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Racial Stereotypes


E2K
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It's amazing to me how WWE are still stuck in the 1980's in so many ways. Let's consider, for example, the racial stereotype, which is still alive and kicking in WWE in the 21st century.

 

Back in the 1980's, you had your Russians, the Koloffs, Bolsheviks etc, who were portrayed as being the anti-America, and the fans hated them accordingly. Thank God the Cold War ended. Then you had the likes of the Iron Sheik, and later Sgt. Slaughter, again hated for similar reasons. I'm still waiting for an Osama rip-off to come in, but maybe that might be just too far for Vince and co.

 

Then you have the Japanese. the cowardly heel, as demonstrated by their attack on Pearl Harbour, right? Tajiri might be a heel right now, but anytime thay decide to do something with him, it's as a heel. And I'm pretty sure that's how they'll portray Kenzo Suzuki as well. And hell - Kaintei even ADMITTED they were evil!! Ever notice how your WWE Japanese wrestler can never speak English either?

 

Then you've got the French (or anybody French-speaking, that seems to be enough for WWE). They're cowardly heels too. Last year, we were treated to the sight of the French flag being defiled on several occasions, just cos they didn't join Bush's war on terror *gasp*!! Everybody seems to automatically hate French wrestlers, be it the Rougeaus, La Resistance, Rene Dupree. How about a French babyface sometime eh? I mean, Zidane is French, and EVERYBODY loves him!

 

Then you have the English. Why is almost every English wrestler in America presented as being posh? Like Regal, who's anything BUT posh. I mean, come on!! Name the two most popular English wrestlers of all time - Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy. Were they posh? No. For God's sake, at least try and rip off some of the characters out of Snatch, it'd be much more interesting.

 

I pray that they never have an Irish wrestler.

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To be fair ive never seen Davey Boy or Dynamite being portrayed as posh. And ive been watching them for as long as i can remember.

Wrestling always reflects society. Thats they way it always has been. If WWE was racist then how do you explain The Rock becoming a multiple wrold champ and movie star?

And unless you forgot WWE currently have a Canadian as World Champion. I will agree that they used these gimmicks with evil germans like Fritz Von Erich in the eighties and Sgt slaughter and even the French with La Resistance now. But its always been to get heat. I think calling the WWE racist is stupid. You cant pin it on one company. Regal has had the same gimmick for nearly ten years now and it was given to him by WCW so how can you blame Vince for that? WCW also had Alex Wright as the cowardly German Heel. You cant put this all on WWE.

They do mock there own country aswel if you think about it. People mock Texans for being beer swilling rednecks. So they give Austin that gimmick and it did wonders for him.

Edited by Matt
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I liked Snatch.

 

In American Pro Wrestling you have heels and faces as I'm sure you know. The heels are made to boo and the faces to cheer. At least it used to be that way. However, nowadays the fans seem to want to cheer the heels. I can't get behind that myself, but thats a different story.

 

I guess that one of the few ways to get them booing the ones they're supposed to boo these days is to make someone "different". After all, different= BAD and different = UNDESIRABLE. Mind you, I don't mean "different" like Eugene is "different". What better (spelled E-A-S-I-E-R or L-A-Z-Y) way is there to quickly do so than to push a stereotype or two?

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I think calling the WWE racist is stupid

 

Never said they were RACIST as such Sharpshooter. Let me be very clear on that. All I'm saying is that I'm a bit fed up of stereotyping certain nationalities just to get cheap heat when a bit of originality might be in order.

 

And I never said Davey Boy or Dynamite were portrayed as posh. In fact, I said the exact opposite mate

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And I never said Davey Boy or Dynamite were portrayed as posh. In fact' date=' I said the exact opposite mate[/quote']

 

 

You said that almost every English wrestler in The US is portrayed as posh. Apart from Regal who else? I was simply naming to English superstars and they werent posh, so apart from Regal, who else?

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Personally i think the stereotyping in the WWE is horrendous and is only there to get cheap heat. The writers need to be more adventerous and imaginative as seeing people like Tajiri, Regal, La resistance etc etc portrayed as they are is getting tiresome. As E2k said every time we see a new Japanese wrestler he "cannot speak english" which is normally a load of bull. As i said, the creative department need to live up to their name and find a new way to push wrestlers from other countries other than in the stereotypical veiw.
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I pray that they never have an Irish wrestler.

