These shocking racial gimmicks may have been accepted at the time, however, nowadays would be a completely different story!
5. Akeem “The African Dream”
George Gray is best known for his gimmick of The One Man Gang, portraying a big tattooed biker managed by Slick. However, his character started to run out of steam so in an attempt to bolster his career, his manager slick announced that The One Man Gang was actually African and planned to re-embrace his roots, hence Akeem “The African Dream” was introduced. This gimmick was awful on so many counts and unsurprisingly received much criticism. For example, Akeem was billed at 450 pounds, so calling him “The African Dream” was much of an insult towards Africans where poverty and hunger are persistent problems. Akeem also cut a promo dressed in a yellow African tribal vest in an American ghetto that was dubbed, “The Deepest Darkest Parts” of Africa surrounded by tribal African dancers. In addition to this, he mockingly danced while an African ritual took place in the background and spoke in an extremely hackneyed black accent.
Kamala “The Ugandan Giant” was portrayed by African American wrestler, Jim Harris and was a native Ugandan who made his entrance with a shield and spear, wore face paint and was barely able to think or even speak. His “wild savage” gimmick even involved him being a cannibal and he was accompanied by a masked handler by the name of Kim Chee who treated him like an animal as opposed to a man. If that wasn’t enough, Kamala’s gimmick was billed as a former bodyguard of Idil Amin, the third President of Uganda and even saw him eat live chickens! This racial stereotype couldn’t get any more offensive to Ugandans, however, we can’t deny that Harris did a really good job portraying the role of Kamala.
3. The Mexi-Cools
The Mexi-Cools comprised of three talented Mexican wrestlers: Super Crazy, Psicosis and Juventud Guerrera and made their WWE debut back in 2005 as heels who were fed up with the negative stereotypes of Mexicans in the United States. However, this was very ironic as they pretty much lived up to every possible stereotype regarding Mexicans. They rode to the ring in lawnmowers, which was later dubbed as “The Mexican Limousine” and talked about how Mexicans will have ‘gringos’ working for them as opposed to them taking up all of the worst jobs, during their promos. Furthermore, the group interfered in matches and even attacked people with nachos! After the tragic death of Eddie Guerrero in 2005 the group was eventually disbanded.
In the 1980s it was apparently acceptable that the million-dollar man, Ted DiBiase had a black servant by the name of Virgil. The name “Virgil” was meant as a jab against wrestler, Virgil Runnels better known as Dusty Rhodes. Virgil was made to wear a glittery butler attire with a bowtie and was very subservient towards Ted DiBiase, following him around. He was continually humiliated undertaking menial tasks, such as shining the million dollar man’s shoes and cleaning his gear. Additionally, Virgil was usually not allowed to speak and would only reply to DiBiase with the line, “Yes sir”! Not only this but Virgil would frequently take beatings on his master’s behalf from wrestler’s DiBiase was feuding with. Eventually Virgil got tired of being humiliated by DiBiase and turned on him hitting him with his own million dollar title belt at the Royal Rumble in 1991, quickly becoming a fan favourite. The racial connotations of this act were accepted back then, however, nowadays would a totally different story.
1. Muhammad Hassan
Muhammad Hassan had a short stint in the WWE and his gimmick sparked mass controversy. His character was a Muslim that spoke little English and prayed to Allah with the aim of rising above the prejudices that Muslims faced after the 9/11 attacks were carried out. Hassan played into every stereotype possible, constantly speaking of Arab superiority, wearing a cloth on his head and being held back by haters. Despite his good run in the WWE beating the likes of Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit, his career abruptly came to an end when his “terrorism” storyline coincided with the 2005 London Bombings. On the day of the London terrorist bombings, Hassan began to pray on the ramp summoning five masked men before attacking the Undertaker. Hassan was soon released from the company and his storyline was put to rest.