Chavo Guerrero Comments On The Kerwin White Gimmick In WWE, Neville, Dave Meltzer On Stereotypes In Wrestling

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The World According To Wrestling podcast is back with a new episode this week and explores the national identity and stereotypes in wrestling with guests WWE Hall of Famer Rikishi, Neville, Chavo Guerrero Jr., former WWE writer Court Bauer and Dave Meltzer. Check out the highlights below:

Chavo Guerrero Jr. on playing the Kerwin White character:

“Everything you see in wrestling, it’s not really coming from the wrestlers. It’s coming from the writers. So the story with the Kerwin White character is me coming off a plane from Japan and Vince McMahon coming up to me and saying “Hello Kerwin” and I said “Oh what does that mean?”

“Well today you’re going to denounce your Mexican heritage and you’re going to become a white guy.” So you’ve got two things: you can either say “No” and get fired, or you can say “Good, let’s embrace this character and let’s really do it”. If it was up to anyone of us, we’d all be John Cena or Batista and destroying everybody and being the champ. But it’s not. It’s up to Vince McMahon and there can only be one champ. With everyone else you have to make lemonade out of lemons. And TV is the same thing you have Alison [Brie], Marc [Maron] and stars of GLOW. Everyone wants to be the star and not the co-star but there’s only room for a couple of stars. And every federation you go to is the same thing. You just do what you got to do with your character.”

WWE Hall of Famer Rikishi on how The Stinkface was invented:

“I was wrestling Ray Traylor, The Big Bossman, at a house show in Oakland, Alabama that night and I gave him a clothesline in the corner and I wasn’t actually looking at him.  I can hear an old lady shout “Rikishi! Turn around and stick your butt in his face!”

I’m in the middle of the ring and I see Bossman in the corner.  And he said “Come on boy, stick your ass in my face” and I said “Really? Well here it comes.” I took my first step and the crowd roared.  I took my second step the crowd got louder. The closer I got to him it was probably the loudest pop I have ever heard and when I turned around and his face was just the same level as my butt and I just paused there for a second. I wanted to hear and see how long I could make the fans sing and they sang and they sang and they sang and then all of a sudden “Bam!” I sat on him and the place just blew up. This was on a Sunday and the next night The Stinkface was introduced on Monday Night Raw.”

Former WWE writer Court Bauer on characters he thought crossed the line:

“I was there for the Mexicools and that was a racist joke made someone and all of sudden , within 12 hours, you have three guys that were earmarked to be part of reviving the cruiserweight division now part of a trio act with lawnmowers that to this day still offends people. I have friends in Mexico who still talk about how offensive that was and ask me if I had anything to do with it. I did not. I was hoping we would have a revived cruiserweight division. I’m sure there have been other examples in the last few years but that one really stuck out to me”

Journalist Dave Meltzer on whether stereotyping goes too far in wrestling:

“All the time. I mean it’s hard to pinpoint but sometimes you’ll watch and you’ll feel it and you’ll know it and it’s just like they’re pushing too hard or it’s a tasteless direction or things like that. They’re always trying to push boundaries and stuff. It’s softened of late but there’s still things. Now it’s too far in the silly direction sometimes more than anything else, as compared to the racial direction but before they did that all the time.”

On avoiding the British stereotypes often seen in WWE, Neville said:

“I’ve always tried my best to be a hybrid performer. I’m a fan of all those things, I grew up watching Lucha Libre, Japanese Style, American style and when I was training and working in the dojo in Japan I made a point of trying to learn to my best ability, learn every single style I could. So whilst I am British, whilst I am proud of my identity. I’m not going to parade around as a stereotype. I feel like I’ve made an effort to be almost all encompassing, you know multi stylistic wrestling. I made a conscious effort not to be a stereotype.”

Episode 5 of The World According to Wrestling is out now. The second season is available now on iTunes and all other podcasting platforms.