The dark history of the "Too Sweet"

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BosSin

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#1  Edited By BosSin

Ok, a little background info before getting into this topic. I tried to get the dudes on the Beastcast to read this as it's interesting to know where this symbol originates from, but alas maybe my email was too long or something. Instead I thought it would be fun to write a little article on the forum. Maybe reading this will serve as some form of warning for randomly co-opting foreign symbols/languages and claiming ownership of it. Most of my knowledge about this topic comes from being a passive wrestling viewer and a second-generation Turk, but I also did a little research and will post sources at the bottom (I'm not above admitting that I also used Wikipedia).

Pro-Wrestling Beginnings

X-Pac, Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall doing the
X-Pac, Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall doing the "Too Sweet"

Those of you that are unfamiliar with the "Too Sweet" should know that it is a popular hand-gesture in professional wrestling. The more avid wrestling fan may be relatively familiar on how the too sweet came to be used by The Kliq/NWO/Wolfpack, it was discussed in a June 2016 interview [1] with a bunch of wrestlers on wwe.com. In the interview Kevin Nash states the first known usage of the Too Sweet:

"KEVIN NASH: It came up during a European trip. X-Pac brought it to our attention. It was just one of those things where we got it and the five of us [Nash, Sean Waltman, Scott Hall, Shawn Michaels and Triple H] started to use it."

Now for the juicy part, in that interview Kevin Nash mentions that they first started calling it the “Turkish Wolf” and Triple H says he doesn’t like calling it the “Too Sweet”. To me this clearly shows that they first started using this hand gesture after seeing a bunch of Turkish people throwing it up on one of their tours.

Origins

Turkish Wolf hand gesture being used in a MHP political rally
Turkish Wolf hand gesture being used in a MHP political rally

The Turkish Wolf symbol (or Kurt Işareti) is a popular far-right/fascist hand gesture mostly used by ultra-nationalists (Grey Wolves) or members of the Nationalist Movement Party known in Turkish as the MHP (Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi). It was popularized in Turkey by the founder of the MHP: Alparslan Türkeş after he visited Baku and a bunch of people greeted him with it. My knowledge about why people in Baku were using this is limited. As far as I can tell, it seems to have been a way for the Azerbaijan citizens to show their independence from the Soviet Union and their close relations to Turkey.

What this hand gesture actually means is slightly debatable, some people say it represents the mythical wolf that Turks are descended from others say it’s a symbol representing the combination of Islam and the Turkish people. Either way, it has mainly been used as a fascist symbol ever since. Racists tend to show hate towards the Kurdish people and ethnic minorities in Turkey by throwing this gesture up. You will mostly see it used in far-right Turkish political rallies.

Today

In terms of Pro-Wrestling, I recently heard about some ridiculous trademark that WWE has applied for in reference to the Too Sweet. Going along those same lines they also have tried opening a lawsuit against tag-team wrestlers "Young Bucks" for usage of the gesture. So have fun with your fascist trademark Vince.

The Turkish Wolf symbol is still used in Turkey today and as far as I’m aware it’s still used to show that you are aligned with the far-right. So please people, be careful when “too sweeting”, especially around Turks, Kurds and Armenians. Either you will make people very angry or accidentally get the support of fascists.

Sources:

  1. http://www.wwe.com/article/wwe-too-sweet-hand-gesture-meaning
  2. http://www.internethaber.com/bozkurt-isaretinin-anlami-ne-178826h.htm
  3. https://www.cagesideseats.com/2017/9/27/16376748/report-wwe-sends-young-bucks-cease-and-desist-too-sweet
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alparslan_T%C3%BCrke%C5%9F
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationalist_Movement_Party
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_Wolves
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BosSin

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#2  Edited By BosSin

Sorry for the formatting, forum doesn't display it like it shows up when editing.

Edit: should be better now

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deactivated-5a00c029ab7c1

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This thread just reminds how much wrestling sucks today and how great it was. I'm so glad I was able to grow up in the 90's and watch the Mondays night wars and the real ECW.

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JJWeatherman

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Oh no, haha. I remember the GBEast guys doing that at one point and I wasn't sure why. Should have assumed wrestling was to blame. Interesting to know the history.

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Shiftygism

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Pretty sure there's also a bit on the Mr.Perfect dvd referencing the "Too Sweet" gesture where Wade Boggs claims he and Hennig started it.

I'd dig it out and check, but I'm too lazy.

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BosSin

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@shiftygism: some quick Google-fu gives me a reddit thread about wade boggs saying mr perfect started it and bret hart saying he saw it on a European tour. Either way it is most likely that this was seen on a tour of Europe. It could've even been some Turks living in Germany that they saw doing it.

