Is Pro Wrestling a White Mans World"
October 13, 2005 by Keelan Balderson
Professional wrestling, a sport full of midgets, masked men, cowboys, clowns, Texan ass kickers, extreme maniacs, bongo breasted babes and ermm, well what should be here is multi racial icons but instead of that I'll put big harsh racists. Many questions arise when on the topic of racism and because this is the internet I don't give a banana if it's an edgy subject, it's the dirty truth, like all industries, wrestling has racism but unlike most industries pro wrestling is almost dependant on the look and vibe given off by its employees. To put it in a 12 to 16 years of age demographic lamens term, Where the
f*** the niggas at" So sit back, have a bud or a martini, whatever floats ya boat and read what I have to say.
Pro wrestling mainly began in the carnival, a stereotypical view of the average "carnie" would be a dirty buck toothed white guy who wants to rob you of all your money using clever tricks and games, hence fooling you in to thinking 2 guys are kicking the crap out of each other. It then evolved as the fighters became masterful at hook wrestling and submissions yadda yadda. So I repeat "where the niggas at"" Well like in most jobs way way back they weren't multi cultural/racial, although there were one or two such as Viro Small or Reginald "REG" Siki, these were the pioneers and putting a number 2 against the amount of other pro wrestlers at the time obviously backs up my point.
Moving through the ages, you have the 60's with Luther Lindsey, Shag Thomas, Ernie Ladd and later on legends like Abdullah the Butcher, famous for his fork stabbing antics. A lot of you will have heard of Rocky Johnson for his next generation of electricity and even Kamala who returned to TV not so long ago to get legend killed.
The 80's was a breakthrough decade for black wrestling with such wrestlers as Junkyard Dog, Tony Atlas and Koko B. Ware to name a few. Although I keep throwing out these names you have to realize that wrestling was still a white trash culture, not a whole lot of black people watched wrestling and a whole lot less became wrestlers. This began to change in the 90's when you hear names like Ron Simmons, Booker T, Stevie Ray, Ahmed Johnson, Scorpio, D-Lo, Godfather, Big Vis, New Jack, Dvon Dudley and the big one, The Rock.
However there is a trend when it comes to persona's, it seems most black wrestlers of recent times have carried some comical or stereotypical view of a black person for a gimmick (this isn't just black people either) Booker T and Stevie Ray, to put it harsh, two in-breds from down south. I mean you can mix it up a little, for example Bobby Joe and Benny Smith. Hey it works even better with females. Penny Sue and Britney Spears, no wait, scrap that one. Secondly you have Ahmed Johnson and Ron Simmons. Two massive bitch ass niggas who like to kick ass because for some reason they are angry all the time and like to brawl. D-Lo Brown, "your looking at the real dude now, whoooop, gonna kick your punk ass off the street." The Godfather. Ho trains and pimping, that's all I need to say. I could go on for ages but you would have 20 lists of names and 3 descriptions of gimmicks.
Now back at the start of this column or rant as some may see it was that big bad word Racist and when you look at it, it really is racism, they do it with other races, take people like Nickoli Volkoff or the Iron Sheik, Nunzio, William Regal. I guess it's the easiest way to get wrestlers over and the easiest gimmick to come up with but it can't go on for ever. Recently WWE went too far with the Hassan gimmick but that's a whole different ball in a whole different game. I'd also like to throw another thing out there just because it made me chuckle. So WWE have had an enormous amount of black people go through its doors, an awful lot of these stars had dead end gimmicks. So why is it I see John Cena at a main event level playing a character that pound for pound is a "cool" Black person. Hip Hop is massive money these days and was from the early 90's onwards, so why is it the WWE are having a white guy do it" An easy alternative that WWE could have used was K Quick or Ron Killings. (TNA.)
