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Last night on Friday Night Smackdown, Jinder Mahal interrupted Michael Cole’s interview with Randy Orton about his match with Kane at Extreme Rules. 

As Jinder was about to leave the ring (before getting RKO’d by Randy Orton), “USA” chants erupted from the Grand Rapids, Mich., crowd. The chants seemed inappropriate considering Jinder’s problem was with Randy Orton, not the United States of America.

There have been many other times throughout WWE history when American fans’ USA chants have been embarrassingly inappropriate.

At WrestleMania IX in Las Vegas, Nev., Yokozuna faced Bret Hart for the WWE Championship. During the match, the fans often chanted “USA,” even though Yokozuna was billed from Japan and Bret Hart was billed from Canada. 

Something funny to come out of those “USA” chants was that legendary announcer Bobby “the Brain” Heenan called the fans out on their mistake, saying, “See how bright they are? One guy’s from Canada, the other guy’s from Japan.”

Similar situations occurred during an NXT match between Justin Gabriel and Wade Barrett, and a Superstars match between Jinder Mahal and Ezekiel Jackson.

Although Justin Gabriel is from South Africa and Wade Barrett is from England, fans chanted “USA” during their match. Announcers Josh Mathews and Michael Cole quickly called the fans out on their mistake.

Similarly, although Ezekiel Jackson is South American, the fans chose to root for him in has match against Jinder Mahal by loudly chanting “USA.” This time, no announcers called the fans out on their mistake.

What is funny about those chants is that close-ups of fans chanting were captured on camera, as if the chants are something WWE should be proud to display to the TV audience. 

Sometimes, fans’ “USA” chants are just honest mistakes. Other times, fans’ nationalism-inspired chants, cheers, and boos have been ironic and embarrassing.

At WrestleMania III in Pontiac, Mich., Nikolai Volkoff attempted to sing the Soviet national anthem amidst an ocean of 93,173 boos. Before Volkoff could finish singing, Hacksaw Jim Duggan interrupted him and kicked him out of the ring.

Duggan then claimed that he would not allow Volkoff to sing because “this (America) is the land of the free and the home of the brave.” I love Hacksaw Jim Duggan, but I’ve always wanted to tell him, really?

Remember Muhammad Hassan (real name Mark Copani)—an Arab-American who would complain about post-9/11 discrimination? Who could forget Muhammad Hassan? Hassan was billed from Detroit, Mich., yet was always on the receiving end of boos and, you guessed it—”USA” chants.

The boos directed towards Hassan were justified considering Hassan’s tone of voice and attitude towards the WWE fans, but the “USA” chants did not make much sense. What part of Arab-AMERICAN did the fans not understand?

Hassan was not a foreigner. Hassan was an American who was fed up with discrimination he supposedly felt from fellow Americans.  

Ultimately, “USA” chants should be used more wisely. They should be used only when a wrestler directly insults the USA, not simply because fans think he’s not from the USA (like Jinder Mahal, Hunico, Camacho, Primo and Epico).

Furthermore, if announcers spot inappropriate chants, they should call the fans out on it.


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