It's never been accurate to call Donald Trump a traditional Republican -- not that such a classification can be reasonably measured these days. But a forensic analysis of the GOP presidential hopeful's innumerable appearances at World Wrestling Entertainment events seem to indicate that he may be an undercover agent of the common class. With Trump still ahead in the polls and gearing up to host this weekend's Saturday Night Live, we present unbiased video evidence that just might diminish conservative voters’ itch to put him up for a presidential nomination.
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Exhibit A: Donald throws down with the one percent
Long before Trump set out to gamble with America’s future, he was caught up in a more personal wager opposite WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. It was dubbed the “Battle of the Billionaires,” and took place during WrestleMania 23 in April 2007. If Trump’s muscle, WWE superstar Bobby Lashley, could take out Mr. McMahon’s behemoth goon Umaga, America would watch as Vince shaved that controversial mop off Donald’s top. (And, as with any bet worth its nine figures, vice versa.) But as you can see 55 seconds into this clip, once McMahon began taunting guest referee and quintessential blue-collar everyman “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Trump’s fists began flying in solidarity, even if his locks ultimately remained in place.
Exhibit B: Yet, Donald knows what it’s like to be bullied
Like most Republican firebrands, Trump projects an air of self-assuredness that’s more or less indistinguishable from schoolyard bluster. But don’t be fooled: Trump knows what it’s like to be picked on and pushed around, and even betrayed by those who he considered allies. Witness as, later on in the aforementioned “Battle of Billionaires” showdown, Steve Austin thanks the Donald for his support with a vintage Stone Cold Stunner to oblivion. You see, potential primary voters: your hard-driving, tough-talking hero is no Dirty Harry like beefcake Paul Ryan. He’s a vulnerable victim bound to empathize with put-upon liberals once the White House is his.
Exhibit C: Donald ain’t afraid of no foreigners
To be fair, no one really knows where former WWE superstar the Boogeyman hails from. Though it’s unlikely “Bottomless Pit” would suffice on any citizenship paperwork. Yet, as you can see here, Trump is resolutely unfazed by the ethnically ambiguous outsider stalking him backstage prior to his big WrestleMania 23 moment. Anyone who viewed Donald as their immigration-reform champion might want to ponder whether he’ll really put up those walls given that, when it came to the Boogeyman, he barely put up a fight.
Exhibit D (for Damning): Trump hearts Obama
Just when you thought the war between Trump and McMahon had run its course, their clash of egos reignited two years after that fateful WrestleMania run-in. On a June 2009 episode of Monday Night Raw, it was announced that Trump was purchasing the program from McMahon. And in his pronouncement to the fans, at precisely 2:55 into the accompanying clip, Trump utters the unthinkable, urging his foe that, “It’s about time you give back. Like our president says, give back.” Shrug it off as a sarcastic dig at Barack Obama if you will, but don’t come crying to us when -- to put it in wrestling parlance -- Donald wins the primaries, turns “face,” and unveils his surprise tag-team partner/vice presidential candidate.
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Kenny Herzog is Thrillist's Entertainment Editor and really, really, really loves wrestling. Find him @kennyherzog.