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Jinder Mahal’s Promo on SmackDown Live Declared “Going Too Far” by Fans

WWE Champion Jinder Mahal Health Cares, via Flickr


Jinder Mahal’s Promo on SmackDown Live Declared “Going Too Far” by Fans

On this week’s episode of SmackDown Live, WWE Champion Jinder Mahal was in the ring hyping his upcoming title match with Shinsuke Nakamura. During which, Mahal took to task verbally cutting into Nakamura; but, it seems that some of what “the Modern Day Maharaja” said has been met with some criticism.

Mahal, who has surprisingly been a very good heel champion for the company, said some racially off comments during his promo. Making the statement of Shinsuke, who is Japanese, claimed that “you always ‘rook’ the same”. He then went on to call Nakamura “Mr. Miyagi”, the fictional “sensei” from the film “The Karate Kid”.

The WWE Universe would chant “That’s Too Far” during the promo, stating their displeasure in Mahal’s remarks. The Washington Post grabbed hold of the story, publishing an article featuring quotes from those in attendance; most of which were unhappy with the promo.

Just before the story was published, WP writer Marissa Payne took to Twitter; asking fans who were present at the time to reach out to her:


Wrestling Observer Newsletter writer Dave Meltzer, who was quoted in the article; pointed out that the WWE wouldn’t be able to get away with what they did during the Attitude Era.

Said Meltzer:

“People are different, the product is different and society is different. 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.”

Statement Issued by the WWE

Following the backlash that the promo brought, the WWE issued a statement in response to the article:

“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.”

Reporter’s Thoughts…

It is interesting that folks are in an uproar over remarks that Mahal has made. Not to say that they aren’t without good reason; thing is, wrestling has always had slight racial undertones. If you look at some of the more off gimmicks in wrestling’s past, you’ll find no shortage of racially motivated gimmicks.

From Slick to Col. Parker, Akeem the African Dream to Lord Tensai; Kamala to Col. DeBeers (who was a nazi gimmick, no question about it), race has always played some role in professional wrestling.

In fact, if you read this excerpt from David Shoemaker’s book, “The Squared Circle: Life, Death, and Professional Wrestling”; he highlights the very racist gimmicks and moments from wrestling’s past.


If you tuned in to the WWF on Saturday morning in the late ’80s, or watched an episode of Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling, it was hard not to notice the cultural and ethnic diversity the cast of brawlers represented. But despite the diversity, the characters’ vocabulary wasn’t exactly progressive.

Though his English was faltering, Mr. Fuji threw around terms like “yard ape” and “lawn jockey” and “honky” in his prime. His protégé Don Muraco called Pedro Morales “a dirty Mexican pepper belly,” and when it was suggested to him that Morales was actually Puerto Rican, he said, “Who cares? They’re all the same.” (He later attempted a more accurate bit of racism when he called Morales “a Puerto Rican hubcap thief.”) He was one of a few wrestlers for whom “Mexican wetback” was a throwaway descriptor of Tito Santana. (Here he is calling Santana an “ignorant garbage picker.”)

If the acts weren’t always bald-facedly racist, their matches were often peppered with the patently offensive bad-guy shtick of legendary color commentator Jesse “The Body” Ventura. At various times Ventura reacted to a Junkyard Dog interview by saying JYD had “a mouth full of grits,” called his rope-a-dope in-ring routine “a lot of shuckin’ and jivin’.” He commonly referred to fan favorite Santana as “Chico,” dubbed his finishing move the “flying burrito” finisher, and, when Santana was getting pummeled at WrestleMania IV, Ventura said, “I betcha Chico wishes he was back selling tacos in Tijuana right now!” He similarly referred to black wrestler “Birdman” Koko B. Ware as “Buckwheat” until eventually Vince McMahon himself put a stop to it.”


…that some of the racist moments and gimmicks that have popped up here and there; Mahal’s comments seem rather light and lame. But, Meltzer does bring up a good point, and it is that we live in a day and age where people are more aware. They’re far more careful of what they, or anyone else, for that matter, say or do in regards to race.

With movements like “Black Lives Matter” and the like, race is a very delicate thing to talk about in this age. The WWE has never shied away from risque content being shown on their product.

That literally describes the entirety of the Attitude Era. Part of which actually was under the PG rating.

Look it up, if you don’t believe it.

To see that the WWE had to come up with a statement following the release of the article means that they have hit a nerve. And if you really know about wrestling, or really, entertainment in general, if you can get people talking; then you have done a great thing.

Because even bad publicity is still publicity, and at the end of it, Jinder Mahal and the WWE did exactly what they set out to do.

To get Mahal over as a heel.

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