chyna-WWE’s first female enforcer
-Only woman to hold WWF Intercontinental Championship
-First woman to take part in men’s Royal Rumble match and King of the Ring Tournament
-First woman to become #1 contender to the WWF Championship
-2019 WWE Hall of Fame (as member of D-Generation X)

Awards (non-WWE given awards, only PWI top 10 placements are included)

SuperstarAwards
Charlotte FlairThe Baltimore Sun 2016 WWE Female Wrestler of the Year
-CBS Sports 2018 WWE Match of the Year (with Asuka and Becky Lynch)
-PWI Feud of the Year 2016 (with Sasha Banks)
-PWI Rookie of the Year 2014
-PWI Woman of the Year 2016
-#6 on 2015 PWI Female 50
-#1 on 2016 PWI Female 50
-#2 on 2017 PWI Female 50
-#3 on 2018 PWI Women’s 100
-#2 on 2019 PWI Women’s 100
-#4 on 2020 PWI Women’s 100
-#2 on Rolling Stone‘s 10 Best WWE Wrestlers of 2016
-Woman to win PWI award for Feud of the Year (with Sasha Banks)
Sasha Banks-PWI Feud of the Year 2016 (with Charlotte Flair)
Sports Illustrated 2020 Wrestler of the Year
-#1 in the new PWI BW 500
-Woman to win PWI award for Feud of the Year (with Charlotte Flair)
-CBS Sports 2020 Tag Team of the Year (with Bayley)
-PWI 2015 Match of the Year (with Bayley)
-PWI 2020 Feud of the Year (with Bayley)
-PWI 2020 Tag Team of the Year (with Bayley)
-#3 on 2015 PWI Female 50
-#1 on 2016 PWI Female 50
-#4 on 2017 PWI Female 50
-#5 on 2020 PWI Women’s 100
-#3 on 2020 PWI Tag Team 50 (with Bayley)
Rolling Stone 2015 Future Diva of the Year
-#4 on Rolling Stone’s 10 Best WWE Wrestlers of 2016
Rolling Stone 2015 NXT Match of the Year (with Bayley)
Rolling Stone 2015 Title Feud of the Year, NXT (with Bayley)
Sports Illustrated #8 Top 10 Female Wrestlers of 2019 (tied with Bayley)
Bayley-CBS Sports 2020 Tag Team of the Year (with Sasha Banks)
-PWI 2015 Match of the Year (with Sasha Banks)
-PWI 2020 Feud of the Year (with Sasha Banks)
-PWI 2020 Tag Team of the Year (with Sasha Banks)
-#3 on 2020 PWI Tag Team 50 (with Sasha Banks)
Rolling Stone 2015 NXT Match of the Year (with Sasha Banks)
Rolling Stone 2015 Title Feud of the Year, NXT (with Sasha Banks)
Sports Illustrated #8 Top 10 Female Wrestlers of 2019 (tied with Sasha Banks)
Inside the Ropes Magazine 2020 Female Wrestler of the Year
-PWI 2015 and 2016 Inspirational Wrestler of the Year
-#5 on 2016 Female 50
-#5 on 2017 Female 50
-#1 on 2020 PWI Women’s 100
-#6 on Sports Illustrated’s Top 10 Wrestlers in 2020
Becky Lynch-CBS Sports 2018 WWE Match of the Year (with Asuka and Charlotte Flair)
-Twitter’s #6 Top Female Athletes Worldwide in 2019
-CBS Sports 2018 Best Moment of the Year
-CBS Sports 2018 Wrestler of the Year
-PWI 2019 Most Popular Wrestler
-PWI 2018 and 2019 Woman of the Year
-#4 on 2016 PWI Female 50
-#1 on 2019 PWI Women’s 100
-#2 on 2020 PWI Women’s 100
Sports Illustrated 2018 and 2019 Women’s Wrestler of the Year
Asuka-CBS Sports 2018 WWE Match of the Year (with Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch)
-First Japanese wrestler top the PWI Female 50/Women’s 100
-#3 on 2016 PWI Female 50
-#1 on 2017 PWI Female 50
-#5 on 2018 PWI Women’s 100
-#3 on 2020 PWI Women’s 100
-2017 PWI Woman of the Year
-#9 on 2020 PWI Tag Team 50 (with Kairi Sane)
Rolling Stone 2017 Eeriest Entrance of the Year
-#5 on Sports Illustrated‘s 2018 Top 10 Women’s Wrestlers of the Year
Paige-#1 on 2014 PWI Female 50
-#2 on 2015 PWI Female 50
Rolling Stone 2014 Diva of the Year
Nikki Bella-#1 on 2015 PWI Female 50
-Choice Female Athlete at 2016 Teen Choice Awards (with Brie Bella)
Rolling Stone 2015 Diva of the Year
Rolling Stone 2015 Most Improved Wrestler
LitaAmerican Chronicles 2006 Female of the Year
-2005 PWI Feud of the Year (with Edge vs. Matt Hardy)
-2001 PWI Woman of the Year
Pro Wrestling Report 2006 Diva of the Year
-Digital Spy’s Greatest Female WWE Wrestler of All-Time, winner of World Cup Tournament to declare winner in 2020
Trish Stratus-First woman to win the Lou Thesz Award from the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame
The Baltimore Sun 2010 Best Female Wrestler of the Decade
-Cauliflower Alley Club 2016 Iron Mike Mazurki Award
Fighting Spirit Magazine 2006 Double X Award
Fighting Spirit Magazine 2006 Three Degrees Award
-Ontario Sports Hall of Fame 2017 Sandy Hawley Community Service Award
-PWI Woman of the Year for Years 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2006
-PWI Woman of the Decade (2000-2009)
Chyna-Ladies International Wrestling Association 1998 Rookie of the Year
-Professional Girl Wrestling Association 1996 Rookie of the Year