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mellotronrules

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#7  Edited By mellotronrules

interesting. and yeah, that sucks. fascists fucking ruin everything.

but i kinda can't help but think there can't be anything more infuriating to a legitimate fascist than a foreign entity co-opting a symbol of faux-nationalist pride to repackage it as a WWE gimmick. because bobby or janey in mobile alabama or eugene oregon know or care diddley for the turkish far right- and i can't help but feel that defangs the apparent political origins, at least somewhat.

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jtmosh

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#8  Edited By jtmosh

Hearing that it has questionable origins kind of sucks, but it's not really surprising. It SUPER sucks that WWE is cracking down on it with the Young Bucks. I always liked that the 2 Sweet was kind of a universal thing in wrestling. That it was kind of a "we may not be in the same company but we're all in this together" kind of thing. Sucks when a big company swoops in and tries to destroy something that evolved (sort of) organically.

That being said, however, it just shines an even brighter light on just how brilliant The Young Bucks are when it comes to getting paid in wrestling. The way they took what could have been a huge blow and pivoted it into something that's not only positive, but a new avenue to make money is genius. They had that cease and desist shirt up within like a week of that going down. And The Elite/Bullet Club doing the "1 Sweet" now is just so good. I went to RoH/NJPW Global Wars Chicago recently and seeing Kenny Omega walking towards the ring touching outstretched index fingers with his own like he was some kind of wrestling Jesus healing the masses is just THE best.

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OpusOfTheMagnum

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@mellotronrules: only if you let them. Don’t give them that power. Why are people so quick to allow bad people ruin things by association? It would be like saying amateur painting was ruined by Hitler.

Your last bit is a great example of how assholes don’t have to ruin things.

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csl316

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All I know is that when Anderson and Gallows sincerely said "Too sweet me, bro" during some backstage segment, I laughed hysterically.

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soulcake

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#11  Edited By soulcake

So i life in Belgium and recently there was a clash between Turks and Kurds ( Kurdistan ) they had a massive fight and the police had to break them up. then all those Turks where too sweeting each other and it was the weirdest thing i have ever seen, for a second i thought they where all in to wrestling but then a dude said it was the "Grey Wolf" sign witch has tie in's to the Young Turks no not the you tube channel but the pro fascist party from the 30's ( Vince should be really proud trademarking a racist symbol next up the Hitler Salute )

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Giantstalker

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I guess it'll just mean something else here in North America!

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Warren2007

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@bossin: Thanks for this. I don't watch wrestling so I had no idea what the beast crew where talking about.

I never really say the gesture properly and assumed it was the Ronnie James Dio thing (which also has history) so it's good to be taught something new.

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thepenguin55

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#14  Edited By thepenguin55

Doesn't the fact that it's not a known fascist symbol in the rest of the world kind of mean that those fascists failed (at least on a global scale)?

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MajorMitch

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Huh, I had no idea this was a thing, given my ignorance of both wrestling and Turkish history. But this post stood out because my college's mascot was the "Wolfpack" (NC State University), and people threw up this exact hand symbol ALL the time (particularly at sporting events) to show support/pride of the school. I thought it was a silly college thing. Now I know it has history to it, and it feels weird.

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soulcake

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#16  Edited By soulcake
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TooSweet

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#17  Edited By TooSweet

And then there is the origin of my own Too Seet: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penitentiary_(1979_film)

I should add that Haiti Kid was in one of the movies in this series and he was one of the little people that used to work in WWF back in the day as a "midget wrestler".

(edited to add the Haiti Kid portion)

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thepenguin55

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@soulcake said:

@thepenguin55: Not every fascist regime wants world domination.

I wonder about that.

Maybe I'm a bad person for thinking this way but Bullet Club could really use this to put WWE on blast. They could come out and say that they'll no longer do the Too Sweet as they discovered its offensive origin.

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soulcake

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@thepenguin55: That would be great and Vince would probably go mad. I hope the one sweet Kenny is doing in the new NJPW shows isn't fascist slang somewhere in the world.

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BosSin

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@soulcake: from what I can see, the one sweet is a lot harder to claim for yourself as it is literally just holding up the index finger. So even if there are other shady groups using this hand gesture, it's more likely to just be a coincidence. Whereas the too sweet was a case of wrestlers seeing fascists use this hand gesture.

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eltopo715

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@opusofthemagnum: Wow, it would really be a shame if a totally neutral hand gesture like the roman salute was ruined by... [checks notes] phalangists, fascists, and Nazis??

