World Wrestling Entertainment, that is, the WWE, is a sports entertainment company that employs scripted storylines using its performers. While the storylines are diverse, one particular diaspora is almost always shown in a bad light – the Indian diaspora. Since they arrived in the Indian market, the people of India from all age groups have been excessively supportive of the WWE’s association in India, despite their horrendous ways of portraying the Indian culture.
WWE and its portrayal of Indian culture
WWE, like other global companies, takes huge advantage of India’s massive population. However, the WWE only does it when they need it. During their tours of India, they suddenly start promoting the Indian talent by giving them longer airtime. In 2018, Canadian-born Jinder Mahal (who still is sneakily promoted as being Indian) was scripted to win the WWE championship, only because of the sole reason of WWE extending a massive TV deal in India. Outside of such opportunistic timeframes, the Indian culture has been represented very poorly, by the WWE.
On March 17, 1999, during an episode of ‘Sunday Night Heat’, popular Olympian and pro-wrestler Kurt Angle was shown blowing his nose in the Indian flag. That segment also featured Tiger Ali Singh, again a Canadian, portrayed as an Indian. Similarly, popular ex-WWE superstar ‘The Great Khali’ (real name Dalip Singh Rana) has been portrayed disastrously over the years, in segments such as ‘Khali Kisscam’, where he was dubbed as the ‘Punjabi Playboy’. Dalip Rana, who acquired American citizenship in 2014, never made an effort to confront any inappropriate anti-Indian portrayals.
Presently, they have been showing a character with the on-screen name of ‘Veer’, who is shown wearing a Rudraksha mala and a Tripundra tilak. Veer, whose real name is Rinku Singh, was born in Gopiganj, in the state of Uttar Pradesh. He is portrayed as an antagonist, with one instance showing him stealing a Scottish artefact and getting kicked on the forehead. Coincidentally or not, this happened during the Shravan month, which is a holy month for the followers of Bhagwan Shiva. Veer’s portrayal might seem scary and villainous for the ignorant people, who have little to no knowledge about the Hindu culture. This hugely promotes a negative perception of practising Hindus. The WWE however, interestingly avoids any storylines targeting the Muslim populace, owing to a massive backlash they received in 2005, over their portrayal of a Muslim character, in which the character named Mohammad Hasan summoned masked men dressed in black shirts and camo pants, after praying on the ramp.
Who writes the scripts?
You might be wondering who writes these outrageous scripts. So. the performers are usually given scripts by the WWE’s various creative teams from different brands, within the company. However, they all go through the top brass. With the WWE’s President Nick Khan being in charge, he may be the one behind the ridiculous content that is being shown on television, worldwide. Khan, who also acts as the chief revenue officer of the WWE, has reportedly been heavily involved in talent cuts and the direction of the brand. He is also rumoured to have replaced Paul Levesque (popularly known as Triple H), as the right-hand man of WWE’s owner – Vince McMahon. Before Nick’s introduction in the WWE’s top brass in 2020, Paul Levesque was widely considered as the next creative successor to Vince McMahon. Paul had single-handedly revamped NXT – one of the 3 main brands of the WWE. Most of the performers who were recently cut from the company, eventually went ahead to sign with All Elite Wrestling (AEW) – the WWE’s only major rival in the pro-wrestling business.
AEW, which was established in 2019, is owned by Pakistani-American billionaire Shahid Khan and is mainly under the supervision of his son, Tony Khan. Since its inception, AEW has been putting all its might to emerge as the sole pro-wrestling giant in the world, and it recently also acquired TV rights in India.
WWE should hire responsible employees who represent the majority of Indians
Considering the popularity of WWE in India, they should have a proper consultant for their Indian branch with true and proper knowledge of India’s rich history and contemporary developments. Instead, for their branch in India, the WWE hired Gaelyn Mendonca, (a staunch leftist who often retweets failed comedian Kunal Kamra’s tweets), as a host for ‘WWE Now India’ – a show that covers pro-wrestling news for Indian viewers.
Despite Indian leftists’ constant nuances, there is no denying that the true Indian culture is getting revived in India, under the iconic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PM Modi, who has the highest approval ratings amongst all the world leaders, was elected in the majority fashion by scores of Indians. WWE has a wonderful opportunity to add a massive fanbase from India if they listen to the majority. This opportunity will not just help them to grow their business, but it would also massively help them in avoiding and sidestepping AEW’s ongoing aggressive campaign to emerge as the sole pro-wrestling giant.
Well, the suggestion to the WWE is simple – pay heed to the Indian majority and increase your company’s value. Or just feel free to eventually perish at the hands of AEW.