Doubling down on his efforts of last week, WWE Champion Jinder Mahal once again verbally lambasted his WWE Hell in a Cell challenger, Shinsuke Nakamura, this past Tuesday on SmackDown LIVE.
Flanked by The Singh Brothers, The Modern Day Maharaja once again promised to make an example out of Nakamura at WWE Hell in a Cell and reiterated his claim to Nakamura that the WWE Universe would turn on him the same way they turned on Mahal.
During the segment, the WWE Champion was scripted to make several stereotypical “jokes” about Nakamura, which prompted the crowd in Oakland’s Oracle Arena to chant, “That’s too far,” and left many at home upset by the racial overtones on display.
“You always ‘rook’ the same,” Mahal said to mock his Japanese opponent’s facial expressions and accent.
“They call you Mr. Miyagi,” he later added referring to a Japanese character in The Karate Kid, as he and The Singh Brothers mimed martial arts poses.
A story by Marissa Payne at The Washington Post called “WWE has dealt with racism before, but a scripted rant has fans chanting ‘that’s too far!’” includes quotes from people in attendance and tweets from television viewers angered by the scene. It includes an interview with Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Newsletter, who provides context on the business’ historic use of foreign heels while discussing how the promo failed as a fictional device.
Payne reached out to WWE for comment, and was sent this:
“Just like many other TV shows or movies, WWE creates programming with fictional personalities that cover real world issues and sensitive subjects.
As a producer of such TV shows, WWE Corporate is committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds as demonstrated by the diversity of our employees, performers and fans worldwide.”
At the end of the article, Payne points out how similar that statement is to the one issued when Hulk Hogan got fired two years ago for racial slurs.
“WWE terminated its contract with Terry Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan). WWE is committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds as demonstrated by the diversity of our employees, performers and fans worldwide.”
WWE originally posted a video clip of the segment on Twitter, like they do with almost all of the segments on SmackDown LIVE, with the caption reading, “Did Jinder Mahal go too far?”
That clip and other tweets referencing the segment were then deleted by WWE shortly after. Furthermore, the segment was not uploaded to WWE’s YouTube channel.
You can watch a clip of the segment on WWE.com. However, you have to dig through Jinder Mahal’s profile page to find as it’s not linked in their recap of the segment.
According to PWInsider.com, the segment was the subject of a lot of conversation backstage. That, and the possibly related fact that attendance was light at Oracle Arena. While it’s not the only factor playing into gates being down for WWE, Mahal as WWE Champion doesn’t appear to be helping sell tickets and a promo that went “too far” was probably a sign some folks in management know that.