Jinder Mahal cut a controversial promo Tuesday night on SmackDown about Shinsuke Nakamura. Mahal said “you always rook the same” about Nakamura and then compared him to Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid movies. The crowd even started chanting “that’s too far!” at one point during the promo. WWE didn’t upload the promo to their YouTube channel, but you if you missed it you can watch it in the video below.
The promo has caught the attention of the mainstream media. Marissa Payne of The Washington Post published an article entitled “WWE has dealt with racism before, but a scripted rant has fans chanting ‘that’s too far!'”.
Fans have voiced their displeasure in the promo on social media as well:
— Thomas Jackson Kay (@tjkay22) September 20, 2017
— MarriedMarksPodcast (@MarriedMarks) September 20, 2017
HEY @WWE HAVING A BROWN PERSON SAY OPENLY RACIST RHETORIC DOES NOT MAKE IT OK
— Host of America's Next Top Podcast Co-Host scott b (@FKAsocks) September 20, 2017
Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer was quoted in Payne’s article. Meltzer said “Wrestling was always in its own little world. Now everyone watches it, and you can’t get away with those kind of old tricks. The fan base will blame it on the company and not on the heel.” Meltzer called the situation embarrassing for WWE and added that “nobody wants to be called racist.”
A spokesperson from WWE issued the following statement to The Washington Post about the promo:
“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.”
Mahal is set to defend his WWE Championship against Shinsuke Nakamura at WWE Hell in a Cell on October 8th.