Political & #RAW


[Not raw like the diet, but you know, the weekly professional wrestling programming]

On tonight’s episode of ‘is it racist’, the March 19th edition of Monday Night Raw started off with a fairly politically charged topic. Most viewers know the backstory for this scenario, but for those who don’t I’ll keep it brief. Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns have a title match at WrestleMania coming up. Brock “decided” [remember it’s scripted] to no-show several events and Roman Reigns was livid.

Cut to: Roman Reigns is suspended for mouthing off to Vince McMahon for giving Brock special treatment. Basically, he was in trouble for being a hero amongst men to the boss that’s clearly incapable, rude, and downright wrong in most things that he does. On RAW, Roman showed up regardless of his suspension and decided to push the limits of his suspension: which leads to his arrest.

Oh yes folks, “U.S. Marshals” were sent to the ring to arrest Roman Reigns and oh, does it only get worse from there. I know what you’re thinking: white officers against a person of color never ends well, and you’re exactly right to think that. Art imitated life when officers needlessly tried to manhandle the already handcuffed Roman Reigns.

Which naturally led to a revolt on behalf of Reigns who took down all three officers.

While viewers at home were thinking “good finally a person of color isn’t left dead for a senseless reason”–Brock Lesnar decides to show up. Boy oh boy. Not only does he wait to finally show up when Roman Reigns is handcuffed: but he’s a complete barbarian about it. If you’re lost, I’ll give you a little recap: the person of color is getting screwed over and the white guy only shows up when he has a clear advantage and has to do minimal to none to get ahead.


Let us unpack that a little bit. It’s not a secret that Roman Reigns is a person of color. His Samoan lineage is frequently used to identify who he is, as a person, and as a performer. Race plays a large part into who Roman Reigns is and it has not only defined himself as a character, but how others view him. Paul Heyman has in fact used his race as a weapon against him, by regarding Roman and other Samoans as savages, uncivilized, brutalizing monsters.

[To be honest, that sounds a lot like Brock Lesnar, the white man, wouldn’t you agree?]

Because of Paul’s previous sentiments, WWE’s known history of how it treats its people of color, and in general, white America’s treatment of people of color: Roman has had everything against him from the very beginning based on a racial identity alone. Fans, whether they know it or not (and often white males, a quick glance into the audience or going to any show as a hispanic female will both tell you that and be a horrifying realization) play into the racial division. Fans don’t cheer for Roman: believing that he has everything handed to him. In reality it’s extremely different.

Roman, our person of color, is at Monday Night Raw every single week (give or take for extenuating circumstances) and appears at all of the house shows. He’s constantly on TV, going to events, and working hard for absolutely no praise: just because fans think he’s handed everything on a silver platter. They confuse Roman, with Brock. He leads a career where people firmly believe he hasn’t’ earned or worked for anything, common for people of color (think the horrifying black stereotype of the welfare queen).


Brock has the whitest of privilege I’ve ever seen since early Cena using African American Vernacular English. The man rarely if ever shows up to a house show or televised event. Most of the year he’s at home sitting pretty, showing little to no loyalty at all to the company paying him above the maximum for the bare minimum. The man ended the Undertaker’s streak as a part timer, outta the blue for no actually decent reason (and basically ruined the man). He wrestles nothing the way he first did in the WWE, and now resorts to two, maybe three moves in a boring rotation. That’s even if he wants to have the match (remember, his WrestleMania match with Dean Ambrose). He’s selfish, and if something doesn’t benefit him or he doesn’t want to do it, he puts minimal to no effort. He personifies white privilege in the scummiest of ways and yet the fans find him to be their knight on a shining silver platter.

Brock brutalizing Roman was a vicious imitation of real world issues. A man already down and subdued being brutalized without cause. Brock himself is the very being of white privilege: special privileges, never having to jump through hoops or prove yourself, has things handed to him, literally looks like a big white monster. It was a very politically charged segment, reflecting what we see every single day in our lives involving abuse of power and the treatment of minorities.

It’s interesting to see them pick up a subject like this for a variety of reasons. One, Vince McMahon is, surprise surprise, a white man. Two, take into consideration their ties with the Trump presidency and their support of the orange creature–it can say a lot about the head honcho’s own personal beliefs. It’s not a subject that can be handled with ease, so it’s surprising to see them take this route, especially as the opening segment for such popular programming.



The Miz: Awesome Not Awful


[Dude, The Miz is pretty good but ya’ll wanna be all like “oh he’s that real world d-bag”. Kids it is revival of the 90’s and real world is so 2000’s get over it.]

