Friday, June 12, 2009

#133. WWE Chairman Vince McMahon

Black people love professional wrestling. They adore the theatricality, the drama, the story lines and the professional athletes/actors who perform staged, premeditated, choreographed action in the square circle.

Black people have long had many wonderful performers to cheer for: The Ugandan Giant, Kamala; Virgil, the former servant of The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase; Ron Simmons, who led the Nation of Domination - a Black power themed group that also included the half-black Rock - and the recently inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, Koko B. Ware. Many more Black wrestlers are currently active, but they have yet to acquire the status of these gentlemen in the eyes of Black people.

With all these talented grapplers, it is hard to imagine Black people having any grief or beef with promoters of wrestling, consider the only way wrestlers "get over" is by impressing the audience and having them part ways with their money to watch them fake wrestle and buy their merchandise.

The problem though, is that Black people consider Vince McMahon, the chairman of the publicly traded company World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) a racist.

Consider, there has never been a Black person crowned as WWF/WWE champion (The Rock is not fully Black, thus Black people will not consider him Black enough. He does not pass the Paper-Bag test).

Vince McMahon has continually cast Blacks in stereotypical roles. Consider Cryme Tyme, an African-American duo, noted for their propensity to commit crime. Thus, McMahon is buying into the idea - although crime stats do prove its veracity - that Black people commit crime. wrote about the duo:
"Tonight a new tag team, Cryme Tyme, will be introduced to the RAW audience. In an effort to humor and entertain our fans the tag team known as Cryme Tyme will be parodying racial stereotypes.
Shad Gaspard and JTG do outlandish, outrageous "stunts" to ready themselves for tag team action on RAW. This attempt at Saturday Night Live like humor is bound to entertain audiences of all ethnic derivations.
We hope you enjoy the weekly adventures of Cryme Tyme."

 Most recently the WWE had a Black wrestler named MVP, whose character played upon the stereotypical, over-confident, flamboyant Black athlete (think NFL, NBA). Despite numerous attempts to push this character, he never got over with the fans.

 Booker T is the only Black man to hold the WWE championship in the history of the WWWE/WWF/WWE:
"Without overwhelming the reader with statistics allow me to once again point out the obvious. In it’s history, the WWE has never had an African-American world champion. WCW, before it’s demise had a few, namely Booker T and Ron Simmons, both of whom were buried upon their arrival to the WWE. While the argument could be made that Ron Simmons (known as Faarooq) never had the charisma required of a WWE champion (particularly at the time of his jump) Booker T is/was a charismatic showman with much to offer when given proper room to develop a character.

"The long standing excuse for these burials the WWE simply does not have the fan base to support a minority champion. This argument fails to hold water, particularly when one attends a live event and notes the demographic of the crowd. Consider also, the success of John Cena, portraying a character that most fans would admittedly associate with an African-American culture."
Vince McMahon might be a marketing genius and self-made billionaire, but he is no friend of Black people or of promoting a Black person (besides the half-Black Rock), which is why he is included in Stuff Black People Don't Like.


Anonymous said...

That picture of Kamala is priceless. Too fucking funny.

Anonymous said...

Booker T

Stuff Black People Don't Like said...

Booker T is an interesting case. He had a lot of success in the WWF/WWE, but remember Wrestlemania I9.

The entire build to the HHH-Booker T main event was a pure racial build, and Booker T was completely buried in the match. It took a year or two for him to recover from that match and that fued.

Also, remember the strange Wrestlemania VI match between Piper and Bad News Brown, when Piper came to the ring painted half-black.

Vince had to okay that one...

Currently, the MVP-Swagger angle has had some racial undertones, but hasn't gone full-blown yet.

grut said...

There's also Abraham Washington, a parody of Barack Obama. And oh man! Have you seen R. Truth's Pretty Ricky? They took a positive African American story and turned him into a horrible, racist Chappelle Show character.

Anonymous said...

I think the Booker T point was, "Consider, there has never been a Black person crowned as WWF/WWE champion"

Booker was champ.

Also, Mark Henry has been too. Kinda. ECW counts when the WWE wants it too.

Anonymous said...

Booker T was World Heavyweight Champion and Mark Henry was ECW Champion

Anonymous said...

Also... keep in mind Bobby Lashley's two ECW title reigns and mega push in 2007. I have been a huge critic of Vince about this subject, for years, before these recent occurences. However, I have to give credit to him for having 3 African-American world champions in the past three years; even though not of them won the "WWE" title. Change should definitely come "in full" in the future. :)

Anonymous said...

