By Bayani Domingo, Associate Editor
It’s been a 2 weeks full of audibles and re-writes. In the span of 14 days I’ve gotten 2 root canals, my wisdom teeth out (my mouth feels like it’s taken every Superkick the Youngbucks have ever given), and on top of that my column on Hulk Hogan’s auspicious return was bumped because of the introduction of Blitzkrieg “The German Juggernaut” onto the scene. I originally thought Jack Evans had stepped into another minefield, until I realized that THIS Blitzkrieg was a near middle aged wrestler in anonymous Indy Fed in Pennsylvania. This is basically a nobody who has become a SOMEBODY and NOW I have to care about this jobber? Oh, hyper bipartisanship, why must you vex me so?
There are several components to this story and we are going to go through them one by one: the gimmick, the booking, the reaction, the fallout, and the attempted capitalization. Because this cycle happens almost too predictably whenever a wrestling controversy takes place. Something we cannot divorce from this whole saga is the fact that this Indy wrestler has a day job, as a teacher of 5th and 6th graders. 10 and 11 are the last few years where adults have influence over children before they become pre-teens and teens and presumably already know EVERYTHING. If Blitzkrieg, also known as Kevin Bean, was a plumber, a target stock room clerk, or a White House Communications Director, this story probably doesn’t make it past Ryan Satin’s Twitter page. But here we are, talking about what kind of impact that has on his students and the message he may or may not be sending to those kids.
So let’s start at the easy part, relatively speaking, the gimmick. There is a segment of fans who believe that “No gimmick is off limits”, and they’d be wrong. Very, very wrong. Using the philosophy that the best gimmicks are ones steeped in reality, challenge the norms, dabble in controversy, and thus elicit a deep emotional response from the crowd…is flawed. You know what’s controversial and stirs up emotions, a wrestler who is billed as an abortion doctor (oh Snitsky, where for art thou?), or Big Bossman-esque gimmick where the wrestler stops in the middle of the match to harass Black fans minding their own business. What about wrestler called Will Cosby who only wrestlers intergender matches and finishes with a sleeper hold, then carries the woman to the back with him afterward? What if Mr. Kevin Bean had worked a pedophile gimmick? How do you explain THAT to your class when the adage used to be, “the best gimmick is the ones where the wrestlers are just themselves, but amped up to an 11”? I think we can all agree that there IS a line, the question is whether Mr. Bean crossed it or not. You might be surprised to read this, but I don’t think he did. But there’s a reason why this kind of gimmick is problematic.
I don’t know the full extent of his gimmick. Provided he isn’t using Hate Speech aimed at specific racial/religious groups, or trying to incite actual violence during the show, then this is merely “cheap heat”. Now where this gets tricky is the booking. The problem with a character like this is that it forces you to explain to people outside of the business, some paying customers, that this is all a gimmick. “Traditionalists” that decry the “Death of Kayfabe” can’t also be behind this kind of gimmick that forces you to break kayfabe, that would be hypocritical. However, if you do NOT break kayfabe and Blitzkrieg doesn’t come clean in the classroom, then you can’t also be okay with him teaching kids. What good is a gimmick if you constantly need to provide a disclaimer to people. Another limiting factor is that Blitzkrieg has to be booked as a villain, you can’t in all good conscience book him as a Face without basically pushing the White Supremacy agenda. You can’t paint him as a sympathetic Heel because that’s not “Politically Incorrect” it’s just plain incorrect. In the 1 YouTube match available with him working, he’s booked against another Heel. In fact, he gets more cheers, support, signs, and *sigh* Nazi salutes than his opponent. You simply can NOT book a Neo Nazi against a guy who is attempting to get more Heat than him. So that’s rather limiting. It’s almost as egregious as having the guy win cleanly, because “physical superiority” was kind of part of the Nazi shtick, no? I mean, Nein?
