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Saturday, July 25, 2015

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Retrospective: Part 2 of Racism In Wrestling

Racism in professional wrestling, as we covered in part 1 while talking the early years til the 90s, is commonplace unfortunately. When we finished part 1, we had discussed minimal instances that truly bothered us all. For a deeper look on how racism truly evolved in wrestling, look no further than Mark Henry. Mark Henry, an olympic athlete, who was once crowned the strongest man in the world, has dealt with tons of bullshit from the WWF/WWE. First, during the DX parody of The Nation, he was played by X-Pac, who of course dressed up in what was pretty much blackface with a fat suit on to portray Mark(who they deemed Mizark). As a kid, I found it funny, because of who DX was, but in the current day, it just seemed to be in bad taste. At least Mark Henry's part. Further, continuing the embarrassment for Mark was his storyline with Chyna where he ended up in a situation with a tranny, then in a relationship with Mae Young on TV. Mark suffered through these storylines, then ended up being dubbed The Silverback(really.... Really??) during the mid 2000s as his gimmick. Mark has seemingly endured a ton of racism throughout his career, even having been called the N-Word by Michael Hayes.

Now, it is almost the norm for WWE to treat their black wrestlers terrible or saddle them with stereotypes, but what about their Latino and Asian wrestlers? Well, for one, WWE has rarely hired and utilized asian wrestlers, mainly because Vince doesn't see anything marketable about them or even understand them. Needless to say, Vince doesn't see the minority wrestlers as truly equal, if you will. Jimmy Wang Yang, Gail Kim and the other seldom asian wrestlers were never given a fair shot and were saddled with pointless gimmicks and eventually moved on from the WWE. How about the Latino wrestlers?

Well, this is where our look into racism in wrestling gets very intricate. Latino wrestlers have been known to be lucha libre stars, high flyers, and all around amazing wrestlers. Most of them wear masks as dictated by their culture, which is very rich in the wrestling business. So, when WWE hired guys such as Psychosis, Super Crazy, Juventud Guerrera, and others, you almost knew that they would be taking over the Cruiserweight division, right?

Wrong. Very wrong.

What occurred is known to many as the one of most racist things WWE has ever done on TV, The Mexicools. The name alone is offensive, but the gimmick was even worse, as they had these great Latino wrestlers come out in work clothes on a lawnmower. Yes, a lawnmower. A FUCKING LAWNMOWER. This is what Vince thought was entertaining. Wasting three great performers on a trio that was going nowhere and was extremely offensive. Needless to say, on top of The Mexicools, the legendary Eddie Guerrero and his whole character reeked of racism. Latino Heat, who would lie, cheat and steal? I don't think I need to elaborate there. Granted, Eddie's charisma and personality was just so fun that you really didn't mind the gimmick itself, but it was definitely racist, as was making his nephew Chavo into Kerwin White. I mean, for the love of God, Kerwin White, with his golf player clothes, dyed hair, and corny ass style..... I mean, really Vince? To the WWE, racism is just a joke. They laugh at the most ignorant shit and enjoy mocking different culture. It seems to be fun for them. So they offended black people, Latinos, Asians, I mean, who else you could offend?

How about those who are from the Middle East? Enter Muhammad Hassan.

Take one listen to Muhammad Hassan's music, his promos, etc.... And realize we were waged in a war with countries in the middle east and such. However, WWE went through with displaying this character who was damn near positioned as a terrorist in storylines. The Great Khali, while not as blatantly offensive as Hassan, still featured some elements of racism too. Look no further than the concept of a Punjabi Prison match. Why the hell would this be a concept? Why would we want to see anyone or watch someone compete in a damn Punjabi Prison??

WWE was knocking it out the park with racism in the 2000s, and it was only going to get worse. But, before we arrived at the most ignorant black gimmick ever in WWE, Triple H had to remind black people(through a promo against Booker T) that we weren't really worth anything, or rather good enough to be the top star in the business. Funny, because a guy who was better than Triple H his whole career, The Rock, and is the hugest crossover star ever, is actually black. Funny how that works. Booker had seen his share of racist storylines and instances, especially starting with the storyline that Booker could not read or was very dumb. That, coupled with the HHH storyline only furthered showcased how racist WWE was in theory, but still wasn't the worst. What was?

Brooklyn, Brooklyn. 

Yes, the sheer ignorance of Cryme Tyme. The buffoonery, the ridiculousness, the whole concept was terrible. While they made it entertaining at times, it was hard to truly watch without feeling uneasy at times. Why? I'll let the vignettes speak for themselves.

After all these cases of racism, it feels funny that WWE is now attempting to be so family friendly and intolerant of racists, when it's clear that they have racists working for them and running the damn company. That does it for part 2, part 3 will be the final chapter, as we look at the racism in WWE in the 2010s to close this out. I'll leave you with one last moment of racism... Vince McMahon saying "nigga" on a live PPV. Stay classy, WWE.



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