Kofi Kingston will not face Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania for the WWE championship due to Vince McMahon’s legacy of discriminatory practices based on racism.
Last night was an exceptional performance from Kofi Kingston and Daniel Bryan at WWE’s Elimination Chamber PPV. Kofi Kingston had a great showing earlier in the week with over an hour performance in a gauntlet match on Smackdown. In Houston, TX, the WWE crowd showed a lot of support and wanted the veteran to win the championship. However, he did not, and Kofi Kingston will more than likely not be the top title holder in WWE ever. Furthermore, I doubt Kofi Kingston will be in the WrestleMania match to decide the WWE Champion.
It’s bigger than Kofi.
The issue is more complicated than just to relegate it to Kofi Kingston. This applies to all whose race is Black/African American in WWE. This company and its chairman/CEO Vincent Kennedy McMahon have a history of discriminatory practices based on an individual’s race and color. While they may have cleaned up their act from decades ago, especially towards Women, the method of never having a black WWE champion remains firm after thirty years.
To support this claim, I have several lengthy examples. Describing Vince McMahon concerning the term discrimination is vital. He is an individual that discriminates against his black employees. People make the mistake of saying he is racist in his totality. Vince McMahon’s discriminatory practices keep Black’s from winning the WWE championship. However, it is hard to argue that he is racist because there have been several black champions as there are several championship titles. For the sake of clarity, we are talking about the most prestigious title, the WWE Championship belt.
In the 30 plus years of WWE’s existence (formerly the WWF), there has never been a Black WWE champion. This is the part where someone says “The Rock was the WWE champion and he’s black.” We have to make something clear once and for all. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is not Black. He is half Samoan and Half Black which makes him Bi-racial. There is no caveat to this discussion! In the WWE, before he was “The Rock,” he went under the moniker “Rocky Maivia.” He took the moniker of his great grandfather which indicate he was highlighted for his Samoan features. In fact, only other media outlets mention his half black racial background as its rare he would mention it. Ironically, he only came to prominence as The Rock after joining an all black group named Nation of Domination.
So, saying someone is Black just because they are half-black is not something African Descendants of Slavery will accept any more, #ADOS. With all due respect, I wouldn’t allow Sasha Banks to call herself black. She is biracial as well. Even former president Barack Obama is biracial. I think you all get my point.
Back to the matter at hand, the next argument people bring up is the non-fact that Booker T and Mark Henry were WWE champions. WRONG! Booker T and Mark Henry were World Heavy Weight champions. This was not the top title in the WWE. Before WWE absorbed WCW, the top title was the World Heavy Weight championship belt. Vince McMahon would never put an outside company’s trophy over his own. And in his company, Whites and Samoan’s get preferential treatment.
Past Examples of the Discriminatory Practices and Unfair Treatment of Black Wrestlers over 15 years ago.
The discriminatory practices and maltreatment of Black and African Americans don’t stop there as many weren’t given championship title opportunities.
Below are an extensive amount of explanations to support my claims:
Ron Simmons – First African American WCW champion. WWE relegated Ron Simmons to non-title feuds and a knock-off Nation of Islam/Black Panther hybrid gimmick.
Booker T – Booker T had a racially charged feud with Triple H in the early 2000s. Triple H embarrassed him on the grandest stage with the slowest pin cover in history. Also, Vince McMahon said “what’s up my N***” to Booker T in a scripted backstage segment. Of course, Booker T went along with it, but it goes to show the lack of insensitivity from the chairman of WWE.
Mark Henry – Once a wrestler, Mark Henry now serves as a WWE ambassador. His unofficial duty description appears to be the company’s racial de-escalator. A great example of his apologist ways can be seen on this video. https://youtu.be/q8CBQnPIFe8
Before the end of his in-ring wrestling days, he was lauded as the World strongest man. Many years prior, he garnered a stereotypical black man with an uncontrollable sex desire for any women. Examples including scripted references of; divulging to a counselor that he slept with his sister, insinuated sexual relations with a woman to betray his best friend (i.e., Debra & Jeff Jarrett), and even sleeping with an old WWE Hall Famer (Mae Young) who eventually gave birth to a hand in a scripted backstage segment. This was all aired on TV. Then he went on to garner the angry black men gimmick before he finally got a push to the World Heavy Weight Championship title. This push seemingly came after a Michael Hayes made statements to Mark Henry with the N-word. In light of this, the WWE Hall-of-Fame still inducted Michael Hayes.
