WWE stars embrace challenge of performing at highest level

Charlotte Flair is on her second visit to Manila. Julio Sampedro

Despite traveling thousands of miles over 300 days a year, WWE superstar Charlotte Flair admits that performing before throngs of pro wrestling fans aids her in delivering a quality performance.

Flair, the daughter of 16-time World Champion Ric Flair, along with WWE champion Kofi Kingston and other superstars from SmackDown Live are in Manila for a house show at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum Friday evening.

Many of them, including Flair and Kingston have made this trip to Manila before.

"I don't know anything different. I think it makes me feel alive and having the opportunity. And I think the people who work you know that nine to five job," shared Flair. "Yes, it's tiring and exhausting. And you're away from your families but being able to travel the world and entertain millions is that's what gives me the energy."

The WWE superstars arrived in Manila early Friday morning, and immediately engaged with members of the media in Ortigas, Pasig.

"I think my most important role is being able to have the opportunity to do international press to go to different countries and outlets to talk about WWE and what it means and the passion in the women's division," said Flair. "For me, it's just always taking it to the next level. And it's hard, but it's so gratifying. And it's what I want to do."

The roster, which includes Kingston's tag team partners the New Day, Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, and Kevin Owens, among others, will be the headliners for the first show of the sports entertainment brand in Manila since 2016.

Flair, affectionately dubbed the "Queen" by the WWE Universe, or their loyal fanbase, has already headlined pro wrestling's biggest pay-per-view, WrestleMania, and has held their women's title more times than any other in the active roster.

Despite being one of wrestling's biggest draws, Flair believes that staying complacent with her skills is not her way of working.

"I put so much pressure on myself regardless," Flair told ESPN5.

Even though not currently a title holder, the multiple-time Women's Champion is currently involved in a storyline with the other members of the WWE's Four Horsewomen, namely WWE Raw women's champion Becky Lynch, SmackDown Live counterpart Bayley, and the returning Sasha Banks.

"When we're all together, we make magic whether we're getting along, whether we're not getting along or whether I want her spot or she wants mine, you can't deny that the four of us have undeniable chemistry, undeniable chemistry."

Flair, who played volleyball in high school, did not intend to follow the footsteps of her father and other siblings, but revealed that the induction of her father's stable, the Four Horsemen in 2012, influenced her eventual entry to the WWE.

For Kingston, the first-ever African-born champion of the federation, knows that being one of the faces of the company has drawn inspiration from young fans who want to become sports entertainers some day.

"I'm a person that they can look to and say, 'Hey, he did it. Maybe I can do it to somebody that's really what it's all about us being able to provide that life,'" said Kingston.

Being a superstar for 11 years now, this is Kingston's first reign as world champion.

His buddies, the bombastic duo of Xavier Woods and Big E, are also in their second visit to the Philippines.

Woods told how he tasted balut on his first stay in Manila, and like other foreigners, had a mixed reaction to the fertilized duck egg.

"I ate it. And it was fine. And then a day later I was terrible. It was rough on my body so I will not be eating it again," Woods joked.

He however mentioned that he would like to have a chance to visit the archipelago's numerous beaches if he had the chance.