I’m going to be honest, it’s been damn near impossible to write about pro wrestling right now. I have a few half finished pieces in the draft folder and maybe I’ll finish them down the road. But for today, the only thing I can really focus on enough to finish a thought is what’s going on the streets here. We’re at a point in our country where once again we are faced with deciding whether we’re going to make any progress or stay in the same place. We got protest marches happening all over the world now and we got police who are continuing to demonstrate just why these protests are happening in the first place. It’s hard to really stay focused on anything that doesn’t pertain to that; I still take in my diversions but beyond that not much. And to be honest trying to drill down to do some kind of analysis or formulate a take about the world of pro wrestling is pretty difficult right now. Not that I don’t have opinions on what I’m watching, it’s just that putting them into words fitting of a piece om this website or my own just isn’t happening right now. So I haven’t done it.
To be honest, being a Black wrestling fan (or fan of anything to be honest) is always a bit of a struggle and an adventure. There are people in ownership who openly support politicians who aren’t exactly friends of ours be it Vince McMahon, the Khan family, or Sinclair Broadcasting. There are performers who openly support them like Jaxson Ryker and Jake Hager and others like Chris Jericho who are somewhat oblivious to what they stand for. There are the Tessa Blanchard’s of the world who get called out for racist treatment of their coworkers and the Lars Sullivan’s who get caught having said things online (albeit before he started there) and now get to work around Black people who bite their tongues in the name of workplace civility. Then there are some of our fellow fans…..the less said, the better. The events of the last few weeks have in their own way ripped the scab off of those wounds if we’re gonna keep it 100 here.
And we haven’t even gotten to what happens onscreen, from character portrayals to match booking to who gets pushed and who doesn’t. There is a long sordid history spreading across every company past and present that looks really funny in the light more often than not.
So why are you still a fan, Robert?
Well, you go peeking behind the curtain in every other fandom and you’ll find all of the same things! NFL owners are no different politically then wrestling company owners. There are players, actors and actresses, singers, writers, etc who have said the same things as Ryker, Sullivan, and other wrestlers. There is a dearth of meaningful roles in Hollywood for Black people just like there is in wrestling, and there are Black people on both sides of the camera that have to deal with racist crap from their contemporaries. There really is no escape from it, ever.
Where am I going with all this?
I don’t even know right now. But until I figure it out, I’ll go off on an important tangent.
When we get mad about Naomi or Bianca Belair not getting championship runs, or we wonder why Black wrestlers in AEW seem to end up on Dark more than Dynamite, or we notice that every Black wrestler that goes through Ring of Honor other than a select few seems to have bad things to say about the place after they’re gone, it’s more than the usual Wrestling Twitter ‘push my favorites!’ stuff. This is the frustration of years past and present meeting up with anguish over the wasting of potential today, while we witness and go through some of these same struggles in our own lives. Nobody wants their favorite wrestler to lose like Kofi Kingston did to Brock Lesnar, but it stung a lot more for us because of the history and the real world outside. While you’re worked up over whether or not your favorite former indie wrestler is going to get the main events and world titles you think they deserve, we’re often also thinking about whether every wrestler who looks like us will even get a regular spot on the card.
And now the world outside has so overwhelmed everything that yeah, trying to argue the pros and cons of this booking decision or that one seems pretty trivial. So I’m not. I watch the shows and try to escape for a few hours. Yeah I got opinions but mine and yours on that stuff seem pretty insignificant right now. So instead of a thousand words on that, I’ll just give you these seven:
Justice for Breonna Taylor.
Black Lives Matter.