Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Politics & wrestling shouldn't mix

I've always felt that politics has no business in pro wrestling. Especially now.

If you follow WWE programming, you're probably aware of how Jack Swagger (real name: Jake Hager), a former World champion and a 2-time  academic & athletic All-American at Oklahoma, returned to the fold after sitting out the last 1/3 of 2012. They teased that Swagger would turn from villain to hero, after he'd said he was watching at home and didn't like what he saw. The truth is, Swagger remained a villain, and was given a new manager, one Zeb Colter, to help him feud with current World titlist Alberto Del Rio.

WWE has been criticized for using the Swagger & Colter characters to bash the Tea Party. Which is funny considering that the McMahons happen to be Republicans themselves. They wanted conservative commentator Glenn Beck to appear on Monday Night Raw in a segment with Swagger & Colter, and he turned them down. Smart move, because this angle is, in this writer's opinion, dead on arrival.

Swagger has been with WWE for 4 1/2 years. Colter is better known as "Dirty" Dutch Mantel, a veteran grappler whose last tour of duty with WWE was in the pre-Attitude Era mid-90's. Swagger's feud with Del Rio echoes a similar storyline involving grappler-turned-commentator John "Bradshaw" Layfield and the late Eddie Guerrero in 2004. Like Swagger & Colter, Layfield tried to posit himself as a patriotic American, attempting to block Mexicans from crossing the border into the US illegally, but at the same time employing illegal tactics to win matches. Hypocrisy & xenophobia seem to run together, but in 2013, xenophobia should be applying for endangered species status.

Another funny thing. A video was posted on Alex Jones' YouTube channel that has an interview with ex-WWE star Val Venis, who isn't too thrilled with Swagger & Colter himself, or maybe it's the creative minds involved, including Baltimore Sun columnist Kevin Eck, who was identified on a website as the brains (?) behind this angle. In the intro to the interview, they repeatedly stated that Swagger was a "new villain", which tells me that they weren't aware that he had been around for a while. Then again, Jones is a few fries shy of a happy meal himself, just like Vince McMahon.

The bottom line is, Del Rio, who was a villain himself until 4 months ago, is, like Guerrero before him, defending his championship vs. Swagger. This time, it's at Wrestlemania 29 at the Meadowlands on April 7. Some fans expect that either Swagger wins the title, or Del Rio retains. Either way, a 3rd party, Dolph Ziggler, who has been teasing using his Money in the Bank contract forever, might finally cash it in at the big dance. However, Ziggler may be facing an uphill battle of his own behind the scenes. By all rights, he should've cashed in his contract by now, but methinks he might've rubbed certain of the hierarchy the wrong way, which tells me that even if he does win, it'll be anti-climatic and close to irrelevant, because few will actually care. Perhaps fewer still than those who actually buy into the Swagger-Colter rhetoric.

If in fact WWE is using this angle as a means of tearing a few new ones into the Tea Party, it's their way of saying, your 15 minutes are up. Let's move on. Maybe McMahon is blaming the Tea Party for wife Linda's inability to gain election into the US Senate in 2 attempts over the last three years. Yeah, that would be just like the old man, wouldn't it?

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