Racism in the WWE??

Discussion in '[Hidden] World Wrestling Entertainment' started by SSJPhenom, Aug 31, 2017.

  1. Spidercanrana

    Spidercanrana Should've Reinstated The Fox
    Staff Member Moderator E-Fed Mod

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    Which is all the more reason they should give it to people that have kept the crowd happy.

    John Cena's early years as champion was nothing but comedy. The Rock's whole stick was making fun of his opponents and getting a laugh from the crowd. Comedy has a place in wrestling even at the top of the card. You have a beloved team that has done everything they possibly could as a team, minus repeatedly winning the belts in an endless, bland cycle. They draw.


    I agree with you that as a whole wrestling just hasn't featured black people in major ways since it began. Which is the reason why a discussion like this is happening. WWE is supposed to be a publicly traded company that is more about its own image than it was 27 years ago, correct? Race relations has been and still continues to be a hot topic in the United States. There are several black wrestlers on the roster today more deserving of that opportunity compared to champions in the last 27 years.

    No data on that subject. Not something we can examine.

    This is like asking how many Indians do we see in the American audience. Just because the average fan looks Caucasian on TV doesn't mean there aren't enough black fans to warrant making money.
     
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  2. neildittmar

    neildittmar Getting Noticed By Management

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    First off, had a quick read of everyone's replies so far. I've got to say that I'm impressed. Before entering the thread, I was nearly certain that by page 3 this thread would've gone down the toilet as most forum threads I've seen about anything concerning race have. Nice job folks... keep keeping it clean :)

    IRTT: In the past, WWF/E has certainly been guilty of stereotyping characters based on race/ethnicity, gender, body type, billed country of origin, et. al. As was already mentioned, this is readily observed by checking out various programming (particularly within the 80's and 90's) found on the WWE Network.

    More recently though, particularly over the last several years, the company seems to be taking the safer route for the most part. I imagine this is down to the family-friendly demographic they're undoubtedly targeting, as well as the AAA level advertisers the company draws and hopes to keep. I can't say I watch the programming as religiously as I once did, but for what it's worth I can't recall looking at any recent segment, program, or wrestler and thinking to myself "wow, they really pushed a boundary there" in regards to stereotypes, caricatures, etc.

    I'll close by saying this... I'm convinced that if someone is actively looking for racism in any entertainment-based media, including WWE, they will surely find it if they "look" deep enough. I'm also a firm believer that targeted racism needs to have both context and intent in order to be classified as such. Not everything that's labeled racist actually is. Likewise, everything we accept that's just normal or common knowledge may not be either of those things. Again, for me, it's all about specific context and intent.
     
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  3. therockiswwf

    therockiswwf The voice of Michael Cole's headset

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    Comedy doesn't draw well overseas. It doesn't translate. Using comedy on a worldwide platform isn't usually a good idea. It's why a lot of big movies now are not comedy based. They won't sell overseas.

    The Rock was a lot more than just comedy. Vince said Kurt could be comedic and over because his Olympic gold medal legitimized him. He said no one else could really due that. However, once he dropped being goofy for the first time, he became enormously over.

    I was referring to Jinder Mahal. Swagger had some success before he won the title at least.
     
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  4. Slyfox696

    Slyfox696 Excellence of Execution

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    Sure things are different now than they were even 20 years ago. But the point I'm making is you have to remember the proper context for this discussion. The WWE hasn't had "40-odd white WWE Champions" since they became publicly traded. So you have to keep that in mind.

    You also have to keep in mind top level champions, traditionally, have been workers who have been in the business for a while. While the WWE has sort of bucked that trend over the last decade or so, using the title to elevate greatness, rather than represent greatness, it's still a fact that longevity is one of the primary factors in a wrestler being over enough to be in the main-event.

    So when you realize that black people in wrestling is still a fairly new trend, you have to keep that in mind when discussing ratios of white to black champions.

    We may not be able to have exact numbers, but you can go back and watch any show you want on the WWE Network and realize the overwhelming majority of wrestling fans are white.

    Well, no, because there are white fans who would support a black champion, but everyone understands that for a wrestler to be successful, the audience has to feel a connection to them. Race, rightly or wrong, is one way in which people feel a connection to others.
    Jinder Mahal > Swagger

    Mahal can at least cut a passable promo. Swagger was just terrible all the way around.
     