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Shadows Over Asuka: A Royal Rumble Affair


[Side note, I feel like Shadows Over Asuka makes a great fan fiction title. Someone more creative than me get on it, and definitely tweet it at me]

WWE is a longstanding trainwreck. Just when you think they’ve cleared away the debris and rubble, another absurd and completely avoidable accident happens and we’re left watching them deal with damage control. Take for example, the 2018 Royal Rumble. Everything seemed to be okay and getting better, like the debris had nearly cleared. WWE had implemented the first ever Women’s Rumble match, which is a huge step that no one imagined happening in this century. To round out the night, both rumble matches were won by Japanese wrestlers: Shinsuke Nakamura and Asuka.

I know, pretty crazy considering WWE’s whiteness and racial tendencies. When this happened, I too was a shookie cookie.

In fact it was too good to be true, and as predicted, WWE found a way to cheapen the victory of the first ever women’s rumble winner. The debut of former UFC fighter: Ronda Rousey. It’s so amazing how ridiculous this moment was, I’m not sure if I should pick this apart by beginning with sex, or race.

Ya know what, let’s just throw in a mixture of both and see what sticks.

Shinsuke Nakamura, male, right? After his win he was allowed the opportunity to bask in the glory, to tan in the lights of the WrestleMania sign, to announce that he chose to go after AJ Styles’ title at WrestleMania. Good, great actually. No random white man decided to make their presence known by swinging their dick around and making sure everyone had their eyes on him. The attention, and rightfully so, was all on Shinsuke. That’s exactly how it should have been, all about the victor.

Then we have Asuka’s victory, and holy hell what a confusing mess this was. Asuka barely had a chance to speak for herself, nor did she get the chance to establish who exactly she wanted to go after come WrestleMania: Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss, or SmackDown women’s Champion: Charlotte. Someone backstage felt it necessary for both women to make themselves known in case someone forgot what they, or the belts looked like.


Neither one is Brock Lesnar, we see the belts weekly and they’re defended. Don’t worry, we remember.

So here we have a Japanese women getting interrupted by not one, but two white women. Sure, that’s a swell plan. Let’s steal the spotlight from her.

Don’t worry, it gets better.

To make the grand total of three: three white women stealing the spotlight, WWE decides it’s a great time to introduce Ronda Rousey full time. She makes her entrance, in all of her 80’s coming of age movie glory sporting most of Rowdy Roddy Piper’s gimmick as she does so. This completely takes away any and all attention from Asuka and shines the spotlight on herself. Such a pivotal, crucial moment in WWE history absolutely eclipsed by this transphobic putrid hot mess of a woman whose hype train surrounding her lost its gas give or take a year ago.

That sends the wrong type of message. That says not only do you not value your winner, Asuka, very much, but that you don’t value the women of your division as highly as you do this woman coming in out of of the blue. She’s a fan? Great. Has she been shaping and molding your division, putting in blood, sweat, tears, and risking her life weekly for the sake of entertainment and trying to raise the value of the women’s division in the eyes of doubting fans everywhere?

Nope, she’s a quick cash grab.

The cherry and rainbow sprinkles on top of it all is that as of today, Ronda Rousey hasn’t been seen since. For a full time wrestler, she’s too busy filming a movie to make an appearance. Which means, of course, her debut in my eyes is considered a complete and utter waste. It was tasteless, ill-planned, and shone a poor light on whoever decided it was a wonderful idea to eclipse your inaugural winner for a has-been.

Review Of TrumpMania: Vince McMahon, WWE and the Making of America’s 45th President


Lavie Margolin’s TrumpMania is exactly what you would think it is. A book which focuses on our current president Donald Trump’s involvement with the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) throughout the decades. Now you may be thinking what I had thought the second I saw the title of this book: it’s a satire. I automatically assumed that it was a book meant to poke fun at all that Donald has done throughout his professional wrestling career, but it is far from that.

The book actually focuses on the economic as well as marketing areas of the professional wrestling business, arguably that is one main focus. The other main focus would have to be an extremely thorough look into the past and formation of the WWE. His work is very in depth, detailing the outcomes of matches as well as the storyline that brought said matches to fruition in the first place. His work reads like a historical look at the development of the WWE and its success due to the work of Vince McMahon and Donald Trump. It tells of individual success as well, making a point to show the further development of their companies on the backs of one another.

