Stereotypes Are Great For Wrestling
June 7, 2006 by William House
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A column was written a short time ago, that I strongly disagreed with. I disagreed with this column so much, that I had to post a countering column on this certain subject rather than just reply to it. The column I'm replying to is "Stereotypes in Wrestling". The column wasn't named properly. It should have been called "How Stereotypes Are Bad For Wrestling".
Stereotypes in wrestling are simply a part of the business. In the WWE, there is a pretty good list of non-American wrestlers, or wrestlers who aren't the typical White/Caucasian race. Lets first focus on the Spanish-American wrestlers. The question was asked, "Can Super Crazy, Chavo Guerrero, Psicosis, Funaki, Nunzio, James Yang, Tajiri ever rise above the cruiserweight division"" The answer is No. Why" These guys are "cruiserweights" and cannot help the fact that they are under the decent size to be pushed as a heavyweight contender. That is not always true, I know. Look at Rey Mysterio.
Rey is the current World Champion. Realistically, is it right for this 5 foot 3 guy to go out, night after night and beat bigger men" Don't get me wrong, I will be the first to say that Rey Mysterio definitely deserves it. In all reality, I think that he is getting a lot of good fan reaction from riding Eddie Guerrero's coattail. I mean, wrong or right, the memory of Eddie has played a role in Mysterio's success since WrestleMania 22. Now you will never see Greg Helms, Billy Kidman, Kid Kash, Scotty 2 Hotty, or Jamie Noble get pushed any higher in the WWE, because they are also "cruiserweights". The only other option is to make a run at the WWE tag titles. Something like what Paul London and Brian Kendrick are doing today, like a modern day Rockers tag team. TNA does explore the area of making undersized guys top contenders, like Rey Mysterio. Look at Christian Gage and AJ Styles. Again, TNA is no comparison to the WWE product.
I will agree that the WWE has misused a lot of stereotypical talent, such as Kenzo Suzuki, Ron Killings, Rene Dupree, & Muhammed Hassan. Although Dupree is young, he will have many chances. They have also misused a lot of American talent as well. This is America, and the point that people are missing is that Americans are a huge part of the wrestling population. So the misuse of talent wont be recognized, due to the fact that there are a lot more American wrestlers wrestling in American promotions, than minorities. You don't see any White American wrestlers starring in any Japanese, European, or Mexican promotions" I didn't think so. It has also been stated that wrestling fans killed of the Muhammed Hassan character. In fact, it was the American public who killed off the Muhammed Hassan character. This is a different day and age than back in the early 90's when Sgt. Slaughter played that same role. The roles between Sgt. Slaughter and Muhammed Hassan were not exactly alike, but very similar.
So in American, why not use the ethical stereotypes to create unique characters. You do not want 60 wrestlers on a roster to all act and look just alike do you" Fit Finaly's role is a perfect fit, so is William Regal's. I will not go as far as to say that the WWF/E has always been kind to African American wrestlers. But these days that is rapidly changing. Booker T's character is perfect. It is a more in depth character of the WCW Booker T version. Bobby Lashley will soon be the World Champ, you just watch and see. Shelton Benjamin was rolling along way before his "Mama" came into the mix. You can even go back to the WWF and take a gander at the likes of Ahmed Johnson. Ahmed was a rising black star until being slowed by injury. Farooq had a pretty good run. D'Von Dudley has held many tag team titles. And look at Mark Henry today, he is edging ever so close to becoming WWE Heavyweight Champion.
You can't expect a non-English speaking wrestler to be accepted by an English speaking culture as a charismatic top draw. The point has disturbed me so much because so much is left out. What about The Rock, Eddie Guerrero, Davey Boy Smith, Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Edge, Chris Beniot, & Rey Mysterios. These are all non American wrestlers who many would claim to be stereotypes. It proves that if you have the skill in the ring and on the mic, the charisma, and the ability to draw and crowd, that anyone can be champion. Don't sit here and complain that Chavo Guerrero isn't getting pushed to the heavens. Chavo has enjoyed great runs as the Cruiserweight Champion. That's what he does best. Don't you remember a time when Jeff Hardy was getting pushed to the skies, but never won a heavyweight title.
In closing, stereotypes are great for wrestling.
by William House
Great(SHORT) article, but I disagree with you on 1 thing: Mark Henry.
Personally, I don't think he's getting any closer to the World Title. He has the moveset of a doorknob, quite frankly. Also, I am freakin' sick and tired of The World's Strongest Diabetic(lmao) interrupting World Title Matches and attacking people when we could be seeing a good Kid Kash match or a good Mexicool match.
Jesse Lee wrote:
I fail to see a major point of your column. I've respond to the "Stereotypes in Wrestling" and I've stated that a little bit of stereotypes are ok. For example, Fit Finlay is an amazing wrestler with an amazing "fightin' Irish" gimmick that fits him quite well. However, bring a little leprechaun out is over-doing it. Rene Dupree was never given anything other than "beign French."
Yes, I agree that stereotypes are a necessity because we all stereotype. When we think of muscle-heads, we claim they take steroids. When we think of people in New York, we think of some tough-talking, rude, arrogant jerk. However, when these stereotypes get to an unreasonable manner, it becomes stupid. Why would Finlay bring out a leprechaun" Why did Shelton have to have his "Momma" (who's the stereotypical overweight, sweet talkin, tough momma most say African American mothers are) follow him around during a short part of his career"
I understood where the other column attempted to come from, saying that WWE should lighten up on their stereotypes. That columnist was trying to say that WWE's showing today's children that all asians know martial arts, all African-Americans are either jive-talking or violent, Arabians are evil, and that you have to be over 6 feet tall and bound with muscles to be considered good looking or breasts larger that your head to be beautiful.
I also understand, however, where this column is going. Stereotypes are great and that they should be used, though, only because we, as everyday people, stereotype. I just say that WWE can sometimes over-do it.
Lee Cox wrote:
"You don't see any White American wrestlers starring in any Japanese, European, or Mexican promotions" I didn't think so."
Presumably we're looking the other way when it comes to New Japan's IWGP champion Brock Lesnar...
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