*** WARNING: YOU ARE NOW ENTERING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE *** PLEASE KEEP ALL EYES AND EARS INSIDE OF KAYFABE AT ALL TIMES *** So, we should probably talk about this Sami Zayn segment, but let me preface everything I’m about to say with two important caveats:
- I don’t believe, whether it’s good or not, that the WWE took into consideration the history of emasculation involved in forcing men of color into drag or the dehumanizing nature of calling into question women of color’s femininity
- I don’t think this was a “good” segment.
HAVING SAID THAT, I don’t think this was — as one often particularly prominent and hysterical fellow put it — the worst thing they’ve done in ten years. Although one’s mileage may vary, I didn’t find it any worse (and in some ways, better) than Alexa’s This is Your Life/Public Service Announcement
Fat-Shaming. In fact, and this is where things may go into hot take territory, I actively think segments like that are an example they should be following on the show going forward. Especially if they are going to reframe some of the more egregious things they do as some kind of social commentary.
Thinking about the problems caused and exposed by reactions to the Alexa-Nia storyline leading into WrestleMania 34 constructs a framework in my mind for the kind of clearly fabricated, over the top, spiteful lying that this was. Sami Zayn was just being a terrible, hateful person who wanted to embarrass Bobby Lashley and upset him. Bobby was equally offended by the lack of real effort Zayn put in to hide his bullshit nearly as much as he was pissed about what was said and done to him. This is the kind of stuff which actually helps build sympathy for the babyface while digging ever deeper the hole the heel has to climb out of if he wants to get over, as opposed to Alexa telling a “somewhat plausible if you heard them and didn’t know anyone involved” about Nia accosting the homeless.
While I would like to never see it again and would have been fine if they didn’t include it in the youtube playlist (which, as you can tell, they did) the notion that this was something worse than mildly tone deaf and kind of boring is losing the thread a little bit as to what it means to be a bad guy. And for Bobby, this helps establish him as a no-frills good guy who means well but stands up for himself, especially in the moments where his “sisters” realized they had been “caught” by Lashley and were likely in for a very well-deserved ass whooping. Especially the dude in the middle too lazy to shave.
Which is to a good thing, any way you look at it (outside of the whole “maybe don’t put black dudes in drag like you’ve never seen The Break-Up episode of 30 Rock” thing.) *** WARNING: YOU ARE NOW EXITING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE *** PLEASE ENJOY YOUR COMPLIMENTARY SONIC CHILI CHEESE DOG MILK SHAKE, NOW WITH EXTRA DOG SHAKE!!! ***