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  5. THTRobtaylor

    THTRobtaylor Once & Future Wrestlezone Columnist

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    It's difficult to say WWE is racist, however at times their portrayal onscreen of ethnic characters would certainly appear that they were, but many portrayals were of their time.

    For example take Akeem The African Dream and place that gimmick today... it'd get WWE taken off air... but in 1989 it was just a dumb, slightly fun gimmick to take a "chicago badass" and make him a kaftan wearing "jive soul bro". Saba Simba was pretty terrible, but was it worse than Kamala, which was actually a successful gimmick for many years?

    Where WWE has had a problem is the disproportionate amount of "shuck and jive" they've used at times. Nearly every black talent has had some element of this during their career... even "tougher guys" like Mark Henry or Ron Simmons have had some form of embarrasing gimmick. Some have been able to turn this on its head, like New Day... who play up to this and spin it that they're just "geeks", Big E. works as WWE's version of Carlton Banks rather than a man being embarrased because of his color.

    Where WWE HAS had a problem though is pushing non-americans and ethnic champions to the top spot. WWE didn't give guys like Davey, Regal, Barrett, Cesaro. Rusev or "real" Japanese talents the chance to be the World Champion and will often resort to the stereotypical foreign heel role for them.

    There may be legit business reasons why a Brit for example has not had a proper World title in WWE yet... but they're getting fewer all the time and Drew McIntyre will need to be given that run sooner rather than later once his NXT stint is done.

    They've gone as far as to mention Cesaro's accent for example as a reason he hasn't "made the leap"... he sounds pretty clear in truth, but the truth is there isn't as many Swiss WWE fans out there as American ones...

    Someone like Neville was pushed a certain way, arguably because of his Geordie dialect... but given the chance to use it has become an effective heel.

    The next interesting case will be Alestair Black/Tommy End... if WWE dont' make THAT guy world champ then there may well be something to the anti-US stuff...that he's Dutch/English makes no difference.
     
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  6. sikkbones

    sikkbones the root of all evil

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    Ricky steamboat.
    Mr. Fuji
    TajiriTajiri
    MutaMuta
    Ultimo dragon
    Funaki

    Sonny onno and several members of nwo Japan.
     
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  7. Spencesc11

    Spencesc11 Getting Noticed By Management

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    I wouldn't call it racism as I think it's way more sterotyping when it comes to character development. But in terms of not pushing non-white talent. It's pretty clear that if the fans get a guy over he gets the big push regardless of skin color. Many forget that Lashley was a heavy main-eventer before he left. Mark Henry had a world title run. The reality is what black star on the current roster would really deserve a world title push at current time? I've always felt they've dropped the ball with Titus O'Neill but he's also a little rough in the ring. Not saying Racism will every completely go away but maybe if the media doesn't try to find it so much it might not be as big of an issue.
     
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  8. Slyfox696

    Slyfox696 Excellence of Execution

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    Even if we take your list as 100% true (which I don't), your list would not even make up 10% of today's current roster, much less when placed against all wrestlers of the last few decades. And that's the point...you can't ask how many have had a chance for the title when the percentage of representation is so small you need a microscope to see it.
     
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  9. The Samoan Heritage

    The Samoan Heritage Getting Noticed By Management

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    I see some asking who exactly "deserved a world title push" and I use to think the same thing but then thinking about it, it is hard for me to say Ziggler, Swagger, Christan, etc deserved main event pushes over Benjamin, MVP, Kofi, etc.
    MVP, imo was the hottest heel to come along since Edge/Orton and some how he ended up on a year long losing streak and became irrelevant.
    Benjamin was just as good as Ziggler, if not better. Same thing with Kofi.
    Even now, they wasted the MITB contract with Corbin, when they could have given it to Kofi. Just my personal opinion, but New Day as wwe/world champion would be more entertaining (storylines) than Mahal, Nakamura, or Orton as wwe champion.

    I don't want to say that wwe as a whole is racist, but I do feel like there are some in wwe that are biased and it's clearly known. I don't know if it was a NXT call or just a dirtsheet report, but I remember reading that Triple H wants to keep Asuka in NXT because he feels like she won't be booked the way she should, if she were to be called up.
    Then you have Corbin, as bad as he is, getting championship opportunities, while Rusev gets jobbed out.
    I have never meet Vince or seen him off tv, but I can't see him being a racist. He worked with Lashley for over 6 months, I believe and made him look like a star in the end. With that said, it's hard to ignore the firings of Lashley/Del Rio and say that there aren't any racism in the wwe. Clearly there's some somewhere at the top.
     
