The 5 Most Embarrassing Facts About WWE And Its Handling Of Black Superstars

<div class="article-body-image"> <progressive-image class="wp-image-8226 size-large" src="https://blogs-images.forbes.com/alfredkonuwa/files/2019/02/Big-E-Gone-1200×675.jpg" alt="Big E WWE Royal Rumble New Day Black Superstars Eliminations" data-height="675" data-width="1200"></progressive-image> </div> <div article-image-caption=""> <div class="caption-container" ng-class="caption_state"> <p class="wp-caption-text">Big E and all seven black WWE Superstars in the 2019 turned in underwhelming performances.<small class="article-photo-credit">Credit: WWE.com </small></p> </div> </div> </div> <p>WWE is a global entertainment company with wall-to-wall diversity housed in both domestic and <a href="https://uproxx.com/prowrestling/wwe-uk-performance-center-official-opening/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://uproxx.com/prowrestling/wwe-uk-performance-center-official-opening/">international</a> properties.</p> <p>WWE Superstars come in all shapes and sizes, colors, creeds and even ages.&nbsp;But as the first week of black history month concludes, it only serves as an unintentional reminder of the glaring greatness left to be desired among black WWE Superstars who are seemingly, <a href="https://sports.vice.com/en_us/article/xybz4d/the-new-day-and-being-black-in-wwe" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://sports.vice.com/en_us/article/xybz4d/the-new-day-and-being-black-in-wwe">and inexplicably</a>, trapped beneath WWE’s eternal glass ceiling</p> <p>From Money in the Bank to the Royal Rumble, WWE’s most prized accomplishments are embarrassingly devoid of black excellence despite the promotion’s calling card of scripted entertainment with pre-determined results.</p> <p> </p> <p>WWE and <a href="https://www.bet.com/style/living/2017/10/10/eric-bigger.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.bet.com/style/living/2017/10/10/eric-bigger.html">ABC’s&nbsp;</a><em><a href="https://www.bet.com/style/living/2017/10/10/eric-bigger.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.bet.com/style/living/2017/10/10/eric-bigger.html">The Bachelor</a>&nbsp;</em>appear to be the last two entertainment franchises on Earth&nbsp;that can’t be bothered&nbsp;with an African-American&nbsp;lead as each has established a certain tradition and comfort level.</p> <div class="youtube-wrapper"> </div> <p>Black culture has been an <a href="https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2015/hip-hop-nation-how-the-genre-is-turning-up-in-2015.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2015/hip-hop-nation-how-the-genre-is-turning-up-in-2015.html">undisputed champion of influence</a> on young demographics. Its stranglehold on pop culture manifests itself in many ways, including Hip-Hop/R&amp;B’s unprecedented rise <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/hughmcintyre/2017/07/17/hip-hoprb-has-now-become-the-dominant-genre-in-the-u-s-for-the-first-time/#13710a3d5383" target="_self" data-ga-track="InternalLink:https://www.forbes.com/sites/hughmcintyre/2017/07/17/hip-hoprb-has-now-become-the-dominant-genre-in-the-u-s-for-the-first-time/#13710a3d5383">as the most dominant genre in music.</a></p> <div class="vestpocket" vest-pocket=""></div> <p>Perhaps WWE’s underwhelming&nbsp;presence of&nbsp;prominent, black performers has led to <a href="https://www.wrestlinginc.com/news/2019/01/wwe-raw-viewership-stays-under-two-million-for-new-year-eve-649412/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.wrestlinginc.com/news/2019/01/wwe-raw-viewership-stays-under-two-million-for-new-year-eve-649412/">record-low ratings</a> and a rapidly declining audience that is <a href="https://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2017/06/05/Research-and-Ratings/Viewership-trends.aspx" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2017/06/05/Research-and-Ratings/Viewership-trends.aspx">aging faster than any other major sport</a>&nbsp;with the&nbsp;genre banished toward the&nbsp;outskirts of pop culture.</p> <p>WWE’s unflattering statistics when it comes to black WWE Superstars raises questions as to how and why black top stars are the exception rather than the rule—and why the <a href="https://www.thecoconet.tv/coco-talanoa/entertainment/what-is-dwayne-the-rock-johnsons-true-ethnicity/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.thecoconet.tv/coco-talanoa/entertainment/what-is-dwayne-the-rock-johnsons-true-ethnicity/">racial ambiguity</a> of The Rock is essentially the only&nbsp;loophole&nbsp;that gives a pulse to the promotion’s scattershot history of black&nbsp;main eventers.