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Sam Adonis, El Santo and Donald Trump
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Tepotzotlán, 2017

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One Friday, Jonathan Revusky and I went to see lucha libre. On a night featuring Valiente, Mistico, Misterioso, Rey Cometa, Euforia, Rush, Virus, Fuego, Stigma, The Panther, Blue Panther Jr., Tiger and Puma, etc., Arena Mexico only truly erupted at the appearance of Samuel Polinsky, a 6-foot-4, bleached blonde 28-year-old from Monroeville, Pennsylvania.

Before arriving in Mexico in May of 2016, Polinsky had wrestled in the US, England, Germany and Italy while calling himself Bill Callous, Buddy Stretcher, Sam Elias and Sam Adonis. With the last, he cultivated an obnoxiously narcissistic California surfer dude persona, but it wasn’t until the election of Trump that Polinsky hit pay dirt.

Before each match, Sam Adonis prances out waving a large American flag with Trump’s face in the middle. Enraged, the crowd rise from their seats to scream obscenities, in English even, and to salute the loud-mouthed villain with a middle finger or bras d’honneur. Bout over, they throw popcorn or coins in Sam’s direction as he taunts them.

“He came as the representative of the United States, a faithful supporter of its politics. Coming to you all, Saaaaam Adonis!” the announcer screamed. [“Llegó el representante de Estados Unidos, fiel seguidor a sus políticas. Llega con ustedes, ¡Saaaaam Adonis!”]

On this night, Sam had the canton on the fly end of his Stars and Stripes, which made it even more wrong and flippant. Arriving from the States, his family actually sat at ringside. In the ring, one of his opponents ripped the flag from Sam to use as a muleta, so the tall gringo obligingly lunged at it repeatedly as the crowd mirthfully shouted, “Olé!”

During the match, Sam was thrown from the ring several times, and even tossed once beyond the barricade separating fans from performers. With such a palpable hostility, I actually feared for the man’s safety, but it was just fun-and-game and cathartic theater. Right in front of me, a guy in a KISS cap, worn backward, was a kinetic bundle of hatred, and he predictably exploded when Sam and his partners were allowed to win. At the end of the night, however, many of these angry fans would ask for Sam’s autograph or take a photo with him.

Sam to Los Andes, an Argentinean newspaper, “This flag is money to me. Many people get pissed off, but it’s the secret to my success.” Though fresh off the boat, Sam has a Mexican girlfriend and can answer interviewers in Spanish. He’s in demand all over, Guadalajara, Zaragoza and Zacatecas, etc. Sometimes Sam is paired with another American, Mark Jindrak of Auburn, New York, and they wrestle as Los Hijos de Trump, or Sons of Trump.

By his own admission, Sam Adonis was inspired by the Iron Sheik, an Iran-born wrestler who riled up American crowds with an Iranian flag, often with “IRAN” on it to drive the point home. Incongruously, the Iron Sheik wore a keffiyeh, and his previous alias was The Great Hossein Arab. Iranians, duh, are not Arabs, but some people must become cartoon assholes to make a buck. Other Muslim villains in American wrestling include the Iraq-born Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie, the white Georgian Sheik Ayatollah Blackwell and the black Canadian Abdullah the Butcher.

By showing up in Mexico at all, Sam Adonis presents Mexicans with a live target that can be cursed, punched, kicked and generally humiliated, and though this piñata does fight and insult right back, Sam is in a weakened position and entirely at their mercy, simply because he’s in their house. Unlike Trump, Sam can’t deport anybody, but they can certainly kick him out. By speaking Spanish, however, Sam’s shown himself to be a gracious immigrant and, deep down, a lover of Mexico.

Eschewing naturalism, pre-Hispanic art in Mexico tended to be stylized, symbolic or grotesque, and this impulse has survived in their lucha libre, Day of the Dead and Dance of the Old Men, etc. They understand masks.

