Pro Wrestlers Taking a Stand Give Us Something Real to Root For

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Pro Wrestlers Taking a Stand Give Us Something Real to Root For

There’s nothing worse than when one of our favorite celebrities does something heinous, and we have to choose between taking a moral stand for what we believe in, while losing an interest or connection, or carrying on as if we didn’t know about it. But the opposite also holds true: It’s incredibly affirming when someone we respect and admire for their work does something outside of that realm that echoes our own views and beliefs. In wrestling, while characters often play out on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, we nonetheless see snippets of the person beneath that character.

A lot of the time, the people we see in wrestling, the ones who talk about their affiliations and beliefs, are people we would rather have kept their mouths shut: Cody Rhodes’ apparent support for Donald Trump, Randy Orton and his anti-Black Lives Matter tweets and AJ Styles’ casual homophobia are all examples of this. But sometimes, we get to see our heroes inside the squared circle take steps to be heroes outside of it, too—and that feels great.

With everything that’s been happening lately, we might feel like good news is passing us by, or that we’re simply using wrestling as escapism to keep us afloat in the sea of politics. But there are some amazing wrestlers taking a stand for what’s right, and refusing to keep quiet about it.

One of the more vocal superstars has been Mustafa Ali, posting passionately on Twitter about combating bigotry. As a Muslim born in Pakistan, he gets a lot of hateful replies, and yet has responded to several, stating that he wants to try to change minds and help people to understand. His showing on Raw this week was met with an outpouring of support on Twitter, proving that, while we’re expected to appreciate a gimmick, being shown human emotion behind that character can often be most rewarding.

After the Quebec City mosque shootings, both Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn posted messages in solidarity and wore armbands on Monday Night Raw to show their support for the victims of the shooting. In this, the old friends ignore the rivalry that exists within the ring, and react and interact as people, rather that characters, expressing what they feel is important to convey without care for their career gimmicks. Zayn has also been vocal in his disgust for Donald Trump’s immigration ban.

In the U.K., Zack Sabre Jr. popped up on Twitter with the slogan “This wrestler armbars fascists,” offering a t-shirt bearing the missive, with all of his profits going to the ACLU. Jimmy Havoc was at the Women’s March in London, and has been retweeting statements from London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan in opposition to the immigrantion ban.

All of this seems to have been sparked by the current frightening political climates in both the United States and the United Kingdom, but things were happening even before this flame was lit. All we have to do is look back to Big E’s #BlackExcellence tweet when The New Day, Sasha Banks and Rich Swann all held titles. Or Seth Rollins imploring people to see 13th, with a #BlackLivesMatter hashtag. More wrestlers have been taking good, strong stances on political and human rights issues. More have been speaking up to let us know what they believe in, that they care, that they support activism. For a sport full of trash talking, rivalries, and aggression, recently, our favorite wrestlers have been showing us a lot of love.

Steph Maxwell-Kavanagh is a wrestling writer from the UK. She owns and writes for Rasslin Rehash, where she presents recaps, articles, and satirical pieces, with a feminist viewpoint.

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