By BH the Uncivilised
I’ve been a wrestling fan since the early 90s. Watched WWE (back when it was called WWF) when I was a child, and all my friends watched it, and as an adult, when all my friends were saying it was stupid. Now, after some twenty-five years, I no longer watch WWE.
Recently Hulk Hogan was fired from WWE for using racially insensitive language in a private setting. On the surface this might seem perfectly reasonable, considering the public nature of the wrestlers and the company. But old school fans remember Vince McMahon, head of the company, on their very own TV show, in front of millions watching all over the world, saying “What’s up, my nigga” to John Cena. Thus, Hogan is just the latest example of the organization’s hypocrisy.
WWE have a long history of racial insensitivity. Many non-white wrestlers' gimmicks (the characters they portray on TV) were some kind of racial stereotype. Sometimes it worked, other times it was just awkward. In August 2014, former employee Alberto Del Rio complained of racism from staff. Del Rio was fired after slapping then Social Media Manger Cody Barbierri for making a racist joke. WWE were originally going to suspend Del Rio without pay, but Barbierri threatened to sue the company if they didn’t fire him, so Del Rio was fired. WWE never made an official comment as to what happened, nor stated what, if anything, happened to Barbierri as result of his alleged comment. Though it is worth noting that they never denied it either.
It’s not just racism. On more than a few occasions they’ve been inconsiderate of religious beliefs. Most notably the tag team match of Vince McMahon and his son Shane Vs Shawn Michaels and God. Yep, God, except God was a spotlight. What made this especially awkward was the fact that Michaels was a recent Born Again Christian. The build-up to the match included Vince McMahon going to a church, spitting holy water, and on the day of the match, telling ’God’ to get jiggy with it.
McMahon has also run several story lines where he gets to be intimate with the hot chick. Bear in mind that this is the Chairman of the company putting himself in stories where he has his employees dance for him, share a bathtub with him, feel their breasts and French kiss in front of his wife. Speaking of kissing, he also ran the “Vince McMahon Kiss My Ass Club”, where several wrestlers, an announcer, and his own son, kissed his bare ass on television.
Everything I’ve mentioned so far could fall under a couple of categories: “Only one side of the story” and “They obviously agreed to do it.” WWE have acknowledged at least some of their, shall we say, WTF moments. Which is one of the reasons I kept watching. The final straw for me came after Triple H appeared on the Stone Cold Steve Austin Podcast in February 2015 and was asked if Chyna would ever make it to the Hall of Fame (HoF). Chyna is the only female to ever hold a men’s championship, considered a legend amongst wrestling fans, and the ex-partner of Triple H. He replied no, citing her actions after leaving WWE as the reason. After leaving WWE (or fired without being told, according to Chyna) she briefly entered the adult entertainment industry. After leaving adult entertainment, Chyna settled in japan and worked as a teacher.
There are plenty of people who’ve had less than stellar life experiences after leaving wrestling, including one who killed a man. Chyna, like others in the HoF, had been working to get her life in order. Triple H chose to drag her through her history again. When Chyna was employed by WWE, they fully supported and promoted her posing for Playboy magazine, even working it into her story line. This was not just hypocritical, but potentially sent a whole new generation of people looking for something she was trying to move on from.
I haven’t been watching WWE for a while now, maybe one day I’ll come back to it. But for now, I am a wrestling fan, there’s only so much hypocrisy one can take.