Points by Ben Simmons during Game 3 victory over Nets

Heel Turns: Trump follows wrestling script

Posted by Achilles Heel On May 11

Achilles HeelFor those baffled by Donald Trump’s rise to being the presumptive presidential nominee of the Republican Party, let Achilles Heel make it simple for you: The Donald learned his lessons well from professional wrestling.

Trump has a long association with wrestling. Trump Plaza hosted WrestleMania IV and V, making Atlantic City the only place to host WrestleMania in consecutive years. Trump also engaged in a “battle of the billionaires” with WWE chairman Vince McMahon at WrestleMania XXIII, with Bobby Lashley representing Trump and Umaga representing McMahon. As per the stipulation, when Lashley prevailed, Trump shaved McMahon’s head.

What prepared Trump best for his successful path through the Republican primaries was the buildup to the WrestleMania XXIII match. The promos he cut with McMahon to promote the battle of the billionaires helped him get huge reactions from the crowd.

Trump, inducted into the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013, clearly knows how to get a reaction. In wrestling parlance, getting a reaction from the crowd is known as drawing heat.

In the presidential primaries, Trump has been a heat machine. He makes outrageous statements, which draw the media to him like moths to a flame. In a 17-candidate field, it seemed as if the spotlight was always on Trump.

He didn’t care if he was being praised or ripped. All that mattered was that the media was talking about him.

In professional wrestling, the worst reaction you can receive is silence. If the fans are booing or cheering you, they care. If they are silent, they don’t care. Failing to get any reaction is something to avoid as a wrestler – or as a political candidate.

At times, Trump intentionally drew heel heat. He criticized the moderators and insulted the audience at some of the debates. The crowd booed him … which is exactly what he wanted. At one debate, it seemed as if every question was related to something Trump did or said. Simply by answering the question, the other candidates were contributing to Trump’s domination of the spotlight.

The faces Trump made during debates while his rivals were speaking also borrowed from WWE. His over-the-top reactions were reminiscent of faces wrestlers and announcers have made over the years. When the crowd only knew Vince McMahon as an announcer, he used to make faces of disgust at antics and comments by heels during interviews. Making faces also gets you attention, as the late great Captain Lou Albano frequently did during interviews.

Another tactic Trump apparently picked up from professional wrestling is to create an insulting nickname for someone he doesn’t like, as well as to purposely mispronounce his opponents’ names. The implication is that the person isn’t important enough for you to remember their name.

Jesse “The Body” Ventura frequently utilized this tactic – as a wrestler and announcer, but not as governor of Minnesota. Ventura would call Ivan Putski “Ivan Peduski.” Tito Santana was almost always “Chico Santana.” When John Kasich started to make some noise in the primaries, Trump mispronounced his name as Kasich, with the “ch” sounding like the “ch” in chair rather than the “hard c” sound.

Trump also created nasty nicknames to diminish his opponents. Marco Rubio became “Little Marco.” Ted Cruz became “Lying Teddy.” More recently, as he has started to focus his attacks on Democrats, Trump has referred to “corrupt” Hillary Clinton and “goofy” Elizabeth Warren.

It’s clear to the Greek God of Wrestling that Trump has borrowed a page or two out of the pro wrestling playbook to advance his political career.

If you doubt that Trump would borrow from professional wrestling, look no further for proof than the “You’re fired!” exclamation that became his signature line on his apprentice shows. Wrestling fans know that “You’re fired!” – or, “You’rrrrrrrrre fired!!!” – was one of McMahon’s signature lines long before it was borrowed/stolen by Trump.


PAYBACK DELIVERS: From a wrestling standpoint, WWE’s “Payback” delivered. Although some may not have liked the main event being a launching point for the Stephanie vs. Shane sibling competition, Roman Reigns’ victory over A.J. Styles elevated both men. The fans seemed to accept Styles as a main-event challenger for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and Reigns held his own with a top-notch wrestler.

The best match at Payback may have been Kevin Owens’ hard-hitting victory over Sami Zayn. Not too far behind was Charlotte defending the WWE Women’s Championship against Natalya. The ending, which was similar to the infamous Montreal screw-job, detracted a little bit from the women’s title match. Then again, the crowd popped when Bret “The Hitman” Hart, who received a huge ovation when he was introduced, put Ric Flair in a sharpshooter as Natalya did the same to Charlotte.

