Black Pro Wrestler Ahmed Johnson Says Bigoted Storylines, Racist Counterparts Like Shawn Michaels Influenced His Exit From WWE

Wrestling has been an American phenomenon and a perfect blend of athleticism and scripted theater to keep fans emotionally captivated for years.

But according to one former star, the storylines that didn’t quite make it to the surface were the behind-the-scenes racist plots that WWE tried to ignore.  

Ahmed Johnson Recalls Racism Endured In WWE

Ahmed Johnson, real name Anthony Norris, recently did an interview with and exposed some of the racism he faced while being a prominent WWE superstar and hanging around other legends. 

In the interview, Norris details his circumstances around leaving WWE amid his sister dying from cancer, and why he chose to leave at that time. He also talked about how the racism he endured from some of WWE’s most prominent superstars played a part in his departure. One of the bigoted stars was Shawn Michaels, he said. He also mentioned Stone Cold Steve Austin as another fellow superstar who tried to knock his WWE hustle.

“I think racism did play its part in it, but not from Vince, from Shawn Michaels and some of the other boys,” Norris said. “I mean like they did that thing with DX when Bret Hart and the Hart Foundation and the Nation of Domination was getting into it, and they wrote all that stuff on the wall, you know, that was pushing it for me, and I couldn’t have done that.”

On top of the writing on the wall for Norris, they wanted to hang him from a rope for one of their acts in the storyline for the “No Way Out of Texas” event, which was going to happen around the time Norris’ sister was about to succumb to cancer. 

Norris Didn’t Want Cancer-Ridden Sister To See Him Hanging From Rope

Norris explains that he did not want to be in that event because he didn’t want his sister to see him getting pummeled and hanging from a rope in her last moments.

“I didn’t want her (his dying sister) to be in her last minutes watching me get beat up. She was a big fan and then she passed like a day or two after that, after I left, so she would have had to see me get beat up and hung from a rope before she passed,” Norris said. “That was not an image I was trying to put out, not for her, not for the black kids out there, to anybody. That is going too far.” 

After Norris left WWE in 1998, he took a break from wrestling before returning to the ring in 2000 with WCW. He was with them for just over a year before he was let go due to weight issues.

Norris was a superstar and a household name from 1995 to 1998. WWE has always had some scrutiny regarding its racial practices as a company, and we’ll never forget when Vince McMahon said the N-word on television in 2005.

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