Wrestlers Wes Logan and Tyler Hobson reflect on Black History Month

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 20: WWE superstar Rocky Johnson attends "Unite in the Fight... to Knockout Bullying" at the Hard Rock Cafe New York on October 20, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 20: WWE superstar Rocky Johnson attends "Unite in the Fight... to Knockout Bullying" at the Hard Rock Cafe New York on October 20, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images) /

Black History Month gives everyone, including the wrestling community, a chance to reflect on the achievements of African Americans in the industry and to remember the road to equality is a progressive one. That goes for everyone from the WWE to the local wrestling promotions.

Black History Month comes to a close within a week, but the questions remain: What is the current state of the Black community and professional wrestling? How do wrestlers view themselves in the industry?

In the WWE, there have been and are some very good Black wrestlers. Names like Harlem Heat,  Booker T, Mark Henry, Kofi Kingston, Cedric Alexander, Dwayne Johnson, Titus O’Neil, and Keith Lee have pushed the WWE Universe to take a closer look at the Black wrestling community.

And how could we forget pioneers like Rocky Johnson? Jacqueline?

Breaking through the color lines of the mid-1960s, Johnson was known as the “Soul Brotha.” He went on to win different titles in NWA, but came up short when it came to the World  Championship bouts against Terry Funk and Harley Race.

WWE’s Jacqueline captured the Women’s Championship in 1998. In addition, Alicia Fox was the first African-American Divas Champion. Their contributions have paved the way for Black women’s wrestlers like former Women’s Champions Sasha Banks and Naomi continue Black excellence in the ring.

The question has never been can WWE wrestlers hold a championship belt, it’s can they hold the championship belts that represent the face of the company: Like the WWE Universal Championship, The WWE Championship, and the WWE Women’s Championship.

Breaking down the doors of race continues,  not just at the top. The Independent circuit is just as active in diversifying the community. I had the chance to speak with few of those wrestlers to get their take on the industry as it stands.

For 34-year-old Wes Logan and 27-year-old Tyler Hobson Dawson, they see themselves as part of wrestling’s continuing evolution, witnessing first-hand the changes in the industry. Logan wrestles for Party Hard Wrestling, Revolt Wrestling, and is also co-owner and Booker for Versus Pro Wrestling.  He has also worked for Future Stars of Wrestling, Paragon Pro Wrestling, and West Coast Wrestling Connection. Dawson wrestles for Cauliflower Alley Club and Big Valley Wrestling.

According to Logan, he feels pro wrestling has progressed well since the early 80’s and 90’s.

“I believe it’s been a lot more accepting than most sports or sports entertainment in the fact that you have had television shows with all female rosters, you have seen Champions of all walks of life, women being pushed to the forefront of major companies,” Logan says. “For People of Color, I think it has done more in the light of PROMOTING the fact that this generation has been on an upside, but it is still a bit behind the times in trusting People of Color in the figure head position.”

Logan added that eventually, Black History Month will truly be able to focus on Black excellence in wrestling rather than who did what first.  “I think with the drop of talent in the business, now and upcoming, the racial lines will continue to blur and there will be no need for the conversation of the ‘first Black’ anything because it has already been done and surpassed.”

Dawson agreed, stating progress has been made, but there is more work to do. “I believe it’s made some strides for sure. Our presence is felt in a lot of wrestling areas and our natural charisma and athleticism almost makes wrestling the perfect niche for Black athletes. But it could definitely be stronger. There’s still many areas that aren’t fully caught up and the vacancies are apparent. It’s a marathon of progress/lessons.”

In closing, both men agreed that Black History Month tells a story of making a way when there was, and is not one, and the work takes time and patience.

More from Daily DDT

Logan said, “No matter what obstacles you are facing the toughest obstacle is mental. If you feel you can’t do it you won’t. If you really want to do it you will find a way. The work is hard and frustrating, but nothing in life worth having comes easy. You also have the ability to build with demolition. The way wrestling has always been is you have to be broken to be rebuilt. I don’t believe in that. Showing newer talent the right way to reach their goals, teaching them to teach the next class and to not beat themselves up if and when that next class surpasses them is very important to me. That’s what I want to leave behind.”

“I feel like I have to create my own lane. I’ve always felt like that because I just see things different. I want to leave a legacy that everyone can study and say “damn he really had to envision that before hand to execute and he did it,” Dawson added. “The fanbase I’m growing now loves FrescoMatic and only grows by the shows. I also believe one day their should be some sort of wrestlers union( I know I know) but I thinks it important to have leverage on all sides.”

Next. ‘Ultimate Finesser’ Chris Bey set to make an ‘Impact’. dark

Dawson also said it’s important to know how to work in the industry.  “Understand your strength but also learn to play the game to en extent. The only way WE can change anything is to already be in position to. That way one of us is “on” that creates a bridge to bring more in the game. And honestly you still have to bring it. The hard working and adjustable survive.”