This post started with me typing a comment on the post about Jim Ross’ thoughts on the Paige/Charlotte Go-Home segment on Raw, but it kinda got away from me and ended up long enough to fill column space and Widro promised to buy me bubble wrap if I posted more often, so a columning we will go. This piece is mostly in response to Good Ole JR pointing out that apparently some fans are angry that the late Reid Flair was brought into it and that it was a line they shouldn’t have crossed.
To be fair, the Charlotte/Paige segment was HEAVY. And clearly hard for both women to get through. You could see Paige more than once visibly struggling to maintain the heel facade. Her voice almost broke more than once and also more than once she had to hide her face from the cameras and compose herself. That’s the hardest part about being a heel when your opponent is one of your best friends in real life. Brittney and I were talking on Facebook during this segment, and we both cried when Charlotte was talking about Reid because her raw genuine emotion talking about her dead little brother was palpable and real. Now imagine being Paige and being four feet away from one of your best friends pouring out that kind of emotion and having to play the heartless bitch.
Obviously the Reid thing was discussed before the gals came to the ring. Ric Flair said on his podcast that he wasn’t consulted and thinks Charlotte may have been afraid to say no to using Reid. These women have been busting their asses trying to make a stunted Divas revolution work. Monday’s show closing segment proves it CAN still be salvaged if they lose the “Lost In The Shuffle” team faction bullshit and do more one on one angles like this, where the women have room to tell an actual story and give the fans reasons to care. But Charlotte has only been on the main roster a few months. She very likely didn’t feel she had enough pull to veto the angle, according to her father. Of course Charlotte hasn’t spoken publicly out of character about it, so only she knows for sure either way.
But credit to Paige for managing to power through her obvious empathy for Charlotte and maintain her heel character. In spite of so many moments where she was visibly fighting not to show her actual emotions, she managed to rein it in and pull off the cold crude bitchy heelness she needed to for the inevitable fight to be believable and have meaning for the fans. If Paige hadn’t maintained her character as well as she did, Charlotte losing it and trying to beat her ass would have fallen flat.
Do I personally think going there with Reid Flair was appropriate? I honestly don’t know. I’m squicky with bringing dead people into angles. But Charlotte and Paige obviously discussed it beforehand. No one knows whose idea it was, but if Charlotte was willing to do it, who am I to say it was wrong? Would I personally have gone there? No. To me using an actual real life dead person to elicit an audience emotion is too tricky to successfully pull off, as the mixed criticisms prove. Reid’s mother is on record as being disgusted and angry about it, and Dave Meltzer has scolded the ‘E for going there.
Was it uncomfortable to watch? Damn straight. I’m a highly empathetic person and seeing the genuine real life pain Charlotte wove into her on-screen character’s speech affected me. I cried for her because I’ve outlived two brothers myself and I could FEEL that hurt. There is ZERO chance she wasn’t choking back real tears as she wove her real life loss into her TV storyline. So yes, it was damned uncomfortable to watch, but in the exact right way they needed it to be. Paige is still too popular with the crowd and needed to give them a better reason to boo her than just occasionally insulting the audience. They needed a reason to finally look at Paige and say “Damn that shit ain’t cool, you’re a huge bitch” leading into Survivor Series.
So in the end, in spite of the very vocal criticisms against using Reid’s memory, it DOES appear to have done exactly what it was intended to do. I adore Paige the person, but the mark in me wants to see Paige the character get her bitchy insensitive ass beat on Sunday. Barring the critics, WWE got the result it wanted. Fans are finally booing Paige. The Reid angle finally pushed Paige past the Tweener state she was in as a heel into being a true full-on villain the fans want to hate, and Charlotte has finally gotten to really connect with the main roster audience in a meaningful way that gives the casual fans a reason to give a toss about her.
And the very fact that, for the first time since the days of Trish and Mickie James’ feud, a womens’ angle got to close out Raw, (at least that I can recall), says that the stalled Divas Revolution is finally getting the traction it needs to succeed. And all they had to do was *GASP!!!* focus on the women as individual characters with personalities and motivations the same way they do with the men. And by turfing the pointless meandering pointless factions of boredom they’d been doing unsuccessfully.
Treating the women like actual people. What a novel concept. Now if only they’d bloody listen to all those “We Want Sasha” chants.
Tags: charlotte, Paige, reid flair, Ric Flair