"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 Foreign Wrestling Heel, 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 Foreign Wrestling Heel, expect the crowd to start in with the chant of "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" (Sometimes, this trope is enhanced by the winner's National Anthem being played after the match as well.)
This trope was subverted in the form of Kurt Angle, the (legitimate) 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.
They actually were not sure what angle they were going to take with him when he was first signed to WWE. His promos were just generic bios about his Olympic victories and seemed to play him up as this trope. He oversold it at his first television debut, and the audience started booing him. The execs took it and ran with it, and got word to him in the ring that he was a heel now and should act like an asshole. The rest is history.
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.
"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, "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!", he wouldn't have a character at all.
The Quebec-born Fabulous Rougeau Brothers (Jacques and Raymond) took a Face Heel Turn in 1988 when they began using an "All American Boys" gimmick, a move inspired by their inability to get over with the fans as faces. Vince McMahon repackaged Jacques and Raymond into a conceited team, showing facetious affinity for such American things as mother, apple pie and Barry Manilow, but actually mocking United States' fans through subtle insults, use of French and – of all things – waving small American flags and starting "U.S.A. chants." Their "All American Boys" entrance theme – an upbeat rock song playing up their supposed love for America – solidified their heelish characters; the theme song alternated between praising America in English and insulting it in French. (Also solidifying their heel turn, but unrelated to the pro-American gimmick, was their affiliation with Jimmy Hart and his giving them a cut of the Hart Foundation's earnings as a "bonus," as Hart claimed to still have a contract with Bret Hart and Jim "the Anvil" Neidhart.)
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.".
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.
Or, y'know, being shot at. Or going through Basic for months. Or going on a tour of duty. Though the intent isn't there, what is there can certainly seem patronizing.
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.
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.
Wrestlicious had Glory who wore star spangled wrestling gear (complete with cape) and ended up winning the promotion's championship belt.
Inverted with "real American" Jack Swagger and his manager Zeb Colter, a pair of all-American heels who spout Tea Party anti-immigrant rhetoric, constantly decry various face wrestlers as being traitors to their vision of America, and generally act like thugs and bullies to anyone who disagrees with them (including the above-mentioned Sgt. Slaughter and Hacksaw Jim Duggan). In contrast, Swagger's rival Alberto Del Rio, whose gimmick is based around his being openly and proudly Mexican, is booked as being the face and the defender of American values and virtues.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
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.
Mildly subverted by US Agent, who is just a tool of the United States government rather than a man for the people.
The movie plays with this by having the U.S. government create the Captain America character as a propaganda tool for war bond sales. Steve Rogers himself has a far more deeper motivation than simple patriotism alone.
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 note 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. A story showed up very quickly afterwards where Superman expressed his love of America, as an alien whom America adopted like so many others.
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.
Carter Grayson from Lightspeed Rescue has an absolutely perfect American face. Fits with the show, as it's probably the most "American" season to date.
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 its 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.
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.
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 desire to get answers about the death of his friend. His patriotism gets Flanderized a bit by the fans, but it's still there.
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."