It’s #TheNationWeek at Juice Make Sugar, and we’ve decided to take a look at some young performers that reminds us of members of the stable that have come and gone before them, each of these guys has something to learn, and room to grow. For Ron Simmons, Big E. Langston is looking to fill the same role as a former athlete turned tough guy. Thankfully, we’re here to help them same way we would any other athlete: give him tape He Should Watch. And loving our readers like we do, we have some tape You Should Watch of the work that reminds us of his because what’s more fun than old wrestling videos?
You Should Watch
We were faced with a conundrum of sorts: do we mention Big E. Langston at any point during this week? The line between mentioning him and not mentioning him was less about offending anyone than taking the easy way out. In our minds, Big E. Langston, while big and also, black, doesn’t necessarily have any closer ties than anybody else on the roster the roster to the Nation other than skin tone. That is, until we realized that, for all the pumping up of Booker T, and flogging of the Rock, there’s been so few African-American WWE Champions.
Booker T may have been World’s Champion many times — at least five — over the course of his career, much of his success happened in the oddly (especially considering how he debuted) more progressive WCW, which had already put the belt on the man that truly broke down barriers in modern wrestling, Ron Simmons. Or as he became known in the WWF (because Saba Simba), Faarooq Asad.
But much more importantly, they both represent a certain ideal in the wrestling world: former athlete turned tough guy. Big E. is the uber John Cena: a nationally recognized lifting prodigy who moves like a cat in the ring and is good on the mic without needing to be snarky.
While any number of things could be gleamed from Ron Simmons, looking back at the totality of his career, it’s clear that the most important thing could teach the young man is to be himself. He may have had more singles success as the All-American Ron Simmons, but any fan of the Attitude Era can tell you that he was never more beloved than as a member of the hard-drinking, roughneck Acolytes Protection Agency.
By most accounts a significantly more accurate representation of the man, it allowed his deadpan personality to shine through.
And helped turn Ron Simmons from a historical footnote as the first African American World’s Champion into a beloved figure in the history of wrestling, who happens to be African American. If Big E. wants to be seen the same way, he’d well served to make sure he always lets E. be E.
You Should Watch
While there’s perhaps no better example of what happens when some is allowed to be themselves than Faarooq as a member of APA, one name — with even more star wattage that Big E. seems to possess — comes to mind: Steve Austin. Now, it may seem like we are telling you that we think Big E. should be come an alcoholic, but we aren’t talking about Stone Cold, necessarily.
When it comes to reaching the holy grail of “be yourself-ness”, the zenith of Stone Cold’s career happened not in the bright lights of the WWF, but in the dimly-lit backstage tv studio at the ECW Arena. It was there, after getting fired from WCW by Eric Bischoff, that Steve let loose with a pipe bomb that made CM Punk’s look like From Justin to Kelly:
It’s significantly more incisive than anything Simmons was given the chance to say when he founded The Nation, but that’s not because Simmons wasn’t given the right script. There was simply something innate within Steve Austin that allowed him to, also entirely different material, produce promos like the infamous Austin 3:16 speech, that managed to feel every bit as real as the ones he did after losing his job over the phone.