Meet me in the middle while those on the left continue to whine and those on the right continue to dictate. Let's have a rational discussion for a brief moment or some "real talk" if that's what you prefer. Let's agree that racism and prejudice is alive and well. Let's contest the notion that racial discrimination is a thing of the past.
Racism is real and it's not coming to an end any time soon. The right way to combat bigotry is usually the wrong way as the immediate response is psychical or verbal abuse which only entices the bigot even more. The horrible truth about future generations is that total tolerance will never exist. The uneducated will continue to pass along their "educated" opinions and vicious views and the erratic idiocy will prevail.
Racism is found everywhere; in music, television, movies, sports ... professional wrestling. Yes, even the land of make-believe - where everything is planned accordingly before being presented to the audience - has been packed full of racism for many years. An unnecessary part of the business but a part that has and continues to exist.
This is an article about wrestling racism and some of the moments that have really caused fans to look at the product in disgust, confusion, and anger.
These are the top 20 racist moments in wrestling history:
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20 Yoshi Tatsu's ECW Debut
If you remember Yoshi Tatsu at all, your memories of the former WWE Superstar are probably not full of great moments. Tatsu was never going to become much of a star on Raw or SmackDown therefore, he was sent to the new version of ECW.
In his debut match with the third-string brand, Yoshi Tatsu would pick up a victory over Shelton Benjamin but not without a lack of class. The short bout was consumed by racial stereotypes as Benjamin could be seen bowing to Tatsu and making nonsensical Japanese-like noises.
19 The Dance Circle
This next moment could have been intended as “good clean fun” if it didn't involve Vince McMahon. In a backstage segment, McMahon was shown with Theodore Long, Jonathan Coachman, and William Regal. Then suddenly, the tag team of Cryme Tyme would enter the picture.
This combination would lead to a dance circle of sorts consisting of Cryme Tyme, Theodore Long, and Jonathan Coachman; hanging the odd sense of racial overtones right out in the opening for the viewer to consume. William Regal would eventually join the dance but what different did that make?
18 Funaki's Full Name is Revealed
Funaki once performed in WWE as a member of the Japanese wrestling stable known as Kai En Tai. This was, of course, during the famous Attitude Era when seemingly everything was toeing the line of controversy; but such were the times.
In the fall of 2008, Funaki – who had been virtually out of sight in WWE – was shown backstage with R-Truth. In the segment, it was revealed that Funaki's full name was in fact “Kung Fu Naki.” The clever creative team over at WWE must has stayed up many late nights coming up with that racially insensitive name.
17 The Debut of The Mexicools
The Mexicools – made up of Super Crazy, Psicosis, and Juventud Guerrera – were doomed from the start. The irony of this group was quickly lost among the fans and they were just another bad stereotypical gimmick.
The whole concept behind The Mexicools was that they were fed up of Mexican stereotypes in the United States. Therefore, they were going to perpetuate these stereotypes in a terrible attempt at satire. Their debut on SmackDown was an immediate sign of their impending failure as the three men rode to the ring on a tractor.
16 Monday Night Football Parody
Nicollette Sheridan of “Desperate Housewives” fame and Terrell Owens once sparked a public frenzy during a Monday Night Football segment where the actress – dressed only in a towel – and the former star receiver would embrace in a sexualized manner.
WWE would attempt to recreated this skit in parody form with Trish Stratus and Shelton Benjamin … and of course, Vince McMahon whose commentary on the piece would provide just enough smug prejudice to make the skit feel a lot more racially motivated than was deemed necessary.
15 Harley Race Insults Ron Simmons
Ron Simmons becoming the first ever African-American World Heavyweight Champion in WCW was a big deal for the professional wrestling industry. However, the road to the gold did not include a smooth path as Simmons would have to fight his way to the top.
During an interview where Ron Simmons would declare his intentions of becoming the first black World Champion, he would be interrupted by wrestling legend Harley Race who would make a rather disparaging remark about his time as World Champion and guys like Simmons “carrying his bag.”
14 "Roots 2"
There was once a time when Mr. T was a welcomed presence in WWE. During this time his main nemesis would be none other than “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and, of course, Mr. T would feel the fury of Hot Rod while in the ring.
During a Roddy Piper beat down of Mr. T which included help from “Cowboy” Bob Orton, Jesse Ventura – who served as color commentator alongside Vince McMahon – would make a most controversial remark stating that what was taking place in the ring looked like “Roots 2.”
13 DX Parodies The Nation
It is often mentioned throughout these lists that the Attitude Era truly had no limits in terms of content and political correctness. During this time, D-Generation X would find themselves involved in a lengthy feud with The Nation (of Domination).
Then, one night on Raw is War, DX would actually parody their longtime rivals in a skit that was perceived as humorous but also offensive as the guys in DX came to the ring in black face – an odd scene that lives in WWE history.
12 Kurt Angle Admits Intolerance
Kurt Angle was once one of the biggest stars in WWE before he decided to swim in a small pond as a big fish. During his tenure with the company, Angle would leave a mark that can never be altered or erased from the record books. However, there is one moment that could stand to be forgotten.
