Writing/discussing wrestling in the sports section is always tricky - some people just don’t get it so they hate it.
Know this - WrestleMania is one of the biggest one day events every year and its size has forced it into coverage by ESPN and other sports outlets specifically for that reason. WrestleMania 32 comes to AT&T Stadium on Sunday and there is a good chance it will break attendance records and eclipse the mark of 110,000.
Sting will not be wrestling in Sunday’s event but will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this weekend. Ms Charlotte is slated to go against Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch in the Triple Threat Match. Click here for the full schedule of matches.
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Both gave me a few minutes to preview the weekend’s event:
Mac Engel: The unfortunate theme of this weekend has been the staggering number of injuries to the companies’ prominent names - given that what can we expect?
Charlotte: You could expect the Divas Triple Match will steal the show. I mean that. I am walking on stage with two people that I know better than anybody. We came up together. We have been given the time and the story lines.
Sting: There is something about WrestleMania. I had never been in front of a stadium crowd that big. The production of it. You can expect to see the most talented innovative wrestlers. Vince McMahon says this is the biggest spectacle but not just sports entertainment but entertainment. I would have to agree. There is in my book no possible way that this WWE machine is going to show up to the greatest spectacle in all entertainment and not deliver and not create something enormous that fans won’t walk away blown away.
ME: Sting, in reviewing your career, do you wish you had left (WCW) to joined WWE earlier?
Sting: No, it was just time for me to get out. It wasn’t one of those I left and right away went to WWE. I ended up making a phone call and the rest is history. Should have I gone earlier? Maybe I should have gone back in the WCW days. I can’t complain. I can’t think of what could have been. That’s easy to do. As I look back, I can’t complain. I am glad it ended up the way it did.
ME: Is this something you always aspired to?
Charlotte: Growing up I wasn’t used to it. I didn’t follow wrestling. I played sports my whole life. I didn’t dream of doing it. My brother talked to me into it. Behind the scenes – it opened a lot of doors and it closed a lot. I’m a competitive person. Knowing that I don’t want to be in his shadow but be an extension of his legacy. I try not to let my dad and who he is hinder me. He is my dad and it’s a mixed blessing.
Sting: I am more of a modern era wrestler. I grew up in Southern California where we didn’t have a pro wrestler’s gym. When Hulk Hogan walked into the Gold’s Gym that I co-owned, I didn’t know who he was. It was in Santa Clarita where I grew up. People were freaking out that that’s the guy from the Rocky movie.
ME: How is being the daughter of Ric Flair a mixed blessing?
Charlotte: Well, you’re asking me about it. I can’t be a 5-foot-10 athlete. It does close doors. I’m the daughter of the greatest of all time. My dad is such an integral part of my career. I am fine with it. It does drive me. I do some of the things he did - I chop. My dad chopped. So does 90 percent of the male roster. It’s not like I am ripping off Ric Flair.
ME: Sting, I have heard Steve Austin say that he thinks WWE needs to return the hard core wrestling and focus less on the story lines; do you agree?
Sting: I think that it can get too much with the backstage this and backstage that and too much talking. We experienced this back in the day when we launched Nitro – less is more. If you have the right two characters in the ring having a verbal joust, the ratings peaked. They didn’t peak during the match they peaked during the argument. The guys want to see the fight, too.
ME: Sting, when you were away from wrestling did you miss it or were you full-time with other things?
Sting: I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t miss it. The roar of a crowd. During that time that four or five years when I was away I was so busy raising my kids and making up for consequences for my life on the road. I was totally content. I’m a dad. I’m a husband. I love real estate and development.
ME: Charlotte, do you think that WWE Divas have to be sex symbols?
Charlotte: I don’t know if we use that word any more. I think it’s outdated. I was on the cover of Muscle and Fitness this year. That’s what I want to stand for – strong and dominant. I don’t want to be looked at as a Diva but a superstar. I’m more about empowering women. Some people are into athletic women.
ME: Sting, at some point this company will no longer have Vince McMahon as its leader. Have any of you all discussed what that transition will be like when he hands it off and how it will sustain without such a central, commanding figure?
Sting: That’s an interesting thoughtful question. I don’t think, no, in any conversation I have heard of this. I am sure it’s come up. I’m sure when it happened when Vince Sr. died and Vince Jr. took over. I do know that leadership it starts at the top. Vince is a leader. What he says goes.