Selling Out

Darren Young is the first openly gay wrestler in WWE. What that will mean for him and his career depends on how that story plays.
Share |

Out-of-the-closet. African-American. And a guy who is not a superstar but willing to do the dirty work needed to make a team successful and/or keep a job in a highly competitive field.

This was the story surrounding Jason Collins, no superstar but a member in good and long standing of the NBA’s fraternity, when he revealed to the world he was gay. They happen to be the same non-complete-sentences that can be used to describe Darren Young, the first active WWE Superstar, to use their corporate branding if not quite the most accurate word to describe someone who does what Darren Young does, to reveal publicly that he’s gay.

Darren Young is far from a huge name in wrestling. Currently, he’s one-half of a tag team dubbed The Prime Time Players. They’re goofy heels who boast about having “millions of dollars” that they use to party in nightclubs; there was, naturally, a signature dance done while chanting all this. Because it’s their job, they usually and effectively “put guys over” – parlance for losing matches to opponents the WWE has big plans for. Darren’s known for doing the little things required of the role; he’s willing to throw his body all over the ring to make his assigned enemy look good, and also pulls very good facial expressions to demonstrate his cockiness. And he’s also seemingly willing to play second banana to his partner, Titus O’Neil, a former Florida State football player dripping with charisma but lacking polish and someone whose WWE career will almost certainly climb beyond being one of two Prime Time Players.

All of which is to say that Young serves the same purpose as Jason Collins – a bench guy who can come in for a few minutes, bang for a few put-backs and rebounds, play somewhat effectively post defense and generally not fuck things up. This is a solid gig, if also a somewhat tenuous one. Both Collins and Young have, potentially, a great deal to lose through their decisions to announce who they really are. More to the point, they could very well lose it.

***

These are, both of them, two of the most interchangeable roles in their respective industries. Plenty of big guys can do the requisite dirty work in Europe and the NBDL; they would do anything for Collins’ spot and, most importantly, would cost less than an established player. And there’s also a lot of “solid hands” dotting the independent scene and the WWE’s minor league who would love to take a bump off the ring apron into the steel railing at ringside in order to grab some of Vince McMahon’s money. They dream of doing just that.

But while Collins proved himself as absolutely fit to carry the weight of being the first out active-duty male athlete, he already knew his role. Darren Young, as part of a sprawling scripted drama, doesn’t know how he’ll be used. Although he knows, as all wrestlers do, that he will be used in whatever way the WWE sees as most useful, lucrative and dramatic. That does not mean he’ll be used gently, or well.

The WWE is a corporation that, like all publicly-traded entertainment companies, loves using its employees as a public relations tool – Stephanie McMahon, daughter of CEO Vince and supposedly next-in-line to take over the company when her father decides to hand down the reigns, has already tweeted a hearty congratulations to Darren. The WWE has also embarked on its “Be A Star” anti-bullying campaign; a minority wrestler who has unveiled his sexuality could certainly be an effective spokesperson for that campaign. And since wrestling has always been happy to afford its fans a peek behind the scenes (if not necessarily a peek at actual, true things), it’s likely that Darren’s sexuality will become a part of his character’s persona, and his on-air stock could rise.

It’s likely that Darren’s decision to come out could result in him turning into a good guy, especially in light of the failed attempts of Linda McMahon (wife of Vince and formerly an incredibly awful on-air character) to buy her way into the Senate in both 2010 and 2012. Linda ran as a centrist Republican in both elections. She took a “this is a state issue” stance when asked about her views on gay marriage, the coded message for “I’m not revealing my opinion on this since a public viewpoint either way will hurt my chances of gaining power.”

Not-too-shortly after her last electoral loss, the WWE debuted a new character named Zeb Colter, a seething font of Tea Party-accented anti-immigrant rhetoric. He cuts interviews in front of a shabbily hung “Don’t Tread On Me” flag. Colter – a longtime performer best known for playing redneck Dutch Mantel – currently manages a tag team. One member of his stable is Jack Swagger, the prototypical sandy-haired Middle American cocky jock. The other is Antonio Cesaro, a Swiss-born strongman that Colter described as the “right kind of immigrant.” It hasn’t been stated what makes Cesaro “right” but the subtext is clear to the WWE Universe – Zeb debuted attacking Mexican wrestler Alberto Del Rio, whose brown skin, Colter made clear, makes him the wrong kind of everything.

Zeb and his stable – who put their hands over their hearts and chant “We The People” before and during matches – have a very visible role. Swagger was briefly a WWE champion and also had an upper-card match at WrestleMania. And Cesaro, a longtime favorite on the independent scene, has been pushed as a phenom for large parts of his tenure.

They’re also cast as heels, allegedly crafted due to the McMahon family’s belief that the far right cost Linda the election. A tag feud between these two seems a natural fit, with Darren Young cast as the good guy.

***

But if the WWE does push Darren Young as a hero, it will be a marked turn for how wrestling portrays homosexual characters.

