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The New Era In Professional Wrestling Is Brown!

When I was younger I was introduced to professional wrestling by my father. We watched the WWE (then WWF) together seeing Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant and more on TV while seeing inserts of other cultured people wrestling in the matches. People like Ricky the Dragon Steamboat, and Mr. Fuji came out and the look of wrestling was big and amazing but it lacked the feeling of oneness with me because I didn't see "me" in it. When I saw Junkyard Dog and Koko B. Ware I saw myself in wrestling and that's when it really took to my imagination.

The sad part of this imagination is that I did not see Black and Brown champions often and that is what made wrestling a fantasy and not real to me. Yes it was always entertaining but the relation of the product and brands did not sit with me as I looked for a face to confide in as Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair and so many other superstars of the time where Caucasian and I am not. I watched WCW to find stars that I could relate to. The tag team Doom which were Ron Simmons (Faaruq) and Butch Reed managed by Teddy Long started my love for WCW and I then found people I could relate to. The Harlem Heat followed soon and then I saw Ice Man King Parsons and Too Cold Scorpio and I saw wrestlers that became a big deal to me. WCW also introduced me to Lucha Libre and Mexican wrestling. Wrestling when I was younger was always deemed White and Japanese, not something for black kids. Think about this I am from the north east and "wrasslin" is a southern thing. So seeing this for the first time blew my mind. When Ron Simmons became the first African-American heavy weight champion in WCW it changed how I appreciated wrestling seeing Doom and Harlem Heat with belts was great but remember it was a first and a one time thing.

When Dewayne "The Rock" Johnson era of WWE started we saw the breakthrough of the biggest man of color in sports entertainment and the inner city child I saw got into wresting due to the need to see Smackdown on TV. The Rock was used to sell Smackdown as a new show on network TV and soon the video games followed. Sure there are other black wrestlers but he was number 1 in the world. After his influence we see how more children of brown skin have gotten into wrestling because we see a boom in the sport and more black and brown wrestlers coming into the camera for people to recognize.

Today the chances of seeing black men, and Hispanic men on wrestling television is on a high that we have never seen before. The WWE is a staple on Television and though WCW, and ECW (the best), may not be around. The WWE NXT, and now AEW are the homes of prominent names that are influencing the next generation of children that will grow to become wrestlers. Names like Mercedes Mone', Bianca Belair, Jade Cargill, Zelena Vega, Roxanne Perez, Queen Aminata, Athena, and so many more are making waves into the world bringing more young Black and Hispanic girls to the sport inspiring them to join the squared circle and for the boys people like "Bounty Hunter" Bobby Keith, Bobby Lashley, The New Day, Carmelo Hayes and Trick Williams are leading the charge to bring children of color into a sport that at one time did not have many faces on Television to watch. Yes there were always black wrestlers but today's boom of wrestlers of color to see is so apparent that commercials and entertainment are full of these faces and you can not deny their power with the people. My nephews and grandson played WWE 2k24 and saw so many people that looked like them it was amazing. These are are wonderful times to share the love of the sport with your child if you do so because now they can see themselves represented in the brand and in stardom as well.

Many may not be into wrestling and that is cool but with WALEMANIA happening on Wrestlemania weekend, and wrestlecons going on where the fans can meet their favorite wrestlers more people of color are out meeting the many men and women that make up this sport. In the 80s it was rock and wrestling. In the 90s thanks to ECW it was Heavy Metal and Hip-Hop. Now it is Pop Culture and wrestling is everywhere from rap battle arenas, to cosplay, restaurants, and dominating social media with our faces all over it. Bianca Belair is one of the highlighted stars on the cover of a video game. As a black woman wrestler at that.

We live in a different time and with racism and prejudice still active and evil in our country I can only wonder how my father would have reacted to see the beauty of Latin Culture and Black Culture sprinkled all over our TV as we watched wrestling together. The children today are gifted more of a chance to see themselves exist in this world and I am so happy their time has come and they can enjoy it. To see a young child see and pick a hero that looks like them shows the world is theirs and they have a place in it where every they choose to go. Thank you to all the wrestlers that represent us, your work and dedication is not unnoticed.


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