Is WWE’s The New Day in its final days? If you’ve watched Big E’s latest video on Twitter, you might think so.
If you missed this week’s Smackdown Live, Kofi Kingston had to face off in a gauntlet match against Sheamus, Cesaro, Rowan, Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton, in that order.
He beat them all.
And just when you thought this frustrating storyline was over, WWE CEO Vince McMahon once again comes out and adds another caveat: Beat WWE Champion Daniel Bryan. He lost, and the WWE Universe returned to its groaning. This is a storyline that ever African-American male can relate to: The race card and it’s use in the progressive movement upward in the USA. In a country that’s dealing with new racial aggressions, this angle goes personal. Then again, most WWE stories do. The McMahons have always had a gift at plucking the nerves of everyone. There was the “Stone Cold” Steve Austin/Vince McMahon feud that fed off every 9 to 5 employee’s frustrations with their boss. “We…The People”, another example, presented former WWE Superstar Jack Swagger’s angle towards the topic of immigration. These are just some of the many times the WWE tapped into the emotional state of the country and played out in the ring what everyone thought and sometimes said.
However, in a world where micro aggressions are as plentiful as out of context “I’ll apologize later but I need these clicks now” Journalists, Kofi Kingston’s storyline arc could air a dirty truth about the WWE and their relationships with African-American wrestlers. Let me say this in plain language: When was the last time you saw an African-American WWE Champion on either brand? When was the last time you saw an African-American wrestler even in the storyline?
Kofi Kingston represents a fraction of racial tension always griped about in the WWE but rarely spoken of. Incidents involving other wrestles – Hulk Hogan for example – is one of the few times you hear about how they address issues of race and diversity.
Do I think they’re diverse? YES. LET ME MAKE THAT CLEAR. To stay on track, I’m talking about the storyline. Do I think you’ve seen more wrestlers of different nationalities at the top? Yes. But when it comes to African-Americans however the percentage is low, very low:
– Mark Henry, 2011: World Heavyweight Championship (x1)
– Booker T, 2006: World Heavyweight Championship (x1). He is the first non-mixed race African American to become a world champion in WWE.
Fast forward to 2019 and we have an old story being told to a new crowd: How “The Man” (No Becky pun intended) is “keeping the Black man down”. We all know that’s what it is, and as usual, the WWE tells it tactfully without going too far left or right. This continues even outside the ring with Big E, who recently said in a video posted on Twitter that, “…You’re respectful, you don’t break the law, you get good at your craft and you find your place with fans. You separate yourself, you find a niche, you separate yourself from a character perspective from an in-ring perspective, you do everything, you check all the boxes…”
He added, “…You do everything that’s asked of you in this business…That if you do all those things you have a good chance of making it to the top…”
Big E went on to explain that they “see what the game is, “and, “…People like us, will only get so far…” Below is the video:
— Florida Man (@WWEBigE) March 20, 2019
These words are exactly what fans are feeling. He captured the entire storyline with that one sentence. Is he for real or is he working the program? We don’t know. Sometimes truth is hidden within the fiction, and you’re able to express some things and dodge the gauntlet. They want them to sell this right? (Looks at Ronda Rousey…). The alleged bias is left to the perception of the viewer. They’ll keep this going if they can until they must release this story and give the crowd what they want: Kofi Kingston to be WWE Champion. There is a story being told, and it hits home, but like any storyteller, they only leave you wanting more, feeling more, and desiring justice for the hero.
Hopefully everyone can keep that perspective.