WWE Tough Enough was a show that many loved back in the day. It was a fun show to watch on MTV when WWE was in an edgier time. The company allowed us to see how a wrestler was trained, and this was where we learned what it really took to become a WWE Superstar. People like John Morrison and The Miz came out of the show, so it did produce some stars that were long-lasting. Then WWE brought it back in 2011 and sort of rigged it. It didn’t feel like the fans really had much involvement and it kinda sucked to see.
USA Network and WWE revamped the show to allow the fans to have more say than ever before in who would win ultimately. WWE ended up hiring a variety of people from the show outside of the winners such as ZZ and Mandy, who were both runners-up in their respective categories. Another that was hired actually had some independent wrestling experience coming in, his name is Patrick Clark.
Being one of the youngest in the competition, WWE saw raw talent and knew they could use him down the line. He simply needed more training under his belt to become great, as he had all the physical tools to do a lot in the WWE. On top of this, he’s young and hasn’t taken a lot of bad bumps for years on the indie scene. WWE knows too that Clark needed something to help him get noticed. The company clearly knows he has everything one could need to become great, but a character is essential. Sadly, it does not seem that Patrick Clark is doing quite well with that so far.
— katie latronico (@katieloud) May 14, 2016
According to Ringside News, Patrick Clark has gone through a gimmick change where he is apparently supporting Donald Trump and adapting his ideas and philosophies. He’s been cutting heel promos on the NXT live events, saying “women belong in the kitchen instead of in a wrestling ring” and more. On top of this, he’s been wearing Trump shirts (see above) that clearly support the United States presidential candidate.
Ideally, the gimmick is surely going to catch attention from both management and fans. However, it puts WWE in a bind in some ways. It shows that they are really exploiting the Trump name as he runs for office. Clearly, a lot of people despise Trump for his ideas and comments about women, religions, race, and more. He is known to many as a racist, and much, much more. This means supporting him and using his ideas and philosophy on things will get heel heat.
Is it the kind of heat the WWE wants to see young Patrick Clark get however? WWE is already sort of using the Trump stuff with Darren Young, having Bob Backlund return to be his life coach where they talk of “Making Darren Young Great Again.” Of course, some wonder if he was ever great to begin with. That not withstanding, the WWE is not really doing a lot here to hurt themselves, nor is Young.
However, Patrick Clark might get into more trouble with this than it’s worth. Having a character say such things may not go over well. It makes sense in theory. The irony of a black man supporting someone known to be racist is interesting. It is also interesting that Clark is using some of Trump’s worst ideas and theories and putting it into a wrestling promo.
The problem is that once the Trump situation fades, we’ll just have a racist black man who says horrible things about people that simply cannot work as a character. Both Clark and WWE will get negative press over it as well.
At the end of the day, the question both WWE and Patrick Clark have to ask themselves is this: Is this character going to work long-term? If so, how can we dial it back a bit to actually work? We’re in a PG environment now, with WWE always bringing up the “Be a Star” program. This type of character cannot truly thrive in the type of environment we see today. It is also not edgy, as it is merely copying a candidate for office. The only unique part of the entire thing is the irony of Patrick Clark playing out the role, and he is better than this to most fans.
[Image via WWE]