WWE

Charlotte Flair def. SmackDown Women’s Champion Natalya via Disqualification

DETROIT — Charlotte Flair may have defeated Natalya at WWE Hell in a Cell, but a disqualification ruling ensures that The Queen of Harts lives to fight another day as SmackDown Women’s Champion. That’s a bitter pill for Charlotte to swallow, given that her entire campaign for the Blue Brand’s Women’s Title was something of a crusade in the name of her father, Ric Flair, whose recent brush with mortality motivated Charlotte to restore gold to the family name.

The good news for sports-entertainment purists, however, was that the two’s penchant for thrilling matches hasn’t abated since their last pay-per-view meeting in mid-2016. The rivals picked up almost exactly where they left off, although Charlotte took some time adjusting to fighting from underneath. The Queen of Harts mangled the Flair heiress’ left knee and ankle, presumably to soften her up for the Sharpshooter.

A one-legged Charlotte answered through pure upper-body strength, prying her way out of a Sharpshooter and raining chops on the titleholder with reckless abandon. Each time, however, the match came down to the bad leg and Natalya’s willingness to punish it.

A shaky-legged moonsault attempt from Charlotte led to a tremendous powerbomb, and a missed Figure-Four found Flair driven knee-first into the steel steps. While a successful moonsault to the outside didn’t lead to a pinfall, it did end the match nonetheless. Natalya grabbed hold of a steel chair and went to town on Charlotte’s bum knee, bringing the bout to a disqualification close.

Cruel? Yes. Underhanded? Absolutely. But Charlotte should know better than anybody: The Queen does as she likes.