‘I am special.”
No, that prideful proclamation didn’t come from the Republican presidential-race front-runner’s Tuesday letter to CNN President Jeff Zucker, contending that a steep boost in the company’s ad rates “is due 100 percent to ‘Donald J. Trump.’ ”
It came from the loud mouth of Seth Rollins on this week’s “Monday Night Raw.”
And the traditional arrogance of pro wrestling villains has traditionally exceeded the inherent narcissism of politicians pitching themselves for elective office.
But “The Donald” has closed that bragging gap.
More from Rollins on Monday night at Baltimore’s Royal Farms Arena: “I’m not just regular old special. I’m like really special, like mega, mega special, like once-in-a-generation, like once-in-a-lifetime special.”
Lest you doubt Rollins, ponder his indisputable case that he’s “the first man in history to be the WWE world heavyweight champion and United States champion at the same time.” Rollins, aka “The Architect,” added: “Now that’s greatness. I know this city’s not familiar with greatness, but that is greatness.”
Lingering distinction between the rhetoric of blustering rasslers and pandering politicians: The former ridicule the community where they are speaking and the folks who live there. The latter praise their settings and audiences.
Then again, Trump has a knack for put-downs. He calls lots of people “losers.” He has repeatedly called Jeb Bush a “low-energy person.”
He even called Lindsey Graham, still mired near the bottom of the crowded GOP field, an “idiot.”
However, Graham did call Trump a “jackass” first.
Trump’s rude way with words and loose way with logic (see George Will’s column on Page A11) make him a hard sell to many of us conservatives.
Here in Charleston, consistently honored for politeness, Trump’s breaches of proper decorum also seem particularly unseemly — and unpresidential.
Yet we rasslin’ fans know that in life itself, as in the squared circle, circumstances occasionally warrant strange — and shifting — alliances.
Though Trump has often been criticized in this space, he’s got a lot in common with a “special” bad-guy champ like Rollins — and such brash bluntness from a politician can be a good thing.
So can blowing your own horn. For instance, Furman graduate Xavier Woods (real name Austin Watson) plays the trombone (including “Taps” when opponents are vanquished) as a member of WWE tag-team champs The New Day.
On the Aug. 24 “Raw,” Woods even played “New York, New York” as New Day partners Big E and Kofi Kingston sang lyrics demeaning the Big Apple, eliciting high-volume disapproval from the packed house at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
Hey, false modesty also can be annoying. And an implicit conceit accompanies any run for elective office.
Remember, too, that Trump was a rasslin’ star before he was a political star.
From the WWE website:
In January 2007, “The Donald interrupted Mr. [Vince] McMahon’s ‘Fan Appreciation Night’ on ‘Raw’ and dropped tens of thousands of dollars from the rafters of the arena onto the WWE fans below. Red-faced that a rival would steal the spotlight from him, Mr. McMahon challenged Trump to a ‘Battle of the Billionaires’ at ‘WrestleMania 23’ with the stipulation that the loser of the bout would have their his head shaved bald. A record number of viewers tuned in to watch The Donald back Bobby Lashley to victory over Mr. McMahon’s Umaga and subsequently shave the WWE chairman’s signature mane in the center of the ring.”
More from the WWE website: “The business magnates locked horns again in June 2009 when Trump purchased ‘Monday Night Raw’ and immediately announced that next week’s show would air commercial-free and that every WWE fan that who purchased a ticket would be given a full refund. The trademark Trump PR flourish nearly made Mr. McMahon’s head explode and forced him to buy his show back from The Donald for twice the price.”
That savvy deal supports Trump’s claim that he can “make Mexico pay for the wall” he says we need along our southern border.
The self-titled “dealmaker” champ even wrote in Wednesday’s USA Today:
“When I am elected president, I will renegotiate with Iran — right after I enable the immediate release of our American prisoners and ask Congress to impose new sanctions that stop Iran from having the ability to sponsor terrorism around the world.”
OK, so like rasslin’ itself, that “Raw” deal was phony.
And Trump, in his aforementioned letter to CNN, admirably requested that profits from its telecast of next week’s GOP debate “go to various veterans groups.”
As for stale “but rasslin’ is fake” reminders, remember that Trump is now a serious White House contender.
In other words, the supposedly “real” has already crossed the border into the surreal.
Meanwhile, as “Nature Boy” Ric Flair warns: “To be the man, you have to beat the man.”
So to be the 2016 GOP presidential nominee, somebody has to beat The Donald.
But who’s the right man — or woman — to do that?
Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is email@example.com.