Any wrestling fan knows about the recent coming out of Darren Young. Much respect is due to him for this; he did it in a small setting and treated it as if it was no big deal, which it truly shouldn’t be. With this, a case has been made for this to be worked into WWE storylines involving the Prime Time Players. While what he did was courageous and he deserves all the support he’s gotten, it should not be something that is involed in TV angles.
On the August 19th episode of Raw, The Real Americans and The Prime Time Players were set to have a match, which was won by PTP. Before the match, however, Zeb Coulter was discussing some qualities that a true American should have. The entire time, I was cringing at the thought of him bringing up Young’s sexuality, which he didn’t. But imagine if he did. Imagine the headlines of newspapers and online articles around the world: “WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT SPEWING HOMOPHOBIC PROPOGANDA.” While WWE and its officials have released statements supporting Young, and the WWE is a prominent part of an anti-bullying campaign called Show Tolerance And Respect, those are two facts that are not as well-known to non-wrestling fans. All the non-viewer would see is those headlines. Of course WWE can release a statement to rebut these claims, but even if that rebuttal is filled with solid fact, it will not be as widely seen as those headlines.
Take the recent Glenn Beck situation as an example. Glenn Beck made some rude comments about the wrestling business and its fans, but a YouTube video featuring Zeb Colter was released that shot down all of Beck’s claims. How many views did that video get? About 200,000. Most cute cat videos have more hits than that. Working Darren’s announcement into television would result in bad press for WWE. But what would get WWE good press for this situation? Continue to treat Darren as what he is: the same man he was before he came out.
All the backing Darren Young has received from Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, John Cena and many wrestlers around the world is wonderful. It is very clear that the message WWE intends to send people with this situation is that people of differing preferences should be accepted and respected just like other people. Wouldn’t a storyline based around those preferences be the best way to demonstrate acceptance and respect? Not at all, because the best way to demonstrate that non-heterosexuals are just like everyone else is to treat them like everyone else. Working it into a storyline would be the opposite of this. Does John Cena have storylines that revolve around his being straight? No, he gets storylines built around bad blood between him and another competitor. His character has layers and motivation that don’t involve his personal life.
With all this being said, there is no doubt that Darren’s announcement will result in a change on TV for him and his tag team partner. Even if it doesn’t involve his personal life, it will more than likely result in a face turn for The Prime Time Players and a potential tag team title push. First off, his face turn (along with that of Titus) is long overdue. The team has a load of signature catchphrases and gestures, including “millions of dollars!”, the arm-in-arm dance they do in their entrance, and Titus’ “URA URA URA.” These are all things that fans can catch on to and get behind, similar to the YES! chants, albeit on a smaller scale. This team will get insanely over as faces, regardless of either man’s personal life. The team will make suitable contenders for The Shield’s tag titles down the line. Both a face turn and their moving up in the ranks of the card would be justified.
“But why is that so? Your very last point was that this announcement shouldn’t change anything as far as his position in the company!”
At this particular moment in time, Darren Young is probably the most popular name in wrestling to the general population, second to John Cena. He’s gotten all kinds of publicity, including news reports, television interviews, and media appearances of the sort. “Darren Young” is currently a red-hot name, not only among wrestling fans, but among anyone who uses the internet. The bottom line is that there are people talking about him and his name is out there. It is for this reason that a push for The Prime Time Players in sensible, not because of anything in his personal life. When you have someone who is in that situation, regardless of the reason, it makes sense to move them up in the ranks of the company. If the last week has been any indication, there is nothing but good things in the future for Darren Young and Titus O’Neil, and deservedly so.