"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 is enhanced by the winner's National Anthem being played after the match as well).
- Hulk Hogan. And Mr. America, whoever he was.
- "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, of course.
- The American Eagles (Ken Wayne, Tony Anthony and Danny Davis in masks) were a mixed bag. Played straight in USWA but in Lucha Libre International, not quite. Jacqueline by proxy, while she managed them in the states.
- This 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. 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 promo by 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 Los Gringos Locos (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 this. 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.
- Sgt Slaughter, who managed to play the All American Face both in wrestling and in G.I. Joe.
- 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 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.
- However, he himself has said that he doesn't have a gimmick, that the way you see him on TV is the way he really is.
- 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 Foreign Wrestling Heel Tursas began to write derogatory blog posts about America. He even got the endorsement of Lex Luger!
- And, of course, USApe.
- The Undertaker during his Big Evil phase, from mid-2002 to late 2003.
- Sara Del Rey was a mixed bag in Luchas 2000 and LLF but a straight example in SHIMMER as American Angel gimmick before her Face-Heel Turn.
- It amusingly ended up being played straight in LLF, as American Angel, April Hunter, Nikki "La Gringa" Roxx, Christie Ricci and Crazy Daisy all became crowd favorites. It just took American Angel longer than the others.
- Crowds even chanted "USA" at Del Rey during Ring of Honor's UK shows, against native UK talent Eden Black and Jetta even.
- Inverted when 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. Oh, and he wasn't very good, and he teamed with Foreign Wrestling Heel Rene Dupree.
- Consequences Creed in TNA as a consequence of him being an expy of Apollo Creed.
- Wrestlicious had Glory who wore star spangled wrestling gear (complete with cape) and ended up winning the promotion's championship belt.
- Inverted with "The 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. Swagger would later play the role straight, becoming a face when the evil Russian character Rusev showed up.
- And then even more inverted with Antonio Cesaro being added as a tag-team partner in a stable known as The Real Americans. Hilarious in that, even in Kayfabe, Cesaro is a naturalized citizen, not a native-born American.
- Affectionately parodied in the Japanese Toryumon promotion with the Florida Brothers, Michael and Daniel, better known, respectively, as Taku Iwasa and Raimu Mishima.
- Sting sometimes wore red white and blue facepaint and colors in his outfits.
- Randy Savage sometimes dressed this way as well.
- Santana Garret and Amber O'Neal became a pair of them in the revive WOW (Women Of Wrestling), The All American Girls. Known as The American Sweethearts elsewhere.
Examples from other media:
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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.
- America from Axis Powers Hetalia. 'Nuff said.
- Keith Goodman of Tiger & Bunny. Whether or not Sternbild is actually in America is up for debate, however.
- Chibodee Crocket of G Gundam was the All American Face, well kind of. He stood out as the All-American, clean cut Momma's Boy who would only drink Bourbon and used one of the fighting stylesnote most associated with America, even when in his Giant Mecha.
- Superman fights for truth, justice and the American way.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 note A story showed up very quickly afterwards where Superman expressed his love of America, as an alien whom America adopted like so many others.
- Deconstructed by Power & Glory — A-Pex is an all-American Cape, but only because his government creators groomed him as such. In reality, he is a narcissistic selfish mysophobe who relies on a handler to do the real hero work.
- 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.
Live Action TV
- Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report bleeds red white and blue.
- 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.
- Liberty, Joy's half-sister from My Name Is Earl dresses up as one for her wrestling act. Additionally, she's black, so her Jobber is naturally a member of The Klan.
- 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.
- 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 from Street Fighter. 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- Duke of G.I. Joe.