The greatest Mexican wrestler of all time is El Santo. The Silver Masked Man also appeared in 52 films, in which he fought headhunters, zombies, Mafiosi, Martians, Wolf Man, Dracula, The White Shadow, The Evil Brain, Dr. Frankenstein, Frankenstein’s daughter, female vampires, she-wolves and karatecas, etc. Dead since 1984, El Santo is being resurrected online, with fake movie posters featuring the Mexican superhero fighting Trump as a Nazi, vampire or zombie, etc. Among the titles are Santo vs. The President of Terror and Santo and Blue Demon [another famous Mexican wrestler] Against the Son of a Bitch and his Fuckin’ Wall.

After Trump was elected, there was a movement to boycott American businesses in Mexico, but each Starbucks, McDonald’s, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Carl’s Jr. and Dunkin’ Donuts I passed was packed, and it was hardly unusual to see the American flag on clothing. In Tepotzotlán, I ran into a chubby dude in a muscle T with silhouettes of a soldier and helicopters over the Stars and Stripes, and “THANK YOU” beneath it, and in a Mexico City dive, Nueva Oficina, I spotted a young man at the bar with a small American flag sticking out of the front pocket of his pants. At Mexican cinemas, the top 28 grossing films for 2017 are all American, with The Fate of the Furious, Beauty and the Beast, How to be a Latin Lover, The Boss Baby and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 leading the pack. The most popular Mexican movie, Mientras el Lobo No Está, languishes at 34th place. Hating Trump, Mexicans are still enamored of the USA.

Speaking of Trump, Sam Adonis told the Associated Press, “I embrace the fact that he is a villain. He’s going to do what he has to do and what he thinks is right. If you don’t agree with him, that doesn’t really bother him. He’s going to push forward with what he thinks is right, and the fact that he’s embraced his public perception, whether it’s good or bad, I have respect for that.”

Like millions of other Americans, Sam believed Trump to be genuine and uncompromising. To the San Jose Mercury News, however, Sam hinted at a deeper insight, “He’s kind of embraced his position, as you like me or you don’t, but I’m not changing. It is almost a professional wrestling mentality and I have a sympathy for that.” So there you have it. Trump has a professional wrestling mindset.


Jesse Ventura, a wrestler turned politician, has repeatedly pointed out the similarity between American politics and professional wrestling. In 2010, Ventura said, “Politics today is pro wrestling. It is pro wrestling, and you know what I mean by that? I mean by that that the Dems and Repubs in front of you [reporters] and in front of the public is going to tell you how they hate each other, and how they’re different, but as soon as the camera is off, in the backroom, they’re all going out together, and they’re all buddies cutting deals. It’s just like pro wrestling. In front of the public, we hate each other, we’re going to rip our heads off, but in the locker room, we’re all friends. I’m suggesting politics is fake.”

In 2016, Ventura told The Atlantic, “Many of these elected officials are just like wrestlers in the public and then they’re the opposite in private. Case in point, do you remember a few years ago who was some congressman from Florida who voted against every gay bill and it turned out he was gay, do you remember that? Yeah, so there’s a classic example of it. This guy who was gay hid the fact that he was gay, voted like he hated gays, and so he created a personality that was completely averse to what he really was. And wrestling’s the same way.”

Though American politicians are phonies, and American elections are farcically rigged, Americans continue to rabidly support their favorite political puppet, whether Obama, Hillary, Sanders, Trump or whoever. Going berserk over each cartoon savior or villain, most Americans don’t even know they’re being force-fed lucha libre.

Linh Dinh’s Postcards from the End of America has just been released by Seven Stories Press. He maintains an active photo blog.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump, Mexico 
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  1. Oldeguy says:

    “Politics today is pro wrestling.”
    Spot on, and the media covering it are the equivalent of the announcers at the matches ginning up the frenzy of the spectators by treating the show as if it were genuine.
    Farce and tragedy combined.

    • Agree: jacques sheete, L.K
    • Replies: @Truth
  2. I voted for Trump and I’m quite happy with his performance.

    You’re wrong about how he got elected. He took his message to the people over the heads of both parties and in opposition to every academic, media and political organization. He made brilliant use of social meda. He refused to accept PC censorship and brought issues, particularly illegal immigration, to the people after years of those issues being censored from debate.