</p> <p>For purposes of this article, The Rock will not be considered as a black WWE Superstar. As&nbsp;the son of Rocky Johnson,&nbsp;The Rock <a href="https://youtu.be/DKYf1dVewXk?t=42" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://youtu.be/DKYf1dVewXk?t=42">takes plenty of pride</a> in his black heritage, so that’s not the issue.</p> <div class="youtube-wrapper"> </div> <p>In honor of black history month, WWE currently has a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqIVmFaHA8BoGU_uH6d7FaatAV3QicJGE" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqIVmFaHA8BoGU_uH6d7FaatAV3QicJGE">YouTube playlist</a> from years past celebrating its lineage of black WWE Superstars. Of the 21 videos, some of which do briefly feature The Rock in the opening sequence (a cameo I only noticed because I forgot to blink), there are zero actual featurettes on The Rock. Given his claim as arguably the greatest WWE Superstar of all time, one would think he should have been a no-brainer as a subject years ago. Instead, he makes no such appearance.</p> <p>WWE&nbsp;is far more comfortable&nbsp;promoting The Rock’s <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa_v9o_dVRA" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa_v9o_dVRA">rich Samoan heritage</a>, which is perfectly fine, but if&nbsp;he is not promoted as being of African-American descent in WWE, the same will apply for purposes of statistics in this article.</p> <p><strong>No Black WWE Superstar Has Ever&nbsp;Competed for a Universal Championship&nbsp;</strong></p> <div id="attachment_3722" class="wp-caption alignnone"> <div class="article-body-image"> <progressive-image class="size-large wp-image-3722" src="https://blogs-images.forbes.com/alfredkonuwa/files/2017/07/Brock-1200×675.jpg" alt="Brock Lesnar WWE Universal Championship" data-height="675" data-width="1200"></progressive-image> </div> <div article-image-caption=""> <div class="caption-container" ng-class="caption_state"> <p class="wp-caption-text">Brock Lesnar has dominated the WWE Universal Championship lineage.<small class="article-photo-credit">Credit: WWE.com</small></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong>Granted, The WWE Universal Championship—introduced in August of 2016—has spent much of its lifespan being held up by consummate part-timer Brock Lesnar. But of the 22 matches and 11 WWE Superstars who have competed for Universal Championships, not one of them has even been half-black.</p> <p>Currently WWE’s most coveted championship on the flagship Raw brand, the notion that the promotion is going on three years without so much as a black challenger for the evasive prize is perplexing.</p> <p>After defeating Roman Reigns for a presumable shot at Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship, Bobby Lashley was instead subject to an inexplicable rematch with The Big Dog. Reigns prevailed, but the video <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/alfredkonuwa/2018/12/28/roman-reigns-brock-lesnar-dominate-10-most-disliked-wwe-youtube-videos-of-2018/" target="_self" data-ga-track="InternalLink:https://www.forbes.com/sites/alfredkonuwa/2018/12/28/roman-reigns-brock-lesnar-dominate-10-most-disliked-wwe-youtube-videos-of-2018/">garnered the most dislikes of any WWE YouTube video in 2018.&nbsp;</a></p> <p><strong>Black WWE Superstars Underwhelm at Royal Rumble 2019&nbsp;</strong></p> <div class="youtube-wrapper"> </div> <p>In WWE’s most recent gold rush for opportunity, known as the 2019 Royal Rumble, minorities took a step back in general. The <a href="https://twitter.com/scottheisel/status/1090006012197855234" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://twitter.com/scottheisel/status/1090006012197855234">five fastest eliminations&nbsp;comprised of minorities</a>, while black male competitors <a href="https://twitter.com/scottheisel/status/1090006012197855234" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://twitter.com/scottheisel/status/1090006012197855234">lasted an average of just over four minutes</a>.&nbsp;The seven black WWE Superstars in the Royal Rumble accounted for zero eliminations in an underwhelming night for an otherwise diverse Royal Rumble.</p> <p>To this day, The Royal Rumble is still in search of its first black winner.