Wrestling has always used sexuality as an archetype. The first true villain of the industry was Gorgeous George, a flamboyant pretty boy who dressed feminine and had male servants at his disposal. Adrian Adonis was a glammy T-Rex style cross-dresser who weighed over 350 pounds and feuded with Hulk Hogan in the 1980s. Goldust – played by Dustin Rhodes, the son of the southern populist son-of-a-plumber legend “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes – was a Norma Desmond-inspired creep in gold face paint and unisex jumpsuit with female mannerisms who, in his earliest incarnation, molested his good guy opponents as an in-ring psychological ploy. Billy “Assman” Gunn and Chuck Palumbo teamed up in the ‘90s, partnering with personal stylist Rico, and played a highly affectionate heel tag team; they went so far as to arrange a gay wedding but revealed it as a publicity stunt. The two asserted that they were completely straight, and turned face soon after.

But Pat Patterson is professional wrestling’s most interesting and, until Thursday, most well-known homosexual. Patterson was a star in the 1970s and ‘80s who was open about his sexuality even then. His longtime partner is fellow wrestler Steve Lombardi, best remembered as The Brooklyn Brawler. Patterson’s mind for wrestling was so well-respected that he ascended the ranks of the WWE after his days in the ring were over, outlining the matches and crafting the finishing segments of some of the WWE’s most legendary matches. He is also attributed with creating the concept of the Royal Rumble, the promotion’s major winter pay-per-view event and arguably the greatest format in the industry’s history.

Patterson’s knack for seeing and creating narrative and dramatic stakes, and genius for developing matches eventually made him Vince McMahon’s real-life second-hand-man. A case could be made that Patterson, during his lengthy career working behind-the-scenes, ranked right behind his boss as the second most influential – and powerful – person in the industry.

But even a man with that power saw his sexuality used as a way to elicit jeering reactions from the audience. Patterson played as a corporate yes-man stooge to Vince McMahon’s evil boss during the WWE’s Attitude Era in the’ 90s and frequently found himself the recipient of attacks from such good guys as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock. Jim Ross, the Oklahoma-twanged lead announcer who served as the audience’s proxy, would frequently sneak in (or just shout) heavy innuendos referencing Patterson’s sexuality. Paterson was never officially outed as a gay man on-screen. However, the Attitude Era coincided with the Internet’s rise, which allowed for wrestling fans to learn about Patterson’s real-life role in the company and his sexuality.

It’s unlikely that the WWE, in the post-DOMA world, would use Young’s public disclosure as a way to showcase him in a “gay equals bad” manner and suffer a public relations hit. But Jason Collins is still looking for work in the much more mainstream NBA, and this is wrestling. Which means that any expectation, however high or low, could well become a reality if it plays. The politics are the politics, but the WWE is the WWE. If Young’s story sells, they'll sell it.

Image via Flickr User Simon Q/WikiMedia Commons


Share |

Comments

MinoxidilKing offers top quality 15% minoxidil proven to help stop hair loss. View or selection of minoxidil for men today.

This course is the most comprehensive guide to mobile app marketing. If you own or manage an app - whether it be your own startup business, as an agency managing it on behalf of a brand, or as a brand owner - this course will help you scale your app business from zero users, to a million users! I’ll be sharing with you 16 proven, highly-effective app marketing strategies - all market- tested to work with some of the biggest brands in the world. App marketing

Click on this link to get an 80% discount off the course ($20 limited time offer, regular price is $100)
https://www.udemy.com/mobile-app-marketing-masterclass/?couponCode=20-DOLLAR-OFFER

Extremely helpful post. This is my first time i visit here. I discovered such a large number of intriguing stuff in your blog particularly its exchange. Truly its extraordinary article. Keep it up.tanklesswaterheaterworld

I appreciate several from the Information which has been composed, and especially the remarks posted I will visit once more. Bet Daring

The American Crisis Prevention and Management Association (ACPMA) has been providing crisis prevention, intervention and management training and consulting for about a decade. ACPMA trainers are experienced crisis prevention and management consultants that bring the knowledge needed to help you and your organization excel. AB 508 Training

Very useful post. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. Really its great article. Keep it up. click here

Rocket Crop Jeans
Just pure brilliance from you here. I have never expected something less than this from you and you have not disappointed me at all. I suppose you will keep the quality work going on.

دانلود فیلم متولد 65​, دانلود رایگان سریال, دانلود سریال جدید, دانلود فیلم و سریال با لینک مستقیم, دانلود فیلم های جدید و برتر, دانلود رایگان فیلم و سریال با لینک مستقیم دانلود فیلم متولد 65

pleasant post, stay aware of this fascinating work. It truly regards realize that this subject is being secured likewise on this site so cheers for setting aside time to talk about this! kit tattoo

Excellent article. I was wondering about this so I'm very happy I found your website.paros cruises

Great write-up, I am a big believer in commenting on blogs to inform the blog writers know that they’ve added something worthwhile to the world wide web!.voyance en ligne

A.L.C. Pre-Spring 2017
This is cool post and i enjoy to read this post. your blog is fantastic and you have good staff in your blog. nice sharing keep it up.

