There has been some great stuff going on at SmackDown Live over the past few weeks. The Kevin Owens vs the McMahons storyline has been exciting and his beatdown of Vince McMahon definitely had people talking. Unfortunately, though, the other things that had people talking about SmackDown Live lately has been the really poor attendance and Jinder Mahal’s racist promos.
On the Sept. 12, 2017, edition of SmackDown Live Mahal gave his first poop filled racist rant against his opponent for the upcoming Hell In A Cell pay-per-view, Shinsuke Nakamura. Then, seven days later, he delivered another one that actually had the fans at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California chanting, “that’s too far.”
In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Mahal was asked about those promos and the reaction to them. And this is the quote that follows from the interview:
“Every day in WWE is also an opportunity. I have to rise to the occasion every time I am given that opportunity, and that includes every promo on SmackDown, too.”
What does that have to do with anything? If that is Mahal is responding to the criticisms, then that can be seen as nothing expect pure evasion. Is he saying he rose to the occasion? What was the occasion with those promos? Obviously, he doesn’t want to get into it and/or deal with the controversy of his words (scripted or not).
Although, that holds true to the way the WWE as an organization dealt with them as well. It wasn’t until the outcry hit the mainstream media that the WWE commented on the promos. In a statement to Marissa Payne of The Washington Post they said:
“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.”
That statement is definitely not an apology. And doesn’t really even seem to recognize or acknowledge that there was an issue with the promos, or that at least maybe they went too far or were misunderstood for what they were trying to do.
You see, the angle is supposed to be about a foreigner, Jinder Mahal, trying to prove that the fans are racist and that they make fun of Nakamura behind his back. The issue here is that the whole angle doesn’t really hold up when you have Mahal and his sidekicks, the Singh Brothers, laughing and laughing at all of the rude, racist and “too far” comments in the promo.
The closest actual acknowledgment of their mistake came on the Sept. 26, 2017, edition of SmackDown Live where Mahal didn’t do a racist promo for a third week in a row and kind of, maybe, apologized by admitting that he had crossed a line in the past promos. But then he went back to mocking Nakamura until the King of Strong Style came to the ring and attacked Mahal.