Throwing up political gestures isn't like "amateur painting"; gestures are a form of non-verbal communication, not entirely dissimilar to flipping the bird or the peace symbol. Like spoken and written language, systems of signs can only exist when they can be made intelligible by other people. So yes, wrestling fans may recognize the grey wolf salute as an innocent in-joke and can be totally ignorant of it's darker connotations. However, that doesn't mean the grey wolf salute has been totally emptied of it's original meaning, particularly when the wrestlers likely unwittingly picked up the symbol from Turkish ultra-nationalists.

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chilibean_3

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Thanks for this, dude.

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dudeglove

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Mildly related but ironically in terms of video games the Grey Wolves later ended up appropriating Wolfire's logo (the people who made Overgrowth and Lugaru). Now Wolfire just has to steal something from WWE and the circle should be complete.

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OurSin_360

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Well they were the New World Order...

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OpusOfTheMagnum

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@eltopo715: I dunno, that suggests that intent is nothing or less than everything to do with the meaning behind an action, which makes me uncomfortable.

For example a kid goes to school as MLK intending to celebrate his achievements. He does so by painting his face black and dressing like MLK. Is the kid wrong or are his actions troubling because he painted his face black?

That doesn’t take away from the vile act of blackface to spit on aftrican ancestry, but I believe it has nothing to do with the kid in his attempt to honor the civil victories won by MLK.

Maybe one of us is misreading part of this. And I say that meaning that it could be just as easily myself. I’m just not sure, it seems like giving power to something bad is a poor way to go. It doesn’t remove its historical co text as many would argue, but it does prevent it’s historical context from spilling over into unrelated matters, at least in my opinion.

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OurSin_360

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#26  Edited By OurSin_360

@opusofthemagnum: i dont think equating grown men to children is a very good analogy. And to answer that part is the kid wrong? No but his/her parents are.

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turkgreywolf

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#27  Edited By turkgreywolf

Hi everybody

firstly sorry for my bad english but i have to correct writers misinformation and biased attitude

i just want to tell you yes we proud of being a member of turk society but we are not racist/fascıst as a grey wolf from turkey,we call our selves ülkücü,we have members different origin people like cherkess, bosniaks,albanians,georgiens, even kurds ,So its kinda social/culturel nactıonalism ,we respect all people thats true

thıs hand gesture means that unity and cooperation like a wolfpack of all turk and turk related/allied people all around the world.whats wrong with that?!?

this is(means) grey wolf,turk proud,a symbol of all turk people

this symbol also used by azerbaijan, iran(south azerbaijan),turkmenistan and kavkasian turks etc..

regards

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makkaya

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#29  Edited By makkaya

Well, I just signed up to correct some mistakes in this topic.

Yes this is kind of nationalistic gesture but not the type of nationalism you understand. Turkey is really unique country in many ways. And nationalism, it’s not the one in USA. Yes, we have some true (!) racists here, those ones who discriminate people based on their ethnicities but when you talk about nationalism, it’s mostly based on being citizen of Turkish Republic. Yes, Too Sweet (lol it’s funny) is a far right gesture but this far right is not a racism. Let me explain with an example, when leader of Nationalist Movement in Turkey, Alparslan Türkeş, started to his struggle on his nationalistic ideas; his first fellows were the Kurds. He had more Kurds around him than Turks. Believe it or not. Because Turkish Nationalism are also based on religion, which is Islam. And Kurds are the most religious group in Turkey’s borders. For example, one of those nationalists’ famous slogans is “Rehber Kur’an, Hedef Turan” which means “The Guide is Holy Qur’an, The Goal is Turan” Turan is a type of Turkic-Islamic Union. So as you see, despite the existence of ethnic racists, this Turkish Nationalism is based on both being a citizen of Turkey and being a Muslim.

And one more thing for our friend who mentioned The Young Turks; no, they didn’t exist in 1930’s, they were a group during 19th century and father of Ittihat ve Terakki (Unity and Progress) Party, which influenced the founder of Modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. He was also a member of Ittihat ve Terakki.

Hope you all understand what is this gesture about and it’s not a fascist symbol, like Hitler’s salute. Still can offend someone due to being a far right gesture but you can see Armenians, Kurds throw up this gesture too.

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nutter

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No Caption Provided

A-hem...

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FlashFlood_29

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Old thread but interesting to read through, especially with the input from @makkaya.

@nutter:That's a different gesture. There are pics of the "Too Sweet," right in the OP.

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deactivated-5d5f33a6b34f9

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@makkaya: I don't think there is any positive form of nationalism, no matter how you spin it.