Not surprisingly, Chris Jericho and Dean Ambrose put together a good match, with Ambrose winning with “dirty deeds.” The Miz’s successful defense of the Intercontinental Championship against Cesaro, which Miz won when Cesaro was distracted by Owens and Zayne fighting on the ring apron, was also a good match.

Dolph Ziggler’s surprise pin of Baron Corbin and Kalisto’s successful defense of the United States Championship, both of which were on the pre-show, also were solid matches.


SCARY MOMENT: The only truly bad moment of Payback came in the opening match. After being thrown toward the ropes by the Vaudevillains, Enzo Amore hit his head on the rop. His head then snapped back and hit the mat, leaving Amore with what was described as a severe concussion. The match between Amore and Big Cass and the Vaudevillains was halted after the injury.

Amore’s injury is yet another reminder that injuries, like Neville’s broken ankle on a slide, can occur on what appear to be relatively simple moves if you’re not careful.

Achilles Heel wishes Amore a speedy and complete recovery.


MAGIC ON THE MIC: Kevin Owens was simply golden while joining the broadcast team during The Miz vs. Cesaro match on Payback.


SILVER BULLET: The big news out of Ring of Honor’s “Global Wars” at Chicago Ridge was that Adam Cole joined the Bullet Club, which includes The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson), Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa. Bullet Club interfered in the main event between Ring of Honor world champion Jay Lethal and Colt Cabana. The Bullet Club (without Cole) had defeated Kushida, Matt Sydal, Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley in the match before the main event.

Bobby Fish choked out Tomohiro Ishii to capture the Ring of Honor Television Championship.

There has been a championship change in Ring of Honor, but Achilles Heel detests spoilers, so you’ll just have to wait for the title change to happen on television.


DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE: Women Superstars Uncensored (WSU) and Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) combine for another doubleheader Saturday at Flyers Skate Zone in Vorhees, N.J. WSU presents Unshakable (4 p.m.), followed by CZW’s Prelude to Violence (8 p.m.).

The main event for Unshakable pits Cherry Bomb, the WSU world champion, against Allysin Kay. The headline match for Prelude to Violence features TV Ready defending the CZW Tag Team Championship against Da Hit Squad.


CHIKARA NEWS: Princess KimberLee defeated Jaka to retain the CHIKARA Grand Championship last Saturday at Whisper House in Philadelphia. Later that night, Frightmare won the Infinite Gauntlet match, which is a Royal Rumble-style match.


EVOLVING SCENE: The wrestling business creates some strange scenarios. Ethan Carter III, one of TNA’s top stars, was involved in an anti-NXT angle at a recent EVOLVE show.

TNA talent is allowed to work independent shows because TNA isn’t giving them steady work, taping 6-8 weeks worth of television in four of five days. Meanwhile, WWE has been involved with EVOLVE, sharing some NXT talent. But to have a TNA star get involved in a WWE-related angle while remaining under contract to TNA is bizarre.


COLOSSAL CLASH: TNA is building to a Bobby Lashley vs. Drew Galloway match for the TNA World Championship. In fact, that match is supposed to take place next week during Impact Wrestling.

TNA’s talent pool is shrinking, but give it credit for trying to make the most of what it has.


FARE THEE WELL: The Greek God of Wrestling hates to see anyone lose their jobs, but there weren’t many surprises among the individual released by WWE last week. As has been known for months, Wade Barrett decided not to re-sign with WWE, so that unfortunate departure can’t be considered a surprise.

The release of Damien Sandow was a mild surprise. He is a former Money in the Bank winner, but he hasn’t had much to do lately other than serve as enhancement talent. Alex Riley never caught on, Santino Marella suffered a career-ending injury a long time ago, and Cameron is terrible in the ring, which is even more noticeable when you compare her to almost all of the participants in the WWE women’s division today. Zeb Colter hasn’t had anything to do since Alberto Del Rio “fired” him, and Hornswoggle and El Torito haven’t been used for months.




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