Charlotte Flair Explains Her Lengthy Absence From WWE Programming

Charlotte Flair could've come back in time for last year's SummerSlam event but multiple dental surgeries kept the 14-time world champion out of action for months longer than expected.

Flair, who made a surprise return on "SmackDown" last month to win the WWE "SmackDown" Women's Championship off Ronda Rousey, made the revelation about her time off during a recent interview with The New York Post.

The record-breaking world champion had initially been written off WWE television with a kayfabe injury at the promotion's WrestleMania Backlash event and planned to take time off TV for her marriage to AEW's Andrade El Idolo. But she told The Post that she's had dental issues since she was a kid and decided it would be the best time to get the issues fixed. The issues took multiple procedures, Flair told The Post.

"I had to," Flair said. "I didn't have a choice but to take care of these issues."

Flair said she enjoyed taking time off from television – a rarity for her since she debuted on WWE's developmental "NXT" program in 2012 and quickly became one of the company's most dependable stars. She and Andrade traveled together after getting married, including a week-long vacation to Italy. 

"Usually I'm thinking, even if I do go to the beach while I'm working I could go for a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, but I'm thinking, 'what am I doing on TV Friday, where are my live events?' " Flair told The Post. "To completely be disconnected and in the moment was so nice and getting that one-on-one time with Manny [Andrade] that I never have had before, it was priceless."

Flair has another night off Saturday when she'll be watching WWE's Royal Rumble, where the winner could decide to challenge her for the "SmackDown" Women's Championship at WrestleMania 39.