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

Such a very useful article. Very interesting to read this article.I would like to thank you for the efforts you had made for writing this awesome article. Gemstone

I like viewing web sites which comprehend the price of delivering the excellent useful resource free of charge. I truly adored reading your posting. Thank you! puppy training

Nice information, valuable and excellent design, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which I need, thanks to offer such a helpful information here.לימוזינות לחתונה

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.
voyance amour

I don’t have the time at the moment to fully read your site but I have bookmarked it and also add your RSS feeds. I will be back in a day or two. thanks for a great site.michelle obama

Such a very useful article. Very interesting to read this article.I would like to thank you for the efforts you had made for writing this awesome article.
Max Workouts

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.
Binary options reviews

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. vimax pills online 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.

Going to graduate school was a positive decision for me. I enjoyed the coursework, the presentations, the fellow students, and the professors. And since my company reimbursed 100% of the tuition, the only cost that I had to pay on my own was for books and supplies. Otherwise, I received a free master’s degree. All that I had to invest was my time. www.amazon.com/Garcinia-Cambogia-Extract-50-Potassium/dp/B00CRT1U1U

Writing with style and getting good compliments on the article is quite hard, to be honest.But you've done it so calmly and with so cool feeling and you've nailed the job. This article is possessed with style and I am giving good compliment. Best!prostate stimulation

Wow! Such an amazing and helpful post this is. I really really love it. It's so good and so awesome. I am just amazed. I hope that you continue to do your work like this in the future also.Brecknell

Really appreciate this wonderful post that you have provided for us.Great site and a great topic as well i really get amazed to read this. Its really good.http://www.freetrialhgh.com/

Three are usually cheap Ralph Lauren available for sale each and every time you wish to buy. They're produced by the very best degree developers who will be distinguished for your polo dress creating. You'll find polo Ron Lauren inside exclusive array which include particular classes for men, women.Maniac Pass Over 400 Mega Sites On Here See Free Movies Clips Now Join !

Once I thought about things like: why such information is for free here? Because when you write a book then at least on selling a book you get a percentage. Thank you and good luck on informing people more about it…electric radiators

Det beror på vilken vätska mobiltelefonen är tappat den i, olika vätskor orsakar olika mycket skador. T.ex. tappar du mobilen i havet/saltvatten så lär mobilen rosta inneifrån väldigt fort vilket kan medföra stora rostskador på din iphone om inte man snabbt gör något åt saken och öppnar den för att kunna torska bort all vatten. Laga iPhone i Kista Galleria Stockholm. Snabba iPhone reparationer billigt. Tappar man den i vatten så är det jätte bra att låta mobilen ligga i ris i minst 24 timmar men man bör även gå in snabbt till en iphone reparatör och undersöka saken så fort som möjligt för att kunna fastställa om det går att rädda sin kära iphone eller inte. Det man räddar först och främst i iphonen när det gäller hårdvara är i förstahand moderkortet då den är som telefonens hjärta och hjärna.reparation iPhone 6 glas

I want you to thank for your time of this wonderful read!!! I definately enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff of your blog a must read blog!!!!
wbjee 2015

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.
jeecup 2015 admit card

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. slimera garcinia cambogia reviews

Nice information, valuable and excellent design, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which I need, thanks to offer such a helpful information here.
uptu 2015 application form

I was just browsing through the internet looking for some information and came across your blog. I am impressed by the information that you have on this blog. It shows how well you understand this subject. Bookmarked this page, will come back for more.invitaciones de boda

I just got to this amazing site not long ago. I was actually captured with the piece of resources you have got here. Big thumbs up for making such wonderful blog page!
เรียวครีม

Going to graduate school was a positive decision for me. I enjoyed the coursework, the presentations, the fellow students, and the professors. And since my company reimbursed 100% of the tuition, the only cost that I had to pay on my own was for books and supplies. Otherwise, I received a free master’s degree. All that I had to invest was my time. furnace mississauga

dragon city Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! clash of clans

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.Internet Search Engine Portals Network Mass Offers Crawler Access To Everything !

