Actor Paul Walter Hauser is one of those people and when he's not performing in Cobra Kai, he's checking out wrestling. Hauser spoke to Wrestling Inc. on today's WINCLY podcast about WWE's product and how they handle today's social climate based on his work on Blackkklansmen.
"Blackkklansmen is an important film because it puts a mirror up to the past and present. We like to think that because we have a black president that thinks are better and racism doesn't exist. That's insane," said Hauser. "That's like your relative getting cured of cancer and saying, 'I think we're gonna find a cure for cancer.'
"I think WWE, on some note, they have to grow with the times more. They have to be cognizant that meeting quotas of social justice aren't a good thing. Cody [Rhodes] said it best, 'We're not trying to meet the quota. We're not trying to have one gay wrestler or one transgender person. It's just about great talent and inclusion.'
"Hopefully WWE will see that. But I think right now their wallet is big enough where they're just gonna buy everyone up and not know what to do with them."
Hauser then shared the advice he would give Vince McMahon right now if he had his ear.
"How do you rip the toy out of a wealthy only child's hands," asked Hauser in reference to McMahon. "The moment you pull that toy, the kid is just gonna cry. With Vince, you would have to restructure his entire mind to get him to understand the self-awareness that creates newness. I don't think that newness can come through Vince, but I think it could come through [Triple H] or Stephanie."
Hauser says he first got into wrestling in the 90s thanks to WCW and he grew up on the likes of Rick Rude, Sting, Arn Anderson and Ricky Steamboat. He says he is indebted to WWE for keeping pro wrestling going after WCW's demise and he also thanks them for allowing him to work with their talent.
"[WWE] let me write for the Edge and Christian Show. I'm friendly with Edge as he asked me to write on Season One of their show. They paid me well, so I feel bad for saying this because I love WWE. But also, I love my Christian faith and if the church does something wrong or immoral, I'm gonna call them out. You have to call out injustice and not let tribalism win over," stated Hauser.
Hauser was outspoken about the Saudi Arabia situation, how the WWE treats its talent and the stale product. Thus, he was refreshed and rejuvenated as a fan when he watched AEW.
"So, going to something like Double or Nothing was a joy of my life," revealed Hauser. "I cried during Cody and Dustin. I cried during a wrestling match! Do you know how rare that is? They're clearly doing something different and off the charts to receive the reception they are receiving. I think AEW is more than off to the races based on that ppv alone."
In addition to the bad creative, Hauser was asked if the WWE culture is also driving away fans.
"Absolutely and there is also the adult fans. The kids don't know what's going on so it doesn't matter. But with the adults, we're gonna find this stuff out and have a distaste for it," Hauser said before adding it's like rooting for a sports team but being critical of their draft selections or who they sign.
"I think right now with WWE buying up all of the indie talent and going, 'Oh, PWG, we're gonna offer you more money than you've ever seen and take 17 of your guys.' You don't even have room for these guys or a game plan for people like Keith Lee.
"Keith Lee is one of the most fascinating, exciting people alive. The guy is the size of Dusty Rhodes, moves like a luchador and has charisma. Keith Lee could headline WrestleMania with Velveteen Dream in three or four years. But the problem is, they don't know how to use him and a year from now we're gonna be watching Keith Lee lose to Baron Corbin on SmackDown and we're all gonna want to blow our brains out."
But it's not all doom and gloom when it comes to Hauser's outlook on WWE as he pointed out good things they've done before and what they currently need more of.
"I think Ciampa vs. Gargano was one of the greatest programs of all-time," admitted Hauser. "I think we need stables back, especially WWE since their roster is like 1,900 people. If you don't start doing stables again, it's like Tetris where you keep building and building and they're like, 'We're just gonna let this add up until it crashes.'
"You gotta find ways to utilize all of the talent or else the fans get pissed when you don't use someone like Luke Harper who is so proficient in wrestling psychology and can move around graciously for a big guy. It breaks my heart to see guys like that go nowhere."
Hauser plays "Stingray" in YouTube Red's Cobra Kai, which was recently renewed for a third season. You can follow his on Twitter @PaulWHauser.
Paul's full interview with Wrestling Inc was included in today's episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded player at the bottom of this post. Some of what Paul discusses includes Jon Moxley's leap away from WWE to AEW, WWE's culture driving away fans and wrestlers, his advice for Vince McMahon, who should be the first AEW World Champion, his work in movies like "I, Tanya" and "Blackkklansman" and more.