Waking up this morning to stories of Trump protesters outside Barclays Center in Brooklyn wasn’t particularly strange, because at this stage in the game, Trump protesters anywhere, whether for or against, barely furrows my brow. People love to get signs, they love to stand together, and they love to plan trips to various independent coffee houses once their shift at Starbucks comes to a close for the day.
Everybody, or so we’re told, is up in arms, irate, beside themselves, and completely woke. Full disclosure: I slept until noon, so I’m far more woke than all of you put together.
In 2013, Vince McMahon and World Wrestling Entertainment chose to induct the current President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, into the promotion’s Hall of Fame. It did so because Trump, dating back to at least 1987, has been a supporter and friend to the organization. While I’m sure there were ups and downs in the relationship, it’s always been rather cordial.
Trump Plaza in Atlantic City was the site of WrestleMania IV and V, and the Donald himself was part of a post-match Mania 23 stipulation in an angle with Vince McMahon back in 2007. Most leftists now know that year for being the source of Trump’s spear takedown of CNN in a video they tried to analyze as if it were uploaded by a descendant of Abraham Zapruder.
Plus, if there were ever a pro wrestling character to be found in modern-day society, Trump would be near the top of the list. His over-the-top rhetoric and almost cartoonish Ted DiBiase persona fit like a glove.
This weekend is one of the two biggest on the WWE calendar. SummerSlam, one of the three largest shows of the year alongside Mania and the Royal Rumble, is in New York City. Tonight, WWE’s developmental brand, NXT, takes center stage at Barclays for its biggest card of 2017. Tomorrow, WWE will execute a six-plus hour Pay Per View event on its Network, and will compete directly with Game of Thrones during a primary portion of it.
It’s a celebratory weekend for pro wrestling fans. Japan is riding the high of the phenomenal G-1 Climax tournament, but, in similar fashion to WrestleMania, which has become an entire week’s worth of events for every pro wrestling promotion able to book a venue in the host city, SummerSlam continues to grow. WWE stars have been across mass media all week long in anticipation to tomorrow night’s show, which features a gigantic four way main event pitting WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar against three worthy contenders in Roman Reigns, Samoa Joe, and the monstrous Braun Strowman.
Yet, the stories today aren’t about the autograph signings, the charity work, the Make-A-Wish appearances, or SummerSlam itself, but instead are about Donald Trump still being a part of the WWE Hall of Fame.
This is the height of dopey faux-trage. If you’re going to steal that from me, the correct pronunciation is “FOTE-rage.”
Courtesy of Gothamist, here’s a quote from John Stevens, one of the CLEARLY busy, stable, and successful Champions of Life behind this protest:
We were talking about how Trump gave that crazy press conference, and then thought about how he’s in the WWE Hall of Fame even though Hulk Hogan got kicked out over racism. What Trump has done is remarkably worse than what Hogan did, since he’s dividing the country by siding with neo-Nazis and white nationalists.
What a hero you are sir. You have somehow, in a week full of amazing performances, distinguished yourself as a key contributor in the single dumbest display of perpetual and professional outrage anywhere on the planet. With USC’s horse now under fire for daring to have a name similar to Confederate icon Robert E. Lee’s own steed, with the editor of Vice legitimately writing a column calling for the destruction and erasure of Mt. freaking Rushmore, this takes the cake.
On second thought, I retract the previous paragraph. Thank God for you, Mr. Stevens. May the lord be with you on your quest to rid this world of injustice. Thank you for pointing a finger at the real enemy and being on the cusp of relevance. For far too long, the WWE Hall of Fame has been allowed to operate willy-nilly and induct people like Koko B. Ware and Johnny Rodz. Finally, someone with the concrete sack to speak truth to power and say the Hall is an affront to society.
You are doing yeoman’s work. You are a gentleman and a scholar. And you’re the best of us. Outside of the most honorable of our military, it’s John Stevens and then the rest of us heathens and sinners.
We’ve watched Vince McMahon and his company make decisions we don’t like for many years, and it’s high time a well-rounded, sexually active and virulent group with the emotional resonance and sound judgment of these protesters have taken a stand against the patriarchy. The next time I see you guys, the first fidget spinner is on me. And that’s a promise. You’ve earned it.