If you go back in the fairly recent history of pro wrestling, pre-WWE (yes, there was such a thing), look at Bobo Brazil, Sailor Art Thomas, Rocky Johnson, Ernie Ladd and Junkyard Dog. None of them were ever a "world champion," per se, but all of them managed to become big stars in spite of any racist environment they might have existed in. The main difference is that with the regionalism which existed in promoting pro wrestling in decades past, most of the aforementioned wrestlers became stars in cities with significant black populations who came out to see wrestling shows typically held weekly. Perhaps concerns of "national marketing" and the differences in the actual promotion of live wrestling events makes it a different situation today.

Anonymous said...

Why does this site smack of a white person writing about black people? Maybe it's just me...


WWE is about who is most marketable. They don't care about Booker or Mark Henry or Bobby Lashley or anyone else's skin colour, but they DO care about how many different "chain gang" t-shirts, bucket hats, wrist bands, etc. that they can peddle off to their sub-13 year old audience.

Wrestling in and of itself is a racist business, which should not be construed as a defence. Vince McMahon has more problems than just being racist and passing it off as humour. He's also a mysoginist and likely has some sexual issues, as well, which would explain his treatment of the "divas" (mud wrestling, etc.), and his desire to make out with all these young ladies with substantially augmented breasts on TV.

Booker's problem isn't being black, it's being ex-WCW. It's not like the white Dallas Page was treated any better, having to pretend to be obsessed with Undertaker's horse-faced ex, which the only reason she was on TV and in a video was because of who she was married to.

Kamala is a poor case to choose from, since he was "Kamala" for YEARS in Memphis before going to the WWF, and the gimmick was created for him by Jerry Lawler, not Vince McMahon.

Ron Simmons is also a poor choice, as I would not consider him "buried". He was given a character appropriate to the time, which was a silly cartoon gimmick. He was also reputed to not want to show his receeding hairline on TV, hence the helmet. He shortly was removed from the Gladiator gimmick to be put into the all-black revived Nation of Domination for the "gang warfare" era in 1996-7, and then as part of Undertaker's Ministry and the APA, all high-profile gimmicks. It was reputed that his WCW title reign was a response to charges of racism in WCW.

Remember, in WWE, there isn't really a "ladder" to the top. It's whomever sells the most gimimcky crap to 12 year olds and appeals to McMahon's 12-year old sense of humour. Vince stays with whatever formula he creates until forced to shift gears. Recall Hulk Hogan knocking down giant after giant until he picked Warrior to drop the title to, and then decided he still hadn't had enough, but didn't want to share the spotlight with Warrior again, so came back to battle "evil Iraqi" Sgt. Slaugter.

They finally got rid of Hogan during the steroid trials and when that happened and all the musclemen left, McMahon realised he didn't have any other steroid freaks, so pushed Bret and Shawn (Bret first, ironically, considering how Shawn would be Vince's boy later on), and stuck with that until he had to make a change to the rising star of Stone Cold, The Rock, etc.

When Bret was forced out and Shawn had to take time off, then Stone Cold had his time, and finally McMahon had to take some chances, finally letting HHH rise to the top, and give Mankind a chance.

The point? That McMahon will stick to one thing until forced to change. So don't expect anyone to rise past Cena/Orton/UT/etc. until Vince's hand is forced. Cryme Tyme fits McMahon's juvenile "fart joke" sense of humour. He would have found someone else to do it if not for Shad/JTG. The fact that they are black is an added bonus. McMahon can make SNL references all he likes, but no one views his show as funny in an SNL sort of way, since SNL is supposed to be funny and over the top, where his shows are portrayed as "real" and "serious" and no one will come out and say that anything on his show is "fake" or "funny", and typically, what McMahon finds funny, no one else does. The ones that don't think it funny don't dare say anything to McMahon if they want to keep their jobs, since McMahon loves to have people around who tell him how much of a genius he is.

Anonymous said...

That's bs. Because I could Cryme Tyme would sell a lot of crap but neither Shad nor JTG will ever be Champ. They've have yet to win they're first tag title even though there aren't many actually tag team in the WWE that are just two people just thrown together for a match at the last minute.

And not every white Champ sells merch, some just make good storylines, like a CM Punk. He is not as marketable as a Jeff Hardy, and look how long it took him to become Champ. WWE make rules for who they please. And unfortunately, whatever goes into that decision making has never worked well for Black wrestlers. No matter the talent or popularity.

Anonymous said...

consider the audience...a black champion would have crushed sales before the 1990's

and despite what the author thinks, black people have always LOVED pro wrestling

Anonymous said...

Vince McMahon is a racist bastard,He puts black wrestlers to look like bufoons,I.E R Truth,Cryme Tyme,Kofi,Black Members of Nexus,To name a few,Anyone denying this fact,is delusional,These facts don't Lie!!