Race is a barrier to being successful in the wrestling industry, according to JTG. During a candid interview with the World According To Wrestling, the former WWE Superstar says there is glass ceiling for black wrestlers. He also discussed how race is presented to the wrestling audience and offered his reaction to Hulk Hogan’s racial rant from 2007 that drew a ton of media scrutiny over the summer. Highlights from the interview are as follows.
On a glass ceiling in the wrestling industry:
For certain superstars there is definitely a glass ceiling. Using Zack Ryder as an example, it doesn’t matter if the crowd is on your side. If they don’t approve of you, if they don’t put the machine behind you, then they are not going to follow through with it. They handpick their stars.
On whether race is a barrier in this glass ceiling:
I definitely believe so just due to history, the results you know? All the superstars that have been identified as African Americans, have been identified as black – I’ve never seen them been the face of the company or be the Heavyweight champion. I’ve seen it in other companies like TNA and WCW, but in WWF still there hasn’t been a Black face or a champion.
On Hulk Hogan’s racial rant:
What Hulk Hogan did was very disappointing. He was one of my biggest childhood heroes in the 80s and to hear him say that “We’re all a little racist” you’ve pretty much sealed your own fate. And I’m still trying to wrap my head around that. It’s still disappointing. I know that he is a loving guy and he’s very positive. I’ve met Hogan probably like two or three times and he’s already had good spirits about him but racism has nothing to do with loving or hating somebody; it’s a mindset that you are superior to the other race.
On representations of race in wrestling:
That’s how wrestling has always been. Hopefully it changes real soon. And usually they bring them in as a heel; as a monster for the white champion to overcome. You know Umaga, he was fed to John Cena. Same thing with Kamala in the 80s, he was fed to Hulk Hogan. Nine times out of ten they make the angry black man – the savage – just be fed to the champion. It’s an obstacle that he’s going to win.