During a time when Kurt Angle was supposed to be hated by the WWE audience, they cheered him anyway, night after night. In cutting a promo about this situation, Angle would attempt to prove that the people would still cheer for him regardless of what he said; including a statement claiming that he was “not a big fan of the black people.”
11 The Freebirds Fly the Rebel Flag
The Fabulous Freebirds – led by Michael Hayes – were Southern legends of professional wrestling. During their early years, the group would come down to the ring to Lynyrd Skynyrd's “Free Bird” and displayed an overwhelming amount of Southern Pride.
Now, this moment is not an isolated situations but a number of incidents that still warrants a spot on this list. The Fabulous Freebirds would on a number of occasions fly the rebel flag as part of their entrance; even painting the Confederate colors on their faces for a match.
10 Viro Small
In the 1880s, when the world was a much different place, a man by the name of Viro Small who was born into slavery would become one of the first black professional wrestler around. Small would wrestle at the fairs and would twice become the Vermont Collar and Elbow Champion.
However, the champion was not known as Viro Small. Instead, Small would work under the derogatory name of “Black Sam.” The moment Small stepped onto the professional wrestling scene and was renamed can be considered a racist moment all its own.
9 The Prince Has Problems
When discussing professional wrestling, the three letters WCW automatically bring about the words: World Championship Wrestling. However, WCW also stands for Women's Championship Wrestling. That's right, there was once another WCW.
In this promotion there was a man known as “The Prince” who by all means lacked any sense of wrestling sense. In this promo, Prince was apparently irate about an attack and decided to cut a terribly worded and obscene promo.
8 Piper's Pit: "Soul Food"
During an episode of the ever-controversial “Piper's Pit,” the ever-controversial “Rowdy” Roddy Piper would welcome Tony Atlas as his guest. The segment would quickly turn into a racial issue as Piper would make some inquiries.
Roddy Piper would ask Tony Atlas if he ate “all that soul food stuff” before eventually making his way to watermelon and pig's feet (All foods that have been associated with African-American culture). While the Pit was intended to stir up some emotion, this was really pushing the limits of an interview in WWE.
7 Roddy Piper in Black Face
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper at it again … This time the road was leading to WrestleMania VI where Piper was set to go one-on-one with Bad News Brown. Seemed harmless enough until Piper busted out the black paint.
Roddy Piper would not only cut a promo about Bad News Brown in black face, he would actually paint half of his body black for their match. The late Piper truly did leave a controversial WWE legacy behind; for better or worse.
6 The Artist Formerly Known as "Goldust"
The artist formerly known as “Goldust” was an alteration on the Goldust character which saw a new version of the man emerge each week. While sometimes entertaining, this time around, the gimmick would place racial stereotype at the forefront.
Goldust would walk down to the ring with a fur coat on his back, boom box over his shoulder, Afro wig on his head, gold chains around his neck, and faced painted entirely black in some sort of creepy and careless version of the Goldust character that was really just a bad move.
5 Triple H on Booker T
WrestleMania XIX can be considered a bitter-sweet night in the career of Booker T. On one hand, Booker was wrestling for the World Heavyweight Championship; the biggest prize on Raw at the time. On the other hand, there was no way Booker T was going over on Triple H at WrestleMania.
This was evident in the build up to this match, particularly during an in-ring segment between the two competitors where Triple H would discuss how “guys like Booker T” didn't get to be World Champion while also asking Booker to dance and making fun of his “nappy” hair.
4 Greg Valentine on Junkyard Dog
Greg “The Hammer” Valentine: overrated performer with nothing special to offer. However, in WWE, Greg Valentine would get given to opportunity to represent the company as its Intercontinental Champion.
In preparation for his match against Junkyard Dog, Greg Valentine would cut blatantly racist promos about JYD. Valentine seems like he has been hitting the bottle in these promos as his speech consists of an inconsistent flow.
3 JBL Hunts "Illegals"
One of the more underrated feuds in WWE history came from the fundamentally different John “Bradshaw” Layfield and Eddie Guerrero. JBL and Guerrero would piece together some great work while tucked away on the SmackDown brand.
However, this feud was not without its share of controversy as JBL – who had recently transitioned from the rough redneck character – would embark on a mission to hunt illegal immigrant at the United States-Mexico border.
2 The Introduction of Akeem
In the real world, there is probably no man on this planet who can ever say that he made the transformation from biker to African. In the wrestling world – where all is possible – such is the case for One Man Gang.
One Man Gang was introduced suddenly as a man of African decent by his manager Slick during an ever-so-cheesy segment which consisted of tribal dancers and awful African-American accents as Gang was now known as “Akeem, the African Dream.”
1 Vince McMahon Spews Out the N-Word
Why, Vince, Why? … Why do you always have to make yourself appear worse than before? And why would you think that using the N-Word on camera would go over well with your audience? Vince McMahon has never been cool just absorbent.
Vince McMahon knew how to suck up good ideas during the '90s that would help him win the Monday Night War. When McMahon used the N-Word on camera – regardless of who else was involved in the segment – it provided a picture of McMahon's warped mentality.
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