SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
A&E’s Biography series continued Sunday night with an episode focused on WWE Hall of Famer and former multi-time World Champion Booker T. However, what was absent from the episode seems to have drawn the most discussion from fans and viewers.
(As of writing, A&E had yet to upload the episode to their YouTube channel.)
The absence: the infamous promo segment with Triple H and Booker T in their build to the World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania IX.
In now-deleted tweets (h/t WrestlingInc. for retrieving them), David Dennis Jr. said he gave lengthy interviews about the build for that match and the promo segment, but, “…my ass knew it wasn’t making the final cut.” He added, “So there’s a lot of footage somewhere that’s pretty spice,” and, “I just wonder if Vince and HHH saw it because baybeeeeee.”
To recap the promo, Booker T began the segment, but as he finished his promo, Triple H entered (with Ric Flair) and proceeded to say the following after looking Booker T over a few times:
“Booker, I think you’re a little bit confused about your role in life here. You see Booker, you’re gonna get to go to WrestleMania, but you see the fact is, Booker, someone like you doesn’t get to be World Champion…The confusion here is you’re not here to be a competitor; you’re here to be an entertainer. That’s what you do, you entertain people. Hell, you entertain me all the time. Go ahead, Book, why don’t you entertain? Come on, do a little dance for me, Book. Go ahead, do one of those Spinaroonies. Come on, Book, dance! Entertain me. That’s your job…You’re here to make people like me laugh.”
The crowd started chanting, “Asshole,” here.
“You’re here to make people like me laugh, and you’re very good at it with your nappy hair and your, ‘Suckas!’ Hell, I was laughing all week long after you won that 20 man over-the-top rope battle royal. I laughed my ass off just thinking about you challenging me for the World Heavyweight Championship.”
It goes on from there, following the same pattern, with a slight retort from Booker T that was undercut by Triple H having the last word. Flair was also laughing the entire time Triple H was speaking, further adding to the demeaning nature of the promo.
WWE’s deal with A&E is a partnership, meaning WWE has full say in what is or is not aired.
(Hazelwood’s Analysis: Many fans, particularly Black fans, have long criticized this segment for its blatant racism through coded language. The removal of the promo and discussion surrounding it from the episode irked Black fans and others again as it seemingly whitewashed history. The fact that the promo still garners such visceral reactions from fans, even factoring in today’s heightened social consciousness, should deem it necessary for retrospection and hopefully, growth. However, WWE is more apt to ignore these instances and act as if nothing happened, believing that fans will also forget and keep on trudging along with them. Their declining viewership over the past 20 years indicates this may not be the case. WWE has also faced criticism since the transition to Peacock because their process in determining what problematic segments to edit seems inconsistent. Basically, it just seems like WWE is unwilling to reflect on their past and present in efforts to make their future more equitable beyond the standard public relations spittle we always hear.)