Pro wrestling and hip-hop are no strange bedfellows to one another. Ric Flair is often recognized as the most sampled wrestler in history. A litany of rappers from Action Bronson to Andre 3000 have name checked wrestlers in their rhymes. Hell, Master P had to defend No Limit and hip-hop’s honor in 1999 against the West Texas Rednecks. The two run deep, with far too many similarities to name.
As pro graps and hip-hop have come closer and closer over the years, Wale has become one of the movements signature ambassadors. Every year around WrestleMania, the D.C. native hosts his own WaleMania event where he’s normally seen with his custom Ultimate Warrior-style aqua blue WWE title belt. Last night on WWE Smackdown Live, Wale went from being in the arena to being part of the show itself, hosting a battle between The New Day and the Usos.
Unlike the Lavar Ball guest segment on RAW last Monday, Wale mostly kept the peace and managed to sneak in a “Don Demarco” reference right out of Smack/URL fame. Known to sneak a few “culture specific” moments on-air, The New Day had a clear advantage during the battle. Though they won via disqualification, it wasn’t without some solid punchlines from the Usos themselves. Both parties got in solid barbs and personal shots about the Usos’ father Rikishi, their cousin Roman Reigns and a “Rated R” line about Xavier Woods that was edited off the WWE Universe video. At least Wale lived up to his promise of keeping the battle clean and fun, even if the scrap afterwards left him temporarily without a shoe.
Even Jim Ross had to give Wale props for his night.
But Wale’s night wasn’t done in Phoenix. After 205 Live, the MMG rapper found himself a member of another clique, a certain “brand” if you will. He became the first celebrity member of Titus Worldwide, joining Apollo Crews and Akira Tozawa. Well, a perplexed Byron Saxton had to sit through the press conference and ask simple questions. “We takin’ over everything!” O’Neil exclaimed. “You might see LeBron James up here in a few weeks.”
All in all, not a bad night for the culture, both of hip-hop and wrestling. We may have to call for a rematch between the two teams next year in New Orleans.