The other problem with booking is that you can control how a wrestler works, how he wins or loses, and who he opposes, but you can’t control the fan reaction. No matter how Heel a Heel is, there are going to be contrarians in the crowd that cheer him. You’re also going to get people who know the wrestler in real life who are going to cheer for him, that doesn’t even include wrestling fans are just flat out racist who are going to cheer for this kind of character. Now you’ve created an atmosphere where a Neo Nazi is being treated as the good guy, not a great look. For anyone involved. You can’t make the fans cheer what you want and boo what you want as a booker, no matter HOW many times you book Roman Reigns in a title match. Whoops, sorry, tangent. Without the ability to control the reaction, how do you control the message? That brings us to the crutch argument that this guy is merely an “actor” or “Entertaining” playing a “Role”. I’ve read people try to use the excuse that this isn’t any different than if Mr. Bean was playing a Nazi in a historical play depicting Nazi Germany.
I’m going to go ahead and stop you right there Taylor Swastika and I’m going to let you finish, but that is a false equivalency if I ever heard one. This would be akin to if the historical play had the Nazi’s winning WWII every once in a while during random shows. Or if this was historical play depicting Nazi Germany invading Poland and then stopping there on some nights. Also, for those “Traditionalists” saying that he’s merely an “Actor”, then what’s the wild hair up your ass about these tiny “choreographed acrobats” flipping all around the ring? This brings us to the fallout. This is going to be a little tricky, because there’s really 2 solutions here, two FINAL Solutions if you will…either Blitzkrieg adopts a new gimmick and continues teaching or the school district accepts that this is all a gimmick and they let it go, with likely, some conditions. Namely that Blitzkrieg is never treated like a Face by the company, and possibly that he includes something in his lesson plan that involves diversity or the atrocities of Nazi regime. Because Mr. Bean isn’t quitting his day job to keep a $40 a month gig without benefits, and no school would be willing to hire a guy that controversial, which is a shame because male teachers are a rarity and a real asset in education, especially for those kids without a strong male role model at home. I’m also curious as to what sort of numbskull thinks it’s too much to ask the guy to just include a 1 day less on diversity, racial equality, and the evils of Nazis in order to keep both his jobs? Kind of feels like something all schools should just touch on, if only briefly anyways.
On top of this, my guess is that the company sells a few more tickets over the next 2 or 3 months while they’ve gotten all this free publicity and ol’ Mr. Bean’s booking fees will double in the wake of this. To a whopping $80 a night!! Unfortunately, Blitzkrieg will also get the “Josh Hader Treatment” and get a standing ovation at the next show, which is NOT what a Heel should be striving for, it also kind of sends the wrong message since the man hasn’t done anything right, he just isn’t being punished for something he might not be doing wrong. What could also happen, is that you get actual Neo Nazi sympathizers at the show now, which, you might think is farfetched, but…I mean, it’s Indy wrestling, there IS NO “Guest List”. What’s worst of all is that these people are going to be cheering for a man they think represents something within themselves that they don’t want to hide anymore…and then see the guy work and…that’s probably enough to make even the most ardent of Klansman to question their superiority. There’s a reason he’s a Juggernaut, and not a JuggerShould.
What I think we will see come out of this is a slight bump for the World Wide Wrestling Alliance (which is ironic, since Blitzy should be part of the WWWAxis, right?) in terms of tickets in the short term, and Mr. Beankrieg being booked at a few more promotions for a few months to take advantage of his notoriety, but little else for those entities. What might have the most impact is whether or not other companies or the WWWA tries to create NEW and similarly controversial gimmicks to take advantage of the Heat. Maybe we do get a “Maurice Lester”, “Alton Wright”, “Ann Teefa”, or “MI-14”. I can’t imagine that a small time, small town promoter won’t think that it wouldn’t be worth the shot of getting national exposure by creating an even MORE controversial and polarizing character than Blitzkrieg. But, it wouldn’t be the first time this happened.
Pointing to past gimmicks and angles that were potentially more controversial or offensive isn’t an excuse for current and future ones. You can’t tell your wife that since she didn’t divorce you after the first affair that she can’t get mad if you have another one. This is one of those situations where the gimmick might not be flat out wrong, but the trickiness of booking it might be so out of a promotion’s control that it just might not be worth it. I don’t believe that just because you CAN do something, means you should. If the sole reason that people get behind this gimmick is because it pisses other people off, then why not book a wrestler called Wyatt Gilt? He can just show up on any card and bump a Black or Brown wrestler without any prior notice. So, while I hope Mr. Bean keeps his job, it’s not going to be as easy as sweeping things under the rug and turning a blind eye because this is a role he CHOSE for himself. The nation is watching now, whether the WWWA likes it or not, they are on the hook for some Heat even they themselves may never have imagined. In the end, you can’t escape that fact that a wrestling promotion’s job is to create a world where it’s difficult to divorce the audience’s heads from their hearts and make them forget that the play unwinding in front of them isn’t a play at all, perhaps the WWWA needs break away from that goal more now than ever, amireich?
