Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mexican-America . . . No Mames

So in the ever popular  world of "professional wrestling," is this really the simulacra of us?

It was maybe a month ago when I watched this tag team of "Mexican-Americans" (known as Mexican-America, Hernandez and Anarquia) with a couple of "jainas" (tag team partners, Sarita and Rosita) in tow. Really?

Don't get me wrong, when I watched them come out I was laughing my ass off, mainly due to their appearance and posturing as "cholos." It was just too ridiculous to not get a good laugh out of it. But then it becomes difficult for me not to analyze the representations.

It's actually really interesting because they come out with a full on Xicano street slang accent, and yell out about being the majority, taking over the U.S. and saying "we ain't going no where." And they actually continually say they are superior to the gabachos, and gringos. All great stuff, but really what it is, is them capitalizing on the current state of xenophobia being displayed by many in our country. Arizona anybody? SB 1070 anybody? HB 2281 anybody?

Which if they were just seeking to get attention via hate, they've accomplished it. I'm sure there's many in the crowd who hold racist attitudes toward Mexicans/Mexican-Americans, therefore this group of united "Mexican-Americans" have given them more gasoline to fuel their fear and hate, because Mexican-America is giving them what they knew always knew and believed of Mexicans. We're here to take over their land, and we really are rotten "heels" deep down inside, and Mexican-America is living proof of that. Then again, the majority of the audience probably walks away realizing it's just entertainment, and not reality.

I hope so, because according to wikipedia, Mexican-America's troupe consists of :

Shawn Hernandez ("Hernandez" - Mexican and Puerto Rican)
Matthew Ramon Barela ("Anarquia" American, there was no descent information on wikipedia)
Thea Trinidad ("Rosita" - Puerto Rican)

Sarah Stocka ("Saraita" - Canadian [WTF?!]) 

But you can never know if someone knows when to draw the line between the reality and the fantasy. I guess all you can do is hope that the audience is intelligent enough to do their own research when it comes to this or just about about anything, political ideology included. 

I gotta admit, they do a good job of getting the crowd riled up. Their theme song starts to play then an oversized Mexican flag drops down over the heads of the crowd (much to their chagrin) in a section of the stadium. Surprisingly it hasn't been torn down or set on fire, probably because it's still a little to high for them to reach. Not only that, but coming out dressed as cholos, and acting like them as well, also gets the crowd to buy into what they believe Mexicans/Mexican-Americans really are, just a bunch of no good street thugs trying to intimidate those around them to further fuel their own superiority complex, based on simple intimidation. 

Not only that, but their mottos is "Nada es Imposible" ("Nothing is Impossible") and offshoot of "Si Se Puede," usually heard during marchas and protestas. However I have a hard time understanding what "Nada es Imposible," means to them. Does it mean that it's not impossible for them to become tag team champions, or is it not impossible for them as representatives of Mexican-America(ns) to take over the United States? Then again, I don't watch TNA (Total Nonstop Wrestling, the promotion that they work for) to know the full story line  behind Mexican-America.

Interestingly enough, it seems that the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) is also capitalizing on the anti-Mexican/Mexican-American sentiment, by introducing "Hunico" (Jorge Arias) a former masked luchador, who was unmasked and then also took up the cholo regalia and anti-gabacho attitude. Another Mexican-American heel, that the much larger WWE audience loves to hate. 

Hunico  (directly translated means the one, or only one, but with the "H" being silent, which technically isn't used in the regular spelling of the word) originally debuted as a solo wrestler, but as you can see in the video below . . .

He is now joined by an entourage consisting of "Epico" (Epic) and Primo (Cousin). 

Listen to Booker T-"Let me tell you something man, every time I see these guys they just keep multiplying and multiplying like gremlins .  . . !" I wonder if they did an edit, and replaced the word "cockroaches" with "gremlins." I wonder this, because historically Mexicans were insultingly referred to as cockroaches. But I don't think the WWE want so offend that portion of their fan base, representing them as cholos that want take over and spout racist remarks to gringos should be enough. 

