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

I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post. Garage Door Repair

I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work! teacup pig testimonials

Really a great addition. I have read this marvelous post. Thanks for sharing information about it. I really like that. Thanks so lot for your convene. staubsauger test 2016

I have bookmarked your website because this site contains valuable information in it. I am really happy with articles quality and presentation. Thanks a lot for keeping great stuff. I am very much thankful for this site. and low cost test strips

In this case you will begin it is important, it again produces a web site a strong significant internet site: enhance nitrogen retention

I can recommend primarily decent and even responsible tips, as a result view it: alphamalesupplement.com

It's superior, however , check out material at the street address. skintightening-cream.com

That is a good write-up When i viewed on account of write about the item. Really it is what exactly I need to to discover trust with foreseeable future you might go on intended for giving a really fantastic write-up. empirical response

Do you live in or around Myrtle Beach and need your home painted? If so, make sure to hire us:Myrtle Beach Painters.
Some people attempt to change the colors of their home, both inside and
outside, all on their own. However, they soon realize it is such a
time-consuming task.

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.
hcg injections

As you likely already know, there are countless Myrtle Beach Electrician, but that does not mean that they are all worth hiring. Finding the one that is going to give you superior service and do the job right the first time may take you some time, but is worth the effort. Read on to learn the steps you need to take so that you do not regret your choice later on.

We are here to provide Internet Marketing services and help people. We offer High PR Backlinks, Website Traffic,blacklinks Service. We can rank you for any keyword on Google! sverige

The hcg injectons hormone works best when you are calorie restricted. That is why a lot of people shed a significant amount of fat because the hcg injectons hormone will use all the fat stores and convert it to energy.hcg injections

You re in point of fact a just right webmaster. The website loading speed is amazing. It kind of feels that you're doing any distinctive trick. Moreover, online vintage shopping

Bookmark & check in daily to TradCatKnight for the latest endtime news as we head closer to the great chastisements foretold at Fatima! http://tradcatknight.blogspot.com/

You re in point of fact a just right webmaster. The website loading speed is amazing. It kind of feels that you're doing any distinctive trick. Moreover, The contents are masterpiece. you have done a fantastic activity on this subject! viagragenericoes24.com/viagra-generico

I am a new user of this site so here i saw multiple articles and posts posted by this site,I curious more interest in some of them hope you will give more information on this topics in your next articles.beach condos

It’s very informative and you are obviously very knowledgeable in this area. You have opened my eyes to varying views on this topic with interesting and solid content.southbaybeachclub.com

This seems amazing to see this kind of educational as well as distinctive content articles in your web sites.car title loans

wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!car title loans

I am extremely enjoying reading your well written articles. it's such as you pay plenty of effort and time on your web log. I actually have bookmarked it and that i am trying forward to reading new articles.buy geniux pills

I prefer the submit. It really is excellent to find out an individual verbalize from your coronary heart and also quality with this buy geniux pills
crucial subject matter may be effortlessly witnessed. more details see web site.

I am a new user of this site so here i saw multiple articles and posts posted by this site,I curious more interest in some of them hope you will give more information on this topics in your next articles. reparaciones de moviles tarragona

Glad to chat your blog, I seem to be forward to more reliable articles and I think we all wish to thank so many good articles, blog to share with us. pakej pulau perhentian murah

When i viewed in place your site for the reason that I've got read a whole lot in relation to ones threads. Thankful to mention. grab it

Gangaur Realtech is a professionally managed organisation specializing in real estate services where integrated services are provided by professionals to its clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying or investing in real estate. national escrow

Excellent Submit, I will be a huge believer inside submitting feedback about web sites to be able to allow the website copy writers understand that they’ve extra one thing useful to be able to the net!
embroidery thread

This makes you stand way out from many other writers that push poorly written content.This makes you stand way out from many other writers that push poorly written content.custom shopping bags

Vertical Insider is a media outlet for IT and business professionals, providing the latest and most up to date news, blog articles and white papers in the industry. Vertical Insider caters to all industries and lines of business, with exclusive content and an unsurpassed research library full of case studies, downloads, eBooks, reports, webinars, and white papers in most areas of expertise.
B2B Lead Generation

I need scrolling off and additionally checking any blog and therefore the suggestions positioned. I’ll advise you g.. h.. document.. lenses at zero cost; everyone absolutely love the details you will present right. A good number of any customers really are kids seeking out benefit while you feature the software overtly. With thanks! cheap seo 

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. Bouilleur

Your colleagues are generally raging on the subject of a items also now I just discover why.
hcg dieting

Belonging to the start looking from your blogging, you have got possessed a relatively good go through through authoring.
TauriBot

Keep posting stuff like that , it is a privilege for me to be part of this community.Best of luck WiFi Wireless IP Security Camer

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.
cracked screen repair

Looking through a person's blogs and forums would make people prefer to publish progressively more. I did so your we appeared to be really happy by using. Them aren't executed to the place nonetheless it’s striking. I'll give you actually the hyperlinks so you're able to look at them to do allow me to explain imagination. Youzign 2

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. Fontaine de jardin

I enjoyed reading your post and found it to be informative and to the topic. Thank you for not rambling on and on just to fill the page. Thanks..
how to cure diabetes

wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. keep us updated.

how to regrow hair

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.
daycares near me

This post is truly inspiring. I like your post and everything you share with us is current and very informative, I want to bookmark the page so I can return here from you that you have done a fantastic job!

effective interest rate

This unique is a fantastic put up I just spotted using show it again. Suggest whatever I wanted to ascertain optimism through forthcoming you are likely to remain for the purpose of showing this terrific put up. Old School New Body

That i regarded away your blog given that Relating to over heard a huge amount of related to an individual's articles or blog posts. Relieved to speak about, any rumor well said; that you're not bad at the. I wanted some sort of to assist you to my family for that continued assignment My organization is doing. Youzign 2

seen merit to present the software. Propose being very careful the things I needed to work out intend for long term future you should maintain just for stating a very remarkable content
urgent care near me

Thanks for your time in the inviting blogging you’ve become authoring. May possibly shied removed from authoring ratings for a few years at present and even Recently i gained a powerful provide you with you need to do a state of the art for one blog.
$50 per day system

I feel the admin of this web page is genuinely functioning tough for his web page, for the cause that right here just about every data is quality based stuff. Bangkok Events

This article is fantastic! The information you've given to us here is the best information that one could find on this topic. I was really pleased to read this fantastic article. Keep it up valentines day quotes

Thanks for posting this info. I just want to let you know that I just check out your site and I find it very interesting and informative.24 hour plumbers london

Both Collins and Young have, potentially, a great deal to lose through their decisions to announce who they really are.voyance direct

Should supplementary logic functions also be needed, they can be incorporated using the company’s microassembly techniques. loft conversions ealing