There’s more to Mark Henry’s time. Sean Waltman “X-Pac” dressed up in a Black face (link to the video here https://youtu.be/JB81hqH94CQ ) to imitate him during a skit. In 1998, a match with Mark Henry vs. X-Pac and Chyna “the late Joanie Laurer” (who deserves to be in the WWE HOF). Triple H, (Paul Leveque) made gorilla gestures toward Mark Henry before the match. (https://youtu.be/V7Y2Mbxx8dQ?t=102) Starting at 1:57, Triple H’s behavior continues for approximately 10 seconds. If that wasn’t bad enough, he did it again a year later in a match against Mark Henry. (https://youtu.be/OXgq2UfcSj0?t=219). Yes, this is the same Triple H the WWE universe reveres as he leads a successful sub-branch of WWE called NXT. Racist actions have been a part of the company for years. For a long time, it has been on the screen and now it’s mostly behind the scenes.
Within 10 years ago
Kofi Kingston – The man of the hour. Ever so often, WWE needs their fun loving Black wrestler. The WWE had their modern day Koko B Ware. In 2009, the WWE removed Kofi from title contention against Randy Orton after a sequence dubbed a “botched” move. Kofi wasn’t position properly for Orton’s “punt kick” finisher. Instead, Orton delivered a vicious RKO and berated Kofi before pinning him. Randy Orton’s dissatisfaction led to Kofi Kingston removal from title contention.
R-Truth – The WWE relegated one of their more charismatic, agile & athletic wrestlers’ to a dancing gimmick. After a few years, he then turned into an angry black guy (for a brief stint before the Summer of CM Punk took over). Now he remains in the role of a not-so-smart black guy gimmick. In his almost twenty-year career, he has only had one title opportunity.
Within 5 years ago.
Titus O’Neil – The suspension of Titus O’Neil was the most recent accusation of racism by Vince McMahon. Since then, Vince was able to stay under the radar, but this event haunts him. Titus engaged in playful banter that wasn’t taken lightly by Vince after a retirement segment. This resulted in Titus’ suspension for 90 days but was reduced to 60 days thereafter. Nevertheless, this is a testament of blacks receiving harsher penalties.
Naomi – The WWE made their best female wrestler a cheerleader. However, Naomi was wrestler in a Diva’s era that favored Nikki & Brie Bella. The arrival of equally skilled women in Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch, changed the approach of women’s wrestling in the WWE. Although Naomi received few opportunities at the WWE title (against Nikki Bella & Paige), she never won until the brands RAW & Smackdown created two women’s championship titles.
WWE kept Naomi off of TV for months at a time, all while being the best wrestler on Smackdown. Naomi eventually flourished and defeated Alexa Bliss at “Elimination Chamber” two years ago. This is not a positive nod to McMahon, there was clearly nobody else to effectively represent the women’s division on Smackdown. Becky Lynch was not a favorite of WWE producers and Alexa Bliss was “green” in the ring. Naomi’s win is the result of having a fresh new face.
Vince McMahon allowed Naomi to win her first title at a “B-Level” pay per view. WrestleMania was literally the next PPV for her brand, and she could have won the title there. These are strategic moves on behalf of the chairman & CEO because it keeps the public from saying “she never won the big one,” but it also keeps that individual for experience the personal glory on the world’s biggest stage. The Heartbreak kid Shawn Michael’s received it, Stone Cold Steve Austin received it. Even the untalented and overly pushed Nia Jax (The Rock’s cousin) won it. The difference between Naomi and the aforementioned is she is Black.
There’s more to Naomi, but this is more attributed to the WWE culture of the fans. WWE has spent decades degrading Blacks so why would the audience respect them. A casing point was an event in London on WWE on April 13, 2015. Naomi turned “heel” after losing a gauntlet match. Afterwards, Naomi viciously attacked Paige as scripted. Paige (real name Saraya-Jade Bevis) was originally from the United Kingdom, so naturally, the fans booed Naomi. However, the boos turned into chants I thought I would never hear. Members of the U.K. crowd chanted “You’re a Nigger.” If you don’t believe me, listen to this video at the 3:02 mark https://youtu.be/DZdb2mamC8W
How Racism & Favoritism effects Vince McMahon’s decisions.