But this isn't the first time that Mexican-Americans have been represented as stereotypical cholos in professional wrestling. . . .

This is LAX (Latin American Xchange), years ago on TNA. Not only are we cholos, but we're unpatriotic cholos. 

Even before TNA though, the WCW (World Championship Wrestling) had their Latino wrestlers, most of them Mexican or Mexican-American to form LWO (the Latino World Order), if you watched wrestling it's obvious that it was similar to New World Order, but uh, Latino . . .

From Wikipedia

As far as I can remember, Konan was the probably the first wrestler in the U.S. to come out dressed as a cholo, mainly through WCW (and later as a member of LAX).

Cholo Konan

His costume is an obvious huge move from the way he used to appear in Mexican lucha libre, where he just wore the traditional boots and wrestling trunks. But I guess he maybe just wanted something that all us "Latinos/as" could relate to. He'd come out yelling "Orale!" and "Viva la raza!" to appeal to our brown senses. He was the first "post-modern" "Latino" wrestler, following the likes of Tito Santana.

Back then there was spouting off about nationalism, but there wasn't that air of tension that currently resides in the country, over immigration issues.

I'm not going to sit here and say that Mexicans have gotten an unfair shake from the WWE, WCW, and TNA, because the reality is that, we're not the only ones they've exploited in their representations . . .

Here's Santino Marella, who is suppose to epitomize Italians, his intro music I believer is an opera singer belting out an anthem.

From Wikipedia Gotta Love the Unibrow
At WCW there was also the Mamalukes, yes you guessed it, also Italian-Americans . . .

Or what about Men on a Mission, started out as a Tag Team of African-American rappers, then became a more pro-African "radical" team.

Minorities weren't the only ones that had to suffer through the small mindedness of professional wrestling, there have been tag teams and solo wrestlers who represented tobacco spittin' "white trash" or "rednecks."

Come to think about it, nobody really escaped from some type of distorted representation by any of the promotions. It seems, that, that's what it's made up. Regal characters like Triple H, William Regal, anybody holding the crown from the King of the Ring event. Wrestlers were basically characters and were portrayed as such. Not to mention that women were for the most part were eye candy, not that I'm complaining, but they also eventually wrestled, usually in "lingerie" or "strip" matches, where one attempted to strip another of her clothing, until the audience could see their tan-ta-rans. Not that me or the audience complained. There were also characters portrayed as abusive boyfriends, women who had been victimized by the abuse, queer, and even cross dressing characters. Even characters based off of the Jersey Shore cast, big hair-sprayed and gelled hair, orange tans and all (if the actual Jersey Shore cast isn't appearing as special guests on either TNA or WWE). What's next a group of characters based on Occupy Wall Street protesters?

 Oh yeah, it let's not forget the the pro-Canadian/anti-American movement led by Bret Hart and the Hart Foundation (which later led to the infamous Montreal Screw job).

So why the rant if I'm acknowledging that these are essentially just caricatures? Like I said, seeing Mexican-America and Hunico and his crew show up on tv, was interesting and entertaining to watch, but my mind couldn't help but to eventually drift and analyze the representations. 

Especially since in my last post, there were many people who labeled Cain Velasquez racist, based upon his tattoo. But unlike the professional wrestlers, Velasquez isn't a caricature or a half Mexican half Puerto Rican who is trying to ride high on the current anti-Mexican/Mexican-American climate. But does this mean that both audiences are representative of that sentiment? Better yet, doesn't it show, that what TNA and WWE are doing with their characters is actually a representation of our times, except that they're doing it in an entertaining way? Is this simply just the other extremity of what Cain Velasquez represents? Cain isn't loud about his Brown Pride, unlike the professional wrestlers, but aren't they both trying to get the same message across? Orgullo in their raza? Nah, I still think that Mexican-America is a misrepresentation of that orgullo, while Cain provides a genuine effort toward a positive representation to the raza during this tumultuous period. 

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