Poor Bobby Lashley and Sami Zayn. This segment was an absolute disgrace. Without a flashy set up to tell you how I feel, I thought this represented the lowest of creative lows for a company on a streak of terrible that didn’t need this segment to happen when it did.
Bobby Lashley, just a few months into his return feels like a complete bust. The second he started weirdly rambling on about his sisters in the interview with Renee Young I felt trouble on the horizon. His matches have been less than impressive, and the results of his “dull” babyface persona led to WWE attempting to give him some type of depth. However, I NEVER thought we would get into an area of insensitivity that was offensive to the LBGT community, and black women as a staff, record label, and crew.
Being for intersectionality, it wouldn’t serve who I am to let this topic go unspoken about in column, podcast and video form. The Trans community, which I’m not an expert in by any means, seems to have a struggle to just exist as they want in the face of fear, bigotry, and other heada** displays such as this that make them a target of aggression in their everyday lives. When I saw the men dressed like women, and using the put on voices it just made me realize what type of juvenile, uncreative people write this show week to week. This is a perfect argument for representation, because while Vince McMahon most likely was going to put on his TV what he wanted, I haven’t heard a single story of anyone backstage coming out and saying, “Hey man this isn’t a good idea, we can only lose as a company or look bad for this.” This is a good time to mention it flies in the face of their efforts with Finn Balor’s merchandise.
The sad part of all of this is this isn’t some new thing to offend entire blocs of people. If you notice, WWE is CLEARLY aware and disassociates from Donald Trump as much as they can, and they push nothing on TV about their open secret of a connection to his divisive administration. If they can be that aware to not offend their large minority audience on that end, they clearly exhibit the ability to have restraint on things.
Yes, Wrestling is filled with problematic things based on stereotypes, race, and insensitivity, especially when you start flipping the calendar backward. You don’t have to go too far back to find examples that literally no one should have ever cleared for viewership. It’s been an equal opportunity one-stop shop that everyone has gotten hit with at one point. That still doesn’t mean it needs to continue. How hard is it to find an issue with two men in scripted athletic combat?
Black women have faced hatred from racists, and people that just generally hate them for whatever reason based on their appearance for ages. A big thing that tends to get thrown around is their perceived masculinity. I can’t count the number of comment sections and people I’ve heard call someone like Naomi or even Serena Williams….”Manly” or “they look like a dude.” If they look like men my eyes have betrayed me all these years.
This segment brought all these things in conjunction forward for me, as I sat and wondered who on earth was supposed to get over, and more importantly who liked this segment anywhere? The crowd dealt it the well-earned sweeping silence, as confusion and contempt came through the screen.
Sami Zayn, a guy that has shown the ability to thrive under almost any circumstance was asked to lead this dumpster fire and got none of the heat for it. This was a terrible idea and angle on almost any level, that wasted the ability of two guys, offended the audience and looks like every terrible thing about WWE writing from a critical standpoint. Sami Zayn vs Bobby Lashley on paper sounds like an incredible match, and now I don’t really have any interest in ever seeing them interact again, and in Lashley’s case, WWE needs to run 500 MPH in the other direction from this or they just wasted what should have been an awesome return.
I don’t expect to change the world by showing my disdain for how WWE operates their business at times. However, I’m always with the smoke when it comes to calling out what I feel is wrong, insensitive, and has no place in decent society. If I change 1 person’s perspective that’s fine with me.
If you watched this segment and liked it? Why? Because it’s goofy wrestling? I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t balance the scale for me when WWE has shown they have little to no idea what they are doing with Black performers and a clear understanding of what isn’t flying in these streets in 2018. The issues of this are much bigger than Bobby Lashley’s sisters, but they somehow became the avatar to amplify them.
Rich Latta is a writer for LordsofPain.net & host of the One Nation Radio Podcast on www.SocialSuplex.com Check his Latta’s Lariato New Japan work out there. He appears monthly on Chad Matthews’ podcast The Doc Says after PPVs. GFX by @SirMikeFergus Give him a follow on Twitter, @RichLatta32 or drop him a comment below. If you like hip-hop, check out his music here. www.Soundcloud.com/RichLatta Look Him Up On Youtube As Well.
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