Friday, February 3, 2017

Introducing @NicoDenoir, the finest Politics is Wrestling Twitter account today

The Politics is Wrestling meme went mainstream in 2016 with Donald Trump's ascension and ultimate conquest of American Politics. As the #1 resource for the analogy, I've tracked the growth of 'Politics is Wrestling' since 2007. In the early days it was easier to find mentions of the meme as it wasn't in vogue yet. Prior to Trump, the original meme torchbearer was Jesse Ventura. The WWE Hall of Famer turned Minnesota Governor taught classes at Harvard in 2004 on how Pro-Wrestling prepares you for Politics. In 2010 the Daily Show brought the meme to the mainstream in a segment featuring Wyatt Cenac and wrestler Mick Foley. 

Today we're inundated with a deluge of stories and blog posts on how Politics is Wrestling. Taking hiatus from the blog when there were murmurs of a Trump Presidential run in 2011, I'd been out of the loop as far as storylines went. 

That was until I discovered @nicodenoir on Twitter, he's been my biggest source for keeping up to date with 'Politics is Wrestling'. Nico introduced me to Brandon Wetherbee and Chris Kelly, co-authors of 'The Donald: How Trump Turned Presidential Politics into Pro Wrestling' and the 'Great American Bash' podcast. He connected me with the 'Review America' podcast with Brian Mann and Nate Milton. Both podcasts discussing American Politics through the prism of Pro-Wrestling and founded July, 2016.

I got in touch with Nico to find more about him and get his take looking back on 2016. I'd hoped to release this by Inauguration Day but decided I wanted to crank up my animations again. Expect to see more Pundits added to the existing roster of PunditFighters and changes to some of the original cast. I'm toying with the idea of creating a stable for the best champions of the 'Politics is Wrestling' meme.

1. What's your relationship with Wrestling and Politics, how long have you been engaged with both?
 After graduating from Concordia University in Political Science, I spent over a decade in Canadian federal politics as an executive in communications, while also having been involved in the American 08’ New Hampshire presidential primaries.

My expertise is in public relations, speech writing and campaign management. My first wrestling memory is walking under the hot and arid Stampede Wrestling tent at the age of 5 in Calgary. At my first live wrestling event, I saw WWF Intercontinental Champion Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat in a No DQ Match, at the Montreal Forum in 1987.

I've been with the International Wrestling Syndicate since its inception in 1999, holding various roles with them behind-the-scenes over the years, while being currently involved as a public relations and social media consultant.

2. Explain your interest in the Politics is Wrestling analogy. How did you first come up with or come across the idea? 

 I first noticed the relationship between pro wrestling and politics while studying speech writing in College and falling onto the famous Dusty Rhodes 'Hard Times' promo. To this day, I still think that promo may arguably be the greatest political speech ever.

3. What were your 5 favorite Politics is Wrestling links for 2016, providing some background?
After Linda's failed senatorial races representing the Republican Party in Connecticut, once Chris Christie dropped out of the presidential race, the McMahon’s rallied behind their old friend Trump. The McMahon donation to the Trump campaign assured Linda's candidacy for appointment.

While everyone's focus was on Trump, Rhyno also ran for politics this year, doing a great job in his campaign which was highly substantial in local policies. He also continued to perform as a wrestler on the SmackDown brand throughout his campaign.
Dwayne Johnson has alluded in passing to entering politics, but this year was his coming out in affirming his interest in running for the highest office. Ironically, US politicians generally deny until the last minute their intentions to run for President, but obviously for The Rock, "it doesn't matter what you think".
I used these two incidences as an exercise to demonstrating the different ways a mistake can be publicly confronted, as the Democrats denied wrong-doing by deflecting the blame, Reigns faced his situation head-on by admitting fault and apologising.
While many speculated that Trump was using the professional wrestling playbook during his campaign, it was this Meet The Press interview that confirmed this reality, most notably from Vince McMahon's congratulatory call for the Republican National Convention entrance.

4. How would you best describe 2016? 
2016 was the year where the analogy of politics as wrestling was legitimized by the Trump candidacy. While Jesse Ventura has been playing this up all along since his mandate as Governor of Minnesota, it hadn't hit the American mainstream until now. By the end of last summer, politics as wrestling was on everyone’s mind.

Looking forward, it remains to be seen what effect the Trump campaign will have on others in the wrestling industry who have future political aspirations including Glenn Jacobs (Kane), Booker T, Cody Rhodes, Dwayne Johnson and quite possibly John Cena.

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