Kofi Kingston may not face Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania for the WWE championship due to Vince McMahon and the WWE’s history of discriminatory practices based on Racism & Colorism.
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. Furthermore, I doubt Kofi Kingston will be in the WrestleMania match to decide the WWE Champion.
The issue is more complicated than just to relegate it to Kofi Kingston. This applies to all whose race is Black African Americans 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 evidence, I have several 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. His practices are racially driven to keep Blacks from being the WWE Champion (the number one title in the company.) 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 only one title, the WWE Championship belt.
In the 30 plus years of WWE’s existence, 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 was “Rocky Maiavia.” He took the moniker of his great grandfather which indicate he was highlighted for his Samoan features. He only became the Rock after joining the Nation of Domination. It’s interesting to point out that an all-black group in the WWE is what brought “The Rock” to fame, while Dwayne Johnson himself doesn’t acknowledge himself being Black or African American (according to several rumor reports).
So, saying someone is Black just because they are half-black is not something African Descendants of Slavery will accept any more. 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. It was the top title in WCW before it was absorbed by the WWE. Vince McMahon would never put an outside company’s trophy over his own. And in his company, Whites and Samoan’s get preferential treatment.
The discriminatory practices and maltreatment of Black and African Americans don’t stop there. Several Blacks that have been a part of his company have been maltreated or was not giving the title opportunities they deserved (as compared to wrestlers/divas of other races).
Ron Simmons – First African American WCW champion. He gets to WWE and is relegated to non-title matches 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 buried him on the grandest stage with the slowest pin cover in history. Consequently, Vince McMahon said “what’s up my N***” to Booker T in a 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 – Nowadays he holds the title of a WWE ambassador and his unofficial duty description being WWE’s racial de-escalator while attempting to paint Vince McMahon in a non-discriminatory way. 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 sex-hungry man that will sleep with any women. Examples including a reference of divulging to a counselor that he slept with his sister, he slept with a woman to betray his best friend, and even sleeping with an old WWE Hall Famer (Mae Young) who gave birth to a hand. 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.
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 (link reference).
In 1998, a match with Mark Henry vs. X-Pac and Chyna “the late Joanie Laurer” (who deserves to be in the WWE HOF), was in the match. Before the match, a known wrestler Triple H “Paul Leveque” made gorilla gestures toward Mark Henry (https://youtu.be/V7Y2Mbxx8dQ?t=102) starting at 1:57 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 only behind the scenes.
R-Truth – One of the more agile & athletic wrestlers’ in WWE was relegated to a dancing gimmick, turned mad black guy gimmick (for a brief stint before the Summer of CM Punk took over), and now has turned into a stupid black guy gimmick. In his almost twenty-year career, he has only had one title opportunity.
Kofi Kingston – The man of the hour. While Kofi was meant to be a modern-day Coco B Ware, he was meant to be the fun-loving black wrestler that will never get a WWE championship opportunity. In 2009 he came close, but that was taken away due to what has been dubbed a “botched” move. He was supposed to take a punt kick from wrestler Randy Orton. This was a maneuver that has been known to injure people seriously. However, and fortunately, he wasn’t positioned low enough. As a result, he received a vicious “RKO” which is Randy Orton’s finisher, followed by Randy berating him calling him “Stupid” before he pinned him. Many speculate Randy complained about the ordeal and consequently, Kofi was pulled from title contention.
Naomi – One of the best wrestlers in the women’s division, she was relegated to being a chair leader, even after her excellent performance in the FCW (former NXT). However, Naomi was well before her time as she was in the Diva’s era: An era that favored Nikki & Brie Bella. The only wrestler that was allowed to flourish was Paige. After the arrival of Charlotte Flair, the women were respected as wrestlers and called “superstars” instead of Divas. Although Naomi would get a few opportunities at the WWE title (against Nikki Bella & Paige), she never held the title until the brands RAW & Smackdown created two women’s championship titles. This would create an opportunity for Naomi to defeat Alexa Bliss at “Elimination Chamber” merely two years ago. There is something else to behold here and the craftiness of race discrimination. 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 was screwed out of a title opportunity after clearly winning a chance to fight for the title. This results in a match against Paige. Paige won but in-turn, Naomi “turn-heel” (when a “good” wrestler turns “bad”). Naomi viciously (but scripted) attacked Paige. 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. As Naomi was celebrating her actions, the chants turned to “You’re a Nigger.” If you don’t believe me, listen to this video at the 3:02 mark https://youtu.be/DZdb2mamC8Q
Also, few people know 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 acquaintances over the years that have said Ric Flair was racist toward black including former hall of Famers Tony Atlas & Teddy Long. This favoritism is apparent, and Charlotte Flair has been in almost all of the title matches since her first win against Nikki Bella. Naomi is just as good as Charlotte Flair; however, Charlotte was given more opportunities because this is a scripted company that values promos more than in-ring work.
Instead of telling a story in the ring while wrestling, WWE focuses entirely too much on telling a story on the microphone. Charlotte & Naomi were prime to face one another once Charlotte came to the main roster as they were the two most athletic wrestlers and the two all-around best wrestlers in the company at the time. However, their first interaction turned from a 1 v 1 match to a 2 v 2 match. The end result was a “gaffe” on the part of Charlotte’s partner Becky Lynch’s part as she missed her cue. This caused an agitated Naomi to take over the match and to result in pinning Charlotte. I imagine this is something the racist Fliehr’s in agreeance with Vince, did not want. It’s rational to perceive Charlotte’s status in WWE was for her to be protected and never be pinned by a Black Female, especially Naomi. The two would avoid each other for an eternity afterward until Charlotte was moved over to Smackdown where Naomi was the champion. On her first match on the Smackdown brand, Charlotte pinned Naomi. The following show led to a no contest due to interference. Ever since then, they fought on the same side to avoid fighting each other. Edit: there was a mixed tag match in which Jimmy Uso & Naomi faced A.J. Styles & Charlotte. Styles & Flair won when Charlotte pinned Naomi.
