While everyone else taps out their vitriol or support for the USA’s new President-elect, I think it’s best that Secret Cave not overtly take any political stance. Since we’re a site that likes to focus on the forgotten elements of things, I thought i’d throw his ludicrous WWE appearances into the hat instead. After all, this is the first time a WWE Hall-of-Famer will be taking residence at the White House, and I do think that holds some significance worth implying. He’s had a lot of important positions in his time, but President is several steps up from noted-wrestling-cameo. Do these instances somehow undermine his future as a competent politician? Indeed, do they say anything about his character?
As much as I love wrestling and sports entertainment, Vince McMahon and his company have often embarrassed themselves with celebrity fawning over the years. From Arnold Schwarzenegger to Mike Tyson, anyone with even a bit of stature and interest in appearing will be allowed to strut their myriad stuff for an often ambivalent audience. It’s hard to think of genuinely meaningful contributions from these carted out stars, and it can sometimes reach depths that are indicative of the very worst of WWE. Flash-in-the-pan controversy moguls are given the same stage as sporting legends and Hollywood darlings; such pathetic non-entities as John Wayne Bobbitt, only briefly in the public consciousness for having his cock chopped off by his wife (and then spawning a failed porn career as a result, in such depressingly hilarious titles as Frankenpenis).
Trump is obviously a better quality of cameo than Bobbit though, and that’s reflected by his multiple and more weighty appearances. His affiliation first became clear with Trump Plaza’s hosting of both Wrestlemania IV and V. This, of course, is completely innocuous. He’s a fan and had the inclination to get promotionally involved somehow – no problems there. It actually gives me something in common with him, since i’m a fan too. Going on to make a couple of sideline appearances in short interviews, Trump was just one of those indulgences you’d ignore along with all the others. Ignoring Trump seems an impossible task now, but you can’t hold these harmless displays against him; I’ve even seen Bill Clinton, in office at the time, roared at by Irwin R. Schyster on some long-forgotten pay-per-view.
It was later on when his true closeness with McMahon, and interest in the industry, would show itself. By WrestleMania 23, he’d found himself a much meatier role than ringside interviews. A participant in “The Battle of the Billionaires”, he was much closer to the action this time. With the stale stipulation of the loser having their head shaved, it was bad sports entertainment. Considering that images of a shorn Trump aren’t making the rounds in meme format, you can conclude that he won. Unfortunately, he didn’t actually wrestle himself (leaving that instead to underlings so he could posture from a distance). Watching him shave McMahon’s hair is actually somewhat endearing for its playful sense-of-humour, but could you really see any other President pulling one of these out of the bag?:
It’s only in writing this now that I see the two possible perspectives on this. There are many who would be valid in saying that it’s positive for Trump’s image, showing him as a man who doesn’t even come close to taking himself seriously. A man with a healthy funny bone, unburderned by the dour weight of constant dignity. The fact that he’s “up-for-a-laugh” is powerful, but it’s equally important to remember that elements of self-respect and personal dignity are not only essential but fundamental to a successful President. These antics may make Trump good for a bit of larking banter, but are they really befitting of a man with access to the nuclear football? That’s something best left in the eye of the beholder but, to nudge towards my own views, even the sax-blowing, intern-shagging Clinton upheld a professional watermark a little more appropriate of the Commander in Chief.
Only a couple of years after he humiliated McMahon in the ring, he was involved in a storyline that presented him in an odd way: vying for a commercial-free episode and promising the universal refund of ticket costs (after his “purchase” of the show). Obviously empty promises, it would culminate in him “selling” the show back to McMahon at a vastly increased price. The storyline was merely a pointless aside and unnecessary distraction, but can anything actually be gleaned from his on-screen backstabbing and machinations? Despite the whole thing being an arena of madcap make-believe, I do believe these actions might speak to Trump’s character to an extent. Even if they only play to public perception, acting as a parody rather than a dedicated mirror of his personality, it speaks volumes that people generally viewed him that way to begin with. Even more so that he embraces it with open arms without even daring to deny…
In the end, Trump’s appearances for the WWE probably don’t mean all that much. An interesting footnote in an already outrageous life and career, we can only hope that he has a bit more sense than to approach his country like one would approach a wrestling ring. Whether images of him strutting outside the ropes are a haunting premonition, or amusing diversion, there’s no doubt that he’s going to do things of far more significance than host WrestleMania. None of us will be able to ignore Trump for some time now, as I used to when he first showed his face on my wrestling shows. His impact on the WWE zeitgeist is minimal, despite worming his way into their Hall-of-Fame. However, nobody on Earth, probably including Trump himself, can predict what his impact on the world will be in four years. The chances are it won’t be nearly as benign and inconsequential as Wrestlemania 23…