Thanks for writing such a good article, I stumbled onto your blog and read a few post. I like your style of writing...
Nettoyage de murs et plafonds

I was just browsing through the internet looking for some information and came across your blog. I am impressed by the information that you have on this blog. It shows how well you understand this subject. Bookmarked this page, will come back for more.Fairy Tales Live Entertainment Movies See Free Steaming Film Now Join See Tons More Now !

You have done a great job. I will definitely dig it and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this site.
Preview

Writing with style and getting good compliments on the article is quite hard, to be honest.But you've done it so calmly and with so cool feeling and you've nailed the job. This article is possessed with style and I am giving good compliment. Best!www.vigrxoilreview.com

I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work! fifa 15 coins cheap

This is also a very good post which I really enjoyed reading. It is not every day that I have the possibility to see something like this.. cricket world cup final live streaming

Great tips and very easy to understand. This will definitely be very useful for me when I get a chance to start my blog.http://www.freedriverupdater.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFF6llyBXug Thanks for a very interesting blog. What else may I get that kind of info written in such a perfect approach? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqaNIguDPug I’ve a undertaking that I am simply now operating on, and I have been at the look out for such info. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvFQ7R5OoyE

I'm impressed, I must say. Very rarely do I come across a blog that's both informative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you've hit the nail on the head. Your blog is important..northstarmaint.com/calabasas-janitorial-services

I want you to thank for your time of this wonderful read!!! I definately enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff of your blog a must read blog!!!!hörlurar

I want you to thank for your time of this wonderful read!!! I definately enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff of your blog a must read blog!!!!anchor text: rv tyvek covers

A very awesome blog post. We are really grateful for your blog post. combat, law enforcement You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up. Great work.Vegas price per head

This content is simply exciting and creative. I have been deciding on a institutional move and this has helped me with one aspect.
bladblazers

First You got a great blog .I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics, i will be always checking your blog thanks. ordering credits

http://www.cpagrip.com/show.php?l=0&u=35718&id=4100 Lovely deal this. I totally love the way you present your articles. You are such a gem! I want you to keep publishing more great articles like this. I will be pleased, sir.

quotes of wisdom How excellent or unsatisfactory are usessay.chic online? I acquire never shared an Australian inscription benefit despite I am currently considering it. I am hoping that the authors are as salubrious also detailed as their us plus uk equivalents; are they?

Exclusive and Original content for the most and latest relevant entertainment news, beauty topics, fashion, news and celebrity gossip of African, African American and the African diaspora...Detailed here : oprah winfrey

Excellent information on your blog, thank you for taking the time to share with us. Amazing insight you have on this, it's nice to find a website that details so much information about different artists. สมัครGclub

Randy Reichert has over 25 years of experience in mining operations, project development, and project ramp ups in precious metals and base metals Article

Randy Reichert started his career with Cominco in Canada spending 10 years at various operations before embarking on international work in Russia with Bema Gold (Kinross) and Oriel Resources, followed by executive assignments with junior mining companies in Kazakhstan, Brazil, and the USA.Click here

We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. Great work.
bangla choti

Nice information, valuable and excellent design, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which I need, thanks to offer such a helpful information here.
Johnny Vieira

Thanks for the nice blog. It was very useful for me. I'm happy I found this blog. Thank you for sharing with us,I too always learn something new from your post.سعودي انحراف 88

I really appreciate that you wrote this article and shared some really good information on this specific topic. I was in vital need to get some information on this topic and thanks to you, I've got that! Thanks, once again!
Dlna server

I most likely appreciating each and every bit of it. It is an incredible site and decent impart. I need to much obliged. Great employment! You all do an incredible blog, and have some extraordinary substance. Keep doing awesome.lighting fixtures