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I am a real American

Fight for the rights of every man

I am a real American

Fight for what's right, Fight for your life!
—Rick Derringer, Real American (Hulk Hogan's entrance music)

The All American Face is one of the major stock characters of Professional Wrestling. He drapes himself in the flag, fights for Truth, Justice, and the American Way, and is as wholesome as Mom and Apple Pie (well, if Mom started using steroids, anyway.) He's proud to be an American, and expresses it at every opportunity he gets, even when wrestling in foreign lands. His entrance theme usually has references to being an American, his wrestling gear is in red, white, and blue (if it's not an actual American flag print); he may even go so far as to wave an American flag as he walks down to the ring. Before he became a wrestler, he was either a collegiate All-American in some sport, or a soldier; if he's a soldier, he'll pepper his speech with military lingo in between proclaiming how much he loves America.

The All American Face is the natural enemy of the Evil Foreigner, and thus they often find themselves paired in feuds. The traditional climax to such a feud is a Flag Match, where the flags of the two nations are placed on opposite turnbuckles, and the winner is the first wrestler to recover his nation's flag and wave it. When the All American Face is getting his ass kicked, especially by the Evil Foreigner, expect the crowd to start in with the chant of "USA! USA!"


Examples:

  • Hulk Hogan.
  • This trope was subverted in the form of Kurt Angle, the Olympic gold medalist who, despite fighting for his country and wearing red, white, and blue, was a cocky, egotistical asshole and took every opportunity to point out his superiority to his fellow Americans on top of America's superiority to every other nation.
    • Though it's usually played straight whenever Angle makes a Heel Face Turn, albeit with a good bit of Comic Relief mixed in
    • One particularly funny promo by Kurt Angle had him convinced that, since he was a beloved American hero and his opponent, John Cena, was drawing massive amounts of X Pac Heat, he could say anything he pleased and still have the crowd on his side. He decided to test the theory by commenting that he does not like "the black people", and musing that if he could make one historical figure tap out, it'd be Jesus. And yes, the crowd was still on his side.
  • There is also a subversion in a famous match for Mexican-based promotion AAA that took place in Los Angeles, between the heel team of Eddie Guerrero and Art Barr and the face team of El Hijo Del Santo and Octagon. Guerrero and Barr (the Americans) took delight in insulting the mostly Mexican-American crowd, drawing massive heat and resulting in the LA crowd booing the Americans and cheering the Mexicans.
  • Yet another subversion is WWE's John Bradshaw Layfield, a Self-Made Man who constantly talks about how proud he is of his country and he is the personification of the American Dream -- but his America doesn't include "foreigners" like Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio (both native-born Americans), or "miscreants" like John Cena and CM Punk.
  • "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan is probably the purest example of the trope. If it weren't for him entering the ring to the tune of "Stars and Stripes Forever", waving the flag around, and chanting, "USA! USA!", he wouldn't have a character at all.
  • Sgt. Slaughter, who managed to play the All-American Face both in wrestling and in G.I. Joe.
    • Until he betrayed America for Iraq.
    • Lets not forget his character started as a heel.
  • The WWF tried to mold Lex Luger into one of these as a Heel Face Turn after Hulk Hogan left the company. Unfortunately for Luger, you can only pander to the fans so much before even they get sick of it.
  • The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers were a Heel WWF tag team in the eighties that decided to fashion themselves as "All American Boys". The heat came from the fact they were from Canada and that their idea of an All-American Face was someone who wore sparkly jackets, spoke French and only listened to Barry Manilow. The truly brilliant part, however, was their theme song, which alternated between praising America in English and blasting it in French.
  • Debra Miceli, in her gimmicks as Alundra Blaze in the WWF and Madusa in WCW. Further, "Madusa" is a Portmanteau of "Made in the U.S.A.".
  • Subverted/Parodied by "The All American American", Jack Swagger.
  • Back in the '70s, there was "Mr. USA" Tony Atlas.
  • The Patriot (Del Wilkes), duh.
  • John Cena is a...a something, "inversion" is probably the safest label. His core act of being a simple all-around face is not, itself, patriotic, but he constantly salutes, wears dog tags and occasionally gets patriotic. Inverted because he wasn't a soldier but played a Marine in a movie, and the booking decision to incorporate this into his act probably wasn't the smartest thing. On the other hand, though it's probably not intentional, there is one reason it's very, very clever; the change carries with it an implication that military service rehabbed Cena from the complete wigger "Doctor of Thuganomics" he started as to a fine, upstanding citizen. Naturally, the problem is that about half of the fans preferred that gimmick.
    • That, or the implication that after playing a Marine in a movie, Cena was under the delusion that he actually was a Marine.
    • Half the fans prefered the old gimmick before it got watered down almost into nonexistence, so at least Cena has a gimmick again.
    • Yeah, I always suspected that John Cena's Heel Face Turn and gimmick makeover owed a lot to the phenomenon of working-class, often African-American soldiers being the first sent to the front lines during wartime, thus forging individuals who are both "thuggish" and patriotic (well, except during Vietnam). With Cena, this archetype just gets a Race Lift and his personality is transferred from the battlefield to the wrestling ring.
    • Apparently, the salute and dog-tags were Cena's idea as a tribute to the soldiers. During the production of "The Marine", Cena went to boot camp. Despite his celebrity status, he insisted upon going through the same training as everyone else. They agreed. Granted, he was only there for a little over a week rather than several months, but according to sources, he went through so many trials during that week that it may as well have been a real-time Training Montage. He was also given an actual certificate of completion; he's basically as close to being an ACTUAL marine as you can get without the uniform and access to an armory.
    • It's fitting that, on May 1, 2011, he was able to announce to the crowd at the Extreme Rules PPV that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. The patriotism and love and respect for the military that he's shown made him the perfect choice.
  • Tim Donst of CHIKARA.
    • And later Green Ant of CHIKARA, after Tursas began to write derogatory blog posts about America. He even got the endorsement of Lex Luger!
  • The Undertaker during his Big Evil phase, from mid-2002 to late 2003.
  • Sara Del Rey from SHIMMER was this in her American Angel gimmick before her Face Heel Turn.
  • Inverted when the WWE brought in Kenzo Suzuki. He happily announced his love for the United States whenever he could and even went as far as dressing like Uncle Sam but got booed anyway because he always cheated and was lecherous.