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  10. therockiswwf

    therockiswwf The voice of Michael Cole's headset

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    Christian got the run because Edge retired. Edge or someone outright said that. He probably got the second run as a sorry about that whole 2 day reign thing. Ziggler was over. He just never evolved to the point that he should have (a lot of that is seemingly on him).

    Ziggler can cut good promos and has charisma. He never funneled it correctly to be a true main eventer and eventually turned into a screaming HBK-wannabe. He is miles above Benjamin. Benjamin has the charisma of a potato. Look at Billy Gunn after he won King of the Ring. You'll notice the commentary is almost the exact same as Benjamin later in his career. They will spout the greatest athlete in the company line. Fans won't react. Rinse, repeat.

    MVP was 36 when he started. That was unusual back then. His face turn seemingly ended him. It wasn't a year long losing streak. Bad storyline not anything malicious.

    Corbin is young. Grooming to be a big time player. Kofi is older. Obvious why they would go with Corbin. Kofi is a face which usually doesn't work with MITB.

    Booked right meaning she won't be booked in HHH's vision. That implies difference in creative opinions not racism. Just look at how everyone here disagrees with who should be pushed. You like Shelton. I feel he is boring. HHH likes Asuka. Maybe writer #5 thinks she can't cut a promo.

    Del Rio got fired because he punched someone. Sure, that guy he punched is a scumbag (he got fired as well) but you can't run around being a vigilante. I would have fired Del Rio as well. He didn't react in an appropriate manner.

    Lashley got fired/quit cause of something with his wife. I think it was the same as that Kat/Lawler situation. It was obvious that Vince was in love with Lashley.
     
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  11. dalenichol

    dalenichol Dark Match Jobber

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    WWE aren't inherently racist, no. Far from it. They can certainly be racially insensitive at times though.

    The thing is, though, as people have mentioned, WWE love money and to make the most money, you need to appeal to your primary demographic and that, in the case of WWE, is largely white males.

    Young white males don't relay to big black heavyweight champions, as a general rule. (I understand this is generalising, but it's fairly accurate). I think this is largely why we haven't had a black champion for a while.

    WWE often go down this route when they're looking to appeal to a certain demographic. Mark Henry achieved this. Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, Alberto Del Rio, Jinder Mahal and, inevitably, Shinsuke Nakamura, will all fulfill that role.


    You'll eventually get a worker that transcends that...Nakamura could possibly do it. The Rock did it, Guerrero to an extent too, but that's really it on that front.

    Wrestling gimmicks will always be lowest common denominator stuff, because it's easy and Vince is still a carnie at heart, this is why can often see such racially insensitive stuff in gimmicks, entrances and storylines.
     
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  12. therockiswwf

    therockiswwf The voice of Michael Cole's headset

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    Henry said his push came after a reaction he had to a rib. He stormed to the back and was just pissed off. Vince said that was finally the Mark Henry he wanted to see. That doesn't have anything to do with demographics.
     
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  13. dalenichol

    dalenichol Dark Match Jobber

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    Yeah, I've read that too. It may also have been down to a 'thank you' for being a company man for his career too.

    Whilst that may or may not have been a poor example, demographics definitely play a part when WWE are picking people for pushes.
     
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  14. THTRobtaylor

    THTRobtaylor Once & Future Wrestlezone Columnist

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    Remember in Henry's case they'd also recently lost Lashley, who was intended to be their Afro-American star, under somewhat controversial circumstances... He and Krystal accused Hayes of racism and Henry himself had had a similar issue.

    So while he had finally "earned his spot" there is as much an argument it was an appeasement.... The truth though is that Henry was nearing the end of his monster 10 year deal and they needed to justify giving him another one for similar money... They HAD to make him champ at some point on a million a year basic...
     
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  15. therockiswwf

    therockiswwf The voice of Michael Cole's headset

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    Timeline is off here. Henry's push came in 2011 or so. Lashley left in 08. Lashley left on his own accord. Creative isssues and an unexplained issue with Hayes. I don't think Lashley ever outright stated it was a race issue. Though knowing Hayes' past, it wouldn't be surprising.
     