 

They have-hes called Eugene :lol (only joking)

 

To be fair to WWE they hvave these characters because they know the Americans will pay for it. If it didnt work it wouldnt happen. Simple as. WWE fans (mainly Americans) probably like stereotypes, and will pay for it.

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My point is that William Regal isn't posh, so why portray him as such? That's racial stereotyping - he's English, he must be posh, he must love the Queen, drink tea, eat scones, have a butler named Jeeves and all that stupid crap. Yes, he was given the moniker Lord Steven Regal by the WCW - so why do WWE feel the need to perpetuate it? Does JR not realise when he's saying that he fought his way up in Blackpool how ridiculous he sounds? Darren Matthews is not posh, so why not just let him BE HIMSELF? The best results WWE have is when they let guys be themselves, not play some stupid bleedin' role like that. Whatever happened to being CREATIVE?
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The best results WWE have is when they let guys be themselves' date=' not play some stupid bleedin' role like that. Whatever happened to being CREATIVE?[/quote'] :xyx

 

This is very true E but you need creative people to put in these positions and the problem with this is that very few people in wrestling today are creative.

 

The ones who are usually end up doing something else as they become stifled by WWE writers telling them this is what is best to say. :?

 

A long time ago, wrestlers did not need writers or prompts and the best guys were the ones who were believable as heels or faces. I know when a man is being serious or playacting, as do most folks, but I think the problem with things here today especially in the promos department is that a lot of people do not know how to be intimidating in an entertaining way, so they shout and yell in order to make themselves heard or the backroom guys give thema gimmick to enable them to get over, and unfortunately a lot of the times this does seem to verge on racial stereotyping.

 

The two most intimidating and entertaining men in the history of recorded promos were Jake "The Snake" Roberts and to some degree Undertaker and neither of those men shouted, they had a slow and deliberate whisper or drawl, which forces people to strain to hear what they are saying, thus making what they say all the more forceful. ;)

 

This is a technique I use when I am addressing large numbers of people, it makes them remember what you said to them, because they concentrate on hearing, if you shout you lose them. So due to the lack of creative personell at present the WWE drags out the old Latino's and Teddy Long characters to try to get a rise from folks, until the next Steve Austin or Rock comes around.

 

Spiritchaser.

Creating.

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If you start taking stuff like that in wrestling serious then I feel you lose the fun of being a wrestling fan.

 

For me being able to boo a wrestler just because he is gay or something is a breath of fresh air in this ridiculously political correct society we live in.

 

So the English wrestler is generally posh... boo hoo. The Scottish wrestler will always wear a kilt or something. It sells tickets, so its best to deal with it!

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YO! Japanese people...whats the deal, wit' yo nasty hair?! You may know Kung-Fu...but you dont know shampoo! - Booker T 2002. Sorry, I had to say this...I found this shampoo thing hillarious, back in the build up to WMX8, even if it was a stupid reason for 2 men to feud over at the biggest event of the year! lol
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They have-hes called Eugene :lol (only joking)

 

To be fair to WWE they hvave these characters because they know the Americans will pay for it. If it didnt work it wouldnt happen. Simple as. WWE fans (mainly Americans) probably like stereotypes, and will pay for it.

 

 

WCW had one...his name was Fit Finlay. And not knowing much about Fit Finlay's true nationality or what not, I say this confidently b/c I clearly remember a particular wrestling game on my N64 with Finlay wearing green and black tights with a cloverleaf on the front, and that sure ain't an Alabama symbol.

 

Ironically enough, he now trains the women wrestlers for the WWE.

Edited by rtdwnthemiddle
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Speaking of stereotypes and the WWE, remember this one:

 

The Nation of Domination - spinoff of the Nation of Islam

 

Disciples of Apocalypse - spinoff of Hell's Angels

 

Los Boricuas - spinoff of a group of Latinos, when I'm assuming the members could

have been Cuban or Puerto Rican

 

The Truth Commission - I forgot where this one came from, but there gimmick and

ideas reminded me of South Africa for some reason

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Sorry to leave 3 messages in a row, but remember when the WWE billed William Regal as "The Man's Man William Regal?" That didn't last long.

 

Also, from WCW:

 

West Texas Rednecks - or something like that...Kurt Hennig lead the group of "cowboys"

 

The No Limit Soldiers - Master P's venture into wrestling....all I can say is..well, his music started to suck right around then, too.

 

The Filthy Animals - ??? Rey Mysterio and Konnan and Disco Inferno...I can't even remember what stereotype they were going after in this one.

