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Keepin’ It Kayfabe: How wrestling can steal from politics

US politics have felt like pro wrestling for years now, but what if wrestling started taking back from politics?

One could be forgiven for forgetting that 2020 is an election year, as this year has seen its fair share of ups and downs and downs and, well, downs. In a normal year, sticking your head in the ground like an ostrich and strictly focusing on the world of professional wrestling would be a totally viable option to keep spirits up. However, with recent events showing how grimy “the graps” can be, I think that this may just be the time where we have to find the fun in politics, of all places.

You just might be thinking, “Where exactly does the ‘fun’ kick in with politics?” and, to be fair, the actual action of politics is far from fabulous. Though real-life lawmaking can be slow and incredibly painful, I do think the structure of it all can be fascinating, from the actual workings of a federal government to the high-stakes drama of campaigns and debates.

The past two presidential election cycles have taken a lot from professional wrestling, too — and I’m not just talking about the president being a WWE Hall of Famer. While mudslinging has had a place in government affairs since the birth of democracy, many commentators in recent years have likened current televised debates to your average wrestling promo. This claim is only strengthened by examples like then-presidential candidate Donald Trump had a full wrestling entrance to Queen’s “We Are the Champions” at the 2016 Republican National Convention.

If political affairs are stealing from wrestling to make it more exciting, I think it’s only fair that things go the other way as well to achieve the same effect. I’m hoping to keep things pretty light, as laws on ref bumps are far less contentious than laws on, say, gun rights. With that being said, let’s first examine an idea that I’ve already seen work wonders.

World Wrestling Entertainment
Seth Rollins addresses the Monday Night Raw roster in an attempt to establish himself as “locker room leader” on Nov. 25, 2019.

Wrestling could use elections.

For the past few years, I’ve attended shows at a local indie promotion called Premier Wrestling Federation, and for the first year, I was always greeted by a lovely man by the name of Bert Foxx. Foxx was the president of PWF, and as president, he ran a fun, family friendly show where he would always make sure to thank the fans on their way out. It was like attending a show run by your fun uncle.

Well, in late 2018, Foxx ran into a bit of a problem with one of the managers in the promotion, Master Quinn, and Quinn decided to hit him where it hurt, taking advantage of a clause that allowed him to run for president of PWF at their November show. At PWF Wrestlemaniacs, Quinn — after schmoozing over some of the company’s top bad guys — became the new president, and in the year and a half since then, he and his cronies have run roughshod over the company.

Now, I don’t like the outcome we got — we went from having our own Teddy Long to having our own Authority — but the concept itself is really neat. A lot of the time, general managers are just people appointed by Vince, like Eric Bischoff and AJ Lee. Other times, Triple H will take over (ha) and stop John Cena from being fired.

There currently aren’t any general managers in WWE aside from William Regal over on NXT, and though the McMahon-Helmsley regime came out on Raw two Decembers ago to proclaim that we, the WWE Universe, are in charge, I have never been consulted on how to run things. No one has asked me how to handle the Sheamus/Jeff Hardy situation on SmackDown, and if I were boss, I’d have to do something about the cult that Seth Rollins is running over on Raw.

So, if we already don’t have any real power over the situation, perhaps WWE could take a crack at giving power back to the wrestlers in the form of representation. Rollins already held a “town hall” meeting November where he tried to play locker room leader (and it failed spectacularly), but I think he was on the right track. What if there really was someone that the WWE locker room could listen to in that way?

This calls for an election.

Imagine the campaign speeches we would get from the WWE Superstars. Drew Gulak running on a platform of “No High Flying” and banning top rope moves; R-Truth running on the platform of dance breaks; ref John Cone calling for referees’ rights. Lacey Evans would try and rid the WWE of “nasties,” and main eventers like Roman Reigns or Drew McIntyre might run to keep things pretty normal — I mean, it’s working for them as is, right?

I think the two people to look out for in this scenario would be Daniel Bryan and Baron Corbin, as they both have big pull with different halves of the locker room. People respect Bryan as a working-class kind of guy who made it to the top by playing nice and doing his best. Corbin, meanwhile, has experience as “constable,” and for jerks like The Miz and Bobby Lashley, it’d probably be in their best interest for someone who thinks like them to be at the top.

All Elite Wrestling
Wrestling legends Arn Anderson (center) and Tully Blanchard (right) watch closely during FTR’s AEW Dynamite in-ring debut on June 10, 2020.

