WWE News: Big E talks about the history of black champions in pro wrestling
To say that things have changed a lot in both society and in the WWE even in the last 15 years would be a gross understatement.
When Kofi Kingston won the the WWE Championship after 11 hard years of never getting a fair shake atop the WWE, it was momentous for many reasons. Big E talked about some of the reasons during an interview with Uproxx promoting SummerSlam.
The men who traditionally held the main titles in WCW, WWF and WWE were Caucasian up until the 1990s. Ron Simmons, also known as Farooq, won the WCW Heavyweight Championship in the early 90s and it was a historic step forward for minorities in the business.
While there have been non-White champions in the WWE before, there weren't many in the company prior to the 2010s. The Rock is half Samoan and half African-American but was a special talent.
Holding secondary titles like the Intercontinental Championship, Tag Team titles or the United States Championship wasn't out of the question. One of the longest-tenured WWE Superstars, Mark Henry, won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in 2011 during his rejuvenated "Hall of Pain" run.
Even though that was another instance of a major champion in WWE being of African-American origin, it still remained that minorities were under-represented on the main event stage. Kofi Kingston's title win at 'Mania was a long time coming for many reasons.
"We have a history within the company that I think we need to acknowledge at times, where we had black and brown performers, and a foreign performers, as well, who were put into these roles that were very stereotypical. And I’m not trying to cast judgment on anyone who played those roles, but for us to be able to break out of that box of what it means to be a Black wrestler and do something unique, I think it’s important to us."
Big E went on to discuss that even though it was a long time coming for consistent representation in the WWE, the run his group has experienced has been instrumental to help similar people know that they can look and be different and still achieve their dreams.
"So we want to be able to demonstrate that, “Hey, you can be a Black man, you can like anime, you can play video games, you can have all these different interests, and be unique and feel free to express yourself in whatever way feels natural, and still make it to the heights of an industry like pro-wrestling and WWE.”
It's safe to say that Kofi Kingston and the New Day are one of the hottest, most popular and important groups in the WWE. They did start out as a mid-card faction, but have become a focal point of the company.
Their storyline on the Road to WrestleMania was one of the best ever. It was their commitment to each other and their beliefs that has made them genuine and role models for people all around the world.