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The GOP Goes WWE: Which Republican Candidate Matches Which Wrestler?
The worlds of politics and professional wrestling are not as different as you might think. The same storylines always seem to circle back, there is always a good guy (babyface) and a bad guy (heel), and a lot of the outcomes are predetermined.
So as we now have about as many Republican candidates as we have hours of original weekly WWE programming (which includes the streaming wrasslin’ utopia that is the WWE Network), let’s try to differentiate the herd and see which aspiring POTUS resembles which sports entertainer.
Disclaimer: So I didn’t go in blind, I consulted a former political insider as well as my right-wing, Fox News-loving dad. I will keep both identities anonymous.
Jeb Bush is Roman Reigns
Good ole’ Jeb was going to be the GOP’s next ‘main guy’ just like Roman Reigns was going to be the next John Cena. Jeb had name recognition and a strong political heritage much like Reigns had ‘the look’ and a rich Samoan wrestling bloodline. Here’s the problem: when the time came for both men to shine, their coronations came off like, as Jim Ross would say, “a fart in church.” At least Roman has better ethics and didn’t illegally fundraise before he was put in the Wrestlemania 31 main event. However, both campaigns had to do damage control early.
Roman was serenaded with fierce boos in Philadelphia after winning this year’s overly predictable Royal Rumble and his subsequent ‘fairy tale’ promos towards the Big Show did not help either. Jeb needed about ten different interviews and speaking events to finally answer the obvious “Knowing what we know now, would you have still invaded Iraq?” question correctly. Both these men had the rocket ship strapped to them, but neither finished their NASA training. Despite all the backlash, Roman Reigns has recovered considerably well and it should be only a matter of months until he is wearing WWE gold. The question now is, ‘Will Jeb Bush recover in time for debate season?’
What my dad thinks: “I could vote for him.”
Ben Carson is R-Truth
Despite having some genuine humanity, Dr. Ben Carson has no business entering the Republican race just as R-Truth had no business being in the Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match at Wrestlemania. However, if Ben Carson can separate conjoined twins at the head, maybe he can separate Middle East conflict. Both these men seem to be better at things other than what they are doing. If he weren’t retired, Ben Carson would be better served staying in the operating room, much like R-Truth would be better served just gyrating in the street yelling, “What’s Up!” at everybody. (Note: I’ve heard Truth’s song for at least five years and still have no idea what he’s saying.)
Recently, Carson and Truth both experienced moments of cluelessness. A few weeks ago on Raw, Truth came out to cut a promo about his participation in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Only problem was that he was never put in that match. Thankfully, that was done intentionally for humor. Ben Carson thinks you go into prison straight and come out gay. That was done unintentionally for humor.
What my dad thinks: “No experience in government.”
Chris Christie is Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman
(Honorable mention: Ryback)
Governor Christie, freshest to the race, can be matched up with multiple wrestlers for different reasons could not be denied. First the easier comparison: Ryback’s catchphrase is “Feed Me More.” You do the math, even though there is no math involved. Ryback eats negativity like Christie eats fried dough on the Jersey Shore.
Christie’s comparison to the Beast Incarnate and his advocate work more beautifully because of the dynamic Lesnar and Heyman create together. They do what they want and don’t care what anyone thinks of them, and with Heyman from the Bronx and Christie from New Jersey they both have that trademark tri-state antagonism. When Brock Lesnar walked out of a Monday Night Raw taping weeks before Wrestlemania and as well as the expiration of his WWE contract, the die-hard WWE fans all worried that Brock Lesnar’s return to UFC was a certainty. However, Paul Heyman knew better as he explained the following week, “Brock Lesnar does what he wants when he wants.” If Brock wants to jam up WWE’s creative plans he can, because he’s Brock Lesnar. So if Governor Christie wants to jam up the George Washington Bridge in afternoon rush hour he can, because he’s Chris F’in Christie.
Furthermore, Brock Lesnar works a very part-time schedule for WWE, but sure does enjoy taking Vince McMahon’s full-time money. We are not sure how much the New Jersey Governor actually works, but we know one thing: he sure likes spending New Jersey taxpayer money on food and alcohol. On second thought, maybe he is more like Ryback. Or maybe we will see him at Wrestlemania 32, once again awkwardly hugging Jerry Jones in the Cowboys owner’s skybox.
What my dad thinks: “I’m neutral on him.”
Ted Cruz is Bray Wyatt
If you don’t know who Bray Wyatt is think half-Charles Manson and half-Robert DeNiro’s character in Cape Fear. Now if you were sitting in a movie theater, who would scare you more if they were cackling in front of you: Cruz or Wyatt? (Hopefully this poll is in the sidebar.)
