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SmackDown Live’s Problematic Tyler Breeze Segment



Last night on SmackDown Live, many of us will remember that Tyler Breeze ‘dragged up’ in gear mirroring Nikki Bella’s to become the ‘Breezy Bella’ character. A crop top, wig, tiny shorts and to top it off, large fake plastic breasts.

It’s supposed to be for comedic effect, and I get that. Tyler Breeze isn’t as serious as he was in NXT (and he wasn’t too serious back then either), and with Breezango, they have been in enjoyable (and unenjoyable) segments over the past few months. It’s a shame to see such a good, talented wrestler become just a joke for Vince and the producers to screw around with. I’d be lying if I said that this was the first example of this. We’ve seen it over the years with Daniel Bryan and Damien Sandow, and many more names to count.

But this isn’t why I chose to write this article. This segment was another reason why WWE’s version of feminism and being progressive just doesn’t match up to the standards of today. In fact, it puts on show WWE’s very noticeable hypocrisy when it comes to issues like these. Allow me to elaborate.

Tyler Breeze and his partner, Fandango, are all about that fashion. Since his debut, he’s been all about self-image and embodying unconventional male traits. In some promos dating back to 2013-2015 in NXT, he’d constantly be belittled and emasculated by his fellow roster members, with him having nothing to do but cower in fear (gee, I wonder why he didn’t get over well on the main roster). 

Even the way Tyler talks and acts, it shows that he’s just another stereotype of how the media saw gay people over 10 years ago. WWE haven’t changed with the times, clearly.

The segment last night had Tyler Breeze dress up as Nikki Bella, (for some reason, they are not even in a storyline together, but I guess it’s something for him to do) but the fact that it’s the stereotypical ‘gay character’, it does imply some kind of ideal that the producers who mostly were a part of the “macho manly days” of pro wrestling, so it’s quite amusing to them.

But even so, they’re having another man dress up as a woman on the roster, which judging by what they have done in the past; it’s to infer that a woman who isn’t stick thin is ‘manly’. But wait, there’s more.

Whilst Nikki performing wrestling moves on Tyler Breeze looks to ‘empower women’, it’s another example of WWE’s half attempt at implementing intergender wrestling. When a woman lays a beatdown on a man, it’s to infer they’re crazy (see AJ Lee) or it’s for comic relief (see Beth Phoenix and Chyna). In this case, it’s comic relief. The idea is designed to make Breeze look weaker, not to make Nikki look stronger.

In addition to this, as a feminist, I have to advocate for equal rights for both women and men. It does nothing for equality to have a one-sided beat down from one gender to the other. This includes last night, but also examples of the past like The Dudley Boyz and Stacy Keibler, or Three Minute Warning beating up HLA. It’s an embarrassment to the company as a whole, especially this segment aired during Women’s History Month and Stephanie McMahon has gone on to talk about better representation of LGBT characters in WWE, and Tyler Breeze acting as the gay stereotype doesn’t better represent anyone when it’s the butt of the joke.

So what do you think? Am I being too radical? Do you agree/disagree with any of the points made here? Be sure to let us know, and please keep it civil.

Known for his thoughts on politics, wrestling and Henshin, Harry researches lost and obscure media. He formally ran the 'Harry's Commentary Table' YouTube channel and makes various appearances on both wrestling and non-wrestling related channels. Harry has since moved on from Fight Booth to explore other opportunities.

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