The 5th Annual Wrestling Shame Hall of Shame

Folks, once again it's time for the ceremony for the Wrestling Shame Hall of Shame! Can you believe it's been a year since our last induction ceremony??? 

*thinks about the previous year* Dear god.

Anyway, we are doing things a little differently this year. We have just ONE inductee to the hallowed, shameful hall.

One terrible, awful, disgusting human being.

A person we've discussed before.

A person we are inducting only to THROW HIM OUT of the Hall of Shame.  


This year's sole inductee -- and first person to be kicked-out of the Hall of Shame -- is Donald Trump.


Well -- below are a few small reasons why.

Shameful Entrance Music: Donald's Trump's Theme

Dear lord. When you want to rip-off "Money" by the O'Jays (which is a god damn amazing song) but you don't wanna clear the rights to the song. 

It's fucking terrible, cheap, and awful to listen to -- and the song is bad too.

Shameful Promo: Hulk Hogan Before Wrestlemania V

Now hold on, you might be saying -- that's Hulk Hogan, not Donald Trump! And you're right. But this promo of Hogan mentions Donald Trump and is awful.

A little background: one of the best programs the WWE ever booked was the rise and fall of the Mega Powers of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage.  It was a masterclass in how to present a long-narrative story-line that, I argue, you don't really see much in pro wrestling anymore. And there's a personal connection for me: the Mega Powers formed in Hershey PA and then had their big show-down in Atlantic City, NJ -- places where I either lived or spent a lot of time in. 

But Hogan's promo here promotes this idea of Donald Trump being concerned with Atlantic City and the potential danger that the implosion of the Mega Powers might have on the New Jersey city. The man who bankrupted casinos, ruined the Boardwalk of the city, and defaulted on so many businesses in the town? Yeah, I'm sure Trump has so much concern. 

Shameful Contract Signing and Booking: Battle of the Billionaires

I could probably do an entire post of this alone. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this, this was the build-up to Wrestlemania 21 where Donald Trump and Vince McMahon -- two real life friends who collaborated together for Wrestlemania IV and V -- bet their hair through their proxies Bobby Lashley and Umga. Like many wrestling feuds, this began rather stupidly and just kept getting dumber. But I feel the stupidity reached an apex of sorts in the contract signing for the match. Among the stupid things:

-While I loathe Vince McMahon, I feel bad for him here in that he's trying really hard to carry this segment, and that segment is just piss poor. It's like when you see a group project and there's that one student trying really hard to make it work when the other students haven't done shit.

-Trump's responses here are, surprise, barely coherent. His timing is terrible, and he repeats every phrase at least twice. 

-This is also the height of the worst Stone Cold persona era, the damn "What?" stuff that was honestly the worst thing in pro wrestling for years (aside from the unfair labor practices of wrestling itself).

But as we've pointed out before, the symbolism of two men of color fighting on behalf of two racist, reactionary wealthy men cannot be ignored. The whole match and narrative surrounding that match becomes a sort of Plantation Myth fantasy that is also a harbinger for the Trump presidency. It deserves scorn not only as one of the worst programs in WWE history, but also one of the most problematic high-profile pop culture moments of the last two decades.

Worst Wrestling Botch / Move: Trump Being Stunned by Stone Cold

I've been watching wrestling for a long time and this is, honestly, the worst I've ever seen anyone take a wrestling move, let alone a finisher. To be fair, according to Austin, Trump didn't know what a Stunner was and is not a trained wrestler, but...lord, it's like a toddler tripping over some playground equipment.

No, I am not equating toddlers with Donald Trump -- that's unfair to toddlers.

Most Shameful Segment: The Money Drop

Ah, the money drop segment. In short, as Vince McMahon berates the fans, Trump appears on the giant in-arena television and decides to "give the fans what they want" and thousand of fake and real dollar bills drop from the ceiling of the arena. To me, I read this moment as the WWE mythologizing the notion of the benevolent Captain of Industry who happily engages in philanthropy; it's also not off-base to see this segment as something of a visual representation of literal trickle-down economics.

Most Shameful Everything: Donald Trump

We are fans of a performance art that is problematic for a lot of reasons: unfair labor practices, dangerous working conditions, gender and racial bias. But more than anything, wrestling sometimes reveals the worst of who we are. It reveals and refracts our biases and fears and hatreds. And at times, wrestling confronts that. But on the whole, the history of that happening in wrestling is rare. 

Rick and I are of course very aware of this. 

And then came Trump.

We've written about Trump before. A lot actually.  And I will rehash a lot of my thoughts from those pieces. When Donald Trump was first running for office, clips like the one above made a lot of rounds, connecting his experiences in the WWE with his campaign. And the tone of these pieces was, at times, tongue-in-cheek. But what we saw for four years was a man who -- whatever actually happened in the White House -- treated the presidency like a cheap-heat promo. There was never a moment that he wouldn't put himself over. There was never a point he didn't play to his audience. There was never a point he didn't treat one of the most important offices in the world as a wrestling event. 

Wrestling is not real. But wrestling is real. People get hurt. The barbed wire in matches is real. Wrestlers suffer through pain and psychological trauma for years. Many die too young. But what has happened in the past five years to us -- to all of us -- is suffering. We were placed in danger by a man who thinks of himself as a wrestler. A morally bankrupt, racist, homophobic, misogynist con man. A man who encouraged white supremacists. A man who operated the most corrupt administration in American history. A man who made many of my friends and community members afraid for their safety. A man who worsened a pandemic. A man who openly encouraged an insurrection among his "marks" and cheered as they sought to lynch members of Congress.    

For all these reasons, Donald Trump deserves to be in the Hall of Shame.

And for all these reasons, we do not want him in here.

Be safe all.

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