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  16. THTRobtaylor

    THTRobtaylor Once & Future Wrestlezone Columnist

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    Timeline is right.. remember to build a star takes 3 years in real terms... a year of midcard push, then a year of contention and a champ run...

    Henry's push started around 2008 with ECW and its title, which would be the midcard push, then they put him in contention and 3 years later he was main eventing. That ECW win would have been right after his 10 year deal expired and he'd signed a new one... so they had to get value for that deal out of him, I doubt he took a paycut.
     
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  17. therockiswwf

    therockiswwf The voice of Michael Cole's headset

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    Bullshit.

    So Kool-Aid Mark Henry teaming with Bourne and MVP in 09-10 was building him up for a world title run? Markswoggle? You pulled this out of your ass and have zero recollection of his time before the world title run. Veterans would get the ECW title. They would help the young guys along or provide a tiny bit of star power. The year he won the title (2011), he wasn't even on the main Mania show. He was in the dark battle royal match.

    His deal was $250,000 per year for 10 years. I think that is on the lower end.
     
    #42
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  18. Slash-LN

    Slash-LN Rigistered Post Offender

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    Don't forget how hard Ahmed Johnson was pushed between like 95-97.
    He just happened to be incredibly injury prone.

    If he had been healthy then there's no doubt he would have had a run at the top.

    There's definitely a bit of racism in the company but probably not involving people's pushes.

    That whole ADR incident and his comments about it afterwards.

    And unintentional racism like Carlito talking about Vince asking him to "spic it up" in terms of his character.

    You could say characters were degrading or stereotypes but Cryme Tyme was thought up by JTG and Shad went along with it, Nation Of Domination was originally thought up by PG 13 in USWA and it's not like there haven't been embarrassing or stereotypical characters for whites. A white accountant, white hillbilly pig farmers.

    Booker T could have been the man but there's the whole idea of if Vince was trying to punish the WCW guys that came over. Either way Booker still had a good run in the company.
     
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  19. MrMojoRisin

    MrMojoRisin Championship Contender

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    I wouldn't be surprised one bit to find out that a few execs in the WWE have white robes in their closets, but in general? No the company isn't racist. They've always believed very strongly in stereotypes, and few companies have as strongly perpetuated stereotypes than the WWE, but that's it.

    They are also A LOT better today than they used to be. I can still remember when every black wrestler had a rock hard head (great for headbutts). How they were mostly always heels. How the baby faces would cut the most racist promos against them, and have the crowd and announcers cheering wildly. How some ridiculously talented black wrestlers would get held down and have to put over the white champions.

    Those days are gone.

    A couple notes:

    - a couple people mentioned Kamala as one of McMahon's racist gimmicks? James Harris came up with that gimmick years before he ever set foot in a WWF ring down in Memphis. Jerry Lawler helped him come up with it. Vince had nothing to do with it, other than the fact that he smartly signed Kamala and used him as is (as in not changing anything, because Kamala was over af)

    - someone mentioned that they didn't have black champions before the 90's because there weren't enough black fans to care, or black wrestlers that were good enough? I don't know about the fans, but there were absolutely wrestlers who were good enough. The first one that comes to mind was Butch Reed in the early 80's out of Mid South. He would have been a far better transitional champ than Kerry Von Erich. He'd been working arguably a better program with Flair than Von Erich as well. The NWA board wasn't thrilled with a black man being the guy though. Tony Atlas in the early 80's WWF too. They thought enough of him to put him clean over Hogan before Hulk left for the AWA. Backlund wasn't drawing. But Vince (Sr I believe at the time) didn't think he was right to be the top guy. Not long after there was Snuka (not black, but still). Might have been the most over guy in the country at the time. Vince didn't want a 'savage' to be his champ though.

    Point is, there were guys who could have been champ. And the promoters were happy to have them. But there was a ceiling for these guys that didn't exist for the white guys. And that is racism. Not overt, but equality definitely didn't exist.

    Today? That ceiling isn't there. If you're good enough, you'll get your chance with the ball. There's equality now. Or at least more than there ever used to be, which is a step in the right direction.
     
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  20. FromGlasgow

    FromGlasgow Championship Contender

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    I don't believe theres racism, If Vince feels someone can make him money then that person is going to be pushed to the top no matter who they are, Arguable in the past that some characters may have had racist tones such as the Iron Sheik, Kamala, Saba Simba or Papa Shango for example but I seen them as just exagerated characters and miss watching these types of characters.
     