Before anyone bashes me I'm going to look at the WCW lawsuit of mid 2000 where three wrestlers better known as Bobby "Hard Work" Walker, Kazuo "Sonny" Onoo and Harrison "Hardbody" Norris claimed WCW had racially discriminated them. The gist of it was WCW failed to pay them the same as White counterparts. Not only that but they refused to promote them on TV and through publications, basically ignoring they were even employees. Now is it just me or was the year 2000 five years ago" My point being is it may as well of been yesterday. It's not the 60's here, last time I checked black people could walk down the same street as white folk. "A message needs to be sent that this is the year 2000, and WCW should stop treating us like this is the 1960s,"
says Walker. "I just want young black kids to know that they have the same chance to grow up and see their face on a T-shirt or on a doll as any white kid," declares Norris.
On top of this Norris claimed he was discriminated against right form day one. After leaving the army he joined the WCW Powerplant training school and excelled in most aspects but when other white wrestlers, some not as good as Norris completed the training they went on to TV and fairly good careers while he was stuck in squash matches and billed pretty much as a loser. The measly $130 he got paid didn't even cover his expenses. You may say fair enough, he just didn't have that X factor or wasn't that great in the ring but WCW deemed him good enough to train other wrestlers that probably went on to do better than him. If I were him I'd be pissed off because get this. He wasn't even paid to do the training and occasionally he was forced to help the ring crew. "They told me they weren't hiring, but I kept seeing all these other white guys coming in getting contracts and leapfrogging past me."
Am I just being picky or is there any truth to my rant" I'll let you be the judge of that. Be honest though, who can you see being World Champion and also being black" Shelton Benjamin, Booker T" I'd like to think so and I think the talent they have makes them deserve it but it just ain't gonna happen.
by Keelan Balderson ..
I agree with you 100 percent. The John Cena angle could have easily been played by an African-American with the same amount of sucess if not beter, the Cena character would have been more legit. And what the hell happened to Amead Johnson, this guy was Brock Lesnar before Brock Lesnar, and stonger then lesnar was. It was also a shame that Shelton Benjamen did not win the money in the bank match at WW21, he single-handedly carried that match. If Benjamen doesn't never becomes world champion it will be a crime. Benjamen is just as atheletic as RVD, HBK, and ray mysterio Jr. and has the wrestling ability of a Kurt Angle or Chris Benoit. I admit Benjamen does need more work on the mic but he really hasn't been given the chance too. Benjamen should be fueding with Edge, Tripe H, or Kurt Angle because he has the ring skills to hold his own against any of them, reducing him to a fued with karyn white is a joke, and it's not fair to waste such great talent.
Devin Skaggs wrote:
Well, I have to say in the most unracist way that Keelan Balderson's article was the most ignorant, uneducated and thoughtless column I have EVER seen. Firstly, if you'd like a list ...here's one: although he isn't 'all black' do you remember a guy named The Rock" Half-Samoan, Half-African-American... one of the biggest names in Sports Entertainment history. How about Orlando Jordan who just had one of the most successful United States Title reigns in recent memory" Shelton Benjamin....Intercontinental Champion and a good one. Bobby 'Blaster' Lashley is getting a huge push on Smackdown. Booker T.... 5 Time! 5 Time! 5 Time! 5 Time! 5 Time! WCW Champion and one of the most popular wrestling stars today and I am not even counting Tag Titles! JYD" Legend. Tony Atlas" Legend. What about Ron Simmons and Butch Reed" Abdullah the Butcher. D-Von Dudley" New Jack, the most innovative and entertaining BLACK hardcore legend... I could go on all damn day (don't believe me" 2 Cold Scorpio in ECW, Elix Skipper, Ron Killings...). Your mentality is typical but why aren't you complaining about the lack of Latino Heavyweight champs" What about Asian Champions" Or do you not care about THOSE minorities" The world of wrestling has most assuredly NOT neglected the African-American race and for you to pull the race card out (and not include any other ethnicity) is just plain....well....racist. I refuse to go into a rant about this but next time besides seeing a black or white world just remember there are a lot more colors that get a lot less attention. I want Booker T to be Heavyweight Champion but if he never becomes The Champ that doesn't mean the wrestling world is racist.
