WWE has been called a lot of things throughout the years, including dirty, disturbing, disgusting, and disinteresting, but racist has come up a few times as well. Unfortunately for the company, the race debate reared its ugly head again after Becky Lynch made her triumphant return at SummerSlam and laid waste to Bianca Belair in a matter of seconds.
While Lynch returning after a year on maternity leave was an unexpected treat for WWE fans, the fact that she squashed Bianca Belair in a matter of seconds just didn’t sit right with the crowd. Now, rumors are claiming that the idea was to make Becky Lynch a heel, which was accomplished, but some are now arguing whether it was worth the cost of a talent like Bianca Belair.
The roots.com has even come out with an article claiming that WWE has a dark history when it comes to racism and that Bianca Belair is yet another example of that. It’s no secret that the company has had its run-ins with racial issues in the past, including some of the most raunchy race jokes to ever be played on-air, but that doesn’t exactly make them racist.
“If the WWE’s goal was to establish “The Man” as a heel, congratulations on a job well done,” Jay Conner said in his article on theroot.com But doing so at the expense of pissing off your fanbase—especially those who identify as Black or as people of color, and after going to such great lengths to build up Belair as the next big thing—is never a good idea, which the WWE did a resounding job of doing as well.”
For those that don’t know, Belair, a 32-year-old African American woman, won the Women’s Royal Rumble in January of this year, guaranteeing her a title shot at WrestleMania 37. She ended up capitalizing on the opportunity by defeating Sasha Banks for the SmackDown Women’s title and going on what would become a pretty strong title run.
The website is very quick to point out McMahon’s political leanings, which are with the Republican party and seems to use that as a scapegoat for the decision. They also bring up the dark history of the company’s past and the fact that they forgave Hulk Hogan for what he said in a leaked sex tape. The point is, they are focusing so much on the past and not enough on what WWE has done since then.
WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon’s questionable politics, cavalier response to Hulk Hogan’s racist rhetoric, and brazen Trump leanings are well-documented. So it’s not exactly a surprise that accusations of this nature continue to manifest as the WWE approaches its 42nd year of existence. But the fact remains that Belair deserved better; and as long as wresting fans—Black, white, or otherwise—continue to support the WWE’s problematic brand of entertainment, what incentive does the company have to treat Black performers any better?
Again, WWE does have a racial history. There was a time when black athletes were forced into the lower rungs of the card while others flourished at the top. They often played the heels, the jobbers, the people that constantly lost for no other reason than they were there. In all honesty, however, that is not an accurate representation of how the company feels now.
Take the new day for example, which is a 3 man group comprised of Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, and Big E. All three are African American men and some of the most respected superstars on the roster. They even created a faction called, the new day, to preach the power of positivity and went on to win 11 tag team titles throughout their run.
Furthermore, they are also responsible for the longest tag team title reign in WWE history, which they achieved in 2016. Kingston would later go on to win the WWE Title for the first time in his career at WrestleMania 35, defeating Daniel Bryan to do so. Of course, his reign came to an end later that year when he lost to Brock Lesnar on an episode of Friday Night SmackDown, but the reign was a pretty good one.
There is also Bobby Lashley, who won the WWE title in 2021 and is still the champion at the time of this writing. He has also been portrayed as one of the most dominant champions of his era, showing just how faith the company has in him. Some will claim that the move to put the title on Lashley was long overdue and just goes to show how poorly African Americans are treated, that isn’t the problem. The problem is that many of these outsiders that talk about wrestling do so through a racial lens.
Think about it! No one batted an eye with Nikki A.S.H, who is a white woman, who lost the RAW Women’s in a triple threat match against Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair. No one cared that her run had only lasted a matter of weeks before losing the belt back. Everyone just chalked it up to what was best for business and moved on. Why cant they do that with Bianca Belair?
See that’s the problem with places like the root. They just see race and they don’t see the business or how it works. Black, white, Hispanic, or any other race doesn’t matter. What matters is what’s best for business. If you are actively moving the needle in that company, then you have a good chance of making it to the top. Of course, it doesn’t always happen, but it’s dishonest to act like African Americans and minorities aren’t getting top spots in the company.
In the end, it’s just a matter of making race an issue when it’s not and the countless African American stars at the top of the card are proof of that. Bobby Lashley is still champion, which the root never seemed to mention. They also failed to mention that a few years ago, Kingston had a great title reign before being destroyed by Brock Lesnar. They want to focus on the fact that they lost, which is just the nature of the business.Follow us!