Wrestling could use governing bodies.

AEW is noteworthy for not having a direct on-screen authority figure. We know that Tony Khan runs things and that four members of The Elite are EVPs, but aside from taking away a chance for Moxley to get a legitimate win back at Full Gear in November, they’ve done a good job keeping everything fair and square.

So, let’s ruin that cohesion by bringing in a house of representatives.

Like many of you, I’ve noticed that AEW does a great job of focusing on the future while also bringing in folks from the past. Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone are on commentary; DDP has teamed with the Nightmare Family; Earl Hebner refs big, old school matches; managers include the likes of Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, Jake Roberts, and Taz; the title match main event at Full Gear had Dean Malenko and The Great Muta as judges.

All Elite Wrestling
From left to right: Dean Malenko, Arn Anderson, and The Great Muta at the judges’ table for Cody vs Jericho. Though the match ended well before the time limit, you’d have to wonder how these men (especially Anderson) would’ve called it.

These wrestlers have great minds for the business, and having been around all of the big promotions (Roberts, for example, has been through WWE, WCW, ECW, TNA, and NWA for varying lengths), they would probably know great ways to run a wrestling promotion. Rather than give all the power to any one of them, though, I believe it could be interesting to see how they would do if they had to vote on issues.

There would be bias issues, of course — Tully and Arn would no doubt be going to bat on issues that benefit Shawn Spears and Cody respectively — but it would be interesting to see how certain issues work out. Would Taz and Roberts agree on issues simply because their clients are so ruthless? Would DDP and Arn betray their own values to help Cody, Dustin, and QT? It’s equal parts sociology experiment and great TV drama.

Now, if I’m being real, I don’t want AEW to go this route. They run a pretty tight ship over there, and I like that the most we get is Excalibur saying, “Tony Khan has just announced [match],” after a brawl ends. But I do like this idea for a company that needs it — it’s just unfortunate that the company best equipped for it is also the one that needs it least.

Keepin’ It Kayfabe: How wrestling can steal from politics
The second WWWF logo, used from 1971-1979.

Wrestling could use government lingo.

I recently read a discussion online where a few people argued that “World Wrestling Federation” sounded like a bigger deal than “World Wrestling Entertainment.” It’s hard to argue against it; “Federation” makes it seem more like an official group, while “Entertainment” feels like the company that produced three Marine movies starring The Miz.

It goes further than just using something like “federation,” though. A few years ago, WWE released their official rulebook in stores. Rulebooks are good at keeping company-specific details in line — WWE uses 10-counts outside the ring while NJPW uses 20, etc. — but I think the term for it could be a little “grander.” How about a company has a “constitution,” eh?

Okay, it sounded cooler in my head.

Still, I would love to read the National Wrestling Alliance’s “constitution.” I would be so down to see William Regal hold something like a “state of the union address” for NXT. Another dumb one, but instead of stables, imagine Jay White as the face of the “Bullet Club party.”

I’m not saying you’re wrong for disagreeing with me, but if the thought of a weeks-long saga on WWE TV where Triple H and Stephanie McMahon enter a gerrymandering process where they decide which venues Raw and SmackDown go to in 2021 doesn’t sound fun to you, then are you even human?

Keepin’ It Kayfabe: How wrestling can steal from politics
Mayor Glenn Jacobs won the WWE 24/7 Championship from R-Truth on the Sep. 16, 2019, edition of Monday Night Raw, winning it for the first time while mayor of Knox County, TN.


Maybe I should stop watching MLW Fusion and Parks and Recreation in the same sitting, but I am really jazzed up about the idea of wrestling taking back from politics, the medium that steals the most from them — and that’s including MMA and boxing.

Jesse Ventura was the governor of Minnesota for four years. Kane is the mayor of Knox County, Tennessee. Rick Steiner is currently a member of the Cherokee County school board in Georgia. Antonio Inoki was in the Japanese House of Councillors in the 80s, 90s, and 2010s. WWE Hall of Famer Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor of California for eight years; and, of course, WWE Hall of Famer Donald J. Trump is the 45th president of the United States of America.

The crossover is well established, so if wrestling is already a funnel for future politicians, let’s get them some experience by allowing them to run for office inside their wrestling companies.

When Big E runs for president as the first-ever member of the Pancake Party, I want him and the rest of the New Day to have a nice, fruitful career as SmackDown President (using the Freebird Rule, of course) to look back on and draw from.

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