This incredibly important, seminal argument centers around two main points, the first being Trump himself, which is enough for just about any liberal to throw hands over at this point (hey I despise the dude too), but the second actually holds a little merit. Actually, it really doesn’t.
As a result of the leaked audio that revealed racist words and phrases amidst the sex tape controversy that destroyed Nick Denton, AJ Daulerio, and Gawker a few years ago, Hulk Hogan’s presence in the WWE Hall of Fame was called into question. While he was never officially removed from the “building,” most references were scrubbed from the company website, and if you looked up the WWE Hall of Fame on WWE.com, Hogan was nowhere to be found.
Stevens and his ilk are concerned with the idea that Trump is far worse than Hogan, because he aligned with white supremacists in the wake of the horrific situation in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend. Without question, the President goofed badly, and has always sort of winked towards the Alt-Right. Of that, there is no dispute. However, it’s not about your feelings on the current administration in this scenario, and it’s more about doing something that actually matters.
Am I right or am I right, collection of corpulent Lumineers fans wearing Balor Club t-shirts in Brooklyn?
In 2017, a hashtag can make you feel good about yourself. You can drop that #woke and all of a sudden feel like your genitalia grew an extra foot and you’re going to pole vault into that supermodel’s vagina the next time you see her. You can grab a scone at Barnes and head downtown and start hurling your own feces at corporate fat cats and the structures in which they work, because dammit, you’ve got opposable thumbs and you should be heard.
Examples exist on both sides of the extremes taking over this country. That’s the opposite of professional wrestling, where the industry SHOULD be about the extremes, but has become a collection of shades of grey. It’s harmed the business creatively, and it eventually needs to change. I’ve written and talked about this philosophy inside WWE for many years, as when the antihero culture emerged and the “Attitude Era” led McMahon to his most lucrative time in history, he never allowed himself to walk away from that reality.
Stone Cold Steve Austin hasn’t worked inside a wrestling ring in over a decade, but Vince thinks it was last year. He’s basically every Clemson fan feeling like Danny Ford had them set for the Natty two years ago, not realizing that before Dabo, it had been a LONG time.
Reality needs to be taken into consideration, but for John Stevens and those forlorn souls up in arms about the WWE Hall of Fame in August, it likely never is. That would make them actually have to think. That’s no good.
While these people are sweating in New York City and pounding kale smoothies, however, the rest of us are doing what we usually do. Actually let’s be real here, they’re not into kale. These are people so concerned with the WWE Hall of Fame that they’re willing to protest to get someone tossed from it. So they’re dumbass marks with nothing to do, and they’re likely to be eating bottomless fries and pounding Jolt tonight before a rousing retro gaming session of Perfect Dark on an illegal Nintendo 64 emulator. Fight the power.
Meanwhile, we (meaning us human beings) are spending time with family and friends, going to sporting events, getting children to school, going to church, and living our lies. Stevens, however, and he might have a fantastic job, is emblematic of a segment of society I can only describe as…and pay attention, because this is a big word and I’m pretty sure I’m coining it right here. This is history folks. Here it comes.
Two of this year’s highest rated major motion pictures are Wonder Woman and Spider-Man: Homecoming. What these two films shared in common was a purity of hero. We had grown used to the brooding, dark, conflicted protagonist, and here came two films that embraced the opposite, giving us something true for which to root, and reminding us that in general, people are good. We outnumber them.
The outrage army doesn’t want anyone to think about these facts. Their entire self-worth, be it far right or far left, depends upon the country remaining in turmoil. The loudest and dumbest voices are the ones getting the coverage, the think pieces, and the television appearances. Does anyone actually believe people like Richard Spencer and Jared Taylor are representative of the right? Does anyone believe people like Al Sharpton, who is currently attacking the Jefferson Memorial, or Antifa is representative of the left?
Of course not, but without perpetuating this myth, the names I just mentioned lose all notoriety, and the collective self-worth of these individuals nose dives into Zoloft territory. We could only be so lucky for this to actually take place, but there’s a thriving BUSINESS in professional activism. There’s a lot at stake here, and it has nothing to do with solving problems. That’s the last thing these people want.
The one problem stemming from social media and this kind of coverage is it’s forcing the middle to take sides or risk becoming invisible, and it’s leading to severe hatred and irrational feelings across the board. There are legitimate problems in this country, and now we have John Stevens and the collection of saturated fat and carbohydrates outside Barclays Center to remind us what real activism looks like.