Troy Tollison wrote:
To answer your questions, yes you are being extremely picky and Booker T is a former 5 time WCW champion. How convenient that you would ignore that fact. Also convenient that you'd ignore that there's no way Booker T and Stevie Ray, forming the tag team HARLEM HEAT, were portrayed as inbred southerners considering they were billed from HARLEM. While that would still add to your arguement about stereotypes, the fact that you conveniently ignored that kills your credibility. You made good points with John Cena and the Norris case but unfortunately those are the only decent arguements you made. The rest of the article is just a mindless rant about how racist wrestling is. What I'm trying to say is that this article sucks, not because you're black (and if you aren't then I pity you), because your debate skills suck.
Kenny Warren wrote:
I FULLY agree with this. As far As Booker T goes he is the only major player out of WCW who hasn't been WWE champion. Look at Eddie, Benoit, Goldberg and now these new cats like Cena and Batista. It appears to me that they reserve the US title and the Intercontinental belt for Booker and Benjamin. I like to call them BMB or black mans belts. I know that people are gonna say well what about The Rock and Eddie...yadayada. WWE had no choice but to give the Rock the title, and Eddie got him a sympathy belt. I watch WWE smackdown for one reason, TO SEE HOW MANY TIMES BOOKER T WILL GO TO A CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH AND LOSE OR A NUMBER ONE CONTENDER"S MATCH (not the US title) AND LOSE. I'm a white man myself and I still agree with you. The WWE is a white man's world, lets face it.
Jacob Kuhn wrote:
You are 100% correct. It's a sad world and it's bullcrap to know that in the history of the WWE, there has only ever been one black World Champion and that was the Rock. It can't totally be about money, because Rocky Johnson was one of the most popular wrestlers in the 70's and he could have carried WWWF as champion. JYD was amazingly huge in the 80's and I think he deserved the belt. What wrestler right now is better than Shelton Benjamin. And before anyone says Shelton is not ready for the belt, he is three years older than Cena and has been pro for a year longer than Cena. I don't think there's a single person who can argue that Shelton is not a better wrestler than Cena.
So what about charisma" Shelton doesn't have loads of it. Did Yokozuna have any charisma during his 10 month reign as champion. What about Bob Backlund's five year reign" Stale meatloaf had more charisma than Backlund, so why not give Rocky Johnson the belt back then" Even if Charisma is an issue, than what about Booker T" He's not one of my favorites, but he is a better wrestler and has boatloads more charisma than almost everyone on the SmackDown! roster.
I would add to your article with the exception of the Rock and Booker T while he was in WCW, black champions seem to be short experiments as well. Unfortunately, there are not enough of them for me to give examples. Think of Ron Simmons, the first black World Champion in United States Wrestling history. David Arquette won the WCW World Title before another black guy did.
I am glad you wrote this article, but it's sad to say I don't think anything will change soon. Maybe Shelton can make a run at the NWA World Title in TNA, but I don't think WWE is giving a belt to any black wrestlers for a serious run.
Efrem Solomon wrote:
I think you're completely ignoring certain gimmicks in the past that didn't have to do with stereotypes. In the early 90s Ron Simmons, the Rock, D'lo Brown and several others banded together to form a black supremists group called the Nation of Domination. The storylines were pretty much garbage, but they had something before they went to using those stereotypical gimmicks. Not to mention having the Rock as being the star of the WWE for many years and help win the Monday night wars. The Rock basically would still be the star if he didn't choose to move on with his career. If the Rock were still around, then fans would barely recognize John Cena; frankly I don't understand why the recognize him now. It was a good article, but I think you're giving less credit then what those men deserve.
You say you hate stereotypes, well you are acting like a stereotypicall, angry black man. I in no way, a racist, my favorite wrestler happens to be Jewish. Something you said about WCW, not putting over the black worker, Ernest Miller, Booker T, Stevie Ray and even Ahmed Johnson, WCW went out of it's way to try and attempt to push two black workers, Stevie Ray and Ahmed Johnson, then known as Big-T, and the storyline grew stale, so that was not WCW's fault, the fans didn't get into the Storyline, there for it was the worker's fault at not drawing the fans into the feud. And correct me if I am wrong, and I just might be, but I believe Ron Simmons was the first Black WCW Champion. Then you got people like Orlando Jordan, who just because he is Black, he hasn't been fired, again I'm not racist, but lets look at the fact, Orlando got over as a face, and when he finally turned heel everyone started to see his Lack luster proformances, WWE wouldn't hesitate to fire a white worker if he sucked, and as for them not pushing their Black talent, Look at The Dudleyz D-von got over just as much as Bubba did, Big Vis, highly untalented, but a draw, and guess what, HE'S BLACK!!!! Wasn't it Mark Henry who was pushed as Sexual Chocolate" Don't we see Teddy Long every week on Smackdown" Next time get you're facts straight....
