Wrestling’s Rhyno making run for political office in Michigan
In an election year where Donald Trump has a legitimate shot at becoming president thanks to a WWE-style political campaign, why can’t a bona fide pro wrestler get elected to office?
Terrance "Rhyno" Gerin announced Thursday on his Twitter account that he is running to become the state representative for his district in Dearborn, Mich.
He has a nifty campaign slogan already picked out: "I’ll fight for you."
"The cool thing about what wrestling has done for me is opening a lot of doors," Gerin told FOXSports.com during a Friday phone interview. "It’s given me a loud voice. That’s very important when you represent people and want to try to get stuff done. You want someone representing you who knows how hard it is to get doors open."
If people shut them (doors) on me, I can just kick them down.
Gerin then laughed and added, "If people shut them on me, I can just kick them down."
Gerin, 40, may be a long shot to win against more established and experienced candidates, but he already has overcome huge odds to become a pro wrestling star. The 5-10, 260-pound Gerin remains a headliner on the independent circuit after having toured throughout the world for 22 years with companies that included WWE, TNA Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling.
Gerin’s WWE ties remain strong as he appeared in December on an episode of "Monday Night Raw," teaming with fellow ECW legends Tommy Dreamer and the Dudley Boyz. Gerin said he let WWE owner Vince McMahon know backstage about his plans to run for office.
"I told Vince, ‘I hope I make you proud,’ " Gerin recalled. "He said, ‘You already have.’ He then followed up by saying if there was anything (WWE) can do to help to let them know.
"He didn’t ask what party I was running for or this and that. The McMahons’ love for their country is just contagious."
WWE has a long-standing business affiliation with Trump, the most famous partnership coming when McMahon and he were in opposite corners representing fighters at WrestleMania 23 in 2007. As part of the match stipulations, McMahon had his head shaved by Trump after Bobby Lashley defeated Umaga (the late Eddie Fatu).
However, Trump didn’t come out unscathed. The Donald received a stunner from "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in the post-bout shenanigans.
Although he is running for office as a Republican, Gerin wouldn’t mind administering his own political smackdown on Trump. He said he backs Ohio governor John Kasich in the presidential race.
"I’m not sold on Donald Trump," Gerin said. "I think a lot of people might identify me in this race with Donald Trump as a gimmick and this and that. No. Helping people out is a passion of mine. I like Kasich because I think he will reach across the (partisan) aisle and work to get stuff done with give-and-take to make things happen to help people."
Gerin lists improved teacher salaries, road construction and more government accountability with tax dollars as part of his platform. He believes Michigan public schools are so underfunded with insufficient supplies and teaching tools that "it would be like telling me to do my job without a ring. It would have to be a falls-count-anywhere brawl."
I’m not sold on Donald Trump.
Gerin said his political views were shaped by his own studies of American history, in particular past presidents like Ronald Reagan and someone who actually had an amateur wrestling background before taking office in Abraham Lincoln.
Gerin admits his political campaign will be grassroots and heavily reliant upon volunteers (his website, Terranceguidogerin.com is set to launch soon). He also wouldn’t be surprised if political rivals try to use his ‘rasslin’ background as a negative.
"I will never be ashamed of my accomplishments," said Gerin, who is finalizing a WWE "Legends" contract for future appearances and merchandising. "I’m proud of the fans who have supported me throughout the years and continue to support me.
"I don’t think it will hurt me at all. I think candidates that run against me will try to make fun of it to discredit me so they can win the election, which is understandable. But I want to go out and discuss how we can make this state better, how we can make people’s lives easier and educate the kids."
Spoken like a politician-in-the-making rather than a grunting, growling savage whose finishing maneuver was spearing his opponent in the midsection as bloodthirsty fans screamed, "Gore! Gore! Gore!"
Actually, there probably isn’t much difference between the two considering how this presidential race is unfolding.