By Joe Starr | Think Pieces | July 29, 2015 |
By Joe Starr | Think Pieces | July 29, 2015 |
There is a standard form complaint for most wrestling fans today, and that is the WWE can’t write a good guy to save their life. WWE good guys are usually selfish jerks that rarely act like heroes. It’s actually sort of disconcerting that in more than 30 years, they haven’t figured out how a decent person behaves.
Example: Years ago at Wrestlemania, the main event was Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart defending the World Championship against YOKOZUNA. Hart was the greatest wrestler of his generation, a major fan favorite, and actually made hot pink leather jackets with fringe on the shoulders look like something that a tough guy would wear, and he was still the underdog against Yoko: an unbeatable Samoan sumo wrestler with one of the most devious, cheatingest managers of all time in his corner in the form of Mr. Fuji.
Let’s ignore, for now, the valiant white guy fighting the Samoan dressed as a Japanese guy being managed by a tiny cheating Oddjob. I can write that article later.
It was the first PPV I ever watched live. My friends and I sat transfixed as our hero Bret Hart fought valiantly against Yokozuna. We stood up and cheered when Bret Hart locked the beast in his patented submission move THE SHARPSHOOTER, and shouted in angry disbelief when Mr. Fuji threw salt in Bret’s eyes, allowing Yokozuna the opening he needed to beat the good guy and win the Championship. What a bunch of assholes!
We were crushed. But then, Lo and Behold, there came a commotion in the crowd! Hulk Hogan was on his way to the ring! The greatest good guy that ever gooded! Surely he would slap some sense into the referee and say “Bret got cheated brother, so restart the match, jack!” and we’d have the justice we were craving.
But instead Hogan walked right past Bret Hart, called Yokozuna a cheater, and demanded a title match right then and there. Yokozuna was a monster, but he had just wrestled the match of his life against the best there is. But for whatever reason, the exhausted new champion agreed. Hogan put down Yokozuna in three moves and won the title, celebrating like a conquering war hero.
We were very confused. Wouldn’t the right thing to do be getting the decision reversed so that Bret’s match would be restarted? And if you weren’t going to do that, wasn’t challenging this guy that could barely stand to a fight sort of shitty?
Wasn’t Hulk Hogan supposed to be a boy scout American good guy?
WWF’s color commentary guy during the height of Hulkamania was Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan— a sniveling cheat who cheered for the villains and hated the good guys. His character especially hated Hulk Hogan, and would constantly point out every time Hogan cheated, or used intimidation to get his way, or was handed things he didn’t earn. And anytime he called out Hogan, he’d get the same response from play by play man Gorilla Monsoon: Oh, would you stop?
Even when his actions didn’t match the narrative we were being fed, and even when a guy was constantly on a microphone asking if anyone else was seeing this, and if he was taking crazy pills for thinking the opposite, we were still told that Hulk Hogan was a good guy. And if you questioned it, you were blown off.
So it’s funny that years later, the song remains the same — even when it’s not in the ring.
Last Friday, when the WWE cut ties with Hogan over rumors of a racist rant from his sex tape deleted scenes, which is a sentence I feel gross even having to type, we braced for the worst. What could be so racist that the WWE, a company who has a major executive that used to pride himself on hilarious wacky black-face sketches, got the Hulkster fired?
And not just fired — whatever was on that tape got Hulk the Chris Benoit treatment. He’s been completely scrubbed from the WWE website and Network. Benoit, as a fun reminder, murdered his wife and son and then killed himself. So what the hell did Hulk say for someone to pick up the red phone?
It … yeah, it was pretty bad, A rant with more n-words laced in than you can drop a big leg on. Hulk Hogan, the goodest good guy, was being a bad guy.
But, just like his entire career, even with the writing on the wall and the evidence right there, people are still coming to Hulk Hogan’s defense. People are insisting that he’s not a racist, and that there’s somehow room for discussion for his actions.
But there’s no room for discussion. This isn’t a 2 and a half count and the guy gets his shoulder up. It’s a pin. It’s a three count. Hulk Hogan, the ironically named ‘Real American,’ is a racist. And honestly, he’s the worst kind: the kind that insists that there’s nothing wrong with what he does. Not 24 hours went by before Hogan started parading out black Hulkamaniacs on Twitter, and pointing out that Obama had said the n-word and people had applauded it.
We’ll blame the absurdly stupid Obama statement on some sort of head injury from when Hogan was viciously assaulted by Earthquake in 1990. But the truth is this: what you do when you think the public eye isn’t watching is who you are. Those private moments define your character, and when you’re a guy that happily says “I guess we’re all a little racist. Fucking n*gger,” and sees nothing wrong with that, I don’t care how many black people you are friends with. You didn’t misspeak. You didn’t “use offensive language during a conversation,” as Hogan says in his apology.
You’re just a racist. You’re a Real American racist.
You couldn’t make Hogan a better example of the race problem in our country if you dressed him up in the American flag, had him punch an Iraqi in the face and then go backstage and lament that his daughter wasn’t fucking an “8-foot-tall n*gger worth a hundred million dollars!”
Because it’s already happened exactly like that.
Hulk Hogan is literally a walking example of an America that marches around refusing to acknowledge its problems or own up to its deep seeded hate. There’s no discussion or introspection, or any inner call to action to change and improve. Hulk Hogan reminds your kids to say their prayers and eat their vitamins, and with a shrug, says “I guess we’re all a little racist,” and then heroically rips off his shirt and everyone says ‘this guy was our hero growing up and he’s right! There’s nothing wrong with racism because come on it’s not like anyone is shooting people in a church or something! I loved Thunder In Paradise!”
Hulk Hogan, and every American like him, whether it’s your uncle at Thanksgiving ranting about that kid from Ferguson, the Facebook friend who keeps at it with Obama’s birth certificate, or the woman at work who comments about ‘those’ welfare queens all the time, all want you to know one thing: That they aren’t racist.
Because when they are racist, it’s not like they MEANT it. They were just saying those things and thinking that way and acting on those impulses in a space where they were free to be hate-filled little sacks of shit without consequence or judgement.
And no matter how many times Bobby Heenan pipes up and says “you know, this guy is kind of a sack of shit!,” people are going to roll their eyes like we’re dumb whining babies, use some pathetic deflection like how many black friends they have, and how they misspoke and didn’t mean it, and give us the same response we always get when we question what we consider good in our country:
Joe Starr is a comedian in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter