Darren Young made headlines in August 2013 when he came out as gay in a casual airport interview with TMZ, becoming the first openly gay active WWE Superstar. If you never came across the interview, though, you’d probably have no idea that Young is gay since his sexuality was never made apart of his character during his time with WWE.
While it’s not known why WWE didn’t portray Young’s character as gay, Stephanie McMahon revealed two years ago that the organization was considering introducing LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) characters and themes to its weekly programming in the future.
“Throughout my life, I have grown up knowing gay [WWE] Superstars and executives,” McMahon told NBC Out (a digital portal on the NBC News website targeted at the LGBT community) in an August 2016 interview.
“It’s always been accepted, but now it’s about getting that message out there.”
McMahon added that WWE is committed to inclusive storytelling and said “when it makes sense … absolutely we will integrate LGBT storylines into our programming.”
WWE didn’t have imminent plans to do so then, but McMahon said there will “absolutely” be an opportunity for an LGBT storyline in the “near future.”
This could finally turn into a reality as behind-the-scenes, McMahon wants a WWE Superstar to portray a gay character and she has a specific person in mind.
She wants Finn Balor to play gay.
There is resistance to McMahon’s idea from her own husband, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, who strongly disapproves it.
It’s said that if Balor or a different WWE Superstar portrays a gay character, it wouldn’t be for laughs. The description of her idea of a gay character is “empowered.”
Through its partnership with GLAAD, an LGBT media advocacy organization, WWE is prioritizing sensitivity with their creative writers.
“We’ve had GLAAD come in and speak to our entire writing team and give a whole tutorial on sensitivities, the right words, the wrong words, why those words matter,” McMahon told NBC Out.
“In terms of any issues that require a degree of sensitivity in terms of how they’re being handled, we are always going to incorporate our partners, like GLAAD, to help us tell those stories the right way, because we do want to be sensitive to our audience, we want to be sensitive to the community and we want to make sure that we’re telling the right messages in the right way.”
McMahon has liked the idea of a gay character in WWE for several years. Last September, former WWE creative writer Brian Solomon revealed in an interview with F4WOnline.com that back in 2001, he pitched an idea to McMahon about Brock Lesnar’s character being gay and she liked it.
When the idea was pitched, Lesnar had not been introduced on WWE television yet as he was in the company’s developmental system. He was working dark matches before Raw and SmackDown to get him ready for his debut on the main roster, which occurred the night after WrestleMania X8 in March 2002.
Solomon said that Lesnar wouldn’t exhibit any of the stereotypes of gay men, such as “prancing around,” but would be an “ass kicker.” Lesnar would never make an issue of the matter, but if a WWE Superstar made fun of his sexuality, then he would take it upon himself to crush that wrestler, making him a huge babyface in the process.
According to Solomon, Stephanie liked the idea of a “strong gay character” as it would make the WWE look good with the progressive community.
Lesnar himself wasn’t fully on board with the idea so it never came to fruition. Instead, a watered-down version of the gimmick was eventually used on Billy Gunn and Chuck Palumbo in what eventually played out as a storyline that saw both characters admit they’re not gay.
While Stephanie’s idea seems to imply that Balor is gay or bisexual in real-life, that’s not necessarily true. However, little is publicly known about his personal life since the WWE Superstar tries to avoid dating rumors. In October 2015, Balor appeared on WWE Unfiltered with Renee Young and she tried to get him to talk about his dating life, but he dodged it.
As Balor talked about his love of Legos, Young asked him if he tells people on dates that he’s building Legos (interestingly, Young specifically said ‘people’ rather than girls or women).
“I don’t have time to go on dates,” Balor said while giving a hearty laugh.
Balor quickly changed the subject back to Legos, making note of WWE’s “StackDown” playset, which are like Legos but actually aren’t made by the Lego company.
There has also been speculation that he once dated Becky Lynch, but their relationship has been confirmed as strictly wrestling related by the “Irish Lass Kicker.” Balor’s track record of keeping his private life out of the public eye ended last December when this photo surfaced of him out on a date with WWE personality Cathy Kelley at a New York Knicks game.
Lakers lost and Finn balor pulled up with Cathy Kelley to see it. This gotta be the worst day of my life. pic.twitter.com/vdKNNSzdig
— Ben Coil (@CometCoil) December 13, 2017