In short…not that.
Thus, Donald Trump’s inclusion in the WWE Hall of Fame, which is based, if you look at the people on the celebrity wing of that list, on credible rationale, should not even register. Are there not more important things to be worried about? But, to John Stevens and the assclowns that feel like they’re doing something when they’re not, it’s fantasyland and it’s their chance to be just like the basement-dwellers they idolized during Occupy Wall Street.
On second thought, we should praise John Stevens.
If Stevens wanted to protest something legitimate surrounding WWE, he might start with the idea that the owner’s wife is currently the Administrator of Small Business Administration for the President. Why he would care, I have no idea, because it has zero to do with WWE programming, but why should a fact stop a good protest? She’s aligned with Trump, so DOWN WITH WWE!
*****INTERNAL BARCLAYS PROTESTER MONOLOGUE: Wait, I’m a fan, and I might even have tickets to SummerSlam, so let’s go after this shoulder shrug of a Hall of Fame to make ourselves feel better before we try to fit in tonight in Greenwich Village and get laughed off the open mics.)*****
Bellowing that Trump should be ousted from a McMahon-controlled Hall of Fame is the equivalent of…well it’s the equivalent of nothing, because it’s THAT butt stupid.
Facts are important, and one of my favorite quotes is “My facts don’t care about your feelings.” The WWE Hall of Fame is one of kayfabe and non-reality. WWE asks past superstars and those tertiary to the promotion if they’d be willing, pays them, and they go in. Petty disagreements or bad blood have kept many worthy individuals out over the years, and there is a LONG list of folks that have no business in an actual Hall of Fame.
That’s the whole point here, though. This is NOT an actual Hall of Fame. The WWE Hall of Fame mainly exists for public relations and fake prestige, to add another fun, nostalgia-infused event to WrestleMania weekend, and to create another potential media talking point that might get play outside the standard professional wrestling circles. Virtually no one inside the industry takes an induction into the Hall seriously. How do I know that? I interviewed one of the business’ biggest stars from the Monday Night War boom period three years ago and asked him.
Kevin Nash, who is now in the Hall, but at the time I spoke with him was not, said point blank he didn’t really care about it, and had turned it down in the past. It wasn’t something that mattered in the least to him, because it’s simply an up or down vote from Vince McMahon. It’s done for the company and has no lasting impact.
For some, going in or declining can be about the timing of it, and for others, they do legitimately cry or can’t get through their induction speeches. It does count, but generally in a superficial sense. Incidentally, Nash eventually agreed, at least in part because WWE softened its stance not just on him, but also on Scott Hall and the infamous “Kliq” as a whole. Plus, he loves money. He also loves professional wrestling as a business.
The WWE Hall of Fame is nothing but a television event. It’s fun to watch and many of those honored are deserving, but by no means should it be seen as anything more than it is. Until January 20, Donald Trump was nothing but the human equivalent of a television event. Now, he inflames opinions on both sides, but all of this is burying the lede.
THIS DOESN’T MEAN A DAMN THING, JOHN STEVENS. ALL YOU’RE DOING IS…NOTHING.
What these people are doing, primarily, is burning the extra few calories that comes from standing, rather than sitting. Other than that, they think they’re advancing a dialogue, when really they’re showing their priorities, intellect, and mindset are all on the level of a bathroom excursion sans Squatty Potty.
That thing’s a life-changer. If Stevens used one, he’d have so much more excrement to place in generic Ziploc bags for his next sit-in.
Being this petty and ridiculous only proves you have a closet full of scarves and a cabinet filled with patchouli oil and Flintstones vitamins. Nothing against Fred and Barney, but if you’re taking one of the last free Saturdays of the summer to protest someone being in a basically fictitious Hall of Fame, one that NO one cares about, you’re both a child…and a complete loser.
But hey, no offense. You do you. That’s probably about the only way the sheet mamba is going to happen for you anyway. Unlike the WWE Hall of Fame, your fingers will never let you down.
If you need to protest Trump in the Hall, mix in some internet porn. I promise, it’s much more worthwhile.
I’m @JMartOutick. It was me, Austin! It was me, alllllll along, Austin!