Charlotte Flair vs. The Internet

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As my main man Geno pointed out last night, Charlotte Flair does not have time for people criticizing her co-workers on social media.

It’s an example of an interesting tack Flair’s been taking since she was introduced as Ronda Rousey’s new WrestleMania 35 opponent by Vince McMahon on the Feb. 11 Raw. As part of embracing the heel role as Vince’s “chosen one”, Charlotte is going after internet fans.

It’s not exactly a new approach for WWE villains. One of the ways Flair’s worked the gimmick on Twitter involved sending out a video of Triple H doing the same thing back in 2014:

And they continue to go back to this approach because it works. Whether they like being labeled part of it or not, fans in the “internet wrestling community” are often in the crowd at televised shows. Poking them is an almost surefire way to get heat on Raw, SmackDown or pay-per-view (PPV).

Many of these folks are also… there’s no other way to say it… easily worked. The video of Vince suspending Becky Lynch and giving Charlotte her spot at WrestleMania 35 quickly became the most disliked video in the history of WWE’s YouTube channel. It currently sits at a nice 69K down votes. For comparison, Roman Reigns “This is my yard now” promo after beating Undertaker at WrestleMania 33 has 38K.

Will some of those folks clicking the thumbs down icon be cancelling their Network subscription if/when ‘Mania’s Raw Women’s title match doesn’t feature The Man, or is a Triple Threat? Sure. Will even more of them be sitting in MetLife Stadium or watching on WWE Network April 7, cheering on Lynch or Ronda Rousey? Almost certainly.

Antagonizing “internet fans” is smart for someone in Flair’s position, too. A glance at her Twitter timeline shows she walks an even narrower kayfabe tightrope than many Superstars. She’s a guest speaker for college courses and a promoter for PPVs she’s not even wrestling on just as much as she is an on-screen bad girl. Picking on a group of fans that even a bunch of people technically in that group of fans doesn’t like is very meta-heeling.

Even the tweets that Geno focused on were a brilliant spin of her two roles. After the Vince announcement completely overshadowed her and it, Flair was putting Ruby Riott over as a way to be a locker room leader and promote Rousey’s match with her at Elimination Chamber. The replies and quote-tweets dealing with Eva Marie gave Charlotte a way to attack her new favorite targets while still being a team captain and promoter.

And lets face it. Defending Eva is a heel move for a lot of “smarks”.

With the internet generally on Becky’s side and Rousey appealing to the masses, look for the Queen to continue to gloat in the ring, troll online and shake hands at PR events.

It’s best for business, whether you think her being in the main event of WrestleMania is or not.

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