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  21. tdmoon

    tdmoon Pre-Show Stalwart

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    While I don't disagree with the point of your post, I'm going to nitpick your example of All In The Family as a racist television show. Quite the opposite, it was a groundbreaking sitcom that dealt head on with a changing society. Though Archie Bunker often uttered racially insensitive words, he was seen as uneducated and a bit of a buffoon and it showed that the stereotypes he believed in were outdated and flat wrong. The episode where Sammy Davis, Jr. kisses him stands the test of time as one of the greatest sitcom episodes ever aired. Also, the series ended in 1979.
     
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  22. THTRobtaylor

    THTRobtaylor Once & Future Wrestlezone Columnist

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    Butch Reed left the NWA for the WWE and was in the mix for the IC title, indeed he was planned to have it instead of Honky Tonk Man but his backstage antics put paid to that... he went back to NWA/WCW as part of Doom and it was Simmons who got over from it. In short, Reed blew his chance at the big time.

    Von Erich got the title for totally different reasons, due to his brother's death and being due to get the title when he died. That transitional run served a purpose... and Kerry got a run rather than David getting the run that was intended. Butch was NEVER getting near it and nor should he have.
     
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  23. GhettoV1

    GhettoV1 Pre-Show Stalwart

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    All in the family morphed into Archie Bunker's place in 1979 and gained four years until it's end in 1982 (or 1983 if I'm right). And WWE always been an ethnic territory based in the Northeast U.S. since it's founding as Capital Sports (CWC) in 1952.
     
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  24. THTRobtaylor

    THTRobtaylor Once & Future Wrestlezone Columnist

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    Exactly... that's not even 1% of the ethnic talent that's been in the mix.

    Ricky Steamboat was Hawaiian... as American as anyone else, indeed as American as Yokozuna... He was just billed as American, whereas Yoko was billed as Japanese.

    Was it racist to use a Samoan American as a "Japanese champion?" Not really, other wise you get into the whole tizzy some are over Hollywood... can only a Japanese-American play Rick Daimo in the new Hellboy? They chose to change the character to white, the actor turned it down... now they have a Korean-American... and people are STILL not happy... how many TOP actors of a certain ethnicity are available at any one time... far fewer than if you go down to a general ethnicity like Asian-American...

    By the list the chap gave, why was Pat Tanaka or Sato never World Champ? or Tiger Chung Lee? same reason Outback Jack, Ludvig Borga or Sly Grenier never were... they weren't good enough to be.

    The reality is ANY talent has the chance of a world title, wherever they are from if they are good enough.. Unfortunately, WWE hasn't had the best record with ethnic champions, yet even now Nakamura is likely to win the title at HIAC...

    Is it racist that no Englishman has yet held the title but an Irishman has? No... stupid on WWE's part but both times it was an option, Davey Boy and Regal themselves screwed it in some way... Regal, especially after that KOTR, win while he was GM... he was red hot but failed his drugs test.

    WWE people are still actors in reality, so if a Canadian is playing "The Face Of America" or a Dutchman (Aliester Black) is playing a more American or British type character, does it matter? Surely the argument for equality is that everyone has equal chance... so if Ed Skrien is the right guy for the role, he should be able to have it... if Nakamura is the right guy to hold the belt he should have it, but neither guy should be forced down anyones throat... if you don't like the casting/choice, don't support it with your money. Simples
     
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  25. therockiswwf

    therockiswwf The voice of Michael Cole's headset

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    This is very true. In fact, someone did a study to see how long it takes talent to become main eventers. They found that it is essentially a crapshoot:

    This shows with people like Crews and Bliss. Both were brought up way too early. Yet, they went on opposite paths. One grew and the other stagnated. WWE can't force a superstar. While Reigns is getting a big backlash, he is popular. Jinder is being forced and the crowd reacted with not attending SD events. It is largely up to the individual if they can get over (there are exceptions). Austin, Rock, HHH and Mankind all had to deal with Russo booking and they managed to make their stuff great. Undertaker was not able to make his stuff work during that time (this would be the exception I mentioned earlier). You have to show WWE something to make them want to push you. Foreign or not. You may get a shit storyline but that isn't unique. A lot of people get shit. It is your job to do the best with what they give you.
     
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