While Wyatt borders on cool (the imagery of fans holding up their iPhone flashlights during Wyatt’s entrances to simulate fireflies is breathtaking), both these personalities are meant to scare the hell out of you and they do it with similar methods. Bray opines in his rocking chair or backstage in dark settings, sometimes singing (with the audience) that “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” Senator Cruz reads Green Eggs & Ham in front of Congress. Both creepy. And as Wyatt preaches about all the doom and destruction he will bring to each opponent, Cruz will literally make little girls cry because “the whole world’s on fire.” You tell me who is the ‘New Face of Fear.’ Why is this not Ted Cruz’s campaign slogan? I’m assuming Lindsey Graham is already trademarking it.
What my dad thinks: “Too far right. Persuasive, but I don’t like him as a person.”
Lindsey Graham is Brother Love
There is something about Lindsey Graham that just screams (or blushes) televangelist, specifically WWF’s Brother Love from the late 80s/early 90s. Based solely on the South Carolina senator’s gentle, almost effeminate (his name is Lindsay) Southern drawl, it is almost as nauseating as Brother Love’s “I Love You” monologues that filled the preacher’s on-air segments. Brother Love and Senator Graham are both swarmy and effusive in order to cover up their true motives. Brother Love claimed to do everything in the name of love, but the irony was that he didn’t love us. Brother Love was more interested in supporting those who brought destruction to the WWF. In fact, Brother Love was the original manager of the Undertaker. Whenever you hear Senator Graham on the news, his message trickles down from his basic truth that the sky is falling and a second wave of plagues is approaching. If Senator Cruz thinks the whole world is on fire, then Lindsay Graham is bringing over the gasoline he just bought at his local Walmart.
What my dad thinks: “I like him. He’s my 1st choice.”
Carly Fiorina is Vicki Guerrero
#GiveDivasAChance. So it’s decided: that should be her campaign slogan. Basically, her platform is ‘I’m a woman and I used to run Hewlett Packard.’ Well, Vicki Guerrero is a woman and she used to run Raw and Smackdown. Unfortunately, both ladies had some rough days at the office. Fiorina is known as one of the worst tech CEOs ever, which is what happens when your company cuts 30,000 jobs and causes its own mini-Great Depression. Guerrero’s hard times were more drama-based. Her husband Edge cheated on her with Alicia Fox, The Rock sang her a derogatory parody of Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight,” and on her last night on the job, Stephanie McMahon threw her in a tub of poo. Hey, unlike Fiorina, at least she never crashed WWE’s stock.
What my dad thinks: “She’s just in it for the thrill.”
Mike Huckabee is Eric Bischoff
Fundamentalist Mike Huckabee matches up most closely to Eric Bischoff, the former Executive Producer and President of now-defunct wrestling promotion WCW. Ask any wrestling fan about the Monday Night Wars, a boom period for the genre in the late 90s where Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling was giving Vince McMahon’s WWF a run for its money. WCW’s Monday Night Nitro beat WWF’s Monday Night Raw in the ratings for over 80 straight weeks. Eric Bischoff’s motivation was to put Vince McMahon out of business, much like Mike Huckabee’s job is to put views inconsistent with the Bible out of business. While Mike Huckabee’s popularity didn’t peak as high as WCW’s, he did have more credibility in 2008 during his ‘Hucka-heyday.’ Now it seems like he’s in the race just to say he is in the race. (At least he can raise his appearance fees after he drops out — an ulterior motive to run for any political office.)/
While Bischoff and Huckabee rode their own waves of success, eventually unpopular opinions and gross mismanagement plummeted their credibility. WCW put their championship belt on David Arquette (yes, the actor who was married to Courtney Cox). Mike Huckabee supported Josh Duggar of everyone’s favorite TLC show 19 Kids and Counting (where no learning took place). And even when the media gave Huckabee a chance to flip-flop, unlike Jeb Bush, he did not take the hint. Huckabee’s opinions never seem to appeal to the majority, much like how WCW’s storyline never benefited the majority of the roster. That’s what happens when Bischoff lets people like Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan have creative control over their own storylines. RIP Goldberg’s Streak.
Once WWF fully embraced their Attitude Era, WCW did not have a chance, which culminated in Vince McMahon purchasing the competition in 2001. After WCW’s demise, Eric Bischoff did show up occasionally on WWE programming much like Mike Huckabee showed up on Fox News. Unfortunately, especially with the recent Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling, it appears that even Fox News is putting Huckabee out with the trash – a gesture Bischoff is all too familiar with. Huckabee didn’t need Attitude, just latitude.
What my dad thinks: “Too damn religious.”
Rand Paul is Chris Jericho and Ted Dibiase, Jr
Back in May, Senator Rand Paul took a stand when he engaged in a 10-hour filibuster in Congress to ensure the Patriot Act would not get renewed. Senator Paul ticked off all of his colleagues in the name of his beliefs. Back on WCW’s Nitro in 1998, Chris Jericho agitated an entire roster and audience when the “Man of 1004 Holds” stood in the middle of the ring and read off that entire list of holds. Sometimes it takes time to show how committed you are.