In Media (non-WWE or self-promoted)

SuperstarIn Other Media
Charlotte FlairPsych: The Movie (2017)
-#29 out of 50 in 2017 Sports Illustrated Fittest Woman Athletes of the Year
-2018 ESPN Body 10 Magazine
Sasha BanksThe Mandalorian (2020)
-“Song For Sasha Banks” – The Mountain Goats
BayleyN/A
Becky LynchVikings (2013)
-Entrance music is played after every goal scored on home ice by the San Jose Barracuda
Billions (2020)
Game On! (2020)
AsukaN/A
PaigeThe Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family was based on her career
Fighting with My Family was adapted from the documentary on her career
Ridiculousness
Game Bang from Smosh
-Wizard World comic con events
-Guest appearance on Conan
What Just Happened??! with Fred Savage
Nikki BellaMeet My Folks (2002)
-“Right Side of the Bed” video – Atreyu
-“Na Na” video – Trey Songz
Ridiculousness (2012)
Psych (2014)
Confessions of a Womanizer (2014)
-Judge at Miss USA 2013
-Presenter at 2014 MTV Europe Music Awards
-“When Someone Tries to Steal Your BFF” video – Lilly Singh
-Competitor on Dancing with the Stars (2017)
-Appearance on celebrity edition of American Ninja Warrior: Ninja vs Ninja (2018)
Drop the Mic (2018)
Celebrity Call Center (2020)
-“Hollywood” video – Sophia Grace
LitaLita: It Just Feels Right (2001)
Dark Angel (2002)
Fear Factor (2002)
The Weakest Link (2002)
Headbangers Ball (2004)
Nine Legends (2016)
The UFO Sho (2018)
The Bachelorette (2020)
Trish Stratus-Hosted Canada’s Walk of Fame (2006)
Armed & Famous (2006-07)
The Second City’s Next Comedy Legend (2007)
Stratusphere (2008)
Da King in My Hair (2009)
-Spokesperson for Sports Interaction
Bail Enforcers (2011)
Gridlocked (2015)
-Bridal gown was featured on a cover of Today’s Bride magazine
-Spokesperson for World Natural Sports Association
-“Somebody’s Gonna Pay” video
Corner Gas Animated (2020)
Chyna-Pacific Blue (1996, 2000)
-The Martin Short Show (1999)
-3rd Rock from the Sun (2000)
-Mad TV (2000)
-MTV Cribs (2000)
-Celebrity Deathmatch (2001)
-Gary & Mike (2001)
-Tracker (2001)
-Fear Factor (2001)
-Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (2002)
-The Nick Cannon Show (2002)
-Relic Hunter (2002)
-Whose Line Is It Anyways? (2002)
-Celebrity Boxing 2 (2002)
-The Anna Nicole Show (2002)
-The Surreal Life (2005)
-My Fair Brady (2006)
-The Surreal Life: Fame Games (2007)
-Celebrity Rehab (2008)
-Beyond the Mat (1999)
-Chyna Fitness: More Than Meets the Eye (2000)
-Alien Fury: Countdown to Invasion (2001)
-On the Line (2001)
-Frank McKlusky, C.I. (2002)
-Joanie Laurer Warrior Princess (2002)
-Hunter: Back in Force (2003)
-Romp (2003)
-101 Reasons Not to Be a Pro Wrestler (2005)
-Just Another Romantic Wrestling Comedy (2006)
-Illegal Aliens (2007)
-Cougar Club (2007)
-Losing Control (2011)
-A Night at the Silent Movie Theater (2012)
-White T
(2013)

After analyzing every piece of information above, we can only come to one conclusion: there is no clear conclusion to be made.

It’s not obvious who the greatest WWE female wrestler of all time is, for several reasons. First, it’s not clear which category should outweigh another, or rather, any choice on which category best describes a GOAT is simply a fan’s opinion. Does a wrestler’s contribution to mainstream entertainment mean more than title reigns? Or should we consider a wrestler’s “firsts” a telltale sign of how great they are? There’s no clear cut answer, and there lies the issue with trying to state anything definitively within this debate.

It’s not clear who could be labeled the GOAT, because talent, skill, and ranking in each of these categories are spread evenly throughout. The truth is, one can not simply separate reality from kayfabe with preciseness, and so we may never know with the certainty of football rankings who might be the best of all time.

We choose to take comfort in the knowledge that each woman has contributed something to the WWE women’s division. Women’s wrestling is evolving daily, and a good portion of that evolution is thanks to wrestling fans’ changing preferences. Continue to evaluate female wrestlers, and demand more women’s wrestling, because it will push the evolution forward.

Most importantly, appreciate whichever female wrestler you’d like. And let others appreciate their favorite female wrestler. Your GOAT might not be everyone’s GOAT, but in a fandom universe, all that matters is that you’re a fan.

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