Ghanian Kofi Kingston added an anecdotal, yet significant, chapter to WWE’s troublesome history of African-American world champions when he defeated Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 35.
Kingston’s win is sure to lead to ludicrous, prisoner-of-the-moment Tweets that will insist WWE is absolved of any racial bias because, hey, an African-American man finally got his hands on WWE’s most prestigious championship 67 years into the company’s controversial history.
In reality, Kingston’s triumph—and future triumphs of this nature by black men assuming that there will be more within the next 67 years—will not paint WWE as part of the solution when it comes to race relations within the promotion. Race in WWE will only stop being an issue once black men winning world championships in 2019 and beyond doesn’t come with so much history.
WWE and its apologists hold on to The Rock’s blackness for dear life when it’s convenient enough to defend its lack of black excellence among former world champions. Far be it of WWE to feature The Rock in a Black History Month vignette, but when it comes recounting any significant statistic of black wrestlers winning the Royal Rumble, headlining WrestleMania or winning the WWE Championship, WWE fancies The Rock as its in-house Richard Roundtree.