Fictional Examples:

Anime:

  • Kinnikuman character Terryman (based on real life wrestler Terry Funk) has been the epitome of this in fiction for decades. Interestingly enough, he started off as the same type of character as JBL (Representing the big business side of America that other countries sees as evil, but then mellowing out and playing this trope to the highest degree ever since. His son, Terry the Kid also plays this trope to a T. ...tK.
  • America from Axis Powers Hetalia. 'Nuff said.
  • Keith Goodman of Tiger and Bunny. Whether or not Sternbild is actually in America is up for debate, however.

Live Action TV:

  • Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report bleeds red white and blue.
  • Carter Grayson from Lightspeed Rescue has an absolutly perfect American face. Fits with the show, as it's probrably the most "American" season to date.

Video Games:

  • The Japan-only women's wrestling/card battle series Wrestle Angels has this in the form of one of the series' most popular and recurring characters, The USA.
  • Gets truly bizarre with John Cena's single-player campaign in Smackdown Vs. Raw 09. The story starts with Cena performing at "Tribute to the Troops," the WWE's annual Monday Night Raw done from Iraq with an audience of soldiers stationed overseas, replete with chants of "USA! USA! USA!" and Cena saluting). The story moves into a feud with MVP after a soldier Cena befriends visits him after returning stateside only to be attacked by MVP backstage, who proceeds to declare "Better than Utopia," his stable, to be it's own country because he didn't like getting boo'd in Iraq. Naturally, the campaign ends with Cena facing off with MVP at Wrestlemania, accompanied to the ring by the aforementioned soldier.
    • Finishing the story unlocks the soldier as a playable character, but his default moveset is just copied from Cena's.
    • Of particular note is the Narm in Cena's patriotic gestures; the soldier, though quite likable and friendly about it, tells him to stop saluting.
  • Statesman of City of Heroes.
  • Super Macho Man in Punch Out (Wii version) is a subversion: He certainly looks and acts like one, but everyone of the (American) audience hates his guts, and he's one of the worst Arrogant Kung Fu Guys you'll ever see. It helps that he bears a resemblance to a (moustacheless) Hulk Hogan.
  • Dixie Clemets' superstar persona in Rumble Roses XX.
    • Reiko Hinomoto is the Japanese version of this gimmick, dressing in red & white and has that underdog feel.
  • Guile. Though he's a good guy, his major trait isn't his nationality, so much as his want to get answers about the death of his friend.
    • Not sure if it's necessarily something that fits Guile. However, Mike Haggar is a more straight example as he's a beloved ex wrestler and patriotic to the core.
  • Tina Armstrong in Dead or Alive (Her dad happens to be a Captain Ersatz of Hulk Hogan, too).
  • One of the characters from the webgame Soccer Star has her wearing a bikini with soccer balls as her top, red and white stripes on her bottom, and using an American Flag as a coat.
  • If you win a a match as Jax in Mortal Kombat (without performing a Fatality), he drapes himself in an American flag.

Western Animation

  • Major Glory, from the Dexter's Laboratory series, who is obviously a parody of Captain America and Superman.
  • Kim Possible tends to lean to this at times. Check out Monkey Fist Strikes (pro American army?), Royal Pain (pro democracy), Queen Bebe (dancing at the Statue of Liberty) and Rappin Drakken (her Idol outfit includes a USA top).
  • South Park parodies this on the episode on Pro Wrestling, with Stan becoming a "8 year old Nam Vet who isn't accepted back in the homeland."

Comicbooks

  • Superman
  • Captain America (imagine that)
    • Mildly subverted by US Agent, who is just a tool of the United States government rather than a man for the people.
  • Wonder Woman, even though she really shouldn't be.
    • With both Superman and Wonder Woman, DC has tried to downplay this over the last several years when it has been seen as unfashionable to be patriotic (and in the case of Superman Returns, could potentially impact his international box office sales).
    • Wonder Woman's costume was redone to replace the star spangled bikini bottom with black pants. After the fans revolted, they compromised and gave her back two of her stars.
    • In a one off story, Superman once mentioned that he was planning on renouncing his American citizenship [1] A story showed up very quickly afterwards where Superman expressed his love of America, as an alien whom America adopted like so many others.

The Abridged Series

Film

  • Rocky is the embodiment of this trope in Rocky IV.
    • Rocky was more a simple American hero. Apollo, in-universe, actually used the All-American Face gimmick in the first and fourth movies. Though the first time it was to celebrate the American bicentennial and the second time it was because he was the American competitor in an international boxing match. But he takes it to the extreme in that latter match making even Rocky visibly embarrassed.
    • Rocky also owes his career to this trope, having been chosen for the bicentennial match because Apollo couldn't get a worthy competitor for the show and decided to go with the gimmick of giving a nobody a shot at the big time because it represented America at its best.
  • Mickey Rourke's character, Randy "The Ram" Robinson in The Wrestler is/was basically this.

Notes

  1. though it was mainly because his actions were being interpreted as official US policy due to his longstanding mostly solid relationship with the US government.
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