I respect this article for the very much investigated substance and magnificent wording. I got so included in this material that I couldn't quit perusing. I am awed with your work and aptitude. Much obliged to you to such an extent. Moving company in Los Angeles

former Florida State football player dripping with charisma but lacking polish and someone whose WWE career will almost certainly climb beyond being one of two Prime Time Players.Loftplan

Do you brain upgrading your blog entry with extra understanding? It ought to be truly helpful for every one of us. plus size retro dresses

Escorts is an Elite Central London Escorts Agency providing high class escort courtesans in Central London. loft conversions north london

We are truly thankful for your blog entry. You will discover a great deal of methodologies in the wake of going to your post. I was precisely scanning for. A debt of gratitude is in order for such post and please keep it up. Lifestyle Engineer

This is my first time i visit here. I found such a substantial number of interesting stuff in your blog especially its examination. Really its inconceivable article. Keep it up. how long heroin in urine

If the attendant being linked to is almost agriculture, you testament essential the backbone text to emit that. search engine optimisation prices

Much appreciated you all that much to share these connections. Will look at this.. best content developer

Hi! This post couldn't be composed any better! Perusing this post helps me to remember my past flat mate! He generally continued visiting about this. I will forward this page to him. Genuinely certain he will have a decent perused. Much obliged to you for sharing!comparar bicicletas

That is why selling advertising campaigns marketing so that you could invaluable explore previous advertisment. Quite simply to jot down stronger set that fit this description. try writing

I'm excited to uncover this page. I need to to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to look at new information in your site
blog wisata
info wisata

www.eurimix.com
Mmm.. good to be here in your article or post, whatever, I think I should also work hard for my own website like I see some good and updated working in your site.

Magnificently composed article, if just all bloggers offered the same substance as you, the web would be a much better place.. orpheum theatre omaha

Much thanks to you a cluster for offering this to every one of us you really acknowledge what you are discussing! Bookmarked. It would be ideal if you additionally look for exhortation from my site =). We could have a hyperlink change contract between us! texas hold em online

I'm impressed, I must say. Very rarely do I come across a blog thats both informative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you ve hit the nail on the head. Your blog is important.. Music for baby

Awesome blog. I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work! 1st Art Gallery

Sublimely composed article, if just all bloggers offered the same substance as you, the web would be an obviously better place.. ahamsnon theater los angeles

You make so many great points here that I read your article a couple of times. Your views are in accordance with my own for the most part. This is great content for your readers. http://richestcelebrities.org/richest-celebrities/jamie-oliver-net-worth/

Great job for publishing such a beneficial web site. Your web log isn’t only useful but it is additionally really creative too. There tend to be not many people who can certainly write not so simple posts that artistically. Continue the nice writing Lahore Escorts

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon. Big thanks for the useful info home cleaning new york

Interested in choosing the right VPN for you? Read the reviews first! On vpnhive.com you can find detailed reviews of the best VPN providers out there, including: Express VPN, Nord VPN, VyprVPN, Private Internet Access, HideMyAss, Cyberghost, Cactus VPN, VPN ac, IP Vanish, Liquid VPN, Strong VPN. Stay hidden!vpn

Non-income software organizations include the unfastened software foundation, GNU undertaking and Mozilla foundation. software program popular organizations just like the W3C, IETF expand encouraged software program standards which includes XML, HTTP and HTML, in order that software can interoperate thru those standards. download files

much thanks to you for an awesome post. aronoff center box office

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon. Big thanks for the useful info voyante

خرید اینترنتی لباس - فروشگاه اینترنتی لباس خرید لباس فروش لباس خرید اینترنتی کیف خرید اینترنتی لباس خرید اینترنتی کفش خرید اینترنتی لباس

Only a grinning visitant here to share the adoration (:, btw exceptional style. free ddc chips promo codes share

Super site! I am Loving it!! Will return once more, Im taking your food additionally, Thanks. Andy

Super site! I am Loving it!! Will return once more, Im taking your food additionally, Thanks. Andy

Intriguing post. I Have Been pondering about this issue, so much obliged for posting. Really cool post.It "s truly extremely pleasant and Useful post.Thanks casinotest2017

It was a decent post to be sure. I completely delighted in understanding it in my lunch time. Will definitely come and visit this blog all the more frequently. Much obliged for sharing. free tour Stockholm

it was a brilliant opportunity to visit this sort of site and I am upbeat to know. much thanks to you such a great amount for allowing us to have this open door.. Tom

I really enjoy simply reading all of your weblogs. Simply wanted to inform you that you have people like me who appreciate your work. Definitely a great post. Hats off to you! The information that you have provided is very helpful. bell train blueprint review

much obliged to you for your intriguing infomation. custom essays

Toronto party bus
Always so interesting to visit your site.What a great info, thank you for sharing. this will help me so much in my learning

I sent your articles links to all my contacts and they all love it including me.casino senza deposito

use their corporate branding if not quite the most accurate word to describe someone who does what Darren Young does, android auto head unit

former Florida State football player dripping with charisma but lacking polish and someone whose WWE career will almost certainly climb beyond being one of two Prime Time Players. loftplan

Great knowledge, do anyone mind merely reference back to it Exfoliating Mitt