Pedro Torres wrote:
Your article makes sense to me, but unfortunately wrestling has developed great tumors that affect the industry and, in turn, affect talented athletes who are overlooked based on their ethnicity. These 'tumors' are non others than the wrestling promoters and 'powers-that-be' Take for example the unfortunate events that took place during the WCW era. At one point, the Mexican wrestlers were asked to wrestle in a Piņata-on-a-pole match. That was not only stupid, it was of very poor taste. And what about the incident that involved Villano during a battle royal match where the man almost lost his life or became paralized, at best when he was injured by so-called 'wrestlers' who can't even perform a move. What did WCW do about this" Nothing, because the wrestler was Mexican. I still remember that talk I had with El Hijo del Santo, the son of the legendary Santo--a true wrestling Icon in a land where wresting is almost a cult. When he and other Mexican wrestlers were offered a chance to wrestle for WWF, he was called in to Vince's office. He offered him a multi-year contract with a very appealing pay check. All of this, under one condition: to allow a WWE 'superstar' to unmask him, as early as his second or third match. That's Vince's way of trashing tradition. If you don't believe me, ask Oscar...sorry, Rey Misterio whom, after being unmasked in another wrestling organization is remasked by the almighty Vince McMahon. And what do you make of the current Mexicools" What great outfits and what a way to enter the ring: driving a lawnmower.
The problem, my dear friends, is not that wrestling is a White Man's Land. The problem is that sh**ty promoters and owners don't respect what these athletes are doing day in and day out. I truly believe that there will be some justice and an end to all of this horse crap that is the 'commercial' aspect of professional wrestling, which is now labeled 'sports entertainment' for their own personal amusement.
Booker T is five time WCW champ and Ron Simmons (Farooq) was former WCW champ (and first black WCW champion.) However, WCW isn't WWE so by being a former WCW champion in WWE just means that you were the champion of a failing company and nothing more. Just the fact that WWE didn't push Booker as much as he could have gone (was on a hot streakbefore HHH stopped him.)
I'm hoping to see either Bobby Lashley or Shelton Benjamin become champion sometime in the future.
Adam Sykes wrote:
Personaly, peopel saying that wrestling is racist because it doesnt push black people as major wrestlers, is just plain stupid. This is whats wrong with the world today, this tiny simple detail, reason. People are too quick to say that something is racist, if these kinds of idiotic people would look up what racism is, they may understand. Racism, is being prejudice (aka treating differently) towards somebody, because they are of a certain race, aka being black, asian, mexican, even being from a different country, like being scotish or welsh or irish, german, french anything you like. But as i just said, its is doing something BECAUSE of that, not doing something to somebody who just happens to be that.
Now, i HATE john cena and i hate the gimmick, but whats stupid is what somebody replying to this said 'it would have been better if an african american had done it' (or something to that effect) now if anything is racist, its that, your saying he cant do it as well, because he isnt african america, aka because he is a white caucassion (spelling bad on that word probably lol), now im sure you didnt mean to be racist in saying that, just like wrestling promoters or bookers or whatever dont mean to be racist by choosing certain people to push, and others to stay mid card, or below, or whatever, it just happens, get over it.
And on a departing note, i'll leave you with a somewhat possible controversial remark, in a perfect world, im sure equality would reign supreme, and everything in the world would be even, we would have as many white, black, asian, mexican people as each other, everybody would be scotish, irish, australian, canadian and all that, and we'd all be exactly the same. But the world we live in, is FAR from a perfect world, and equality will never truely happen, there will always be people different than everybody else, people darker skinned, people who speak differently, people who run faster, jump higher, wrestle better, and these people will be more recognised than others, it happens, and the best thing you can do is get used to it, and get over it, because it wiont change, no matter if we want it to or not, its how the world is.
