Look at this year’s Wrestlemania card, and you’ll see some great examples of diversity.
But one thing is missing: you won’t find any black singles wrestlers in high-profile matches. In the current landscape of the WWE, there really aren’t any African Americans featured in main event roles.
This time last year, we saw a #BlackExcellence tweet from members of the WWE roster that sparked controversy. The group (pictured above) celebrated the fact they were holding championships. Some appreciated their message; others misunderstood it. I think it’s a conversation that needs to continue…
You could argue New Day has reached “main event” status. However, they’re largely relegated to tag team matches. Sasha Banks has found that level of success at different points in the last few years, but her placement on the card has lacked consistency. Naomi has won the women’s championship but never really had the promotional machine behind her.
Outside of those few examples, there’s a void.
Before you jump to conclusions (as I know some people will), I don’t think WWE has a race problem. In fact, I think just the opposite. As Triple H noted in a recent interview for Brian Campbell’s podcast “In This Corner,” WWE has the most diverse roster it has ever had. He went on to say “in every measurement possible.”
Yes and no. It may be true there are more black athletes on the roster than years before, but I’d argue WWE should work harder to develop those wrestlers into main event roles. It can’t just be about numbers.
I tossed this out on my TV news Twitter @AustinKellerman the other day and a good discussion was started. We talked about great black wrestlers like Mark Henry, The Rock, and Booker T who’ve been put in prominent positions. As we tossed around ideas and theories, one person asked what the solution would be…
I think in some ways, it’s already being addressed. You see some great talent being developed in NXT. I, for one, think Velveteen Dream has enormous potential. You also have independent wrestlers like Keith Lee available. The problem: most of these athletes are a few years away from being in a top position on the main roster.
205 Live is one of the best examples of diversity you’ll find on television. It’s great to see Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali will get to represent that brand in New Orleans. But let’s be honest, it’s not a prominent role. And in their current positions on the roster, it’s unlikely someone like Cedric Alexander would magically jump to a starring position on RAW or Smackdown.
In my opinion, the immediate solution is to bust up The New Day. These guys continue to put out great television, but it’s not what it used to be. As a group, it may have run its course. They’re great comedy, but at some point, we need to see them as more. All are great workers. All can work the microphone. All have the potential to put together great singles runs.
From my viewpoint, there’s money in a Big E heel run. The guy is an absolute monster who could only have learned and grown immensely over the last few years working alongside veterans Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston. He’s already trusted to represent the company for major media appearances — which means a lot. It’s time they give him the ball and see if he can run with it.
My question to you: do you see it the same way I do? Am I picking at a problem that isn’t really there? What’s the solution? And is it time for The New Day to come to an end?