    What Mexicans think of Trump is of no consequence to me. He’s the president of the U.S., not of Mexico. If Mexicans had any guts they’d take on the oligarchy in their country that is both stupendously wealthy and refuses to put in place any social welfare guarantees. Solve the problem at home. Of course, the cartels aligned with the government would assassinate them if they did, wouldn’t they?

    Let’s be blunt. I lived in Woodstock, NY, for decades. I’m an artist, too, although unlike you I’m a successful one, both as a professional musician and as a corporate multimedia artist. Now retired, You want the government to pay you welfare to write. This is what it’s about for Woodstock writers. I’ve been around it for decades. You’re lazy, you have no job skills and you don’t see that the problem is you, not society.

    If you really were an artist of any understanding and competence, you’d be praising Trump for breaking the yoke of PC censorship. He had the courage to do that. You’re a coward. The bitching writer who’s really just looking for a welfare handout… that’s a dime a dozen in Woodstock. Visit. You’ll find plenty of do-nothing whiners to commiserate with. Their personal hygiene barely rises about the level of the pigsty and their personal morality is even worse.

  3. @Shouting Thomas

    I’m an artist, too, although unlike you I’m a successful one

    That’s interesting. Could you provide a link to some of your art? I’d be interested to look at it. (I’m probably not the only one…)

  4. Truth says:

    “Politics today is pro wrestling.”

    Comment unnecessary.

  5. JL says:

    Trump has a professional wrestling mindset.

    Not just mindset, Trump has actual pro wrestling experience, albeit more in a cameo type role:

  6. Che Guava says:
    @Shouting Thomas

    Linh’s writing, and sometimes photos, speak for themselves, as Revusky says in an earlier post.

    Where are yours?

    I could post many great photos, but, while commentors can post U-tube vid. links, not photos. I think that is generally correct, aside from some of the aftermath of the tidal wave in 2011, I have none relevant to discussions here. It also keeps bandwidth down.

  7. Renoman says:

    I like Jessie, he’s a real man of which there are very few in today’s World. It is of course a show and only fools don’t realize it, ringmaster Trump has provided some great entertainment I hope he can survive long enough to kick enough ass to cut the stench down to bearable.

  8. @ revusky-
    passive-aggressive much ? ? ?

    • Replies: @NoseytheDuke
  9. Jake says:

    Actually, a fairly large number of us know that we are being force-fed luche libre. Our disgust proceeds from knowing that the particular spectacle is rigged to make certain that we lose while the Elites keep getting richer and more untouchable. That spectacle requires the Elites to bring in endless allies, who will feast on their crumbs, allies to prevent us from being able to alter any meaningful course

  10. Bravo, LD!

    Sam to Los Andes, an Argentinean newspaper, “This flag is money to me…”

    What a shock! In fact there is little doubt that the flag was patterned after the flag of the British East India Company, a huge, militaristic, morally bankrupt, government coddled gangster monopoly, and terror organization that wielded immense political power.

    The political show is a fraud? A theater of the deadly absurd? Who’da guessed? Ventura is another of a long list of politicians who actually admitted the truth. Thanks, LD, for the quote.

  11. Tulip says:

    Lihn Dihn again nails it.

    One of the pleasures of voting for Trump is that he is a cartoon, and acknowledging Trump is not only a “serious” candidate but a winning contender, demonstrates the joke that democracy has become in 21st Century America.

    HRC was just a cartoon pretending not to be a cartoon, and her followers people voting for cartoons but pretending they weren’t. No candidate in the history of the Republic has run a more substance free/circus huckster campaign than Her Highness HRC. At least Trump talked about trade and immigration (even if he may not DO anything about either).

  12. @Shouting Thomas

    I’m an artist, too, although unlike you I’m a successful one, both as a professional musician and as a corporate multimedia artist.

    If true, then you’ve experienced the con of corporate existence from the inside. What, then, accounts for your continued faith in the fraud?

  13. anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Shouting Thomas

    Good morning. You appear to have taken over as this website’s chief critic of LD.

    I obviously respect your desire for anonymity, but do have a question about your background, which you bring forth as, I assume, a credential. On March 7, you said: “I’m retired after a 45 year career in tech.” But now we’re told that you were/are a professional musician and “corporate multimedia artist.”

