My father and I recently had a surprisingly good debate recently about black wrestler. My father, a black man himself, asked me when was the last time a black wrestler in the WWE main evented a PPV or better yet Wrestlemania, like a REAL main event; the final match.
I sat there for 10 minutes to think, and then I went to the internet: The Rock was the last black wrestler to main event Wrestlemania in 2001.
The last WWE PPV in which a black athlete was in the last match of the night: Mark Henry, Unforgiven, 2007; counting TNA: Brother Devon, Against All Odds, 2009(in a 4 Corners match; last one on one: Booker T, Hard Justice, 2008)
Let's delve a little into WWE and TNA and see what both companies do with their black athletes, male and female.
Currently, there are no black wrestlers vying for either the WWE or World Heavyweight title. The last black world title holder was Mark Henry and he was the ECW Champion. Unfortunately, even though a world title, the ECW title is not considered on the level of the other two.
The last time a black athlete held the WWE title: The Rock, 2001.
In fact, The Rock is the ONLY wrestler of African American descent to be the WWE Champion. The World Heavyweight Championship: Booker T (King Booker), 2006. Since it's re-creation in 2002, Booker T is the ONLY wrestler of African American descent to hold that title. What are the black wrestlers of the WWE doing now?
Cryme Tyme: a stereotypical rapping, thug-like, stealing tag team who have yet to win any titles of significance
Kofi Kingston: a Jamaican(actually from Ghana) wrestler who has been Intercontinental Champion as well as Tag Team Champion
Shelton Benjamin: currently United States Champion, three time Intercontinental Champion, two time Tag Team Champion
MVP: Once a heel all about money, now a face competing to be United states Champion, which he was previously(the longest reigning in WWE history) as well as a tag team champion
Ezekiel Jackson: Typically seen at ringside as the big muscled bodyguard of Brian Kendrick, but wrestles on occasion
R-Truth: another wrestler with a rapper gimmick, also in the hunt for the US Championship
Mark Henry: Former ECW Champion and European Champion
Not one of them has become a standout to be a real threat for either of the world titles, nor have any of them been pushed in that direction. Many of them have proven to be able to put on very entertaining matches, but have yet to be put on main event level.
As far as women go, it's not much better. The last black woman to carry the Women's Champion was Jazz in 2003. Currently there are only two black Divas on the roster:
Layla: Won the 2006 Diva Search contest, currently the valet of William Regal, rarely wrestles
Alicia Fox: a dancing Diva on ECW, only started wrestling on TV around a month ago
TNA fortunately for them doesn't have as long a history as the WWE, so it's difficult to hold not pushing black wrestlers against them. Here's what their black wrestlers are up to right now:
Booker T: With TNA was the first Legend champion, one of the most decorated wrestlers of all time, many time world heavyweight champion and one of the biggest black wrestlers to be pushed to main event status
Brother Devon: Still in Team 3D, many times decorated tag team champion, here and overseas
Consequences Creed: gimmick of Apollo Creed, former Tag Team Champion
Jay Lethal-Black Macho Man gimmick, former Tag Team Champion and X-Divison champion
TNA to me is alot like WWE in what they do with their male black wrestlers. Only one has been pushed to the forefront as a Heavyweight, and he's the same one the WWE like to push. The X Division is alot like watching the hunt for the WWE US Championship.
TNA however, surpasses the WWE with what they do with female black wrestlers thanks to two words: Awesome Kong
Kong's look, style of wrestling, gimmick surpass anything the WWE has done with any of their female wrestlers. Unfortunately, Kong is getting punked in the money department, as well as the challenger department. The only black woman to hold the TNA Knockouts title, current champ
Rhaka Khan: a tally unique looking wrestler, who quite frankly doesn't belong in the ring
Sojournor Bolt: A solid Indie wrestler who was recently #1 contender to Kong's title
Jaqueline: a wrestling veteran, one of the best women's wrestlers of all time, currently a manager for Beer Money
Sharmell: Booker T's wife, great valet who actually gets involved in matches
Now, many arguments can be made about each wrestler about why they get pushed or not. I'm not trying to imply that just because they're black is the issue. But it does raise red flags when you think about it, doesn't it?