In the 16 months between launching his campaign by calling Mexicans rapists and closing it with an ad that recalled the “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” President-elect Donald Trump broke practically every rule of politics and rejected the norms of conventional wisdom at every turn. He insulted women, Gold Star families and war heroes. He mocked the disabled and traded barbs with the pope. He lied consistently about his record and claimed that the whole election was rigged against him. In most years, any one of those actions would disqualify candidates from office and ensure their defeat.
Trump might not have been playing by the rules of politics, but he won the game. So how did he do it? Those looking to his career as a developer or reality TV host came up short in predicting Trump’s survival and eventual victory, because those are only part of the story. The most important lessons Donald Trump ever learned were in a pro wrestling ring.
Trump’s decades-long relationship with the world of pro wrestling — and its chief company, WWE, and chief mastermind, Vince McMahon — has been well-documented. He sponsored two early WrestleManias, endorsed Jesse Ventura for president at one and headlined another (he didn’t wrestle, but he did help “Stone Cold” Steve Austin shave McMahon’s head). In one storyline, he “bought” the WWE’s flagship program, “Monday Night Raw,” causing the company’s real-life stock to take a hit. He’s even in the company’s Hall of Fame.
Trump’s time in the squared circle wasn’t simply a business venture: It was a chance to commune with McMahon, with whom he shares a nearly parallel biography. Born to leaders of regional industries, both men took over their fathers’ businesses and turned them into national powerhouses. After ascending to the heights of American culture in the 1980s, they suffered setbacks — legal, financial, personal — in the ’90s before roaring back to prominence at the turn of the new millennium, with the same “You’re fired!” catchphrase, no less...More?