I always speculated the racist tendencies of Ric Flair. (real name Richard Fliehr). However, this has passed onto overt favoritism toward his daughter Charlotte Flair (Real name Ashley Fliehr). There have been several close work acquaintances over the years that have said Ric Flair was racist toward blacks including former hall of Famers Tony Atlas & Teddy Long. Charlotte Flair has been the beneficiary of racist behavior and favoritism. Naomi is just as good as Charlotte Flair; however, Charlotte was given more opportunities because this is a scripted company that values its legacy of ensuring Whites are superior to Blacks. Maybe someday we will hear the audio of Ashley Fliehr yelling racial obscenities to a black police office in Charlotte, NC.
Once Charlotte arrived to the main roster, many anticipated a match with Naomi as they were the two most athletic wrestlers at the time. However, their first interaction turned from a 1 v 1 match to a 2 v 2 match. Due to a rookie Becky Lynch’s miscue, Naomi had to take over the match which resulted in Naomi pinning Charlotte. I imagine this did not sit well with her racist father. Naomi & Charlotte would conveniently not share a ring thereafter until Charlotte moved to Smackdown. On their first match Smackdown brand, Charlotte pinned Naomi. The following show led to a no contest due to interference. It seemed evident they would face at the WWE PPV SummerSlam that year, but convenient plans cause them to fight with each other as opposed to a long waited match against each other.
New black talent such as Ember Moon & Bianca Belair will share the same fate as Naomi. Ember Moon has already subtly felt effects of being in a Charlotte Flair’s women’s division. During the 2018 Women’s MITB match, Charlotte immediately attacked Ember Moon and consequently attacked her on three separate occasions while Ember never mounting any type of offense.
This was a very subtle way to establish her [Flair’s] dominance over black athletes. Ember Moon & Naomi (both black females), were the outstanding performers. However, the least talented performer, Lexi Kaufman aka Alexa Bliss grabbed the briefcase to win officially. Despite not having to work hard to win that match, at least Alexa has enough class to be pinned by Naomi during Naomi’s championship reign. It’s best for the newer talent such as Bianca Belair to get out of that company to avoid such an agenda that apparently doesn’t favor her kind.
The New Day may be the only exception to the favorable treatment of Black wrestlers coupled with an excellent promotional marketing effort. This was evident when they became the longest tag team title reign in the company’s history. I guess that was their reward for carrying this company’s awful TV program through 2015 & 2016, as well as leading in merchandise sells around that time.
Racially charged gimmicks keep wrestlers from truly expressing themselves.
Nevertheless, even the New Day isn’t exempt from a goofy dancing gimmick. Therein lies the other issue with the WWE. If you are black, you either have one of four gimmick variations or a combination of them. There’s the; Dancing Fun Gimmick (i.e., The New Day, Naomi, R-Truth, Rich Swan) Crazy person gimmick (Alicia Fox), Cool Hip-Hop Gimmick (Cryme Tyme & Prime Time Players), or the built black guy gimmick (Shelton Benjamin, Ahmed Johnson, Apollo Crews, & Bobby Lashley). Interestingly enough, the cool hip-hop gimmick comes off better to the WWE universe when non-blacks use it such as Too-Cool, John Cena (thug-a-nomics era) and the Usos. Ember Moon’s gimmick is a mysterious character, however, those occur once in a blue moon (no pun intended).
So why won’t Kofi Kingston will not win the WWE championship title.
After all of that, it’s time to bring it back to Kofi Kingston. Kofi is more than deserving to win the title. Mustafa Ali was the original recipient of this promotional push. However, Kofi seamlessly stepped in and filled the void after Mustafa’s injury. Kofi vs. Daniel Bryan vs. A.J Styles vs. Mustafa Ali would make for a great WrestleMania match, especially since there would be two underdogs. However, Kofi has put in more “WWE” time and deserved it more than anybody. Don’t hold your breath. Vince would have the first of any demographic champion before he ever has a black WWE champion. This is a seventy-year-old senile man (similar to his friend in the White House). Men at this age don’t adjust their thinking to modern day politics just to impress the public.
