(To my Gentile readers: Both Hebrew, Yiddish and Jewish references are used in this article. As such, I have supplied endnotes to help the reader know what the heck this mishuga mensch1 is babbling about. I would hope everyone knows what a bar mitzvah and oy vey means. Good luck.)
I’m not a good Jew. I say I’m not good because I don’t go to synagogue. I also don’t speak or read Hebrew. I don’t identify as a conservative, liberal or orthodox Jew. I’m not even a Jews for Jesus. I’d consider Jews for Megan Fox if such a sect emerges. I’m proud to be Jewish though. We gave the world Einstein, the Marx Brothers and Paul Heyman. I still have trouble grasping that Vince McMahon isn’t Jewish. He’s so mogulish… a wrestling version of Louis B. Meyer or Lew Wasserman2.
All this got me thinking about Jews in professional wrestling. Who are they? Heyman, for sure. Goldberg, of course. But who else? I knew it was time for some heavy duty research, so for five painstaking minutes I looked on Wikipedia. I’ve never given a dome to Wiki, but use it frequently. Perhaps a Jewish thing?
Here’s the list:
The Wikipedia list of Jewish wrestlers seems light to me. Sean Waltman, aka The 123 Kid and Xpac, isn’t on the list. WTF?!? He was in Degeneration X for chrissakes! I shudder to think who else is missing.
Maybe that’s why I don’t pay the bastards. Some of the wrestlers that did make the list shocked me. My jaw dropped when I saw that Randy Savage, and brother Lanny, were on the list. Apparently, the Poffo boys had an Italian father and a Jewish mother. (Orthodox Jews believe that it’s critical to have a Jewish mother to be considered truly Jewish. But, in fairness, they also believe The Torah was dictated by God to Moses, and that the world is 6,000 years old. I’ll leave the credibility issue to my readers. Anyhow, now that I know the Poffostein boys are technically Jewish, a few things about them make more sense to me. For example, one of Lanny’s nonleaping personas was The Genius. This makes perfect sense given the Jews history of stressing education. Also, I now have a better understanding of Randy’s attraction to Elizabeth. One has to have had a Jewish mother to fully appreciate the desire for a shiksa Godess3.
And let’s not forget that actor David Arquette was WCW Heavyweight Champion. Who knew Arquette was Jewish? I assumed he was of French extraction with the “ette” thing. Then my research uncovered that Diamond Dallas Page is Jewish, and he was instrumental in helping Arquette get the title from Eric Bischoff. This probably doesn’t help with the anti-Semitic claim that Jews only help Jews, but I have a journalistic duty to be objective. I’m not saying there was a conspiracy, but when you think about the astounding reality of Arquette being a heavyweight wrestling champion, it can make the paranoid wonder.
Matt Bloom is also Jewish. Through his career he has had an eclectic group of personas: Tensai, The Mongolain, Train, Prince Albert, Rusher Road, Giant Bernard and few more. His many personas illustrate the Jewish need to seamlessly blend into a hostile culture. Possibly a stretch on my part, but I’m going for it.
The legendary manager, Eddie “The Brain” Creatchman, was not just a Jew, but a classic Montreal Jew. Creatchman managed some of the most heinous heels in wrestling history, including the Original Sheik and Abdullah the Butcher. Think about it. He was Jewish, wore a gaudy Star of David around his neck, yet he harmoniously worked closely the most violent and viscous of wrestlers, some of whom were Muslims! Had Creatchman been Prime Minister of Israel, we might have peace in the Middle East. If you’ve never seen Creatchman at work, check out his mastery of the mic:
Now time for a rant. I can’t help myself on this one. Why in God’s name was Ernie Roth not on the Wiki list of Jewish wrestlers?!?!? Obviously, with Creatchman, managers made the list. This omission brings up another resentment deep within me. I love the WWE roundtable television talk show, but when I watched the one about the greatest managers, Roth didn’t make that list either. How is this possible?!?! Roth was The Grand Wizard and Abdullah Farouk. Like Creatchmen, he handled the most volatile, bloodthirsty lunatics in the history of sports entertainment. And like Creatchman, he was one of the best ever on the mic! Why has he been swept under the mat? Do I want to know? Is he not Jewish? I’d bet my bar mitzvah gelt4 that he’s Jewish. How can a Jew, who wears glittered fezzes and turbans, manages the noble exalted Sheik, and The Butcher, be overlooked? I wanted to sue Wikipedia, but they have no money according to my Jew attorney. This actually makes sense given my donation record.
In any event, here is the great Ernie Roth doing his thing:
Here’s a good one. Ever heard of Rafael Halperin? Neither did I. Haperin was Austrian born Orthodox Jew, but moved to Israel at a young age. He was a face, billed from Israel. Here’s the best part he eventually was ordained a Rabbi! My Rabbi was very interesting. He took a brave stand against some Israeli policies, but he couldn’t wrestle worth a shit.
Andy Kaufman was another Jew “wrestler.” He seems to creep into all my articles. I love him. I suppose his connection to Jewishness through wrestling was his characters status as a Hollywood big macher5, and his penchant to sue anyone who crossed him, including half the population of Memphis, who hated his Jew guts.
Billy Kidman had a persona called Dr. Weisenberg. A Jewish doctor wrestler. Wow. I wonder if his parents were proud. Did being a wrestling doctor instead of a real doctor mitigate his parent’s shame? I’m not sure if the Hypocratic Oath applies to Dr. Weisenberg. After all he is paid to physically destroy his opponents. Perhaps he treated them after the match?