 

That group with G.I. Bro, Gen. Hugh G. Rection, etc - what the hell....?!?!

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If you start taking stuff like that in wrestling serious then I feel you lose the fun of being a wrestling fan.

 

For me being able to boo a wrestler just because he is gay or something is a breath of fresh air in this ridiculously political correct society we live in.

 

So the English wrestler is generally posh... boo hoo. The Scottish wrestler will always wear a kilt or something. It sells tickets, so its best to deal with it!

 

Thank You, exactly what i was trying to get across. This stuff is meant to be entertaining ITS NOT REAL LIFE thats why they call it a GIMMICK!

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If you start taking stuff like that in wrestling serious then I feel you lose the fun of being a wrestling fan.

 

For me being able to boo a wrestler just because he is gay or something is a breath of fresh air in this ridiculously political correct society we live in.

 

So the English wrestler is generally posh... boo hoo. The Scottish wrestler will always wear a kilt or something. It sells tickets, so its best to deal with it!

 

Fair point. But while stuff like this may sell tickets, it still smacks of lazy, unimaginative writing from people who are paid a lot of money to sell the show to the fans. It's the cheapest kind of heat, and it almost never works.

 

Booing a guy cos he's gay? A little bit off the point of the thread, but that's fair enough, I mean, you're right, society is too politically correct, and wrestling is a very masculine sport right? That's fair enough. Now let me ask you this: when have you EVER seen an entertaining gay gimmick? If you have, and it entertained you, that's fantastic, that's your take on things. But the likes of Billy, Chuck, Rico, Goldust, and all the other wrestlers with a sexual undertone, just bored me and pissed me off. I feel sorry for anyone who has to share the ring with those characters to be honest, and it's just a bunch of crap.

 

The truth is, there are some decent storylines built around the old racial stereotypes, but not many. And there's nothing I hate more than when writers fall back on old, overused characters and angles. And with Kenzo Suzuki, Rene Dupree and the rest in now, I think the old "evil foreigner" thing is still alive and well. It doesn't do anything for me - but hey, it's just me. And that doesn't mean I've lost the fun of being a wrestling fan - the only reason I watch it is to be entertained and have fun, after all.

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Stereotyping isjust easy, cheap heat for the character IMO. The only time I've ever been actually offended is when Steiner was doing his pro-war stuff versus Chris Nowinski, telling us the America was the greatest nation on earth.

Stuff like Regal, Suzuki and La Res doesnt really bother me: its just part and parcel: wrestling has always been about stereotypes, after all...what about Jamie Noble and The Mean Street Posse for some 'homegrown' stereotypes?

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Even Steve Austin was a stereotype... He was from Texas so he must own a pickup, a crossbow and assorted weapons and traps for hunting, wear camo gear and enjoy beer...

 

The fact that the man behind the character liked beer isn't the point either...

 

Wrestling is built upon stereotypes, Angle was a clean cut glory obsessed colligate athlete, Big Show is a big fat git, Eddie and his latino life, same with Chavo in a way, Faaroq and the Nation of Domination were built on the stereotypical view of black muslims in the USA... need I go on...

 

If they didn't exist then wrestling wouldn't exist, they have excisted in all the major promotions in the world because sometimes the writers just aim a little to the left and instead of creatingf a contempery character they create the original version of John Cena... You get the point?

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Well, maybe I didn't explain myself very well; I was really talking about generic "evil foreigner" stereotypes mainly. I don't really consider the Texas Redneck stereotype, Noble's trailer-park trash thing, Cena's rapper gimmick etc to be in the same category as what I started the thread about. All of these guys are americans, and as such, whether they're from Texas or the deep south, not all of them are tarred with any kind of generic gimmick like a Japanese or French wrestler would be, for example. Steve Austin and Bradshaw are from Texas - they're portrayed as rednecks. Shawn Michaels and Billy Gunn are also from Texas. Are they portrayed as rednecks? No. Basically, if you're an American wrestler from a particular part of the U.S, you might be portrayed in a stereotypical way - then again, you might not.

 

Now take your Japanese wrestler. How's he gonna be portrayed? Well, if WWE are gonna do anything with a Japanese wrestler, I'd put money on it that it'll be as a cowardly heel who can't speak English. From the Orient Express to Yokozuna to Kaientei (version 1) to Tajiri to Kendo Suzuki now, its always the same. Except of course, if they're not getting a push. That's my point.