Kenny Warren wrote:
People, we are talking about WWE not WCW or TNA or ECW. The fact is that WWE will not have a black champion. We aren't talking about the BMB's. We are talking about the world's heavyweight title and the WWE title. Booker T is my favorite WWE wrestler (when I'm not watching TNA..hardly ever), but how long are they gonna let him drag on the 5 time WCW champion. How bout letting the best wrestler on smackdown be the one time WWE champion" I get sick of seeing the same people recycle these belts while the black men continue to fight for mid card. Booker T was suppose to beat HHH at WM19, but we all know what HHH did. Pulled his strings. As far as the most talented wrestler on raw ( who does more in the ring than punch, kick, and chop) Shelton Benjamin, he had a run as IC champ, but that was nothing. Look how disrespected that belt is. NO talent Carlito had it and now the OLD GUY has it. Give me a break. How do you go from that to Fighting Chavo" One word ridiculous. I am so sick of people always mentioning the rock. I like the Rock, but as I said earlier, They had no choice but to give the Rock that belt. Booker T a few years ago was crazy popular and had all the momentum entering WM19. The closes he ever got to the belt was beating HHH in a NON TITLE match that week before WM. Someone please tell me why a cruiserweight like Eddie G and a no talent having JBL can get the belt while these other guys cannot. It's a shame that I as a white man can see what is going on, and Vince, HHH and whoever else needs to be ashamed. I know I said this isn't about any other organization, bnut Booker, Shelton and the rest of them......If you want to be a real champion give Jeff Jarrett a call because in TNA, you get your shots. Ask THE REAL HIP HOP artist, the TRUTH RON KILLINGS.
Kevin Roberts wrote:
Keelan, or whatever your name is, you know what IT DOESNT MATTER WHAT YOUR NAME IS, Im gonna have to agree with Devin Skaggs on this one. You are focusing on the negative my young padowan. Look at all the good things black people have done in professional wrestling. Look at all the black hall-of-famers. Even on this website, you can look and see the many contributions black people have made to professional wrestling all over the world. They have not been held back. Shelton Benjamin will be world champ SOME DAY, but its not his "time" yet. Then, there are so many black legends I dont have time to name them all. Devin Skaggs, we DO count The Rock as black because his dad is black (lol). As far as he goes, its simple: 1.Hulk Hogan 2.Stone Cold 3.The Rock. Vince doesnt care if he is black because he is his third best money maker, and still making money off of his WWE fame eventhough he is not an active wrestler right now. There arent a lot of black guys wrestling, but the ones who are, are making an impact if not just in the ring. Look at Vis, he is not a great wrestler, but he is very entertaining. New Jack and Ahmed Johnson were legitmate tough guys (former gang members) who could, and would, kick anybodys ass on demand (stiff punches and all). I could go on and on because unlike you Keelan, I KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT WRESTLING, and I know enough not to go off on some idiotic rant like you just did. Oh yeah, Im black too, but I will never see your point of view. Come to think of it, you really dont have one. Stone Cold Steve Austin is my all-time favorite, and no he is not racist. I saw him hugging Jimmy Snuka and shaking Koko B. Ware's hand at WWE homecoming. He also talks to The Rock every now and then. Racist" who" Them or YOU"
Troy Tollison wrote:
Kenny since you felt your opinion was important enough to send in twice, and on both accounts you have nothing reasonable to say, I felt it unfair for you to get away with that considering you're an idiot. First you say that every major player out of WCW got a world title run except Booker. Well that statement is absolutely true when you completely ignore Scott Steiner, Ric Flair, and DDP. There's no doubt that Booker has been held back but if you try to rationalize it by playing the race card, not that you could because you're a white moron, then it is you who is racist considering you're the one who brought up race long before Booker ever did. Don't get me wrong, I like Booker and Shelton, but calling them the best wrestler on Smackdown and most talented on Raw respectively is subjective and trying to use those as valid points is just stupid. The fact that you refer to Ric Flair as "the old guy" and then complain about Eddie getting the belt shows that you don't have the thought process necessary to speak about wrestling talent. Finally, you try to discredit WWE by saying that the Rock only became champ, on about 9 different occasions, for public relations. Well, TNA has only had 1 black man as the NWA champion, and that would be former 2 time champ Ron Killings. So each promotion has only had 1 black man as their world champion, yet WWE gets bashed and TNA gets praised. Nice job, looks like you just ran face first into the big wall called hypocrisy. I'm stopping here because everything else you say is just useless drivel that's not even worth acknowledging.
