Pounding rock music blares from speakers. A red, white and black striped flag pokes through flimsy black curtains bearing the World Wide Wrestling Alliance symbol. Emblazoned on the flag is a German Iron Cross.
A man emerges from behind the curtains. His eyes are obscured by dark sunglasses and he’s clad in a tight black sleeveless shirt. On the front of his shirt is a large white lightning bolt. Matching bolts run down the sides of his red and black tights. The crowd erupts, some cheering and clapping while others boo.
“Oh, it’s the dumb German,” one woman can be heard screaming over the music. “Nobody wants you here.”
Waving the flag over his head, the man shouts, “Sieg heil, Blitzkrieg,” and raises his arm in a Nazi salute.
Among fans of the World Wide Wrestling Alliance, an independent wrestling organization based in Pennsylvania, the man is known as Blitzkrieg, “The German Juggernaut.”
But in his day job, he’s Kevin Bean, a 36-year-old teacher in the Spring-Ford Area School District. Bean teaches fifth and sixth grade, the Philly Voice reported. He has been employed since 2004, according to the school district’s website.
Last week, Bean’s wrestling persona gained attention on social media after Ryan Satin, founder of wrestling news site Pro Wrestling Sheet, tweeted a video of Bean as Blitzkrieg entering an arena.
“This video makes me sick,” Satin wrote. “Watching the guy do nazi salutes on his way to the ring while children in the crowd cheer him on like a good guy is terrifying.”
Now, school officials have learned about Bean’s extracurricular activity and launched an internal investigation, Erin Crew, the district’s manager of communications and marketing, told The Washington Post in a statement Monday.
Spring-Ford Area School District was made aware of a video featuring an employee, outside of the school setting, participating in an amateur wrestling event. Once administrators were made aware of the video they acted immediately to conduct an internal investigation. As this is a personnel matter, further details will not be addressed publicly.
The actions portrayed in this video do not represent the core values of the school district,” the statement. “As an educational organization, we pride ourselves in providing a safe and nurturing learning environment.”
Bean could not be reached for comment.
A full video of the match was uploaded to the WWWA’s official YouTube channel, but it has since been removed. According to the video’s description, it was taken at an event held on June 23 in Quakertown, Pa.
Bean’s plays the “heel” in wrestling parlance, meaning he is meant to be a villainous character for the crowd to dislike. Throughout its history, wrestling has produced a number of controversial heels including the “The Sheik,” a Syrian character who would enter the ring wearing a Bedouin-style headdress and kneel on a prayer rug before matches. Another Middle Eastern villain that “enraged American fans by flaunting his Arabic heritage” was “The Iron Sheik,” according to World Wrestling Entertainment.
But unlike other heels who are usually greeted by boos, Blitzkrieg appeared to elicit more cheers from the crowd than his opponent, Cody Rose.
While he paraded around the ring waving the Iron Cross flag, many applauded. One man could even be seen extending his arm out in a Nazi salute. A young boy held up a sign that proclaimed, “BLITZKRIEG RULES!” Another fan’s sign read, “Blitzkrieg Herrscher Aller MENSCHEN,” which translated means “Blitzkrieg ruler of all people.”
As Blitzkrieg prepared to enter the ring, chants of “USA” and “Trump’s America” filled the room.
At one point during the match, Blitzkrieg climbed on top of the ropes and shouted “Sieg heil, Deutschland,” raising both of his arms into the air.
On social media, many were quick to point out the crowd’s response to Blitzkrieg and criticize the character.
“There is nothing entertaining about this and the fact he didn’t get much heat and people cheered him on is just awful,” one Twitter user wrote.
Another person tweeted, “Some gimmicks shouldn’t exist and this is one of them.”
According to the WWWA’s website, the organization was founded almost 40 years ago by its president, Dino Sanna.
“While working toward making the WWWA the best promotion possible, he takes a strong family approach to the way shows are presented,” the website said, noting that Sanna’s dream is to bring “classic, family-friendly professional wrestling to the people of Eastern Pennsylvania . . . and the world.”
The website includes a message from Sanna explaining his vision.
“The wrestling that you see on TV today is, for the most part, not worth taking your family to see,” the statement reads. “It has become too violent, too risqué and at times blatantly vulgar. What the World Wide Wrestling Alliance brings you is a great all around experience for the WHOLE family to enjoy!”
In an interview with the Blast, Sanna defended Bean, calling him a “good guy and not a hateful person.” Sanna added that Bean is religious and has close ties to his local church.
Sanna said many of the children cheering for Blitzkrieg at the show were Bean’s students. No one has complained about the character before and he has become a popular villain, he said.
“Everyone has a gimmick: It’s wrestling,” Sanna said.
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