Mahal would go on to exploit a number of Asian stereotypes at the expense of his Japanse adversary. Mahal's barbs ranged from mocking Asian accents to calling Nakamura "Mr. Miyagi."
Mahal's mission of getting booed was accomplished, but perhaps too well.
The Oakland audience started a "That's too far" chant and a number of fans at home were rubbed the wrong way by Mahal's racial taunts. The uproar was so serious that the Washington Post wrote up a story on the matter.
If anyone was at last night's WWE #SmackDownLIVE in Oakland, please contact me for a story about racist promos. email@example.com— Marissa Payne (@MarissaPayne) September 20, 2017
In response to the story, WWE released the following statement:
"Just like many other TV shows or movies, WWE creates programming with fictional personalities that incorporates 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."
The Post's article drew from a collection of first-hand accounts on the Mahal's promo as well as a quote from internet wrestling czar, Dave Meltzer.
"People are different, the product is different and society is different," Meltzer said. "You look at stuff that was done even 15-20 years ago, and a large percentage of it, you'd go, you could never do that now. I see this reaction as another example as to why they'll be very careful not to do it again."
Disparaging another's culture has evolved into a social taboo. This is a healthy sign for the society that we no longer will tolerate bigots. It's become so ingrained in our culture (to shun stupidity) that WWE is spoofing it. One of the most significant heel maneuvers a human can make in 2017 is to say something nasty about a race or gender. WWE is all too aware of this and sent their best heel on SmackDown out to mimic an actual, real-life heel. And it worked perfectly.
We must remember, WWE is a production. While the actors may look like NFL linebackers, they are actually closer to being Broadway cast members. Since they are playing a role, the same level of social decency should not be expected of them as your neighbor or co-worker. Mahal is playing a bad guy. And he's doing it well.0comments
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