    Is all of this so? If so, then why emphasize one of your credentials back in March, others now? And have you left anything out that you believe make your assertions even more worthy of belief?

  14. Linh Dinh says: • Website

    Hi all,

    I just want to clarify that I’ve never advocated for the government’s support of writers, and I’ve never received a dime from the government for my writing.

    “Shouting Thomas” is emblematic of the serious decline of the American character. Here’s a grown man thumping his chest about his supposed success while making baseless charges against another man, pseudonymously.

    So who is this “Shouting Thomas”? A Woodstock buddy informs me that Dave Steve Thomas is known as Woodstock’s village idiot and clown for endlessly braying about his Harley Davidson and his irrelevant blues band. Locals were also frequently disgusted by Dave Steve Thomas’ letters to the Woodstock Sentinel in which he wildly branded people as communists or attacked “Woodstock women” for supposedly looking down on his Filipina wife. Dave Steve Thomas has now taken his acts to Ottawa.


  15. Oldeguy says:
    @Linh Dinh

    Trolls, fools, ignoramus’ and fraudsters are best left ignored.
    Refutation merely seems to encourage them and you’ve just told me far more about this pathetic oaf than I ( or most likely anyone else ) wished to know.
    First class work ( which is what you invariably provide ) needs no defense- it easily stands on its own.

    • Replies: @Mark Green
  16. @Linh Dinh

    Daaaaaaaaaamn. Great work. Your articles are always great, and your investigative journalism is top notch. Keep up the great work, I look forward to your next piece.

  17. @Oldeguy

    Thank you, Linh, for your many unique and interesting contributions to UNZ. And I also like Mr, Revusky’s articles, too. (Where’s he been, lately?).

    I think that this latest article of yours was exceptional. I definitely like the pro wrestling analogy for our political theater. Unfortunately, the various ‘sides’ within (and viewing) these sports contests implicitly understand that a wrestler is still just an entertainer. But these staged battles are certainly cathartic. You really communicated that point very well. Another soothing aspect of pro wrestling is that no one gladiator wins all the time or is totally tyrannical (like some countries).

    A genuine politician however often represents the enduring enemy (real or imagined). This is why Trump cannot go out into the public without a sea of bodyguards.

    • Replies: @vinteuil
  18. Alden says:
    @Shouting Thomas

    Isn’t Woodstock NY a very expensive community? Or do they have section 8 for the old hippies?

  19. Mario64 says:

    Though American politicians are phonies, and American elections are farcically rigged, Americans continue to rabidly support their favorite political puppet, whether Obama, Hillary, Sanders, Trump or whoever. Going berserk over each cartoon savior or villain, most Americans don’t even know they’re being force-fed lucha libre.

    Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.
    Journalist H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)

    The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
    Winston Churchill

    Saying the truth out and loud is highly commendable, it means that there is still somebody upholding the tenets of the human conscience, however it’s absolutely useless when it comes to enlighten the public minds in politics.
    Walter Lippmann saw and said it very clearly in his two masterworks Public Opinion (1922) and The Phantom Public (1925), canonical readings for those interested in understanding how politics work.

    Few year earlier a French journalist, Robert de Jouvenel described in a quite humorous way how parliamentary democracy works, lucha libre wasn’t popular yet but the concept behind it was already well understood. La République des camarades (The comrades Republic) (1914)

  20. @art guerrilla

    So a person claims to be a successful artist and another person asks to see examples of their art, and this is being passive-aggressive? How?

  21. Frankie P says:
    @Linh Dinh


    Some time ago you attended some kind of writer’s event bankrolled by the government of Singapore, a government, I might add, not very supportive of liberty in the areas of speech, publication and especially criticism of what is basically a one-party system. You admitted to me in a comment that you received money for your participation. I would imagine that your participation in many activities are supported financially by one government or another. I like your work, and I appreciate you sharing it with us here on the Unz Review.

    Thank you.
    Frankie P

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  22. unit472 says:

    I think many Americans are aware of the ‘Uniparty’, that permanent inside the Beltway bunch that rules no matter which party wins a ‘majority’ in Congress. I only wish they were as entertaining and eloquent as pro wrestlers.