While the book is heavily detailed and extremely thorough, it may not be for everyone. Personally, I feel as though the book could have been done in short form as opposed to long form. A scholarly article would suffice to prove the author’s main idea of his work. Second, due to the nature of this book, it may not be for everyone. Not only is it a historical look back on previous matches and company development, it deals with marketing and economic aspects associated with their career paths both in the past and what brought them to present day.

A heavily detailed book, I find it’s a good read for those interested in a more analytical approach to all things related to the WWE.

Niche Please: Women Like Merch?? (Part 2)


Niche Please: Women Also Have Money

Part 2: Merchandise


What a novel concept that is, right? Women have money, that belongs to them! They have both checkings and savings accounts and by golly gee sometimes they want to use that to buy things for themselves and or others.

Now it seems rather obvious, especially given that over the years mass media, as well as our friendly neighborhood 80 year old man always say: women love shopping. All they do is shop, shop, shop, and spend someone else’s hard earned money. Now that’s a horrifying issue for an entirely other day, but here’s the thing: we do in fact buy things. Sometimes more than men, sometimes less. What’s important to grasp here is that we have disposable income to spend on things to support programs or other forms of media that we love.

Enter, the WWE Shop.

While the year may be 2017, it seems that some people forget that women in fact enjoy wrestling. Perhaps this is shocking to some, but there are many women that don’t watch just to stare at muscles drenched in baby oil, sweat, and sometimes someone else’s blood. Rather, they watch it for the sport of it all, for the amazing talent that these performers exude, and sometimes it’s for the storyline.

[Ya know, depending on the program and just who exactly is writing that dream feud you’d always hoped for yet somehow isn’t amounting up to anything your imagination cooked up (Bray Wyatt vs. Finn Balor).]


Nah, ladies like wrestling. Sometimes they like to buy things to support their favorite wrestlers.However, sometimes it’s frustrating to buy things you want when a) it’s only in men’s sizes and quite frankly you’re sick and tired of getting a men’s shirt to pair with leggings or alter all on your own because it’s completely unflattering; or b) they just haven’t made it yet.

Take for example: leggings. Yes as of recently Wild Bangarang has announced that they will in fact be making WWE themed leggings. Thank the gods of wrestling, it’s about time, isn’t it? But it feels like that’s been far too long in the making. Leggings have been in the forefront of fashion for years, and damn it, why has it taken them so long to do so? This could have been extra money in the pocket for years and years already. Perhaps they were waiting to see someone else undergo this task.


Perhaps, they were waiting to see a member of the competition try their hand at making leggings. Maybe they wanted to know if it was going to be a huge flop, which in the end would have saved WWE the embarrassment and the failure. Luckily for them, The Young Bucks blasted into the online marketplace with their very own leggings; and boy were they a hit. They were such a hot commodity, there isn’t one single gif on the internet that seems accurate enough to portray the surprise and sheer happiness of their success with this merchandise.

Well, perhaps there is one, but really who as enough time to catalog gifs by emotional range, right?

The Young Bucks’ leggings were a massive hit. So much so that it had people asking, “Why hasn’t WWE done this yet?”


You think they would. It seems so stupidly simple of a project to undertake. To create leggings modeled after Superstar’s gear, to create leggings that could have anyone feeling like the man Seth Rollins’ even on their worst day. They wouldn’t even have to be marketed only to women. The idea to make them unisex so men and women alike can live out their greatest dreams, they’d be even closer to cashing in big come Halloween time.

It’s not only leggings that can be marketed to women, but more inclusivity for things one would expect to have been a long time coming at this point. It’s as though WWE doesn’t expect things to sell like tank tops modeled after Becky Lynch’s ring gear, or an AJ Styles wig so we can all embrace our inner soccer mom…

That last one was a joke, no one wants that mom hair; but the statement still stands. It seems like WWE is behind the curve of wrestling merchandise, maybe because they don’t’ expect things to be able to sell to their female audience.  Look how long it took them to make WWE underwear (which I definitely, definitely called years ago). Yet they’re still missing the mark–not a single pair is for women, nor does anything say ‘hit hard, hit often’ on the backside, much like Roman Reigns would clearly do.

I mean, come on. That just seems like a given, right?

Niche Please: WWE’s Limited Marketing Hurts (Part 1: The Cruiserweight Division)


Niche Please: WWE’s Limited Marketing Hurts

Part 1: The Cruiserweight Division


Over the years WWE has clearly done something right in terms of marketing and brand expansion. They’re often seen as the number one wrestling program (excuse me, sports entertainment) sheerly for their dominance over professional wrestling in the entertainment world. WWE breeds star power, with forces such as Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Dave ‘The Animal’ Batista, and now John ‘U Can’t C Me’ Cena. Are there other, very successful wrestling programs? Of course, but for today we’ll focus on WWE programming. More specifically, how formulaic their shows can be, and how that hinders them; while competitors seem to flourish without said formula.

