WWE superstar Darren Young may have inadvertently become a bigger star with one revelation
When Darren Young was introduced to the masses on WWE television back in 2010, he wore an ugly haircut and bore an uncanny resemblance to John Cena, WWE’s biggest star.
Internet wrestling fans referred to Young as “Black John Cena,” which was essentially code for no one was buying into his character.
Three years later, Young has gotten rid of the ridiculous hair cut in favor of a normal-looking afro, still bears a resemblance to Cena, but is more of a fixture on WWE television as a member of the tag team, the Primetime Players.
Young and his partner Titus O’Neil have potential to be stars one day, but that day has not come quite yet.
But Young’s day may come a little sooner than expected.
Young was standing in an airport in Los Angeles as he was in town for WWE’s second-biggest event, Summerslam, and just happened to be waiting around long enough to catch the eye of a TMZ cameraman.
The cameraman, seemingly out of the clear blue, asked Young if he thought a gay wrestler could survive in a WWE locker room.
Young chuckled and then revealed that he in fact is gay and that he was very successful.
The cameraman said he was admittedly “flabbergasted” by what he just heard because he knew the magnitude of what Young just revealed.
TMZ posted the video and it caught fire very quickly. The Los Angeles Times, Fox News, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Bleacher Report, Philly.com, are just a few of the slew of outlets that picked up on this.
Young was born Fred Rosser in Union Township, N.J., which according to Google is merely an hour and 28 minutes away from Philadelphia.
He attended Farleigh Dickenson University where he played football before turning his attentions to professional wrestling.
Young isn’t the first active athlete to make such a revelation in the public eye. NBA basketball player Jason Collins did so earlier this year.
In fact, Young isn’t even the first professional wrestler to come out in this manner. Former WWE superstar Orlando Jordan came out as bisexual and actually performed in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling afterward.
Young’s case is a little different. He works for WWE. WWE is no ordinary wrestling company. In fact, it’s more than just a wrestling company.
One of the many issues with TNA Wrestling, but chief among them, is its lack of ability to promote. You know why you didn’t know Jordan was an openly gay wrestler in TNA? Because TNA doesn’t promote well.
WWE doesn’t have that problem.
Whether people want to admit it or not, WWE is an entertainment conglomerate with almost 10 hours of wrestling per week, movies, reality television shows and a reach further than most people could even imagine for something that simply started as just the wrestling territory for the northeastern United States.
To gain this reach, WWE had to shed its more adult-oriented content of the late-1990s and go to a more family oriented product — that still incorporates violence, of course.
In one statement, Young may have inadvertently gone from just another wrestler who was going to be left off the Summerslam card, to one of the more better-known wrestlers in the world just for the fact that he’s gay and works for the biggest wrestling company on the planet.
There’s nothing wrong with that at all.
One of the missions of WWE is to reach as many audiences as possible and the company may have found a new one in the form of Young.
The WWE has the opportunity to put Young out in front of cameras and be a spokesperson for the company to a segment of the audience the company hasn’t necessarily tried to tap into — the LGBT community.
The WWE already has things in place for this to happen with the Be A STAR anti-bullying campaign where Young could be an ambassador for the company.
WWE -- because it is very smart and very good at what it does -- seems to already be on board with all of this via a statement the company released on its web site Thursday:
On TMZ this morning, WWE Superstar Darren Young (Fred Rosser) revealed to the WWE Universe that he is gay. WWE is proud of Darren Young for being open about his sexuality, and we will continue to support him as a WWE Superstar. Today, in fact, Darren will be participating in one of our Be A STAR anti-bullying rallies in Los Angeles to teach children how to create positive environments for everyone regardless of age, race, religion or sexual orientation.
There’s a certain way to go about all of this, however. The WWE once had character named Golddust. Although the man who played the character, Dustin Rhodes, was not gay, the character had a lot of gay overtones and was seen as revolutionary for its time. Jordan portrayed a character along those lines in TNA Wrestling.
But putting in Young in that line of character would almost be making a mockery of who he is and what he represents, in my opinion and would be done purely for shock value only. That isn't what this is about.
The WWE doesn’t have to change anything about Young. The company could keep him exactly the same and show that his sexual orientation does not matter, he’s still at the end of the day a professional wrestler or as WWE likes to call them, a WWE superstar.
If WWE goes about their business right, and they usually do, the company along with Young may have stumbled upon something that could grow the company.