I want to also point out that the only reason I'm even looking at this page again is because Harrison Norris, who is mentioned and quoted above, was just federally indicted for kidnapping women and forcing them into prostitution. It sure is a shame that guy got treated like crap in WCW.
Levon Hughey wrote:
I will be the first to say that I am not sure if wrestling is racist or not. I will not join one side or the other. There have been instances where the non-white wrestler got a good deal, and there have been instances where they haven't. The Rock got a very good deal, and he became the first African-American champion in WWE history. On top of that, The Rock was a money-maker, beloved by the fans, and will go down in history as a wrestling legend (despite his lack of in-ring ability). Ron Simmons was the first African-American heavyweight champion in WCW. And he wouldn't be the last (Booker T). And who can ever forget the love of The Junkyard Dog by the fans, especially in the deep south where their love of him was frightening. There have been guys, such as Ted DiBiase who flat out going down south to wrestle Dog because his fans were so insane. Dog's deep south fans have gone as far as destroying cars of Dog's opponents. There haven't been a wrestler to this date that have garnished so much love from the fans the way Dog did. I can go into a wrestling event, and bash Austin, Rock, Hogan, Hart, or Cena, and not get a violent reaction. During the 70's and 80's, if you bashed Dog in the South, you might have signed your death warrant. And Junkyard Dog was Black. A Black man receiving love from southern fans (many of whom are White) mind you.
To that end, there are Black wrestlers that have been held down, and for good reason. Ahmed Johnson was on pace to become the first Black WWE champion. However, his momentum was slowed down because of injuries. Shelton Benjamin has potential to be a world champion someday, but he needs to work the mic better and develop a stronger connection with the fans. Orlando Jordan needs to work on everything in my opinion, but there is potential. Booker T was a great WCW champion, but this was at a time where WCW was struggling, and during a time WCW was in the middle of a nasty racial discrimination suit. But Booker T can be a WWE champion, he most certainly did a spectacular job as WCW champion. And who knows what the future holds in store for Bobby Lashley.
In my opinion, I would love to see a Black wrestler win a world title. I would love to see fans embrace him, and it would be disappointing and outrageous if they didn't. But you can't force the issue. Let's sit back, let some of these guys make the connection with the fans, and let history take its course.
By the way, bad writing at times can be culturally biased. Steph's bad writing has no racial, religious, or cultural bias (LOL). Fire Steph and the writers, and let these guys fly, and I bet you will see a Black WWE champion flourish one day
I'll say one thing here...I find it funny you go on about stereotypes and such, then say about Cena would be best played by a black person. Isn't that kinda racist in a way" You're stereotyping black people and white people in a way. Not all black people are like that, and it's not so whatever for a white guy to be like that. While I do admit, there aren't many black people around in wrestling, what about the ones that have come along" Farooq (Ron Simmons) was huge, The Rock...Huge. Vicera was in the Ministry awhile ago which was the focus a lot during the attitude era, Kama Moostafa was in a faction at some point and doing well, Harlem Heat was like the biggest tag team that comes to mind from wCw. Primetime was a cruiserweight tag champ at one point...Plus you kind of killed your argument when you said 'not many black people are into wrestling' then asked 'why aren't there many black wrestlers"' Wouldn't that make sense" If barely any latinos liked pizza, then there wouldn't be many latino pizza chefs. Then again, what do I know"
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