Canned Heat: How Pro Wrestling Can Shed Light On Hillary’s Campaign Woes

Hillary Clinton is Roman Reigns.

Now, I would hope that, for the select few of you who are reading this who are both political junkies and pro wrestling fans, a lightbulb brighter than the Ultimate Warrior’s fluorescent face paint just popped on in your your heads. For the rest of you who are wondering what in god’s name I’m talking about, Roman Reigns is the ring name of Joe Anoa’i, a wrestler in the WWE (formerly WWF) who, up until his recent 30-day suspension for violating the company’s wellness policy, likely for substance abuse, was the reigning WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

On the surface, there wouldn’t seem to be a lot of similarities between Clinton, a 68 year old white, career politician looking to be the first woman to win The White House and Reigns, a 31 year old Samoan-American man who suplexes 300 lbs men for a living, but there are more than one would think.

For starters, Roman Reigns (Joe Anoa’i) isn’t just some ordinary schmoe who had a dream to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion and clawed his way to the top against the odds—he is a wrestling legacy. The Anoa’is are one of the first families of wrestling and their impact and influence on the sport is immense. Underneath Reverend Amituana’i Anoa’i and Peter Maivia, the two patriarchs of the family who were not directly related but who considered each other blood brothers, sit two of the greatest tag teams of all time—The Wild Samoans, Afa and Sika, along with The Headshrinkers, Fatu & Samu (yes they were as racist as their name sounds)—and three WWE World Heavyweight Champions: Roman Reigns, Yokozuna, who was largely packaged as a fearsome Japanese sumo wrester, despite the fact that his name was Rodney Anoa’i and he was about as Japanese as double bacon cheeseburger, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, a man who is arguably the most successful and popular figure to come out of the squared circle.

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Hillary Clinton & Roman Reigns trying to work their respective crowds

Reigns looks exactly the way you would expect a pro wrestling superstar to look. Standing at 6′ 3” and tipping the scales at 280 lbs of borderline cartoonish muscle topped with a mop of inexplicably greasy black hair, Roman Reigns has the prototypical wrestler’s physique. He’s a decent worker with a by-no-means comprehensive, but competent move set who cuts an imposing figure in the ring and shouldn’t have had much of a problem getting over with the fans. And yet, he has arguably been the most maligned WWE World Heavyweight Champion of the last 15 years.

Everywhere Reigns has gone since the company tried to turn him into a bonafide babyface (a good guy, in wrestling parlance), reactions ranging from smatterings to full-blown showers of boos have cascaded down on Reigns from WWE’s fan base. Whereas The Rock had an otherworldly stage presence and an unmatched capacity to control a crowd and Yokuzuna was a legitimately awe-inspiring big man whose xenophobic angle made him a heat magnet, Reigns has just been woefully average. He’s not good on the microphone, he’s rarely the most compelling aspect of whatever storyline he’s in and, perhaps most importantly, everyone and their mother knows that he has essentially been anointed by the powers that be at WWE to be the face of the company.

So, to recap, we have a wildly unpopular public figure from a dynastic family who is technically sound, but has piss poor stage presence—a figure who has been aggressively pushed as the face of an organization to an audience who have been less than thrilled at their appointed standard-bearer and have lead attempted mutinies to get said organization to change their direction. Is any of this sounding familiar?

Like I said at the beginning, Hillary Clinton is Roman Reigns. Now, the reason I bring this up isn’t just to give myself a chance to blow off a little steam and talk about pro wrestling on a political blog at a time when the European Union is unravelling, Britain is committing economic suicide and one of my country’s major parties might be planning on including a gay conversion plank in their platform. It is also in part to look at how Reigns’s negative reception in the WWE could possibly inform the way that Hillary presents herself on the campaign trail.

By and large, people don’t like feeling as if they’re having anything shoved down their throat and, regardless of what the WWE or the DNC might say, Roman Reigns’s and Hillary Clinton’s respective title runs didn’t start organically. In both cases, their candidacies were top-down affairs that were created behind the scenes and then forced pretty much wholesale on their constituencies. The unexpected and sweeping success of the Sanders campaign is as much an indictment of the widespread perception of the Democratic primary as a pre-ordained formality and Hillary’s shortcomings as a campaigner than it is anything that Bernie did. In any other election or with a moderately likeable frontrunner who wasn’t perpetually hounded by scorn and scandal, a disheveled, septuagenarian pseudo-socialist wouldn’t have had a snowball’s chance in hell of going relative obscurity to the cusp of the Democratic nomination in a year’s time.

All of this is to say that, if you weren’t a Hillary Clinton fan before this election kicked off, you probably aren’t now and that the former Secretary of State is currently relying on an uncomfortably high level of support from people who oppose Donald Trump, but don’t view her in a terribly favorable light. Put another way, Hillary Rodham Clinton is not, nor will she ever be, a babyface. As she herself admitted earlier in the campaign, she is not a natural politician like her husband. In fact, if she had even one-tenth the charisma as her husband, this would all be a non-issue. But she doesn’t, so it is.

Now, I am sure that Clinton’s campaign staff has been trying to come up with their 1,001st image revamp to make their candidate more attractive to the elusive American swing voter, but I can pretty much guarantee that any idea that requires Hillary to actively try to be likeable will be a disappointment—namely because the woman can’t act worth a damn. Instead of trying to be something she’s not—the cool grandma who goes to swap meets, orchestrates her granddaughter’s bake sale and is everything to everybody—she needs to be what she is, which is a badass, cutthroat, ain’t-gonna-take no shit broad who’s got no qualms with shoving up a scud missile up ISIS’s ass and who will verbally eviscerate anyone who so much as thinks about laying a hand on Roe v. Wade.

Hillary is not a traditional political babyface. For the last 2 decades, her handlers have been trying to market her as a Hulk Hoganesque character who tells kids to take their vitamins, stay in school and say their prayers and she’s just not cut out for that. If anything, Hillary fits the mold of the wrestling antihero. She should be coming out to campaign rallies chugging cold ones and flipping birds like Stone Cold Steve Austin or tossing a ball python at Trump and sitting down in front of her debate dais watching his punk ass run off backstage. Unfortunately, I get the feeling that Clinton’s staffers will focus group her personality to death like they also do, but it’d be nice if they could convince Hillary to stop caring so much what people thought of her and let loose the hounds of war on the no account coward across the aisle from her.

Categories: 2016 Election, US Politics

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