Here's a post I never imagined I'd write.
Last week's Wrestling Observer Newsletter (subscription required but recommended) had an item about WWE considering rolling out a homosexual asskicker character as far back as the early aughts. This week, they offer more details, and you're not going to believe who Creative had in mind...
Brock Freaking Lesnar.
The idea originally came from two of the magazine writers, one of them Brian Solomon (who just wrote a book about pro wrestling history called 'Pro Wrestling FAQ'), who pitched the idea directly to Stephanie McMahon that year. The pitch was that it would blow away the fan base and everyone to have an unstoppable hyper-masculine ass kicker revealing himself to be gay, and be pushed as a top babyface. The idea was to make sure he never did anything in or out of the ring that would make fans uncomfortable. It would be the anti-gay stereotype instead, and instead it would be the heels that would use his being gay in their promos and get their asses kicked, and making everyone using negative terms as far as being gay come across like heels.
Steph was apparently behind the idea, thinking it would win them support from the progressive community and gay rights movement.
The problems here are multitude, really, but a couple of big ones of course being that (1) Brock isn't gay, which lessens the social impact by essentially saying "don't worry, he's not really homosexual, and (2) the idea would be executed by a group of mostly older, straight white men who had booked things like Adrian Adonis in the past, and Rico's hairdresser character at the same time this was being kicked around, e.g. not exactly folks you'd trust to maturely handle a groundbreaking character.
That the emphasis was on "don't let him 'act gay' or make people uncomfortable" by the folks allegedly pitching it isn't exactly encoouraging, either.
In the end, the writers who came up with the idea never heard anything back from higher-ups. The Observer reports that the idea of Brock Lesnar, asskicker-who-happens-to-be-homosexual-but-not-really-and-don't-worry-he-doesn't-act-like-those-gays-people-don't-like, made it almost to our screens before "older agents" nixed it. The concept eventually morphed into the Billy and Chuck angle, confirming every concern and fear anyone would ever have about 2002 WWE fairly portraying a male homosexual character or championing gay rights in anyway.
Lesnar, as we all know, did alright with a different gimmick.
Bullet dodged, or missed opportunity, Cagesiders?