MITCHELL’S TAKE: Mid-Card Matters in WWE’s Fight With Systemic Racism

By Bruce Mitchell, PWTorch senior columnist

Stephanie McMahon

SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

At first the big news in professional wrestling this week was how AEW’s Tony Khan was tired of being outflanked by NXT’s Triple H’s masterful, detail-rich manipulation of his young, fresh talent roster in order to diametrically dominate the oldest demo in television (56 years young!) on Wednesday nights. (Seriously, how does Triple H do that?) Clearly, Khan knows better than the biggest star in professional wrestling Chris Jericho’s whistling-past-the-graveyard ungracious bragging about AEW’s winning that spoiled spendthrift 18 – 49 demo that advertisers covet. By God, Vince McMahon sent Triple H and NXT out to beat Tony Khan and AEW on Wednesday nights and once Covid-19 got him the tie, the son-in-law, more popular with the boss than even the mother-in-law, got him the old demo win.

Khan, clearly made desperate by the this old lesson The Game was teaching him, signed a top independent star out-of-nowhere to face TNT champion Cody tonight on AEW Dynamite. AEW World Champion Jon Moxley expressed his excitement at the mystery booking on Twitter.

C’mon, It’s gotta be Sting, right? Moxley probably watched the Stinger when he was a kid, explaining his joy. Who else could Khan sign to counter AEW’s inability to compete with the oldsters? Not to mention it’s a dream match decades in the making, because unlike the one time Sting faced his other dream opponent Mark Calaway (I saw it and you never will) Sting NEVER wrestled a Rhodes.

So there’s that.

But then came the announcement that sent shockwaves throughout the industry, Stephanie McMahon, WWE Chief Brand Officer, straight off sending a courageous message about corporate responsibility on the Raw Titantron Monday night, will address how WWE is handling systemic racism within the company as a guest on the ever-popular Ad Age Remotely internet show Wednesday.

This is hardly the first time WWE has touched on racial injustices, something major Brands worldwide want to seem to be doing. Her husband, the aforementioned Triple H, after helping a young African American NXT wrestler wrestle with Jim Crow when he picked out his t-shirt design for him, actually held a meeting with talent before TV about systemic racism, encouraging any Superstar who detected any to make sure and Speak Up.

If that wasn’t enough that meeting actually followed the entire corporation releasing a social media statement on a Black Lives Matter black background declaring their Brand support for police not murdering people by standing on their necks while citizens recorded it on their phones.

Before you rush to your web stream to watch the WWE Chief Brand Officer give her address, you perhaps might be asking yourself, as no doubt Ms.McMahon’s speech writers are even as I write this, exactly how is WWE handling systemic racism within their company.

First, let me point out the simple fact that single biggest star in WWE is a POC (Person of Color). Granted, they never say his name or show even a picture of him on their programming anymore, ever since he refused to come to work, but the fact remains.

Also Brock Lesnar isn’t on.

There’s actually a lot for Stephanie to discuss here:

Like the new NXT Champion is Keith Lee, who NXT Booker Triple H is using himself to address systemic racism in WWE and make long over-due reparations to Booker T.

Veteran WWE Hall of Famer Mark Henry is publicly mentoring Lio Rush.

I assume NXT right-hand man Shawn Michaels is out looking for the once-again missing Velveteen Dream.

Titus O’Neal publicly congratulated WWE and other major corporations on their corporate statements decrying systemic racism.

WWE makes no on-air reference ever to Donald Trump, the most unpopular president in American history among People of Color, despite the fact that the McMahon Family raises million of dollars for him and used the political influence they gained to strengthen the bond of the Covid 19 Virus in Florida and therefore around the country and to damage the value of their content with empty arena wrestling shows.

Then there’s the undeniable fact that WWE’s Monday Night Raw, under the guidance of the most experienced Creative team in the genre, and led by the biggest African American star in the company, the delightful childlike perennial WWE 24/7 champion R. Truth, features the single largest roster of African American mid-card talent in the history of professional wrestling.

It’s an impressive list, loaded with athletic and entertainment ability.

R. Truth
Sasha Banks
Bobby Lashley
Ricochet
MVP
Apollo Crews
Cedric Alexander
Angelo Dawkins
Riddick Moss
Montez Ford
Shelton Benjamin
Bianca Belair
Titus O’Neil

And say what you want about mid-card wrestlers (they aren’t paid as much, they aren’t pushed as.hard, they’re dropped off TV if the wind blows) they’re on TV almost as much as main-eventers. Not only that, but on Raw they get to strengthen the bond of systemic racial brotherhood by working together all the time. There was, what, six of them in the ring at the same time Monday night.

True, Smackdown features The New Day and that’s about it, but they did kneel on TV that one week the protests started on before they lost and got kicked off the pay-per-view.

As for NXT, well, like we said before, new NXT champion Keith Lee has to carry a lot of weight.

Come to think of it, maybe Stephanie McMahon ought take some of her African American friends, okay Titus O’Neal with her to this web stream to address what WWE is doing about systemic racism.

Good luck, Sting!

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