It seems silly to decree how an entertainment titan such as WWE should run their show. Yet one can’t help but to notice that WWE seems to dig themselves into a hole with supposedly good intentions ,yet at the same time buries all of their talent alive in it. This refers to the Cruiserweight Division. What started as an incredible tournament on the WWE Network has now led to a subpar division with usually mediocre segments on Monday Night Raw.


Now why might that be? Why would some of the contenders from such a widely well received tournament be stuck in this rut on WWE television? One would assume that their matches and segments would be pure fire, given the level of talent these wrestlers have garnered while on the independent circuit. Yet it seems that whenever such segments air live on the show, they’re met with silence, or the occasional beach ball party. So how does something that was once so incredibly popular which had viewers foaming at the mouth, become the new designated restroom break?

Quite simply, WWE places their performers in these little niches and keeps them there, without any possibility of escape. With the induction of the specialized division and a championship belt, one thought that meant we were going to see the new signees go toe to toe with some of the main event staples of Monday Night Raw. In contrast, what we saw was complete isolation. By being a cruiserweight, that meant that you didn’t interact with anyone outside of the division, save for the short-term stint of Alicia Fox as a manager to Cedric Alexander, then Noam Dar. It’s as though the division has a deadly plague, and having them interact with other superstars would leave to the complete decimation of the show. It’s a very odd tactic to do, to isolate the cruiserweight division from everyone and keep them completely self-involved; especially when that wasn’t always the case.

Sure, one could see this as WWE trying to make things fair and equal: guys going against similar weight classes so as not to provide an unfair advantage. Yet doesn’t WWE thrive on such feuds built upon this? It’s a classic David and Goliath scenario, one that does well for the likes of people like Braun Strowman and Sami Zayn: yet somehow can’t be used for the cruiserweight division. In addition to that, they’re doing this to competitors who have never been relegated to competing against only one type of opponent before stepping into WWE. Take for example: Kalisto and Neville. Even before this division, such competitors were competing amongst everyone else in WWE. Much like their independent circuit friends, there was no weight limit that classified who they could and could not wrestle against. Size was just an element of the story, meant to play up the hero’s hopeful triumph or heartbreaking downfall.  It did not indicate their skill level or capability to defeat a large opponent.

It never stopped people like Rey Mysterio.


Yet WWE continues to have the cruiserweight division in this niche. Story evolution is at a halt, for they show two, maybe four competitors per week on Monday Night Raw. Of course, there’s 205 live, but for the casual fan that’s not willing to, or doesn’t have, the Network: they’re at a complete loss. Usually it’s just a throwaway match for them to hit the concessions or evacuate their bowels.

If you’re going to have a division isolated by itself with a generous amount of athletes (see also: Women’s Division); then you may as well go all the way with it. Why not add a secondary belt? Something for the other, forgotten members to fight for seeing as how all anything has ever been about is the chase for the purple belt. Wrestlers that were esteemed and revered for their talent now look like complete and utter jokes (sorry, TJP). Almost as though someone doesn’t want them to be seen as a top tier talent that can take away from the big guys.


After all, if we look at this from a more cynical level: it’s pretty disheartening. Signing the cruiserweight could be seen as a money trap where all the favor goes to Vince McMahon. These wrestlers being signed means that they’re not wrestling for any other promotion; likely drawing their fans to watch WWE instead. That of course, means more viewers, which usually means more money in some capacity, no? It also keeps from the program’s competitors from making their shows as entertaining as possible. Losing some talent can be a big blow to suffer, and it’s a way for McMahon to keep the control and the eyes on his product. Why worry about other promotions when you’re snatching up and signing all the best that there are out there? These performers weren’t cruiserweight outside of WWE, they were just incredible and talented.

Yet now they’re brushed off to the side. They’re signed, they’re not out there performing incredible stunts and drawing attention away from the WWE with their highly publicized and talked about matches. They’re no longer a threat; not only to the company as a whole, but to those that Vince has deemed to be top tier talent as well. Having the cruiserweight in this niche that they cannot escape only hurts them as performers, and makes it all the more likely that the division could fall from sheer lack of morale, hope, and intentional neglect.