The most popular villain in pro wrestling in Mexico right now is an American from Pittsburgh who is billed as a Trump lover and who enters the ring waving an American flag with a big mug shot of the new president in the center.
As a result, wrestler Sam Adonis draws “screams, boos, jeers and sarcastic whistling,” according to The Associated Press.
One way to feel the pulse of a people is to watch their pro wrestling. For instance, during the Cold War a popular villain in pro-wrestling circuits in these parts was Ivan Koloff, billed as the Russian Bear. He’d get fans stirred up talking about how great Russia was.
“Give me big Russian women,” I remember Koloff boasting one time on TV post-match as he decried “skinny American women.” Koloff, speaking in a fake Russian accent, actually was Oreal Perras from Ontario, Canada.
“Koloff want Russian woman who can keep Koloff warm at night,” the Canadian concluded. I couldn’t help but chuckle out loud.
Perras … er, Koloff, of course played on fans’ emotions and wanted to get them riled. And the way to do it was to parody a champion of the menacing Russians who could, at worst, destroy us with atomic bombs or, at least, have a wrestler who could drop a good American grappler with an atomic elbow to the head.
The onetime Russian Bear retired to eastern North Carolina, surprisingly enough, accepted Christ, became an ordained minister and now travels to share his testimony.
Far be it for me to wade into the debate on how real or fake is pro wresting. I’ll simply refer you to Perras’ book, “Is That Wrestling Fake? The Bear Facts.” What Perras does now is real. What he once did was hokum.
Adonis, who actually is Sam Polinsky, told the AP in Mexico that pro wrestling fans there act during matches as if they want to tear him apart, then afterward will come up to him warmly and want their picture taken with him. They’re “the first ones to shake my hand and say, ‘Hey, great show,’ ” Polinsky said.
Meanwhile, here at home, a lot of Americans are similarly getting riled up these days. They scream, boo and hiss at the villains they see on TV or the Internet and hear on the radio. Except in America they’re getting riled up in the political arena.
Unlike in Mexican pro wrestling, however, we Americans don’t drop the bogus hostility when the match is over. In this fine nation that is increasingly becoming more and more polarized and angry, people all over are telling real-life, sad stories about losing friendships and getting into personal battle royals – Democrat vs. Republican, conservative vs. liberal.
Protests are turning more ugly, brutish and violent. For instance, former Gov. Pat McCrory told a Charlotte radio program two weeks ago that he was stalked by Washington protesters who yelled out, “There’s Pat McCrory. Let’s get him.” He had to hide in an alley with police protection.
“Some of these protesters … are getting out of hand,” McCrory said. “It’s very sad to see in our country.”
Questions about leadership and the future of the country are important and deserve serious political debate. But keep in mind that so much of the arguments on talk TV, radio and the Internet are more pro wrestling than honest political debate. It’s up to you to learn which is which, to know the difference between sport and show, to know whether you’re tuned to the NFL or the WWE.
Unfortunately, just as some people believe pro wrestling is real, some people believe all Internet posts and TV and radio blather are real. They’re not. A lot of it is entertainment. Some people need to lighten up.
Mexican wrestling fans must know something that we don’t.
Stephen Harris returned home to live in State Road.
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