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nutter

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#33  Edited By nutter

@flashflood_29: Eh, everyone in that first shot is doing a different gesture from the guy next to him.

I’d argue that the Texas Longhorns handsignal is the same thing, too.

Edit: Maybe it’s the angle. You’re saying the protruding middle and ring fingers are the difference...I can see that...

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FlashFlood_29

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poobumbutt

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Jesus Christ, Vince. Oddly, this actually seems perfect for WWE/McMahon.

A fucking Works Cited section in a forum post? Cool!

I really loved this. Filled with info, yet concise and snappy. Great post.

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makkaya

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@farleyslundgren: of course, I believe so but comparing this with Hitler is so cruel imo. I am telling this as an ethnic Kurd.

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MonkeyKing1969

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There is nothing new under the sun.

Apan mudra [ https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-truth-behind-Two-Sweet-the-hand-gesture-used-in-WWE-ROH-and-the-rest-of-the-wrestling-community ]

"....In Hinduism and Buddhism, however, the "too tweet" gesture is a mudra known as the Apan mudra or the Bharatanatyam, depending on who you ask. A mudra is a ritual hand gesture that invokes traditional iconography and energy manipulation -- particularly in yogic practice. According to author Gertrud Hirschi, the Apan mudra supports the removal of waste materials and toxins. It helps urinary problems, contributes to liver function and balances the mind."

No Caption Provided

Human in the Genus Homo are about 500,000 years old, people have been making finger gestures for who knows how long. We coudl even theorize that making a "little doggy" with you fingers may be the single oldest hand gesture ever made, and you might as well call it the Shari Lewis Lamb Chop hand too.






That point being people have made that hand gesture mean what ever they have wanted to for the past 500,000 years. It has no singular meaning, and as we can see tossing it up in Turkey can have one meaning, tossing it up in a 1990s wrestling match can mean another, and flashing that sign to Gautama Buddha in 470 BCE would have meant something else. That is not to say, "Hey, throw up that Too Sweet" any time you want, but it is too say that "defining with precision" how someone is using it without context is impossible. Yet, keep in mind if someone does throw up the 'Apan mudra', they might just have a urinary tract infection.

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MeierTheRed

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@nutter said:
No Caption Provided

A-hem...

Dio pioneered the devil horns in the metal world. Its different from the too sweet sign though.

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nutter

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@meierthered: Yeah, I’m aware of Dio, but those are PRETTY similar gestures.

Happy to agree to disagre, and I’ll admit they’re different, but so are braeburn and fuji apples. They’re different, buy pretty damned similar.

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kcin

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@nutter said:

@meierthered: Yeah, I’m aware of Dio, but those are PRETTY similar gestures.

Happy to agree to disagre, and I’ll admit they’re different, but so are braeburn and fuji apples. They’re different, buy pretty damned similar.

holding up your pointer finger is very different from holding up your middle finger. "duck" sounds a lot like "fuck". this is a super weak argument bud

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nutter

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@kcin: I agree to disagree, but have no intention on dying on a hill made of pro wrestlers, turkish maybe-nationalists and Dio.

It’s an absurd thing to give more than a quip or two to.

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Gundato

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@nutter: It is less about if the hand gestures are similar and more about the etymology (?) of the gesture.

If Dio is to be believed, The Horns are related to gestures his grandmother did to ward off evil in an Italian fashion. So even if it is the same gesture (quite possibly descending from the Apan Mundra) it comes from a very different place. Dio and Ozzy and the like probably hadn't been spending a lot of time with Turkish nationals prior to becoming famous for using said gestures.

Whereas the original poster presented evidence that indicates Too Sweet at least started in or around Turkey and was likely viewed as a result of the aforementioned groups. Whether it still is meaningfully tied to those groups is a completely different topic, of course. There is a more than decent chance that The Kliq just saw it and said "That looks cool"

Straight up Godwin's Law, but the Swastika is probably the best example. If you see someone drawing one in Japan or India there is a high probability it is a religious symbol. If you see a skinhead drawing one at a political rally it has a very different connotation. And in large part that has to do with the origins of the symbol as it is being used. The issue is less what the symbol looks like and more what the symbol represents and which version of it is being drawn.

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TheReplica

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#43  Edited By TheReplica

The hand gesture wrestlers use it for represent a different meaning. You gotta be an emotional snowflake to find fault with it. It's like saying the Nazis breathed oxygen so we should ban air. You can't trademark that. Hell a kid probably did it first back centuries ago by a candlelight trying to make a hand puppet on the wall.

It's an aesthetically pleasing hand gesture and the clique used it as unity, friendship, and having each other's back.