- Has Rhonda Rousey been to the Uso Penitentiary lately? Because that would explain them sloppy Cell Block C prison braids.
- The Rock has now become the highest paid actor EVER in a single year. Clocking in a whopping $124 Million in 2017. Or roughly the cost of 20 Brock Lesner matches.
- “Switchblade” Jay White has been running through the G1 tournament this year. Like a hot knife through mochi. Through nefarious means the Kiwi has beaten both Okada and Tanahashi already and is on a collision course with Michael Elgin. Elgin had promised to put an end to Switchblade and stop him in the tracks like a “backstage sexual harassment”. So….6 pts for Switchblade huh? Neat.
- NXT has announced that War Games II will be taking place at Takeover Los Angeles. Which…if I’m not mistaken, involves a battle between Hipsters, Taco Trucks, and “Iowa 10’s” trying to make it as actresses even though they are “LA 7’s”. I mean, who else has taken over LA?
- WWE announced that Cain Velasquez has been training at the Performance Center to become a pro wrestler. This could be a good fit, Cain was named the most charismatic UFC Champions by the “Velasquez Household Christmas Newsletter” in 2012. But unfortunately, not in 2014.
- Bayley and Sasha’s relationship issues may have FINALLY found resolution when Sasha was able to admit after much internal struggle that she did INDEED love Bayley. Now all that’s left is to decide they’re ready for the next step and figure out either which one of them is going to be artificially inseminated or do they just adopt one of those Asian babies from either a Fancy Asian country or a Jungle Asian country. I’d go Fancy Asian, myself.
- Asuka’s current booking is like if WCW ultimately used Goldberg’s undefeated streak to rocket him into a feud with Ralphus.
- Random Musing: If the US and Russian Presidents ever became a Tag Team, would the name: Puti-Tang, be too dated for the kids to get? Sa Da Tay!
- Flip Gordon has is taking on Nick Aldis for the NWA Heavyweight Championship and a chance to go “All In” against Cody. As a proud Filipino, I for one would love to see a “Flip” become NWA Heavyweight Champ.
- Killer Kross is quickly making a name for himself in both IMPACT and in Lucha Underground. I guess you could call it a …Killer Krossover.
- There is something extremely ironic in Allie calling her signature move the “Best Super Kick Ever”. It’s like how IHOP is an “International” House of Pancakes. Yet, I’ve never been asked for my passport nor had my children separated from me when I try to cut the line.
- Maybe what makes her Super Kick the “Best Ever” is that most people aim for someone’s face when they hit the move. No one ever considered whether the blunt force trauma to someone’s belly button is actually more impactful.
- I loved the Sami Callahan vs Pentagon Jr “Hair vs Mask” match, but I think we all knew how that was going to end. Question is, did they ever stipulate WHERE the hair had to come from? Was there a chance it was Pentagon’s choice and he initially showed up with some Brazilian Hot Wax and a warm towel?
- I dig how Son of Havoc pulled the classic “Don’t Trust Whitey” scan on The Mack, knowing the smart play was for the winner to eliminate Mil Muertes from the upcoming title match. Thereby making The Mack the target of Mil’s revenge and not SoH. This is the kind of grift that was almost so text book, all it needed was for SoH backstage to offer Mack all the friend chicken he could eat if he just gets on this gigantic boat his other friends are already on.
- It was weird watching Mortis beat Johnny Mundo on LU. I kind of miss the days of big men doing big men moves and leaving the flippity flop stuff to the smaller guys. How would HE like it if Jack Evans hit him with a running powerslam? Huh?? I mean, knowing Jack it would be a corkscrew inverted 450 springboard powerslam…but you know what I mean.
- No chance we get Roman to change his finisher to the “Aquaman Punch”, huh?
- Brian Cage really has Matt Sydal’s number. If he’s a “Machine”, he must be a breathalyzer.
- Second Random Thought of the Week: Is it weird that we are now supposedly friends with every country that has ever invaded us in a “Red Dawn” movie?