    Chuck Schumer or Mitch McConnell don’t have half the oratorical skills of your basic pro wrestler.

    I’d rather listen to Ric Flair give a speech than Barack Obama. That’s part of Trump’s appeal. When he speaks he sounds more like a pro wrestler than a DC politician.

  23. polistra says:

    One fussy little point: Iran includes both Persians and Arabs. Arabs are a minority and are considered lower-class by Persians. Nearly all of the Iran natives in America are Persians, partly because the 1979 revolution was unfriendly to the Persian upper class.

  24. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Frankie P

    Hi Frankie P,

    Yes, I’ve been invited to give readings by organizations in Singapore, Germany, France, Canada and Iceland. This happens when you’re a recognized writer. All of these organizations are funded by different sources, including their governments. When my Postcards from the End of America is released in Japanese, I’ll probably be invited to Japan. Shouting Thomas was implying that I’m a failed writer who’s bitter at not being supported by the US government, so I corrected him.

    If an organization in Israel, say, invites me tomorrow, I’ll go, since I’m eager to present my work and thinking to Israeli readers, though I’m certainly not a supporter of Israel, and don’t even think the country should exist.

    Further, to be paid for a reading or lecture is not welfare.


  25. neutral says:

    and in front of the public is going to tell you how they hate each other

    This is true, there is however a very notable exception to this, when it comes to anything involving Israel the US senate will vote 100-0 for Israel. Clearly when it comes to Israel they cannot play the pro wrestling facade, they need to show to everyone who is absolutely in charge.

  26. anarchyst says:

    The so-called “mainstream media” (actually “lugenpresse”) HATES Trump because he has “gone around them” by utilizing Twitter. No longer can this dysfunctional “mainstream media” (or political parties) filter, twist, or obfuscate his message. Trump is able to get his message “out there” to the people…
    Damned smart…

  27. vinteuil says:
    @Mark Green

    “I also like Mr, Revusky’s articles, too. (Where’s he been, lately?)”

    I think maybe Unz kinda gave up on the guy after he seriously claimed that the planes that hit the twin towers might have been holograms.

    Revusky is a sort of even-lower-rent Alex Jones.

    • Troll: L.K
    • Replies: @utu
  28. grapesoda says:

    Pretty funny watching all the commenters fall all over themselves trying to see who can kiss Linh Dinh’s ass the most. Did I just walk into a virtue signalling contest lol

    See guys look I’m tolerant, I’m nice to the minority immigrant lol

    Linh Dinh, your political understanding is clichéed and it runs one inch deep. Here’s all you need to know about LD’s elementary version of Marxism, with a dash of Alex Jones for flavor:

    I’m above it all – you all don’t realize that it’s all a scam
    No need to get into detailed analysis because then everyone will realize how clichéed and superficial my worldview is
    First World bad, Third World good
    America sucks, but I’m still gonna continue to live there and take advantage of their resources, like the hypocrite that I am

    Since you like Mexico so much LD, are you planning to move there, or just fetishize it, capitalize on it, and then move on to your next host?

    Any idiot can just go out into the street and write down what he sees. Most people have real productive jobs so they don’t waste time with that though.

    “I walked out into the cold dark street. There were these cookies in the store that looked like Chips Ahoy, but here they call them Maxi Costa Chips. They remind me of my time in Botswana…”

    Wow how exotic!!! Watch all the “liberals” swoon….

  29. utu says:

    I’m very happy that LD publishes here at Unz. Also I am glad that Revusky had several pieces published and I hope he will stop being lazy and start writing again. I often do not agree with them but in their writings I can recognize some signs of humanity. I would not mind spending an evening with either one of them. This I can’t say about some other columnists here. I wish they were gone.

  30. Greg Brag says: • Website

    Oh the memories. I fondly remember my days as an American professional wrestler in South Africa in the late Eighties and early Nineties, playing their hatred of Americans and the sanctions movement to the Hilt. I even earned the nickname “The Riot Starter” from my fellow wrestlers.

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