It’s that time of year again! The Fourth of July, where (many) Americans can take the day off to enjoy liberty and independence. WWE doesn’t take any days off, of course, and their Fourth of July holiday involves producing both Raw and Smackdown for your entertainment pleasure.
But WWE has always has its finger on the pulse of America, and in celebration of both the holiday and this sport we occasionally love, we’re presenting the most patriotic moments in the history of the WWE/WWF, not including when Undertaker’s ass was bad on behalf of the nation.
Tribute to the Troops
We’d be remiss if we didn’t kick the list off with this one. Every year, WWE travels to put on an exclusive show just for the troops. It usually takes place in the Middle East, and is certainly a kind gesture by the company. WWE works with the military and the troops all year, but they have a show just for them around Christmastime, and the enlisted personnel certainly appreciate it.
John Cena’s WrestleMania 31 entrance video
(Jump to about 7:33 in the above video for the package in question.)
Okay, let me get this out of the way: this was NOTHING compared to Rusev’s entrance. NOTHING. Rusev came out on a TANK for this match, and it was definitely the most patriotic Bulgarian/Russian moment in WWE history. But to date, this is the most recent “special” Cena entrance, and even though it doesn’t measure up to drum lines or clones or firing machine guns, any video package that features Ronald Reagan, Martin Luther King Jr., AND a bald eagle deserves a spot on this list.
Hulkamania defeats all foreign nations
Just doing a big catch-all here for “Hulk Hogan beats an evil foreigner,” because it has happened a LOT. Beginning with defeating the Iron Sheik at the height of Iran-U.S. tensions to kick off Hulkamania proper, there’s a reason Hogan was the perfect sweet spot of showman, spectacle, and all-American dude (brother), making it all come together and make him possibly the biggest pro wrestler ever.
But he pretty much beat everyone from every nation, up to and including the Canadian Earthquake, and of course Iraqi sympathizer Sgt. Slaughter.
The guy’s theme song (one of the most iconic in history) was called “Real American,” in case anyone doubted he didn’t bleed red, white, and blue. (Although overwhelmingly red, to be honest.) In fact, Hogan was SO infused with the spirit of Americana, that he actually eventually Digivolved into America.
Hulk Hogan becomes Mr. America
Sure, he had to become Mr. America to get around the fact that Vince McMahon fired “Hulk Hogan,” but the fact remains that for a period of time, Hulk Hogan was literally America.
“Compromised to a permanent end”
John Cena got to break the news of Osama Bin Laden’s capture and death to an arena full of WWE fans, and he did it with the most PG, John Cena wording you could possibly think of. There’s nothing more patriotic than pressing pause on an in-progress wrestling show to grab a microphone and yell “WE CAUGHT THE ENEMY.” It was a surreal moment, and the phrasing of Cena’s announcement has become a sort of a meme, but no one can see this isn’t patriotic as hell.
Lex Luger slams Yokozuna and then climbs aboard the Lex Express
Yokozuna, the villain allegedly from Japan, took WWF by storm in 1993, and he defied anyone to try to body slam him. In fact, he rented out an entire aircraft carrier, made sure lots of American flags were everywhere, and held a competition to see if any stupid chump could hoist his massive frame. At the last moment, an American hero arrived in the form of Lex Luger, and he got the job done.
Afterwards, he traveled the country in the Lex Express, campaigning(?) for a shot at Yokozuna’s title. Or maybe just campaigning to see if he could be voted most American. He would have had my vote, because check this out:
So American! Really brings a tear to the eye and/or makes you want a tour bus of your own.
Vince McMahon and the WWE roster salute America after 9/11
On September 13, Smackdown opened with a celebration of the indomitable human spirit in Houston. Vince McMahon, perhaps for the first time ever not wearing a suit or wrestling attire, thanked the fans, paid tribute to the victims of 9/11, led U-S-A chants, and spoke from the heart about how he feels about the United States of America.
The Patriot, Del Wilkes
Brandon Stroud has just started getting into this over in the retro Best and Worst of WWF Raw columns, but many territories, including GWF, and for a brief moment, WWF, loved the hell out of the Patriot, a man so infused with America that his face became an American flag, and his name became THE PATRIOT. (And the rest of his name became “Del Wilkes.”)
Every list of the most patriotic moments must end with the Patriot, for obvious reasons. He’s the Dallas Cowboys of wrestling. Except … you know … without as many championships.