Race and Pro Wrestling

Discussion in 'Other Sports' started by MM123, Aug 22, 2018.

  1. MM123

    MM123 Newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2018
    Messages:
    3
    Hello! New forum member here, I have known about and casually followed this site for a while. I would guess that many posters here might dismiss pro wrestling, but I thought it would be interesting to have a conversation about race and demographics, particularly in the WWE.
     
  2. MM123

    MM123 Newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2018
    Messages:
    3
    I have followed pro wrestling since I was 9 years old in 1997. I mainly follow WWE but am pretty attuned to the overall wrestling scene in general. The lack of Black world champions is very noticeable, as pro wrestling really hasn't followed the demographics change which is prevalent in so many other sports. Ron Simmons (former Florida State Defensive Tackle and College Football Hall of Fame member) became the first Black world champion of a major wrestling promotion when he won the WCW title in 1992, while the company was run by Bill Watts who was fired after comments became public in support of businesses being able to segregate (WCW was owned by Ted Turner and operated out of Atlanta and Hank Aaron had major influence in the Turner company and is believed to have led the push to have Watts fired). Ever since, the only Black world champions I can think of have been The Rock (half Polynesian) and Bobby Lashley (who held the third biggest title in WWE at the time). Ring Of Honor which is owned by conservative Sinclair Broadcasting has a Black world champion named Jay Lethal. Other than that, the biggest non white stars in wrestling tend to either be Japanese, Polynesian, or Latino. The current WWE Champion is Roman Reigns (Joe Ano'ai, former Georgia Tech Defensive Tackle), a full blooded Polynesian, who just won the title from Brock Lesnar. As for Latinos, Pedro Morales who is Puerto Rican held the old WWWF title for two years in the early 70's. Eddie Guerrero, Alberto Del Rio, and Rey Mysterio have also held world titles in WWE, but none of them held the biggest title. Dave Bautista who is half Greek and Filipino was also champion on numerous occasions. The biggest changes in WWE in recent years have all been gender related, as there is a huge push to promote women's wrestling at the same level as men's wrestling due to the influence of Vince McMahon's daughter Stephanie and her husband Triple H (Paul Levesque). Even the top females are mostly Caucasian, and the current face of the women's division is Ronda Rousey, the former UFC women's champion, along with Charlotte Flair, the daughter of Ric Flair.

    I was thinking about this site in relation to the recent Summerslam show, which took place this past Sunday. Out of 36 people who wrestled on the show, 27 were White and only 4 were Black. The aforementioned Roman Reigns won the top title during this show and the challenger for the second biggest men's title is also Polynesian. The two women's title matches featured all White performers.

    It is very interesting that the demographics of WWE remain overwhelmingly Caucasian, and that the biggest changes in professional wrestling are actually related to gender rather than race.
     
  3. DixieDestroyer

    DixieDestroyer Hall of Famer

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Messages:
    9,192
    Location:
    Dixieland
    This modern product is NOT true “wrasslin”...which started disapatung after the ‘death’ of kayfabe. I watched “wrestling” from the late 70’s (Georgia Championship Wrestling) through the mid 2000’s, so I was a “mark” for decades. However, I rarely watch the WWE these days. The scripted promos & pre-called matches consist of high spot after high spot. The promos are bland &”PC”. Occasionally, I’ll watch alotta old school matches (1930s thru 80s)...as I appreciate the territories/kayfabe era much more now.

    As for colored champs, there’s been a few (as mentioned above). Wrestlers like Bobo Brazil, Ernie “Big Cat” Ladd & “Thuderbolt” Patterson were ‘over’ & drew alotta money in the 60s & 70s. In the 80s, blacks like The Junkyard Dog, Tony Atlas, Rocky Johnson & Butch Reed were fan favorites. As mentioned, WCW put the strap on Ron Simmons in 1992. There’s not been a slew of black champions, but there’s been many who were legit legends of pro wrestling (I’ll give credit where it’s due). In the end, the greatest pro wrestlers were White... Lou Thesz, Buddy Rogers, Ric Flair, Harley Race, Billy Robinson, Dynamite Kid, etc.
     
  4. DixieDestroyer

    DixieDestroyer Hall of Famer

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Messages:
    9,192
    Location:
    Dixieland
    This modern product is NOT true “wrasslin”...which started disapating after the ‘death’ of kayfabe. I watched “wrestling” from the late 70’s (Georgia Championship Wrestling) through the mid 2000’s, so I was a “mark” for decades. However, I rarely watch the WWE these days. The scripted promos & pre-called matches consist of high spot after high spot. The promos are bland &”PC”. Occasionally, I’ll watch alotta old school matches (1930s thru 80s)...as I appreciate the territories/kayfabe era much more now.

    As for colored champs, there’s been a few (as mentioned above). Wrestlers like Bobo Brazil, Ernie “Big Cat” Ladd & “Thuderbolt” Patterson were ‘over’ & drew alotta money in the 60s & 70s. In the 80s, blacks like The Junkyard Dog, Tony Atlas & Butch Reed were fan favorites. As mentioned, WCW put the strap on Ron Simmons in 1992. While there have been black legends in pro wrestling, the greatest were White...Ed “Strangler” Lewis, Lou Thesz, Danny Hodge, Billy Robinson, Harley Race, Ric Flair, Dynamite Kid, Brett Hart, etc.
     
  5. MM123

    MM123 Newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2018
    Messages:
    3
    I also forgot to mention Booker T who was the last WCW world champion and held the WWE title for a while in 2006. All the names you mentioned were very popular and influential but I'm not sure if they were ever world champions in a major promotion.
     
  6. white is right

    white is right Hall of Famer

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2006
    Messages:
    7,964
    Back before the WWF consolidated the territorial promotions, being a territorial champion was the highest level you could achieve. Hence the term of World Wrestling Federation.

    I too watched wrestling from the late 70's through late 80's and sporadically watched it until the mid 90's. I now only see a match here or there on a major event card and only on a pirate feed if I can find one.

    PS back in the day Joe Louis when he was broke wrestled and was undefeated but was handcuffed(it's fake so everybody is really) from challenging for the territorial title. He had to retire when he his heart was bruised by an avalanche type move and was advised to retire or possibly die.
     
  7. white is right

    white is right Hall of Famer

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2006
    Messages:
    7,964
    The great White wrestlers were real wrestlers the Black champions were a mix of failed bodybuilders and NFL and lower minor league football washouts. So the skill gaps would be apparent.
     
  8. Extra Point

    Extra Point Master

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    Messages:
    3,707

Share This Page