‘Tis the season to be jolly and many wrestling fans will be looking forward to the annual Raw and Smackdown Xmas specials. Christmas this year falls just after the Jewish festival of Chanukah and as Adam Sandler has explained in his infamous song, its nice to do something for the Jewish kids at this time of year and so, as we have done before (in part one and part two), we’re offering our who’s Jew of the wrestling world!
Of course, with this being our third outing, we’ve discussed the bold (Goldberg and Paul Heyman - who said Kaddish on TV and has inspired the t-shirt below), dispelled the myths (neither Kane nor Kevin ‘Steen’ Owens are Jewish) and cleared up the confusion (DDP and Kelly Kelly have Jewish roots). We’ve failed to verify some rumours (Jessie Godderz, Steve Blackman) but we have delivered some surprises (who knew Chris Masters has a Jewish mother or that Marc Mero had converted from Judaism?).
Perhaps you’d thought we’d reached the end. With the global Jewish population making up some 0.2 percent of all the people on the planet, that would make sense. But we haven’t yet discussed Lucha Underground – so why stop now!?
If we can be biblical for a minute….Jacob (father of Joseph and the dream coat fame) famously wrestled an angel. We don’t know the winner per se but that round of battle might reasonably be referred to as the ‘fall of the angel’ (get it?). How apt then that none other than the Air Devil himself, Angelico, is one of the tribe. Rumoured as a possible talent of interest to WWE, this high-flying entertainer had people in shock with his huge airborne feats on Lucha Underground’s show. The South African athlete has recently departed AAA and moved to Europe where he’ll always be welcome for a Friday Night Dinner at our place.
Another Lucha talent, Matt Striker (not to be confused with Matt Stryker of Ring of Honor fame who it’s claimed on the net is Jewish himself) is a rather deep fellow. Born Jewish and barmitzvah’d he got thinking about the man-made nature of religion and not pre-judging what God wants. He, like Marc Mero, told us that he took Jesus as the messiah as he had questions about the man-made world.
Another Jew who took a different path is Lisa Marie, better known to WWE/Impact viewers as Victoria/Tara respectively. Despite having reportedly converted, she has roots that extend back to a synagogue in California and on the theme of roots, her hair covers a Hebrew tattoo on her neck!
From Jews to former Jews and onto non-Jews, we have finally got to the bottom of the Kevin Nash mythology. Read any wrestling blog on Jews (niche we know) and you’ll find that the man otherwise known as Diesel is claimed to be Jewish (or that his mother converted). Not so. As he told us, he has been around the culture and has some good Iranian Jewish friends, he’s even attended bar mitzvah’s too. Nash is so well informed, he’s even been able to tell prominent Jewish wrestlers when particular holidays including Yom Kippur have been! On that basis, we’ve decided to dub him the wrestling rabbi. Nash suggested to us that people might consider him Jewish because had Jewish manager for so long. To be honest, we’re not quite sure whether he means in a business or on-screen sense. We’ll have to look into Harley Race and Kevin Sullivan now though!
It’s been a while since our last who’s Jew and in that time the business has evolved considerably. The independent talent we referenced, Noam Dar, is now a WWE superstar and Simon Gotch, previously of the Vaudevillians is now Simon Grimm on the independent scene. It’s a shame they didn’t cross over, particularly as they could have begun the Peter Rosenberg proposed #Jewworldorder stable. In discussing this with Alexa Bliss (real name Kaufmann) he found that she wouldn’t be eligible for membership but Drew Gulak appears to be viable and the jury is still out on Braun Strowman (Adam Scherr).
Others that would be eligible for the stable might include the wonderful Joel Gertner, with whom we’ve discussed Judaism and Israel (and speaking of Israel, reports indicated Nick Mitchell aka Mitch of the Spirit Squad had found religion and moved there) or perhaps Sean Waltman, better known as Xpac who though it’s unclear his religion, feels very passionate about the middle eastern state.
Israel isn’t the only state with Jewish wrestling links though. Let us not forget Canada! Home to veterans of Shine, Shimmer and Smash wrestling, Xandra Bale and Danyah and of Tomer Shalom (from Canada via Israel) who wrestled WWE’s Jason Jordan in 2017 under the alias Jean-Pierre Goulet! Then there is the Demon Assassin, Impact wrestling’s Rosemary, who prior to devouring souls, used to help others devour their food, working as she did in a kosher eatery in Winnipeg, Canada. The restaurant was in a centre run by one David Asper, whose brother is CEO of Anthem Sports and Entertainment which owns, you guessed it...Impact Wrestling! Rosemary isn’t the only Canadian wrestler familiar with Jewish life, there is another of WWE fame but perhaps we’ll save that for the who’s Jew IIII.
Of course, there might be better stable names for a collective than the Jewish World Order given this has echoes of the notorious antisemitic hoax, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Sadly, the wrestling world itself has not been without controversial and antisemitic activity. David Starr aka the Jewish Cannon (he has many, many nicknames and we’d be here all day if we listed them, suffice to say he’s very good at Twitter) has been calling this out. He called out Mathias Glass for his stereotype driven character and called out antisemitism from a fan at CZW (about which we’ve written in depth here). But Starr’s faith is not a negative and he displays the Star of David (how apposite) on his merchandise. The Jewish Cannon nickname comes from his time playing “popcorn” (youth) football, where because the team he played for was so good, they would suffer the ‘mercy’ rule and be forced to put on their poorer players of which Starr was (self-admittedly) one. Starr is not big on organised religion but still has Seder and does light the menorah, he told us. Perhaps he’s joined by fellow CZW star Maxwell Jacob Feinstein (Max Friedman). Who knows?!
Ultimately, of course, the faith of these superstars is totally irrelevant. Our intention is to provide a bit of light infotainment. Jewish or Christian, Hindu or Muslim, the holiday season is lovely because we all remember to be a little bit kinder to one another. So here’s wishing you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and a Happy New Year!!