It’s important to note that 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 “went over” on Ember Moon on three occasions to include “throwing her over a barricade,” “throwing her into a ladder” and slamming her off of a ladder. This was a subtle way to establish her dominance over black athletes. The clear best performers of the match were Ember Moon & Naomi (both black females), and the least talented performing white female (Alexa Bliss) grabbed the briefcase to win officially. Fortunately, at least Alexa has enough class to be pinned by Naomi during her first championship reign. Therefore, I somewhat give props to Ms. Bliss whose real name is Lexi Kaufman. Surely Bianca Belair (who has the potential to be the best women’s wrestler ever) will be buried by Charlotte Flair as soon as she comes up to the main roster. It’s best for the newer talent to get out of that company to avoid such an agenda.
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. After an important segment, Titus engaged in playful banter that wasn’t taken lightly by Vince. Titus was suspended for the ordeal for 90 days but then reduced to 60 days after Vince faced heat for his reaction. This is something a lot of blacks face every day, harsher penalties for minor infractions.
The only exception to the favorable treatment of Black wrestlers coupled with an excellent promotional marketing effort was afforded to the New Day 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 awfully programming through 2015 & 2016 and leading in merchandise sells.
But even this super group is limited to 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), Hardcore Gimmick (Crime Tyme, Prime Time Players), or the built black guy gimmick (Shelton Benjamin, Ahmed Johnson, Apollo Crews, & Bobby Lashley). Ember Moon finally breaks this with a “mystique” type gimmick, but she’s once in a blue moon (no pun intended).
So, after all of the supporting cases, it’s time to bring it back to Kofi Kingston. Kofi is more than deserving to win the title. I realize this push was meant for Mustafa Ali, but with his injury, Kofi seamlessly stepped and filled the void. Kofi vs. Daniel Bryan vs. A.J Styles vs. Mustafa Ali would make for a great WrestleMania match, especially with two underdogs. However, Kofi has put in more “WWE” time and deserved it more than anybody. However, don’t hold your breath. Vince would have the first of any demographic champion before he ever has a black 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. In his eyes, he owns his wrestlers. Besides you are looking at a man that has shoved Roman Reigns down the WWE universe’s throats for 5 years. Although I like to wish Joe Anoa’i well, I am not looking forward to his return push to prominence when he recovers from cancer treatment. Also, this is the company that pushed Jinder Mahal for six months. This is the same guy that allowed two Japanese superstars win at the Royal Rumble, only to lose at WrestleMania. The guy does what he wants, and we have the option not to support his product. However, he is not exempt from scrutiny, and his actions should be evaluated as Dana White, Roger Goodell, and Adam Silver. If he were ever investigated, I’m sure his sanctioned activities 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 would forget about Kofi Kingston’s epic night at Elimination Chamber. However, if Vince ever 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.
1. 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 wrestlers, under pushed 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 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 compensate, he has made some swift title changes. It is important to highlight the fact the many title changes and mostly benefiting those that have been disgruntled. For example, the Revival (one of the top 10 tag teams in the world) won the championship after not nearly being pushed for a year and asking for their release from the company. There were several titles won yesterday at the Elimination Chamber PPV. Sasha Banks & Bayley have been mistreated and embroiled in a confusing storyline, but end up winning the women’s tag titles. This could have been entirely a different story if Nia Jax felt the need to complain about opportunities again (which she is known for doing). The Uso’s won the titles last night at the Elimination Chamber. Ironically, their contracts are up in two months. Finn Balor finally wins the IC title. He was another hot prospect out of NXT, but his injury derailed his push. While this has happened to other wrestlers, I presume Roman Reigns will be given the top spot again when he returns. However, where Vince draws a line in the sand is having a black wrestler having his day in the spotlight. His actions may change if his money is effected, but I’m not sold on it at all.
2. If there is fallout from this, it won’t be on the levels of the support of Becky Lynch, but it may be significant enough to make enough of an impact that, there are a noticeable amount of subscription cancellations and a considerable decrease in viewership ratings. Now, he may put his stooge into play by having Mark Henry go on tour and propagate Vince McMahon as not being a racist and running a racist company. This would be similar to Mark Henry’s awful interview with Marc Lamont Hill (which has been removed from the internet). If you ever listened to it, you’ve experienced several cringing moments, especially if you are black.
3. His shows are sabotaged by the fans through several actions. 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. In relatively recent events, Naomi & Carmella are both embroiled in their own drama and were eliminated first in the elimination chamber. You could hear Carmella booed in her intro and chants of Corey Graves based on their alleged affair. I even recall a time when Roman Reigns was being booed after Dean Ambrose won the championship. I guess it was one night in which Roman did not feel like hearing the crowd, because he lashed out at them by saying “shut up and drink your beer.” In a strange turn of events, he was suspended for violating a “wellness policy.” I think Vince did not want his main star exhibiting this behavior and gave him a slap on the hand to have a vacation with his family. I say all of this to point out the fans can manipulate some of the back-stage events. A lot of the power is in the fans but also the money they use to support WWE. Without that, the WWE has nothing. 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. This is especially true in smaller cities. In various towns 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/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.”