A WWE Hall of Famer has been put in charge of America’s nuclear codes. Donald Trump will be the first US President to have ever taken a Stone Cold Stunner, and he has also appointed another former WWE personality, Linda McMahon, to a prominent position in his administration. The first foreign leader he invited on a state visit was Taoiseach Enda Kenny, leader of a relatively inconsequential nation best known for tax evasion and generally acting the maggot. This is 2017, where the unlikely is routine and the ridiculous is reality.
Trump’s relationship with the McMahon family dates back to 1988, when Trump Plaza in Atlantic City hosted Wrestlemania IV, which Trump bragged about as being a big coup at the time. Trump Plaza hosted the event again the following year, and Trump himself would show up as an audience member at several other Wrestlemania events in the years that followed.
It was not until 2013 however that Trump would get involved in his first professional wrestling match, when he stood in the corner of wrestler Bobby Lashley as he took on the Vince McMahon – backed Samoan wrestler Umaga. Dubbed the ‘Battle of the Billionaires’, McMahon’s man lost and as per the stipulation McMahon was shaved bald by Trump in the middle of the ring. That weekend McMahon also inducted Trump into the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame (other inductees include boxer and convicted rapist Mike Tyson, and rapper and pornographer Snoop Dogg). Before brining Trump onstage, Vince actually endorsed Trump for President, and the New York crowd booed loudly.
Linda McMahon is the wife of WWE chairman Vince McMahon, with whom she built a small regional wrestling promotion into a publically traded global entertainment brand. She has run unsuccessfully for the Senate twice on a Republican ticket, and donated $6 million to the Trump campaign this year. On December 7, Trump announced that he would appoint her as the head of the Small Business Administration when he takes office.[pullquote]If the appointment of reality TV stars, WWE superstars and cartoon supervillains to the White House seems a little absurd, it’s because it is. Childhood fantasy has become reality in a surreal and terrifying way.[/pullquote]
As CEO of WWE, she presided over episodes of Monday Night Raw where her husband ordered a female employee to strip, get down on her knees and bark like a dog, where her son-in-law and current COO Triple H broke into a funeral home and simulated necrophilia, and a 77 year old woman was ‘powerbombed’ off a stage through wooden tables before giving birth to a plastic hand. Under her watch, a harrowing number of WWE employees have died prematurely, usually thanks to heart-attacks, drug overdoses or suicide, very occasionally taking their families with them (Google ‘Chris Benoit’. Actually, don’t).
Linda McMahon is not the only left-field candidate Trump has promised an important job to. Steve Bannon will be the President’s Chief Strategist, a man whose ex-wife has accused of domestic violence and anti-Semitism. For Secretary of Defence, he has selected a former general affectionately known as ‘Mad Dog’ (apparently the Punisher and Judge Dredd were unavailable and/or fictional). His pick for Secretary of Energy is Dancing with the Stars participant and avowed homophobe Rick Perry. If the appointment of reality TV stars, WWE superstars and cartoon supervillains to the White House seems a little absurd, it’s because it is. Childhood fantasy has become reality in a surreal and terrifying way.
Trump supporters will argue that the people being selected are the best candidates for the jobs they’ve been given. To be fair, James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis has legitimate military chops, and Rick Perry wears glasses. And Linda McMahon, as already noted, alongside her husband took a small business in New York and transformed it into a multinational corporation, and today the McMahon’s net worth is estimated at $1.16 billion. She could in fact be an excellent choice for the Small Business Association, and prove to be the saviour of the ailing Mom and Pops enterprises of the rust-belt States that elected Trump.[pullquote]Trump supporters will argue that the people being selected are the best candidates for the jobs they’ve been given. To be fair, James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis has legitimate military chops, and Rick Perry wears glasses.[/pullquote]
However, it’s far too early to say whether her experience running WWE will translate. Previous business innovations implemented by her company include the Hell in a Cell match, and ‘Hot Lesbian Action’ (this was a segment where two scantily clad models began kissing in the ring before being attacked by two huge Samoan wrestlers, legitimately breaking one of the girl’s ribs. One of the wrestler’s involved was Umaga, who would go on to take part in the aforementioned ‘Battle of the Billionaires’ match. He died suddenly a few years later. He was 36).
There is a glimmer of hope in this bizarre circus we now call normal. At Wrestlemania 17, Vince McMahon faced his son Shane in a Street Fight in the culmination of a month’s long storyline in which the tyrannical billionaire demeaned women, crushed his rivals and generally abused his power.
As part of the story, his long-suffering wife Linda had become comatose and was confined to a wheelchair, forced to watch as her husband administered a beating on her only son. However in the final act, Linda would slowly rise from her chair, walk across the ring and kick her dumbfounded husband in the groin, as the 70,000 people in the Houston Astrodome came unglued. Shane then dropkicked a steel trashcan into his father’s face and scored the victory, and the day was won for the forces of good.
Now, I’m not for a moment suggesting that one day Linda McMahon will walk into the Oval office, interrupt Trump as he prepares to Nuke Australia because he had a nightmare about sharks, and kick him in the groin, saving the world from nuclear Armageddon. The very idea is laughable and absurd. But not so long ago, so too was the idea of a White House filled with reality TV stars and professional wrestling personalities. Who can honestly profess to know for certain what the rest of 2017 has in store?