Masculinist programming, over the years, has fetched the WWE sufficient notoriety to help usher itself into mainstream television relevance. While racy bra-and–panty matches and misogynistic storylines ran rampant through a good part of the 2000s, WWE has never quite broached the subject of homosexuality except through instances displaying exaggerated and uncomfortable behaviour. Any angle playing out homosexuality would immediately be marginalised as trivial, comic, or even bizarre, only to be swept under the glitzy rug of entertainment. Of course considering how a queer subculture in the WWE remained restricted to flamboyance, such alienation was symptomatic of the company’s tendency to never set a foot wrong with its target audience. For proof, one need not look further than the company’s first public acknowledgement of Pat Patterson’s sexuality in 2014, despite it being told in whispers and rumours since the 1970s.
Since Darren Young’s coming out in the most candid of circumstances in 2013, the WWE is no longer skirting the issue. Most prominently, it has renewed its associations with organisations such as GLAAD. Presently, the centralization of sexual transgression in popular culture has affected the company’s representation of itself, particularly in lieu of its numerous efforts at inclusivity. Young has become an unofficial spokesperson in homosexual circles and while this openness needs to be lauded, one cannot help but notice an instinct,on the part of the company, to stay on course despite shifting terrains.
However, there has not been any further implementation of homosexual storylines in contemporary WWE programming, despite all the talk by management. It remains to be seen if queer portrayals actually occur down the line, and supposing they do whether they are tweaked for entertainment value or underscored for social relevance.
This is not an exhaustive list.