Recently, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan — following in the footsteps of fellow alternative rocker Bob Mould — started his new job. At a professional wrestling company.
Corgan is the newly appointed “senior producer of creative and talent development” for TNA Wrestling, the second largest wrestling organization — after WWE — in North America. In a way this move isn’t that much of a shock, as Corgan is a long-time wrestling fanatic and was part owner of a wrestling company in his native Chicago. But Corgan’s aims for what he can achieve in his new job are where the problem really begin. He wants to remove the traditional “heels” and “faces” — bad guys and good guys — and introduce more”‘realistic” elements, including transgender and race issues.
While this is a laudable idea, it is doomed to fail from the start.
Wrestling, when trying to deal with issues of race and sexuality, is, shall we say, behind the times. Let’s look at the company Corgan currently works for, TNA. In 2010 they debuted the bisexual wrestler Orlando Jordan in one of the most ridiculous segments seen in recent years in wrestling.
Unsurprisingly, the character failed to take off and Jordan left TNA shortly after. WWE tried similar shock tactics when two of their wrestlers – Chuck and Billy – announced they would get married in the ring.
After this bizarre segment, the next week Billy and Chuck announced they weren’t really gay and only pretending. As you can see, wrestling promotions have no real idea how to deal with sexuality.
They also have no real ability in dealing with racial issues either, too often falling back on outdated stererotypes, for example, looking at the introduction of current WWE tag team champions The New Day.
The future of TNA is also shaky at best. The company has allegedly just lost its TV deal with the channel Destination America, and despite Corgan having meetings with talent, it doesn’t look great for the company. It wouldn’t shock me if in the next couple of weeks Corgan departs TNA and goes back to working with the Smashing Pumpkins full-time. Still, it’ll at least make for an interesting chapter in his autobiography.