 

Now, I wasn't saying that I'm OFFENDED by it. I just think it's dumb, and not very creative. It's lazy, in the 21st century, to have to fall back on that kinda thing. It's boring. And it can be a bit maddening, especially when Goldberg came out and tore up the French flag last year. A little bit OTT I thought. If it had been an Irish flag, I'd have been really pissed.

 

Let's take a look at the guys mentioned in terms of racial stereotypes and what it brings to the show:

 

Austin may be a stereotypical Texas redneck, sure, but would you really class that as a gimmick in Austin's case? I think it is something to take into account that Austin drinks beer, hunts, has a ranch, and is foul-mouthed in real life too cos that's who he is, and that's who he is on-screen too. Thats not perpetuating any Texas stereotypes for me. Shawn Michaels is from Texas, and he isn't a redneck. Ditto Billy Gunn, Booker T. Bradshaw maybe a redneck on-screen; but he is off-screen too. I swear, he must be George Bush's half-brother. He's a dumb, idiot redneck - that's who he is. No stereotyping there as far as I'm concerned. Austin was allowed to be HIMSELF with the volume turned up - thats why he got over.

 

Kurt Angle IS clean-cut, and if you read his book, you'll see that he's not afraid to say how good he is (not saying he's arrogant btw). On TV, he's the same, but with the volume turned UP. Big Show is a fat git; true, but where's the gimmick? He IS a fat git.

 

Another of my problems with it is that the poor wrestlers who have these gimmicks thrust upon them hardly EVER get over in the long-term.

 

For example:

 

Vince: JR, quite frankly, how are you, quite frankly?

JR: Ma god Vince, you bastard, pet coon, heinous, we just unearthed a young STUD by the name o' Dupree, but he needs a GIMMICK Vince, he needs a GIMMICK dammit!!

Vince: Dupree . . . quite frankly . . . is that French?

JR: Ma god, you're right Vince, oh ma god!!!

Vince: Well, quite frankly, we'll just have him come out with the French flag, quite frankly, a poodle, talking about how much he hates America, quite frankly . . . . . that'll get him over in no time, and boost buy-rates.

JR: But what about the day when the cheap heat runs out and fans get fed up of that gimmick? That's not a long-term gimmick Vince. What happens when the heat goes?

Vince: We'll cross that bridge when we come to it . . . . . quite frankly.

 

The fact is, people stuck with a racial stereotyped gimmick in WWE very rarely amount to anything. Who out of the original Nation ever did anything? The Rock? Well, by the time the Rock joined, the Nation weren't a stereotype anymore. Whats it the Rock said when he joined? "This isn't about race, it's about respect" Yokozuna? He only got pushed cos of Vince's big fetish with "immovable objects", and the fact that Hogan was going, Savage injured, Flair gone, and they had no big stars left at the time. All the French guys I mentioned in my first post, the Japanese guys, none of them ever did anything.

 

My point is this. This thread aint about gimmicks, it's about racial stereotypes, and like I said, I don't hate them all. I found (and find) the lie/cheat/steal thing very entertaining. It's the lame ones, done for cheap heat, that I don't appreciate. But it's ok if you don't agree. I just want people to see what I'm saying.

 

And Cena's character isn't really a stereotype; thats a gimmick, and I'm not talking about gimmicks per-se.

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Man the Goldust stuff was great. I didn't think that was up for debate to be honest. And the Rico/Billy/Chuck stuff wasn't bad at first.

 

As much as you don't like these type of gimmicks... its what the old style WWE is all about I believe. You aren't really meant to believe the characters after all and it's all about having a laugh.

 

I do see where you are coming from though come to think of it... since things like La Resistance and Kenzo Suzuki are indeed cheap, lazy gimmicks with little thought. Usually they aren't though I believe, and I think it's just these recent crap efforts that's maybe causing these views.

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I want add a point on Eddie...

 

Cuz his current storyline are in a Racial context, not so far in time now JBL has wrestled with a guy presented as "The Great Champion of Mexico" or so, with the commentators of SD! saying crap about being champ in Mexico is being champ of Maine and things in that way.

 

I mean, If you want cheap and offensive heat in a gimmick there are one and is very clearly, Eddie himself are not comfortable with that "Cheat, lie and steal", as one said here (sorry for forgot who) the perceptions of the society be reflected in wrestling, and you know how easy to the media in U.S. to impose stereotypes.

 

Sadly

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