Over a decade after he faced off against WWE owner and quintessential heel Vince McMahon in WrestleMania’s “Battle of the Billionaires,” Donald J. Trump is President of the United States. Professional wrestling makes a show of American values. The bodies are huge (“yuge!”), the hyperbole is excessive, and kayfabe rules. Wrestling is about heat, not truth. It’s never a fair fight. The guy with the money decides who wins, who loses, and on what terms. The audience knows this and plays along regardless. These are the people who voted for Trump. This is their, and his, ethos—the unreal violence of the game now the all too real brutality of the new regime.

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Author notes

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This article was first posted on 24 August 2017 on Facebook, then on 7 September 2017 on the TDR/MIT website and has been updated for this final version.—Ed.