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David "Fit" Finlay fired by WWE due to complaint from sponsor

Various sites including are reporting that WWE producer/road agent and recently retired wrestler David "Fit" Finlay was fired by WWE due to an angle at the Friday night Raw house show upsetting the United States Army National Guard, which is a major sponsor of WWE programming.

The Raw shows over the last few weeks have opened with The Miz coming out and cutting a promo before having his main event match with Randy Orton as the opener.  The match would then end with CM Punk running in, leading to the anonymous Raw general manager making a Miz/Punk vs Orton/John Cena tag match for the new main event after polling the fans.  On Friday's show in Champaign, Illinois, for whatever reason, Miz interrupted a recording of "Star-Spangled Banner," the US national anthem.  Representatives of the National Guard were angry at WWE for using this type of cheap heat, so since Finlay was the producer in charge of the show and presumably made the call, he had to be fired to appease them.

A bit of an odd end to Finlay's nearly 10 year run with the company as a road agent/producer.  After coming in as part of the WCW purchase along with fellow agents John Laurinaitis (now head of talent relations), Arn Anderson, and Ricky Santana, the veteran European star ended up being given the job of training the female wrestlers.  He did a fantastic job, leading to a golden age for the division anchored by Trish Stratus.  With one leg numb from the knee down due to an accident in WCW where he went through a formica table, he returned as a full-time wrestler in 2006. 

Even with one leg and pushing 50, he was still an incredible worker and got to have the highest profile run of his career and was regularly featured in long showcase matches on Smackdown and Smackdown brand PPVs before the PPVs were made dual brand again.  For whatever reason, Laurinaitis reportedly took issue with Finlay's return and tried to sabotage him.  This led to Finlay getting Hornswaggle as a second, but Finlay made the most of the situation, memorably using his tiny companion as a weapon with reckless disregard.  Even when Hornswoggle was revealed to be his "son" and Finlay was turned face, Hornswoggle was over enough and Finlay was good enough that it still worked.  Eventually, Laurinaitis got his way and Finlay was retired. 

As for what got him fired, while it doesn't mean that Friday's angle was necessarily a good idea, in the grand scheme of things, it was awfully tame.  The heel was an American being a jackass, not a foreigner using it for xenophobic heat.  Plus, cheap heat like this is nothing new in WWE or pro wrestling as a whole, and they've gone a hell of a lot further in the past.  In 1991, Sgt. Slaughter sided with Iraq during Operation Desert Storm, burned a Hulk Hogan shirt, teased burning an American flag, invoked Saddam Hussein often, fought Hogan in "Desert Storm Matches" etc.  In 1993, the Yokozuna vs Jim Duggan feud had to be toned down due protests from Japanese-American groups.  In this case, the protests were about the overly jingoistic commentary by the announcers during the angle where Yokozuna injured Duggan and a fake Japanese newscast that celebrated Yokozuna's actions as if it was a great moment for the nation.

After-9/11, they held off for a little while (Kurt Angle was immediately given the WWF Title while positioned as an American hero, but it felt more like an attempt at cheering people up than being exploitative) before going way overboard.  Heels in the following years included The UnAmericans (Canadians and an Englishman who carried upside-down American flags and once came close to burning one), La Resistance (a French-Canadian and a Maritimer as Frenchmen at the height of anti-French sentiment during the "freedom fries" era), and Mohammad Hassan (actually Italian-American Mark Copani) with manager Khosrow Daivari (legitimately Iranian-American wrestler Dara "Shawn" Daivari).

Hassan and Daivari somehow evolved from American-born Muslims frustrated with discrimination (who were still heels for some reason) to leading around a gang of masked men dressed like the terrorists in various beheading videos.  The gimmick came to an end after an angle where they all choked out The Undertaker with piano wire, which was used in one of the beheadings.  On the day that the angle was about to air, the London train bombings happened.  WWE brass reportedly decided that American fans didn't care about world issues and left it in the American broadcast on the now defunct UPN (who left it in, but added a "viewer discretion" crawler) while editing it out of the international version of the show.  The backlash was disastrous, with UPN banning Hassan from the network and the character being written out at the next PPV event.

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