</p> <p><strong>There Has Never Been a Black WWE Champion&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>A championship that <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_WWE_Champions" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_WWE_Champions">carries a near-60-year lineage</a>, no African-American WWE Superstar has ever held its most prestigious title. Though Bobby Lashley becoming the <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/alfredkonuwa/2019/01/15/bobby-lashley-just-became-the-first-black-intercontinental-champion-since-2013/" target="_self" data-ga-track="InternalLink:https://www.forbes.com/sites/alfredkonuwa/2019/01/15/bobby-lashley-just-became-the-first-black-intercontinental-champion-since-2013/">first black WWE Intercontinental champion since 2013</a> is a promising sign,&nbsp;the early 40’s star remains distant from the main event picture.</p> <p><strong>The Last&nbsp;African-American to Main&nbsp;Event WrestleMania was Lawrence Taylor at WrestleMania XI&nbsp;</strong></p> <div id="attachment_8227" class="wp-caption alignnone"> <div class="article-body-image"> <progressive-image class="size-large wp-image-8227" src="https://blogs-images.forbes.com/alfredkonuwa/files/2019/02/LTBAMBAM-1200×800.jpg" alt="Bam Bam Bigelow Lawrence Taylor " data-height="800" data-width="1200"></progressive-image> </div> <div article-image-caption=""> <div class="caption-container" ng-class="caption_state"> <p class="wp-caption-text">Lawrence Taylor was the last black performer to compete in the main event of WrestleMania.<small class="article-photo-credit">Credit: WWE.com </small></p> </div> </div> </div> <p>Though Mike Tyson was part of the main attraction for WrestleMania XIV, he did so as an enforcer. Floyd Mayweather and the Big Show was the big attraction at WrestleMania XXIV, but it did not close out the show.</p> <p>The last&nbsp;African-American performer to compete in a main event match at WrestleMania was Lawrence Taylor at WrestleMania XI. Prior to that, it was Mr. T at WrestleMania I.</p> <p>If you’re a black&nbsp;wrestler who wants to main event WrestleMania, you picked the wrong profession. The rare instance of an African-American competing in a WrestleMania main event is exclusive to boxers, actors and football players.</p> <p><strong>No Black WWE Superstar Has Ever Won Money in the Bank</strong></p> <div id="attachment_6356" class="wp-caption alignnone"> <div class="article-body-image"> <progressive-image class="size-large wp-image-6356" src="https://blogs-images.forbes.com/alfredkonuwa/files/2018/06/BraunBank-1200×675.jpg" alt="Braun Strowman Money in the Bank 2018" data-height="675" data-width="1200"></progressive-image> </div> <div article-image-caption=""> <div class="caption-container" ng-class="caption_state"> <p class="wp-caption-text">Braun Strowman is the most recent winner of the men’s WWE Money in the Bank briefcase.<small class="article-photo-credit">Credit: WWE.com </small></p> </div> </div> </div> <p>This is a <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/alfredkonuwa/2018/06/18/wwe-money-in-the-bank-2018-results-white-superstars-improve-to-21-1-as-diversity-concerns-persist/" target="_self" data-ga-track="InternalLink:https://www.forbes.com/sites/alfredkonuwa/2018/06/18/wwe-money-in-the-bank-2018-results-white-superstars-improve-to-21-1-as-diversity-concerns-persist/">particularly egregious statistic</a> as literally any WWE Superstar can win Money in the Bank and be taken seriously given its well-protected legacy of molding and creating world champions. The Money in the Bank briefcase does not necessarily have to go to somebody who is ready. For better or worse, it functions as a proverbial&nbsp;set of training wheels for the main event.</p> <p>Damien Sandow (who dressed up as Randy Savage during his final days in WWE), Ken Kennedy (out of the company), Jack Swagger (competing for Bellator) and Baron Corbin (who now wrestles in Dockers) all&nbsp;won Money in the Bank matches. All were taken seriously throughout their reigns.</p> <p>In a fake sport where winners and losers are decided by a team of WWE officials,&nbsp;a minority has won&nbsp;<a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/alfredkonuwa/2018/06/18/wwe-money-in-the-bank-2018-results-white-superstars-improve-to-21-1-as-diversity-concerns-persist/#e44fce160692" target="_self" data-ga-track="InternalLink:https://www.forbes.com/sites/alfredkonuwa/2018/06/18/wwe-money-in-the-bank-2018-results-white-superstars-improve-to-21-1-as-diversity-concerns-persist/#e44fce160692">once in 22 matches</a>: Alberto Del Rio (currently out of the company).</p>”>

