WWE has denied racism allegations following a controversial promo directed at Japanese Superstar Shinsuke Nakamrua on Tuesday.
During the live SmackDown broadcast WWE Champion Jinder Mahal referred to Nakamura as ‘Mr. Miyagi’ and said he “always ‘rooks’ the same” – mocking his appearance and accent.
“Just like many other TV shows or movies, WWE creates programming with fictional personalities that incorporates real world issues and sensitive subjects,” said the company in a statement to the Washington Post yesterday.
“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.”
Despite the obvious fictional nature of the show and the fact that Mahal is a heel, some fans saw it as a cheap and racist storytelling technique.
“Racism is definitely an idiotic way to get heat and not necessary,” said a 15 year old fan. “It also makes the writers look bad.”
Another quoted in the Washington Post described the in-ring comments as “cringe-worthy.”
Although WWE defended the angle the clip has not been posted to YouTube, suggesting they want to limit the backlash.
Ironically the Indian Jinder Mahal character itself has been accused of being both a racial and dated pro wrestling stereotype – i.e. the bag guy foreigner.