What I’m really saying here is that Stephen Harper is really fat
The wrestling world and politics intersected dramatically a couple of days ago when President Obama co-opted Hulk Hogan’s “Real American” entrance music for his intro at the Press Correspondents’ dinner. Much as U2 stole back the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” from Charles Manson, Obama was only taking back what Hulk Hogan had already swiped from the U.S. Express. And then he went and killed the guy behind 9/11, which officially makes up for this.
However, there’s another patriotic politics-and-wrestling connection that’s pertinent to today’s election here in America’s friendly upstairs neighbour, one that offers a glimpse of the probable result: Michael Ignatieff is basically Lex Luger, circa his ill-fated babyface run of 1993.
Prior to his face run, Luger had the gimmick of a narcissist who thought he was better than everyone else. Ignatieff, for his part, has been seen as an intellectual and an elitist. Then Luger touched down via helicopter onto the deck of the U.S.S. Intrepid to confront the reigning WWF champion, sumo wrestler Yokozuna. Ignatieff, for his part, was parachuted into the riding of Etobicoke—Lakeshore and anointed as the Liberal Party’s challenger to Stephen Harper (incidentally, the subject of a fat joke by previous Liberal leader Stephane Dion). After suddenly deciding to become a super-patriot, the newly christened “American Made” Lex Luger embarked on a glad-handing cross-country bus tour called the Lex Express in which he campaigned for a title shot against the villainous champion. Ignatieff did exactly the same thing, except that his bus was called the Liberal Express. Luger was finally granted his wish, with the caveat that his match at Wrestlemania X would be his one and only title shot. Ignatieff is finally getting his long-awaited election, but after all this, if he fails, he’s bound to be dumped as party leader.
Now, Ignatieff does have a better environmental record in that he hasn’t outright feuded with a pollution-hating foreigner, unlike Luger’s beef with Finnish eco-activist/wrestler Ludvig Borgia. On the other hand, Ignatieff doesn’t have a metal plate surgically implanted in his forearm that can be used to knock out opponents, nor has he ever choppered in to one of Stephen Harper’s town-hall events and body-slammed him onto the stage, which would have given him a definite bump in polls. So we’ll call that a wash.
However, the point is that despite being the recipient of a mega-push, Luger just wasn’t fated to win the title. Neither, it seems, is Ignatieff.
Here’s the interesting thing, though: Everyone expected Luger to walk away with the belt, including Luger himself; rumour has it that he was originally booked to do so but the WWF changed the plan after Luger shot his mouth off about his imminent win in a bar the night before the match. One could say that Ignatieff showed similar hubris by commenting “It’ll be either me or the other guy.” But Wrestlemania X was a three-way challenge, with not one but two comers taking on the champion, and in the end, it was the dark horse who prevailed, the guy who most had pegged as an also-ran. And under this analogy, the recently surging Jack Layton is Bret “The Hitman” Hart.
So, does history show that after today’s election, Layton will be borne aloft by well-wishers, brandishing the heavyweight prime minister’s belt? It’s nice to think so, but probably not. Will he walk out as leader of the opposition and number one contender? It looks like a very real possibility.
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