Excalibur was missing from AEW Dynamite this week–should AEW be done with their masked commentator?
Something felt a bit off with this week’s AEW Dynamite. No disrespect to the wrestlers involved, or the matches & skits produced. Most of the show was perfectly fine in my book. However, there was one ingredient missing, one that’s been a big part of most AEW television presentations since its debut.
Where the heck was Excalibur?
Our favorite masked commentator was conspicuous by his absence Wednesday night, replaced at the announce table by Taz. Taz is a fine analyst, but this led to Jim Ross doing more of the play by play than he has been doing since Dynamite began, and more JR old man rants. Excalibur is usually tasked with keeping JR on topic, I figure that’s because Tony Schiavone finds JR’s ranting & raving amusing.
Excalibur’s absence wasn’t mentioned on the show, and I wasn’t aware of why he would be absent. If it was a coronavirus-related issue it would have been mentioned. So what was the deal?
Silly me, I didn’t check Wrestling Twitter. Had I done so, I would have known that the controversy of the day involved Excalibur using racial slurs on a PWG show in 2003. Kevin Owens was involved as well, but his role wasn’t exactly played up by the people reporting on Excalibur. The video is easy enough to find on Twitter that I won’t link it here.
The gist of the situation is this: Excalibur & Steen were in the entrance way addressing Human Tornado & El Generico, who I believe were known as “2 Skinny Black Guys” at the time. Excalibur referred to Tornado with the N-word, and Generico with a word starting with B sometimes used to describe Mexicans. Steen yells out the N-word as well before the video cuts off.
It’s a pretty bad look, no doubt. Steen & Excalibur have both discussed it in the past & regret their involvement in it. As it turns out, the usage of the N-word was the idea of Human Tornado. He thought it would get the feud more heat, which it did, but obviously there were undesirable side effects. Like having to explain it to your employer seventeen years later. Tornado has been very pro-Excalibur on Twitter & doesn’t think he should be punished.
AEW is in a little bit of a pickle here.
A lot of it is their doing, unfortunately. When you try to set standards for morality, people are going to look for the first time you don’t live up to them. A sizable number of wrestling fans are calling for Excalibur’s head for various reasons. I’m sure some of them are legitimate, but many of them fall into one of the below categories:
-WWE fans that aren’t happy with AEW trying to be better citizens than WWE, which admittedly shouldn’t be too difficult.
-Hulk Hogan fans still mad that the Hulkster has been banned from AEW by Tony Khan for using the N-word on a sex tape.
To be fair, Khan kind of made his own bed on that one. As silly as I find Hogan fans that still whine about that whole situation and defend the old coot because they liked him 40 years ago, there was no reason for Khan to say anything about Hulk Hogan in a public forum. Except to dunk on his ex-wife saying racist stuff on Twitter, which is kinda iffy reasoning. Was anybody ever expecting Hulk Hogan to play any type of a role in AEW? He’s a 66 year old man that can’t wrestle anymore, and he’s lost most of the name value he once had thanks to said sex tape & other misadventures over the years. Maybe this movie coming out about him increases his viability, and there’s a certain audience that was never offended by anything Hogan did, but I just don’t see the value there.
There never has been a legitimate reason to think AEW would be interested in bringing Hogan in, and other than a paycheck there’s no reason to think Hogan would be interested in going to AEW. His legacy’s tied up in WWE, and I think his time with TNA took care of any need he felt to shape the next generation of wrestling.
So, while Hulk Hogan fans getting all mad over his banishment from AEW is needless nonsense, Tony Khan still enabled it. You don’t have to have an opinion on everything, unless your job is to have an opinion on everything. When you start floating your non-ancillary opinions out there, people are going to look at you closely.
You’ve now joined your husband in being banned from all AEW shows. Congratulations.
— Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) June 2, 2020
People have noticed the lack of comment from AEW regarding Excalibur’s status. My bet was that something would come out on Friday as a classic news dump. That didn’t happen, though some scuttlebutt was reported that Excalibur took himself off the show as to not be a distraction. I would guess a suspension and that Excalibur will be back sometime around All Out in September, if not the taping before. I could be completely wrong, that’s happened once or twice in the past.
I keep coming back to the idea that it happened seventeen years ago and it’s been apologized for before. Maybe I’m a big softie, but that’s good enough for me. I don’t need any heads on platters. Unless we find out Excalibur is spending his time off from AEW at Klan meetings, I think a brief suspension is fine.
Until then, let’s just hope JR’s old man rants becoming more & more unhinged without somebody keeping him in check works with the 50+ demographic.