Yesterday was WrestleMania 33, WWE‘s biggest event of the year. The headline match-ups included Roman Reigns v. Undertaker, Brock Lesnar v. Goldberg and Randy Orton v. Bray Wyatt. There was even a special appearance from the New England Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski.
“I stopped watching because it made me uncomfortable… promoting this company that had not only paid for Trump to get into office and do the things he is doing, but in the process had bought Linda McMahon a spot in the administration. It sickened me that I was part of their marketing plan, that I was not only complicit, but that I was helping.”
“Trump’s time in the squared circle wasn’t simply a business venture: It was a chance to commune with McMahon, with whom he shares a nearly parallel biography. Born to leaders of regional industries, both men took over their fathers’ businesses and turned them into national powerhouses. After ascending to the heights of American culture in the 1980s, they suffered setbacks — legal, financial, personal — in the ’90s before roaring back to prominence at the turn of the new millennium, with the same “You’re fired!” catchphrase, no less.
Trump found a world where his particular skills come in handy. Pro wrestling is a morality play where the hero (the “babyface” or simply “face”) battles the villain (the “heel”). The heel gets “heat” — a negative reaction from the crowd — by insulting his enemies and his audience, cheating at every turn and claiming that the game is rigged against him… Throughout this presidential campaign, Trump relished his role as a heel, and nearly every one of his positions, statements and actions had an analogue in the annals of pro wrestling.”
Now the parallels are clear; in fact, it’s hard to look at Donald Trump or Vince McMahon and not immediately notice what Sam Ford of MIT called a similar “P.T. Barnum-like, carnival barker mentality”. Trump’s pro-wrestling past seems perfectly echoed in his penchant for over-the-top political theater, and that observation is nothing new. In fact, it’s so well known that even NPR published a listicle entitled: “4 Ways Donald Trump’s Pro Wrestling Experience Is Like His Campaign Today“.
But what’s really interesting is that it’s not just outsider critics making these connections. During an interview with the New York Times, Trump advisor Peter Thiel also put the President’s campaign in wrestling terms [via Salon.com]:
“Mr. Thiel says that many people assumed Mr. Trump was “kayfabe” — a move that looks real but is fake. But then his campaign turned into a “shoot” — the word for an unscripted move that suddenly becomes real.
‘People thought the whole Trump thing was fake, that it wasn’t going to go anywhere, that it was the most ridiculous thinug imaginable, and then somehow he won, like [Hulk] Hogan did,’ Mr. Thiel says”