Paul’s more appropriate and harmonious comparison is to Ted Dibiase Jr, which rests on the fact that each has/had to live up to who their fathers are. Ron Paul was a long time Congressman who became somewhat of a folk hero in 2008 with his progressive/traditional Libertarian views. Rand is more conservative, but holds enough of his dad’s values to appeal to multiple GOP bases. Ted Jr, whose father is WWE Hall of Famer “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase, although no longer actively wrestling, had a lot to live up to and having the exact same name as daddy did not help. When he wasn’t getting over on his own, WWE simply made him a rich, trust fund kid character going so far as bringing back his dad’s valet Virgil. Ted Jr couldn’t break away from who his father was. Can Senator Rand separate himself? (He should since his views include an isolationist foreign policy.)
What my dad thinks: “I can’t stand him.”
Rick Perry is John Laurinaitis
John Laurinaitis used to be WWE’s Executive Vice President of Talent Relations. Although he currently flourishes with WWE as a Senior Producer, his 2011-2012 onscreen “People Power” persona was inspired by CM Punk calling him a “glad-handing, nonsensical douchebag yes man.” That description is not that far off from Governor Rick Perry. Even though the governor floundered in 2012, he has returned with a vengeance because this time… he is wearing glasses. However, much like the raspy Laurinaitis stumbled through promo over promo, Perry gets to stumble through interview after interview. Just cue the quote where he calls the Charleston shooting an “accident.” Both men showed us that it is not the context that makes you look stupid, it’s the stupid that makes you look stupid.
What my dad thinks: “He is overrated by Texas.”
Marco Rubio is The Miz
Whenever the WWE needs a superstar to make a public appearance or go on a talk show, The Miz is the first to stand up. And whenever the GOP wants to put out their camera-friendly, smooth-talking representative on special occasions, like after the State of the Union, they give us Marco Rubio. Both men look youthful (Rubio probably still gets carded), possess strong mic skills and have worked their way up from the bottom. Rubio looks like the Republican ‘Boy Wonder’ to everyone else’s Batman, but could soon get the nomination and be the headliner that The Miz was at Wrestlemania 27. Lastly, both come off extremely metrosexual. The Miz always sports extravagant designer outerwear while junior Senator Rubio recently showed up in Iowa like he just used his J. Crew gift card.
What my dad thinks: “I call him babyface. Acceptable.”
Donald Trump is Vince McMahon
Is there a comparison that could be any more perfect? These billionaires, who have been friends since Trump Plaza hosted Wrestlemania IV and V, and both have the catchphrase “You’re Fired!” actually squared off, kinda, during Wrestlemania 23. Each mogul picked their own superstar to represent them in a hair vs hair match. When all was said and done, The Donald’s Bobby Lashley beat Vince’s Umaga, and Trump shaved McMahon’s head.
These men are almost carbon copies of each other: power-hungry, relentless, brash and opinionated. In his WWE universe, Vince McMahon has had unruly superstars arrested (i.e. Stone Cold Steve Austin), he has cheated on his wife with younger women, started his own religion and made people literally kiss his ass. Doesn’t it sound like Donald Trump could have already done all that in real life?
And what has McMahon done in real life? Vince bought up all his competition on multiple occasions, beat the federal government over steroids and started his own football league, the XFL, that even though it was short-lived, offered the NFL many innovative ideas to enhance its coverage. Trump also dabbled in football, being the initial owner of the USFL’s New Jersey Generals back in 1983. But like McMahon, he chose to jump ship because becoming a global lord takes priority.
If Trump picks Vince as his running mate, expect them to lead an administration that would travel the globe buying up third-world countries, ridding the world of women over 50, deporting anyone whose hair does not measure up to theirs, and encouraging racial stereotypes. Sorry Latino population, you had a good run. Get ready for their Elysium.
What my dad thinks: “He’s an egotistical clown.”
Candidate Rapid Fire:
Bobby Jindal is The Great Khali
At first, both looked like they could do a lot of damage, but when they got on the mic or in the ring, our expectations sank. If Beth Phoenix can kiss Khali out of the Royal Rumble, maybe some accidental Fiorina cleavage could ruin Jindal’s entire family and candidacy.
Scott Walker is The Ascension
They both came in with a lot of hype and loud music, but have so far proved milquetoast. Maybe if it was a different era they could flourish, but unfortunately the Wisconsin Governor and the NXT-bred tag team do not stand out as much as they should.
George Pataki is every enhancement wrestler (i.e. Barry Horwitz).
The former NY governor is just in the race to make every other candidate look better. Maybe he will get in an early punch, but in two minutes he will be tapping out to Rusev’s The Accolade.
Rick Santorum is the Spanish Announce Table
I thought he got destroyed back in 2012, but like a Spanish announce table it always shows up at that next big event. And at the next big event, it gets destroyed again. Like Santorum, the Spanish announce table does not have a strong foundation. Maybe if it used an adhesive made from Senator Rick’s urban dictionary definition, it would hold up better.
*All photos from Wikipedia.
Evan Wecksell is touring comedian who has appeared on VH1, E! and Conan. Follow him @evanwecksell and like his WWE-sanctioned child Beckett Sage.