The Daily Beast has a new piece online featuring quotes from Stephanie McMahon at the ESPYs last week. In it, she addressed Darren Young’s sexuality not being incorporated into storylines.
“Darren Young was the first WWE superstar to really come out as being homosexual, but his character in the show is not,” she told The Daily Beast. “At least, we haven’t done anything with it either way—just yet.”
The piece is in-depth, it revisits Billy and Chuck, examines WWE’s relationship with GLAAD, quotes a former WWE writer and wraps with another quote from Stephanie McMahon. You can read it at this link.
If you missed Richard Reacts to WWE Battleground, I discussed this very issue when examining The Prime Time Players vs. The New Day and the potential within both teams. My argument regarding Young is that WWE missed a golden opportunity with him after he came out in August 2013. Young’s coming out was one of the biggest stories of the year [in terms of mainstream attention] and WWE’s only response was to subtly turn him babyface.
I believe Young has tremendous potential based on talent alone, however, when he came out, he provided an avenue for WWE to incorporate that element of reality into his character and develop him into a singles superstar. For whatever reason, WWE refused to go with it and Young remains in the same position he was in before he ever came out.
I'm not saying WWE should should exploit the personal lives of their talent, I'm saying the best characters are created by utilizing real life characteristics turned up to the max (think "Stone Cold" Steve Austin). Young publicly came out and provided WWE with a fascinating detail about his personal life that garnered a tremendous amount of mainstream media attention. Vince McMahon, as the master promoter, should have recognized this and worked with Young to create the first gay megastar. I’m not saying create a character to be mocked and ridiculed but create a character through Young that breaks down barriers and reverses stereotypes.
The pro wrestling world surprised a lot of people with its progressive reaction to Darren Young coming out as homosexual. I believe a gay character would be warmly received, produce entertaining TV and create a whole new level of awareness. It’s not too late for WWE to go in this direction with Young but as is typical with much of what they do, they’re going to be at least 2 years too late.
The Prime Time Players are great as a tag team and it's nice they're getting their payoff as WWE Tag Team Champions, however, there is a lot of untapped potential in not only Young but Titus O'Neil as singles superstars. Obviously, I would rather the Prime Time Players be together than for Young and O'Neil to be irrelevant but they are two talents capable of much more.
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