March 20, 2019
I have been a fan of wrestling as long as I can remember, from the days of NWA, to WCW, to UWF, to WWE, to ECW, to ROH, to TNA and Lucha Underground. Wrestling has always been fascinating to me as the wrestlers could build up rivalries and tell stories in the ring and on the mic. As a youngster, every Saturday I was tuned in to NWA to see what was going to happen next. Normally there would be a big brawl at the end of every show or a “good guy” wrestler would get jumped and left writhing in pain inside the ring as the show would fade to black.
Wrestling was also a bonding moment for family, as we all gathered together to watch every Saturday night. My Aunt Brenda (rest in paradise) and I used to attend live events at the Norfolk Scope whenever they would bring the show to town. I would recycle cans, sell golf balls, do little jobs around the neighborhood to earn money to pay for my ticket. Those live shows were way better than TV!
One day we were all watching Saturday night wrestling and my uncle happened to be over at the house and needless to see he wasn’t a wrestling fan. This night he sat quietly in the recliner and said the most outlandish but true thing I had heard concerning wrestling. He said, “why are all the champs white?” I never really looked at it like that before but Ric Flair was the world heavyweight champ, Tully Blanchard was the US champ, Arn Anderson was the TV champ and The Rock-N-Roll Express were the tag team champs.
There were black wrestlers on the promotion to include Ernie Ladd, Bad Bad Leroy Brown, Junkyard Dog, Tony Atlas, Rocky Johnson and Abdullah the Butcher. Later on, Ron Simmons came aboard along with Booker T, D’Lo Brown, Mark Henry, and Kama Mustafa aka The Godfather. People will say I forgot Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, no I didn’t The Rock is half black but he has embraced his Samoan heritage as a performer within WWE and that’s his choice.
Why hasn’t the WWE ever had a black wrestler crowned as the WWE heavyweight or universal champion? I really don’t know the answer to this. They have allowed black athletes within the company to hold all other championship belts except the most prestigious belts within the company. The New Day (Big E, Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston) were longest tenured tag team champs in the company’s history, the current NXT north American champ is Velveteen Dream, and recently Ron “R-Truth” Killings won the US championship belt (recently dropped the title to Samoa Joe).
Black female wrestlers have fared a little better within the company as Sasha Banks and Naomi have both worn championship gold. Before Sasha and Naomi, the women’s title was sported by Jacqueline and Jazz. Although it is great to see black women get their shine, why not let the black men shine a bit also?
Today more than any other time, I feel that WWE should spotlight a black wrestler as their champion. Prime example, Kofi Kingston has recently taken the WWE fan base by storm and as an eleven-year veteran with an exciting style and a fan-friendly gimmick, he would be the perfect fit to wear the WWE heavyweight championship belt. More importantly he is appealing to the WWE’s largest demographic: kids. This would be the perfect time to allow a black wrestler to break the mold and promote him as the champ to your fan base.
Why do I feel this way?
I know in our country today race is a hot button topic but heroes and role models come in all colors, in all sizes with a multitude of beliefs and we tend to embrace them when we feel a personal connection to that person. Right now, Kofi Kingston has a connection with all the people that show up to see the WWE live shows. They are chanting his name and wearing his merchandise. WWE, don’t fall by the wayside and stay with the status quo, blaze a new trail and make a statement to your fan base and all the little kids the support your product!
“And the new WWE Champion, KOFI KINGSTON” sounds real good to me.