In his eyes, he owns his wrestlers. Besides, this is the same man that shoved Roman Reigns down the WWE universe’s throats for 5 years. Side note: I wish Joe Anoa’i well in his battle with leukemia. However, I am not looking forward to his return push to prominence when he recovers. Also, this is the company that pushed Jinder Mahal for an agonizing six months.
Don’t expect Vince McMahon to change with the times.
Vince McMahon does what he wants, and we have the option not to support his product. However, McMahon is not exempt from scrutiny. If Dana White, Roger Goodell or Adam Silver can be the subject of criticism, then so can Vince McMahon. An investigation into Vince McMahon would uncover sanctioned activities that equate to a hostile work environment for his Black/African American employees to include various discriminatory practices.
It would be foolish to think he would change his mind. Vince McMahon is hoping the fans will forget about Kofi Kingston’s epic night at Elimination Chamber. I suppose if Vince bumped his head and decided to make Kofi Kingston the WWE champion, it’s because of a bigger agenda. I have devised several reasons why this possibly could come to fruition.
- The impact and presence of All-Elite Wrestling – The billionaire Shahid and Tony Khan support the wrestling industry. Therefore, this serves as legitimate competition to WWE financially and programming wise. Vince McMahon cannot erase his history of awful decisions to include over pushed non-deserving wrestlers, under pushed deserving wrestlers, sexist and racist behaviors, and horrible booking decisions just to name a few. The new company AEW has the most talented wrestler in the world, Kenny Omega, the most talented tag team in the world, the Young Bucks, and is receiving substantial financial backing. With many WWE superstars upset with their status, Vince McMahon has recently made decisions that have not been favorable to the majority of wrestlers. To put them at ease, he has made some swift title changes. These title changes were to benefit the more disgruntled employees to include: The Revival, a top tag team that has been dormant for a year. Last night a few occurred to include Sasha Banks & Bayley who have been under the shadow of Alexa Bliss before the arrival of Ronda Rousey. Thankfully, Vince didn’t decide to give the title to Nia Jax who seemingly complains and isn’t as nearly as deserving. Finn Balor finally wins the IC title. He was another hot prospect out of NXT, but his injury derailed his push. I imagine Roman Reigns would not receive the same treatment. Finally the Uso’s won. This may be convenient given the fact their contracts are almost up and they may have expressed interest in leaving. However, where Vince draws a line in the sand is having a black wrestler win his coveted title.
- If there is fallout from Kofi not winning or getting another title opportunity, it won’t be on the same level of sympathy of Becky Lynch which led to her extreme prominence. However, it may be significant enough to make an impact and cause a noticeable amount of subscription cancellations and a considerable decrease in viewership ratings. I imagine in an attempt to silence the fallout, he may put his stooge into play by having Mark Henry go on tour and propagate Vince McMahon as not being a racist nor running a racist company. This would be similar to Mark Henry’s awful and cringe-worthy defense of WWE in an interview with Marc Lamont Hill in July of 2014. Unfortunately, there are no known links or transcripts, but those that listened to it see what I’m talking about.
- The may fans sabotage WWE shows through several chants. If the fans started to shout “Kofi” at every event or even allude to discriminatory practices by Vince, it might make enough noise. Think about it, JBL left after receiving harsh and consistent boos from the fans after his treatment of Mauro Ranallo. The question is, will Kofi garner enough support? Giving this company’s lack of push to prominence of black wrestlers, why would this post-Jim crow America find value in a man like Kofi Kingston. In larger cities like Houston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, Memphis, Detroit, Boston, D.C., San Francisco, and Seattle, Kofi will get the support he deserves. However, when WWE goes to some of these smaller population towns where there are the majority of middle-aged white men cheering at Alexa Bliss’ & Mandy Rose’s physique, he won’t find the support he requires to make Vince change his mind.
It’s best in this situation not to get your hopes up given the thirty-year reputation of Vince McMahon. I honestly believe everybody has their expectations up except for Kofi Kingston. After how he has been treated, the only reason to stay in this company is to have a steady stream of income. This is part of the Black American experience while you have media critics like Laura Ingraham telling black athletes to “shut up and dribble.” It’s an inescapable reality for all black African Americans. As the famous rapper Mos Def aka Yasiin Bey says in his song Workers Comp “I’ll give you all the diamond and money, but you can’t break my heart, because that’ll just get you fired, and everybody needs a job.”