Wrestling Soap Box: The Colter Conundrum

Feb 15, 2013 - by Atlee Greene

-Wrestling Soap Box: The Colter Conundrum

Long time Memphis wrestling fixture, Dutch Mantel, returned to WWE under the name Zeb Colter and is Jack Swagger’s new manager. His promo immediately caused a stir due to his right wing rhetoric regarding illegal immigration. This is certainly a diversion from the WWE’s PG format and at the end of the day, is this really entertaining?


This character is derived from controversial political pundit, Ann Coulter, and Lucha Libre USA star, RJ Brewer. Brewer, formerly John Walters of ROH, is an anti-illegal immigration heel who has received a lot of publicity on national news outlets by stating his views are not a work and claims Arizona Governor, Jan Brewer, who signed into law the widely debated Arizona SB 1070, is his mother.


This is not the first time professional wrestling has walked the line with racism or attempted to capitalize on xenophobia in the United States. In fact, Vince McMahon said in a 1999 TV Guide interview that he would do racist angles if he could make money off of it. Still, that never stopped him from trying it again, and again.


You can’t blame the company for going this route. In a way, RJ Brewer has created a character with more depth than most in the industry today. If Brewer can do it, then imagining what a wrestler with the WWE machine behind them can do must be Vince’s line of thinking. The difference between the two is that Brewer is a clean cut athlete while Colter looks like a redneck which will resonate more with the audience.


Colter could be the missing piece of the Jack Swagger puzzle but this is the wrong way to go about it. Racist angles are never successful because it immediately pulls you from the escape wrestling provides. Illegal immigration is the hot topic of debate on every cable news channel. What happens when you’re done watching one of these segments? Are you intrigued? Yes. Are you entertained to the point where you will spend your hard earned money to see what happens next? No.


The All American American’s push suggests he has a date with Mexico’s Alberto Del Rio at WrestleMania. The top matches on the card already have interesting story lines  Cena wants his win back and to become the champion, Triple H wants to avenge his family, and Punk needs to end the streak to obtain undeniable respect. The biggest WHC match of the year doesn’t need to be mired in a topic that brings about heated feelings and just leaves everyone out in the cold, no matter where you stand on this issue.


Am I outraged by this turn of events? Not at all. I just think it’s stupid, low rent, and doesn’t do anybody any good and will ultimately be detrimental to Jack Swagger’s career when the angle falls flat on it’s ass.


Atlee Greene has followed professional wrestling for 25 years and writes about wrestling, mixed martial arts, and comic books on his blog, Midnight Logic. 

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