Big E and all seven black WWE Superstars in the 2019 turned in underwhelming performances.Credit: WWE.com

WWE is a global entertainment company with wall-to-wall diversity housed in both domestic and international properties.

WWE Superstars come in all shapes and sizes, colors, creeds and even ages. But as the first week of black history month concludes, it only serves as an unintentional reminder of the glaring greatness left to be desired among black WWE Superstars who are seemingly, and inexplicably, trapped beneath WWE’s eternal glass ceiling

From Money in the Bank to the Royal Rumble, WWE’s most prized accomplishments are embarrassingly devoid of black excellence despite the promotion’s calling card of scripted entertainment with pre-determined results.

WWE and ABC’s The Bachelor appear to be the last two entertainment franchises on Earth that can’t be bothered with an African-American lead as each has established a certain tradition and comfort level.

Black culture has been an undisputed champion of influence on young demographics. Its stranglehold on pop culture manifests itself in many ways, including Hip-Hop/R&B’s unprecedented rise as the most dominant genre in music.

Perhaps WWE’s underwhelming presence of prominent, black performers has led to record-low ratings and a rapidly declining audience that is aging faster than any other major sport with the genre banished toward the outskirts of pop culture.

WWE’s unflattering statistics when it comes to black WWE Superstars raises questions as to how and why black top stars are the exception rather than the rule—and why the racial ambiguity of The Rock is essentially the only loophole that gives a pulse to the promotion’s scattershot history of black main eventers.

For purposes of this article, The Rock will not be considered as a black WWE Superstar. As the son of Rocky Johnson, The Rock takes plenty of pride in his black heritage, so that’s not the issue.

In honor of black history month, WWE currently has a YouTube playlist from years past celebrating its lineage of black WWE Superstars. Of the 21 videos, some of which do briefly feature The Rock in the opening sequence (a cameo I only noticed because I forgot to blink), there are zero actual featurettes on The Rock. Given his claim as arguably the greatest WWE Superstar of all time, one would think he should have been a no-brainer as a subject years ago. Instead, he makes no such appearance.

WWE is far more comfortable promoting The Rock’s rich Samoan heritage, which is perfectly fine, but if he is not promoted as being of African-American descent in WWE, the same will apply for purposes of statistics in this article.

No Black WWE Superstar Has Ever Competed for a Universal Championship

Brock Lesnar has dominated the WWE Universal Championship lineage.Credit: WWE.com

Granted, The WWE Universal Championship—introduced in August of 2016—has spent much of its lifespan being held up by consummate part-timer Brock Lesnar. But of the 22 matches and 11 WWE Superstars who have competed for Universal Championships, not one of them has even been half-black.

Currently WWE’s most coveted championship on the flagship Raw brand, the notion that the promotion is going on three years without so much as a black challenger for the evasive prize is perplexing.

After defeating Roman Reigns for a presumable shot at Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship, Bobby Lashley was instead subject to an inexplicable rematch with The Big Dog. Reigns prevailed, but the video garnered the most dislikes of any WWE YouTube video in 2018.

Black WWE Superstars Underwhelm at Royal Rumble 2019

In WWE’s most recent gold rush for opportunity, known as the 2019 Royal Rumble, minorities took a step back in general. The five fastest eliminations comprised of minorities, while black male competitors lasted an average of just over four minutes. The seven black WWE Superstars in the Royal Rumble accounted for zero eliminations in an underwhelming night for an otherwise diverse Royal Rumble.

To this day, The Royal Rumble is still in search of its first black winner.

There Has Never Been a Black WWE Champion

A championship that carries a near-60-year lineage, no African-American WWE Superstar has ever held its most prestigious title. Though Bobby Lashley becoming the first black WWE Intercontinental champion since 2013 is a promising sign, the early 40’s star remains distant from the main event picture.

The Last African-American to Main Event WrestleMania was Lawrence Taylor at WrestleMania XI

Lawrence Taylor was the last black performer to compete in the main event of WrestleMania.Credit: WWE.com

Though Mike Tyson was part of the main attraction for WrestleMania XIV, he did so as an enforcer. Floyd Mayweather and the Big Show was the big attraction at WrestleMania XXIV, but it did not close out the show.

The last African-American performer to compete in a main event match at WrestleMania was Lawrence Taylor at WrestleMania XI. Prior to that, it was Mr. T at WrestleMania I.

If you’re a black wrestler who wants to main event WrestleMania, you picked the wrong profession. The rare instance of an African-American competing in a WrestleMania main event is exclusive to boxers, actors and football players.

No Black WWE Superstar Has Ever Won Money in the Bank

Braun Strowman is the most recent winner of the men’s WWE Money in the Bank briefcase.Credit: WWE.com

This is a particularly egregious statistic as literally any WWE Superstar can win Money in the Bank and be taken seriously given its well-protected legacy of molding and creating world champions. The Money in the Bank briefcase does not necessarily have to go to somebody who is ready. For better or worse, it functions as a proverbial set of training wheels for the main event.

Damien Sandow (who dressed up as Randy Savage during his final days in WWE), Ken Kennedy (out of the company), Jack Swagger (competing for Bellator) and Baron Corbin (who now wrestles in Dockers) all won Money in the Bank matches. All were taken seriously throughout their reigns.

In a fake sport where winners and losers are decided by a team of WWE officials, a minority has won once in 22 matches: Alberto Del Rio (currently out of the company).

Source

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *