This is Sam Polinsky, a.k.a. Sam Adonis, a rising star in Mexico’s lucha libre.
What makes him so special?
The 27-year-old, 6-foot-4 wrestler is getting tons of attention in Mexico thanks to his persona: a flag waving Trump supporter.
When Adonis enters the arena, waving the flag with President Trump’s face on it, fans hurl beers, popcorn and expletives at him, Reuters reports.
This gimmick has made Adonis a rudo, or a bad guy, in lucha libre.
In a recent interview, Adonis told NPR:
My favorite thing to do is to get some father and mother to bring their kid to a show, and they’re enjoying it with a smile on their face. When I can get that dad five minutes later to want to jump over the rail and cut my throat, that’s a great feeling. That’s how I know I’m good at my job.
In the ’90s, Eddie Guerrero used a similar anti-immigration gimmick in Mexico. Fans hated him.
Guerrero and his partner, the late Art Barr, called themselves “Los Gringos Locos” and wore American flag-inspired gear. This was around the time California Governor Pete Wilson introduced the infamous Proposition 187, a law targeting immigrants in the state. Guerrero wore red, white and blue tights and taunted Mexican audiences by chanting “187” during matches. Years later, Guerrero became famous for his Latino Heat persona, arguably his greatest gimmick ever in the WWE.
So Adonis isn’t the first wrestler to use a tense political climate to get a quick pop from the audience.
— Sam Adonis (@SamElias89) February 13, 2017
Over the last couple of years, Donald Trump has referred to Mexican citizens as rapists and criminals. He has promised to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, which he insists Mexico will pay for. And President Trump has threatened to send U.S. troops into Mexico. So of course President Trump is not the most popular guy.
But Sam Adonis says he isn’t really as pro-Trump as his ring persona would have you believe.
In an interview with Reuters, Adonis said:
I can’t say I support Trump but I definitely respect Trump. He is just himself, and if you like it, you like it, and if you don’t, you don’t.
The pro-Trump gimmick even started out as a joke.
In an interview with Vice Sports, Sam Adonis says he got Trump’s face airbrushed onto his tights for a joke. Lucha libre fans immediately responded:
There was a lot of positive, like, “Wow, that’s so funny.” And a lot of people were like, “Hey, that’s a bit too much.” But that’s the reaction I was going for. I knew that was a sensitive topic and something that could be built upon.
And in an interview with NPR, Adonis said he admired President Trump’s flare for entertainment.
Donald Trump is no stranger to the squared-circle. In fact, President Trump is a member of WWE’s Hall of Fame, a distinction that no other President holds.
But Adonis told NPR that if tensions between the U.S. and Mexico get to heated, he might think about changing his in-ring persona.
Adonis told NPR:
If the situation between the U.S. and Mexico were to get aggressive or violent, then I’d have to think about it. But this situation is too much, and it’s too good to pass up right now, so I’d like to milk it for everything it’s worth.