AS I SEE IT: The real story of SummerSlam weekend
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
Usually before a major PPV, I’ll offer some guesses as to who’s going over in the scheduled matches. Sometimes right. Sonetimes wrong. And you would have read this yesterday, of course.
On the weekend before a major PPV, USUALLY WWE is busy building up to a major PPV like SummerSlam the weekend before. A buildup that’s usually a predictable series of scheduled events including Fan AXXESS, community-based PR events, and the like, leading up to the actual PPV. Newspapers in that city often report on community-based events. Those happened this weekend.
You would have read it before we got installment number 97,352 of the McMahon Family Saga, as (Daniel) Bryan Danielson went over John Cena to become WWE Champion for about 5 minutes…only to have HHH turn heel for the 34th time, plant Danielson with a pedigree, and open things up for Randy Orton to cash in his Money in the Bank, and thus make Orton a “corporate Champion” (didn’t they do that one before, too?)
(Sorry, had to get that out of me, first. Now back to WWE and the real world)
But the real world story of SummerSlam weekend saw Fred “Darren Young” Rosser coming out to a reporter for TMZ.com.
Young was at LAX’s baggage area last Wednesday. He was asked (you have to assume the reporter had some inkling of what he was asking, although they claim otherwise) if a gay wrestler could succeed in WWE. Young laughed, and pretty much said…yes, because I’m proof of it; with the following: “Absolutely. Look at me. I’m a WWE superstar and to be honest with you, I’ll tell you right now, I’m gay. And I’m happy. I’m very happy.”
This makes Fred (Darren Young) Rosser the first openly gay/lesbian wrestler at WWE (yes, Chris Klucsaritis came out as he was leaving WCW, and Orlando Jordan was acknowledged as bisexual while in TNA). Rosser is obviously far from the first gay professional wrestler, just the first acknowledged as such and openly so. Young also mentioned on TMZ.com that he is together with a partner of 2 years, named Nick (last name not provided by Rosser) who has been living with him in Florida.
The reaction of WWE talent and WWE as a corporate entity has been interesting….and positive.
WWE even provided links to the initial TMZ interview, and to other interviews on NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, and E! News.
“WWE is proud of Darren Young for being open about his sexuality, and we will continue to support him as a WWE Superstar. On Thursday afternoon, in fact, Darren participated in one of our Be A STAR anti-bullying rallies in Los Angeles to teach children how to create positive environments for everyone regardless of age, race, religion or sexual orientation.”
Here’s a sampling of tweets from The McMahons and WWE talent:
“Congratulations, @DarrenYoungWWE for living YOUR life, YOUR way. #proud”
“Congratulations to @DarrenYoungWWE for being the first openly gay WWE Superstar!”
“I respect @DarrenYoungWWE’s decision to come out and am happy to see the support from the WWE Universe.”
“Im more than proud of Darren Young for having the courage to come out. The trust is that WWE & Pro Wrestling in general have long been ahead… of the curve when it comes to accepting sexual orientations.”
“History in our business will remember @DarrenYoungWWE as a pioneer with the courage to say proud, this is who I am. Hell of a talent & a man”
John Cena also made supportive comments, including a comment that his older was gay and out and had no family issues about it whatever.
It isn’t the first time the McMahons have spoken out on the issue.
A May 2013 article on the CBS DC.com website reported on Stephanie McMahon expressing her support for marriage equality during the Supreme Court hearings on California’s Proposition 8, saying: “People should be free to marry who they love.”
Surprisingly, even two-time Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon had previously done so during her Connecticut campaigns.
All this is a 180 degree turn from the way the company used to handle the matter.
Anybody remember the old days, and Gorilla Monsoon talking about the “Terry Garvin School of Self Defense?”
Anyone who’s got WWE Classic, or old DVDs/tapes of classic shows always had on-air remarks by Gorilla Monsoon to Steve Lombardi aka The Brooklyn Brawler “attending” it. The short version of the story is that Terry Garvin was an agent with WWF. He, along with Lombardi, and legendary booker Pat Patterson have all been reported to be gay. Monsoon’s cracks about the “Terry Garvin School of Self Defense” were usually followed by “learning go behinds” or other some other not exactly veiled crack clearly referring to gay sex acts. Some called those comments on-air ribs on Garvin.
However, WWE legend Shawn Michaels made a somewhat different comment. On TMZ Sunday, he indicated he was “not impressed with the hoopla triggered by the coming out of the WWE superstar Darren Young this week … Michaels says for wrestling it’s very eighties….that gay wrestlers have been around for decades and people in the biz knew all about it.”
While that’s true, they weren’t talking about it publicly or on air…except for Gorilla Monsoon’s ribs. Michaels has well-known born-again Christian views,a nd those may have something to do with his remarks. But as a born-again Christian, Michaels might learn from most of the other WWE talent that’s spoken publicly on the matter, and remember that a good Christian should judge not, or be judged.
WWE has made progress on how it deals with LGBT relations. Now if it could only do something about the McMahons being stars of the show.
Until next time….
— Bob Magee