“If you shut up truth and bury it under the ground, it will but grow, and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through it will blow up everything in its way.” Emil Zola
Although the WWE paints the walls of its fortress in the colours of justice and sends its kings to fight a war against bullying, behind closed doors, the real face of the company has been unveiled to be much different. The B.A.Star posters won’t be enough to silence the voices of those, who have been a part of the WWE and have suffered oppression and discrimination.
I think the first person to openly voice his dissatisfaction with the WWE, was Ricardo Rodriguez. Despite being known for playing Alberto Del Rio’s ring announcer, Rodriguez is actually an active luchador, who used to compete as the masked wrestler Chimaera. If you’re not familiar with his wrestling career, here’s a video compilation of his best moments in the indies:
Most people would be surprised to find out that Ricardo Rodriguez could move like that in the ring. I most certainly was. That’s because in the WWE, he was never allowed to wrestle (expect a few matches as El Local on NXT). Not only that, but after his departure from the WWE, Rodriguez revealed that he had been subjected to racist jokes in the locker room and that it was considered to be normal. He named Triple H, specifically, as a downright racist. Apparently, Mr. Levasque would always call Rodriguez offensive names, based on his larger size and on his Mexican descent. Rodriguez stated the following:
BumbleBee was his name for me… Don’t even think he ever knew my real name
For those who don’t know, BumbleBee Man is an overweight Mexican caricature character from The Simpsons.
Some could say that, perhaps, Ricardo Rodrguez is bitter for having been released by the WWE and that the name-calling was a light-hearted joke between co-workers. However, he’s not alone in his claims that the atmosphere in the company is marked by discrimination.
Myzteziz, formerly known as the Blue Sin Cara (the original Sin Cara) revealed that although this wasn’t the reason for his departure from the WWE, his time with the company was marked by constant racist jokes in the locker room . Since the discriminatory derogatory comments were started by those in power, there was nothing that could be done.
However, the incident that tore the curtains of WWE’s dirty secrets was the release of Alberto Del Rio, currently known as Alberto El Patron. Cody Barbierri , a WWE employee, reportedly made a blatant racist joke about Mexicans in Del Rio’s presence. Being a proud second generation luchador, descendant of one of the most famous wrestling dynasties in Mexico, Del Rio stood up and asked Barbierri to repeat what he had said but this time in his face. Instead of apologizing, Barbierri laughed in Del Rio’s face. And then Del Rio slapped him in the face. After the incident, Del Rio got fired, because he defended his pride, while Barbierri walked away, claiming to be a victim.
It wasn’t until recently that Del Rio opened up about the incident. Here’s a video of the interview:
What stunned me the most was, that Alberto was afraid that if he told the truth, he’d be persecuted by the company until his whole life was destroyed and everything he owned was taken away from him. It’s enraging to think that in this day and age, WWE superstars are being scared into silently accepting to be bullied, while the WWE gets praised publicly for leading an anti-bullying campaign.
For those of you, who say that Del Rio didn’t react correctly in the incident, think about it – what was he supposed to do? Would walking away and complaining to the management work, if the boss himself is the man, who sets the tone for the racist comments? I believe that being the better man and keeping quiet goes only that far when you’re a proud man. Alberto was pushed into a corner by constant bullying and he finally fought back. That’s the truth, regardless of whether the WWE wants to accept it or not.
What do you think about the culture of racism in the WWE? What’s your opinion on Del Rio’s actions and the WWE’s response to them? Share your thoughts in the comment section, on FB or Twitter!