Wrestling is a morality play. Unlike team sports, fans don’t cheer for performers based on their home origin or university matriculation. Pro wrestling is not something to study and appreciate to possibly make your game better, like tennis and golf. Because the audience will most likely never enter a ring and clothesline a man pretending to be a demon, we get to pick our favorites without injecting our memories of personal past sports glories. We get to pick our favorites based on things like Jesus and the devil. And it’s fun to root for the devil.
WWE mastermind, CEO, storyline villain Vince McMahon likes to insert himself in wrestling storylines. The character, Mr. McMahon, is not a religious man. I do not know if Vincent McMahon the real person has any higher beliefs, but the character he plays on TV definitely does not. In WrestleMania 22 Mr. McMahon and the rest of the McMahon family (pregnant daughter Stephanie, son Shane and future loser of a U.S. Senate election republican Linda) cut a promo (when the wrestler talks to the camera about how they’re going to win the match) and prayed. According to Mr. McMahon, it was the first time the McMahon’s ever prayed. The family got down on their knees, including pregnant Stephanie, and Vince began to pray. “God, I don’t like you, you don’t like me.” Vince went on to lose the match against Shawn. The next Pay-Per-View featured a tag team match with Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon vs. Shawn Michaels and God. God was billed as part of a wrestling match.
What other real life American billionaire is able to curse god while pleasing shareholders?
Shawn Michaels found God. Michaels, aka The Heart Break Kid, aka Mr. WrestleMania, was a hard partying, high flying showstopper. Then he hurt his back. When he came back to the WWE after a back injury, he had become a born again Christian. A few years into his second run he took on The Undertaker in WrestleMania XXV. Following a video package framing Michaels as a Christian unafraid of the evil Undertaker, Shawn came out in a white suit, the sounds of a choir and the light from the Lord. While being slowly lowered down from a forklift, he lifted his hands and hands to the heavens. Then his “Sexy Boy” music hit and he sexily danced to the ring. He stopped on the way to the ring for a short prayer but his “Sexy Boy” theme still played.
The Michaels vs Undertaker match was another in a long line of good vs evil matches in wrestling history. The Undertaker’s role is death. And death always wins. And if death always wins, faith, in the morality play known as professional wrestling, is pointless. Why? The Undertaker won that match. The Undertaker always wins at WrestleMania, the biggest show of the year. Death always wins. The only time Taker lost was against a real life scary person known as The Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesnar. The WWE will let a beast defeat death, but never faith.
In late January 2016 Triple H won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship belt. The real life Executive Vice President of the WWE only wrestles a few times a year, usually when it’s against an older, returning legend or the company doesn’t have a popular enough young talent to fill the seats. The night after winning the belt he appeared on the company’s long running cable television show RAW. He cut an in ring promo with real life father-in-law Vince McMahon and real life wife Stephanie McMahon also in the ring. Triple H talked about how he’ll be the WWE Champion until he says so. Because it’s possible for a 46-year-old man that plays a villain in the ring and the head of talent in real life to tell God and reality to take a back seat to greed and villainy.
When Peyton Manning won Super Bowl 50 he thanked, “The man upstairs.” If Lebron finally wins an NBA Championship in Cleveland, he’ll thank God and the people of Cleveland. If Triple H retains his WWE Championship at this year’s WrestleMania, he’ll thank no one and call the people in Dallas losers. Sometimes it’s nice to root for the devil.