It’s probably just a matter of time before someone creates a Jewish lawyer persona. Heyman would make a beauty. There was even a Jewish tag team. Jerry Sags and Brian Knobbs (Brian Yandsrisovitz) known as The Nasty Boys. Somewhere in there is a killer joke, but I can’t for the life of me figure it out. Please feel free to help me in the comments section. Thanking you in advance.
Ida Mae Martinez was a female wrestler, who, like the Poffo’s, was born of a Jewish mother. I wish she was billed as Mrs. Ida Nussbaum for no reason other than it’s such a classic Bubie6 name.
Sam Munchnik was a Jewish promoter back in the glorious territory days. At the peek of his career, he was President of the powerful National Wrestling Alliance. I wonder if at the time anti-Semitic wrestling fans thought Munchnik’s NWA was a Jewish conspiracy seeking world grappling domination. Something akin to the wrestling version of the Bilderberg Group.
There are similar theories about the Jews controlling Hollywood, which aren’t true. Why else would I be writing this schlock12 instead of making movies, or something? Don’t answer that. Jewish wrestler Scott L. Schwartz played a persona called Joshua Ben Gurion: The Israeli Commando. Wow. Ben Gurion was the first Prime Minister of Israel. Love the history conscious wrestler. But, I think he should have gone all the way, billing himself as Jesus. I think JC would make a pretty good baby face.
Of course, as a Jew, and wannabe WWE writer, I have some unsolicited ideas on how to evolve Jewish wrestlers in the coming years. It seems very few Jewish wrestlers embrace their Jewishness. My suggestion is simple why not use the Jewish thing in their characters and storylines? How about a baby face, Shloimie Herskowitz, a left wing, self-
loathing Jew, who out of guilt, let’s his visible minority opponents win. Or, The Hassidinator, a Hassidic7 Jew wrestler managed by his Rabbi, Rebbe Finkel, who begins each match by davening8 and reading from the Torah9. I’m thinking he’d be a heel in the south, but a face in NYC. What about The Finagler, who, like Bobby Heenan, believes cheating is the only way to win?
And why not Mrs. Emma Nussbaum, whose deadly finisher, The Nag, psychologically destroys her opponents…and her husband and children? We’ve seen a lot of foreign objects in the squared circle over the years; pencils, shanks, chairs, tables, etc… Why not foreign objects that have a meaning to the Jewish wrestler’s culture? The deadly sharpened dreidel10. An aged kosher salami. Turns out Tefilin11 makes a terrific choking instrument or whip…and it’s not bad for praying too. If we can have culturally appropriate foreign objects, how about Jewish wrestling moves? We all know the suplex, sunset flip and full nelson, but why not the Blintzkrieg, or the POR (Pastrami on Rye), The Chopped Liver Punch, The Matzo Ball Drop (off the top rope)? And what’s wrong with the psychotic flurry of head butts known as The Conniption Fit. Or the sharp chop to the lower midsection known as The Circumcision? These are good moves, and I’ll be happy to entertain financial offers for more information. We’ll do lunch.
A quick word about Nazi wrestlers like Hans Schmidt, Karl Von Hess, The Storm Trooper, Fritz and Waldo Von Erich. We can agree that it takes enormous balls the play a Nazi persona to get heat. My five minutes of Internet research yielded zero results for Jews Vs Nazi wrestling matches. This seems incredulous to me. Is it possible sports entertainment, that seems to pride itself on bad taste, decided that reinacting the atrocities of WWII was too tasteless, even for pro wrestling? If true, I’m disappointed. Through the years I have thought a lot about using the Holocaust in entertainment. I love The Producers (the feature directorial debut of the great Mel Brooks), which poked some serious fun at the Nazis. I also read Michael O’Donahue’s biography, which described a sketch he wrote for SNL that cantered around the U.S. liberation of a Nazi concentration camp. It was of questionable taste, and NBC cut the sketch. However, in the book, O’Donahue, I think rightly argued that even if you’re making fun of the Holocaust, you’re at least validating that it actually happened. Interesting argument. I’m a little on the fence here, but imagine the drama of a Nazi VS Jew grudge match. I know I’d love to see it, and believe in my heart — unless there’s a Neo Nazi Wrestling Association (NNWA) — that the writers would create storylines where the Jews kick some Nazi ass.
1. Mishuga mensch is crazy man of noble character, which I think is a reasonable description of yours truly.
2. Louis B. Meyer and Lew Wasserman were Hollywood moguls, who controlled their respective empires iron fists. Sound like anyone named Vince McMahon?
3. Shiksa is a non-Jewish woman. It used to be a derogatory term. Some might still think it is. Scarlett Johansen is a shiksa. Judge Judy is not. Whoppi Goldberg is up for debate.
4. Gelt is money. I like gelt…something I’m receiving very little of for these articles.
5. Macher is a big shot. Vince McMahon is big shot. Hornswoggle is not.
6. Bubie is a grandmother.
7. A Hassidic Jew is an orthodox Jew who wears funny clothes.
8. Davening is praying.
9. The Torah is a scroll in which is written the central concept in Judaic religious tradition. Many Jews say it’s sacred but have no idea what’s in it.
10. A dreidel is a foursided spinning top played with by Jews during Hanukkah. The song “Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel” is better than the toy.
11. Tefillin is are a set of small black leather boxes containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah, which are worn by observant Jews during weekday morning prayers. Check out how nutty they look: http://ncsy.org/sponsorapairoftefillinfortjj/
12. Schlock means something cheap, shoddy and inferior. My career comes to mind.
Spencer “Spenny” Rice is one half of the comedic duo from Kenny vs. Spenny and the executive producer of the documentary series X-Rayted. Follow him on Facebook —https://www.facebook.com/pages/SPENCER-SPENNY-RICE/216355453412 — or on Twitter (@Spenny) and watch re-runs of KVS for years to come.