On Thursday evening the WWE announced that it was releasing superstar Alberto Del Rio for unprofessional conduct. Generally the company keeps their releases kind of tight lipped and let them fly under the radar. In Del Rio’s case they made it front and center and have pushing a narrative that this was something that had to be done. For a former World Champion with a little time left on their contract this move did not seem to make a lot of business sense. They way the WWE were selling the firing it seemed a set up for a story line.
Their story will not be for RAW or SmackDown but the American public. As the days have passed there more details have been leaked out about the alleged infraction that caused Alberto to lose his job. The man was allegedly hit because of a racially charged statement he made towards Del Rio. This action caused the WWE to part ways with Del Rio. It now seems like they are trying get out ahead of the story.
The WWE has faced public criticism recently in regards to race. The recent article in The Atlantic “Wrestling Is Fake, but Its Race Problem Isn’t” by Dion Berry received a lot of attention and caused people to take a closer look at the company. Berry’s thought provoking piece was a little more focused the plight of African American wrestlers, it did point out that professional wrestling has a major race issue. The WWE has not directly addressed this piece they did shortly thereafter halfheartedly attempt together a black faction that they never pushed and has already begun to scrap. It’s not far-fetched to think that the same way the WWE handles race on camera could be an extension of how things work backstage.
Could it be that the company is strongly advocating that it’s all Del Rio’s fault because there could be some major allegations about to drop? Now I am not condoning Alberto striking a coworker but I can understand that being in a pressure cooker and being fed up. It is very possible the same company that sent out a group of Mexican wrestlers on riding lawnmowers and drinking calling themselves the “Mexicools” could have a systematic culture of racism. It wasn’t long ago that Michael Hayes who is a member of creative team was suspended for making racial remarks about Mark Henry. As time goes on we will learn more about this incident and what we now know maybe just the tip of the iceberg.
Keith B. Holt
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