Is WWE Racist: Part One: Behind The Scenes

The question always gets raised “Is WWE racist?” Yet there’s nobody can ever agree on an answer. With El Patron, formerly known as Alberto Del Rio appearing at AAA’s Tripplemania this weekend and discussing the racism he faced in WWE the question has come up again about racism in WWE. This time, the accusations are rising from a decorated champion, lending some credibility to them. 

For those of you who don’t know Del Rio was recently released from WWE after an altercation with details that were left cloudy until a recent interview with Televiso’s Primero Notica. Del Rio admitted to slapping social media manager Cody Barbierri after comments he felt were offensive were made. Del Rio did not state what comment was made but rumor has it that when another employee told Barbierri to clean his plate in catering he stated it was “the job of a Mexican like Del Rio.” Del Rio admitted to losing his temper when Barbierri wouldn’t apologize. According to Del Rio when he spoke with Vince the issue was solved. 

However he was later told by HHH that he was going to be suspended for one week which he understood. However he was later called personally by HHH and told that he had to be fired. The reason for WWE’s change in punishment isn’t known, but some such as Dave Meltzer has stated that Barbierri threatened a lawsuit. After Del Rio’s release it wasn’t immediately known who the employee he slapped was. That is until Barbierri launched attacks on Del Rio via the WWE Twitter account and more racially laced rants on his personal account. After seeing his tweets people weren’t shocked to learn that Barbierri would be capable of racist remarks. But where does this leave WWE?

While some may argue that Del Rio was a multiple time champion, let’s look at his reigns. Each of his title reigns began right before a WWE tour of Mexico. While it’s obvious that he benefited from this it doesn’t mean it isn’t racist. Others have been crowned champion because of a WWE Tour in Mexico. Rey Mysterio has also received the benefits from this. That’s the end of WWE’s beneficial racism. Let’s take a look at some of the other incidents in WWE.

Michael Hayes is currently a head writer for WWE and has been for some time, he’s also widely considered to be one of the most racist men in pro wrestling today. In 2008 Hayes was suspended for telling Mark Henry “I’m more of a nigger than you are.” You can’t consider this shocking when Hayes made a name for himself by repeatedly calling Junkyard Dog “Boy” and even painting the confederate flag on his face before some matches.  But what happens when it isn’t a veteran like Mark Henry? Current MMA Fighter and TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Lashley has stated in interviews that one of the reasons he left the company was due to Hayes’ racism. 

While backstage incidents may not be frequent, there is one thing we can’t deny.  It’s always debated if Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is the first black WWE Champion or not? While Rock is definitely half black, his father was Soul Man Rocky Johnson, he’s always been more true to his Samoan Heritage. It’s rare that you’ll hear him talk about any culture besides his Samoan Culture. This has led to some debate about whether The Rock considers himself black and if he’s the first black WWE Champion or not. That’s a completely different debate; for the sake of this article we’ll consider him the first black WWE Champion.
In its 62 years of existence WWE has had one black WWE in Champion. When this is pointed out people most likely respond with the standard “There hasn’t been a black wrestler good enough. They have to be able to speak and wrestle.” 

I admit, Kofi Kingston is an incredible wrestler, but he’s also a horrible speaker. So Kofi is out of the running. But what about those that came before him? R-Truth is known for rapping and dancing to the ring. But in 2011 during his heel run, R-Truth was arguably the most hated man on the roster. When R-Truth would enter the building would erupt in boos. R-Truth’s run at the championship was ended by a cup of water. Was R-Truth not good enough as a former TNA and NWA Champion? He obviously has the ring ability and charisma to keep the crowd entertained when speaking. What about Booker T? Booker T was a 6 time World Heavyweight Champion before retiring. It’s obvious that he was very good. Even with all that, he could never grasp the WWE Championship. What about MVP? He had the backing of the locker room. Including people like The Undertaker, Chris Benoit and Shawn Michaels. WWE responded by putting him on a losing streak until he asked for his release. MVP was soon champion in NJPW and one of their top draws. Ron Simmons was the first black WCW champion. When he appeared in WWE his gimmick became “tough black guy #1.” Towards the end of his career he simply became comedic relief. 

There have also been countless others that could be considered the total package meeting all the requirements to be WWE Champion, but it never happened. 62 years and The Rock still stands alone. But it’s not just about backstage and championships. What happens when racism spills over into the ring?

Part two is available here

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Is WWE Racist: Part One: Behind The Scenes Is WWE Racist: Part One: Behind The Scenes Reviewed by Darrell S. on Thursday, August 21, 2014 Rating: 5

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