SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
After watching the March 1 episode of NXT, what struck me most wasn’t storylines or action in the ring, it was the amount of diversity of the performers. From start-to-finish, every segment on the program featured a broad range of backgrounds.
– African-American Patrick Clark defeated Samoan-American Sean Maluta
– A promo from Canadian Eric Young with his fellow members of Sanity who happen to be German, Irish, and Scotch
– Women’s Champion Asuka from Japan defeating Australia’s Peyton Royce with her “partner in crime,” fellow Aussie Billie Kay. A post-match beatdown of Asuka by the “Iconic” duo was broken up by African-American Ember Moon
– A recap of Japanese star Shinsuke Nakamura’s knee injury
– A recap of American Kassius Ohno’s return to interrupt Canadian NXT Champion Bobby Roode’s stomping of Dominican-American No Way Jose
– A Tag Team title match between champions The Authors of Pain (with Indian-Canadian Akam and Albanian-Dutch Rezar) vs. Americans #DIY
Include the announce team of Tom Phillips, Percy Watson, and Nigel McGuiness, and NXT General Manager William Regal, NXT might be the most diverse program on television.
Triple H has boasted about the diversity of performers that are training at the Performance Center and he should. He has brought talent from a wide array of countries and athletic backgrounds and should be commended for it. However, I don’t think WWE has gone far enough.
Now, cultural diversity has been one of the biggest talking points in the news all the world over recently, and this isn’t the place to pivot into political commentary, but WWE needs to do a more effective job of marketing its diversity. With a McMahon in the White House cabinet and an American president who has been doing business with the company since the 1980s, diversity in the WWE is especially prevalent.
WWE is a juggernaut in the public relations game, but anyone who has ever seen a Stephanie McMahon social media account can see through the propaganda pretty quickly. WWE’s next major advertising endeavor across all their platforms should be a simple campaign celebrating the diverse backgrounds of its roster.
I would argue the best work of John Cena’s career was his public service videos that came out last summer. The “We Are America” campaign was a home run, but it wasn’t a PSA from WWE, it was by the Ad Council. Time for WWE to tap into that.
Want that next big babyface for the Hispanic audience? Portray Andrade “Cien” Almas as the hardworking flashy worker he is. Pivot the New Day from stale characters with not so subtle stereotyped qualities to veteran locker room leaders. Turn Rusev and Lana and make them as likable as they are on “Total Divas.”
It’s 2017. A non-partisan campaign celebrating the different cultural backgrounds in WWE; from Sami Zayn to Nia Jax; Goldberg to Jinder Mahal, is a no-brainer for a company so conscious of its image. It’s time for WWE to celebrate its global reach, and this time it’s more important than page views and retweets.