SmackDown Live viewers may have noticed it last night, as The New Day cut a promo on reigning SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos. They were referencing one of the most infamous botched promos of all time, and as many observed, spilling some tea on high school basketball prodigy LaMelo Ball’s use of the N-word on Monday Night RAW.
As the Inquisitr had recently reported, WWE top brass, including Chairman Vince McMahon, aren’t too happy with the controversial Miz TV segment on Monday Night RAW, where The Miz and Maryse had Big Baller Brand head honcho LaVar Ball and his sons, Los Angeles Lakers lottery pick Lonzo and Chino Hills HS superstar LaMelo, as his special guests. This appears to be due to the moment where LaMelo Ball, 15, dropped the N-word by accident, as Dean Ambrose ran in to interrupt Miz TV.
WWE issued a statement apologizing for LaMelo’s use of “inappropriate language,” though the controversy might not affect the Ball family too much, given how USA Today previously pointed out LaVar’s high-profile reputation as a male version of Keeping Up with the Kardashians momager Kris Jenner.
With WWE apparently dead-serious in its damage control following the LaMelo Ball N-word incident on RAW, things were a bit different on camera on SmackDown Live, as Tuesday night’s episode saw the always-colorful, outspoken stable The New Day poking fun at LaMelo’s f aux pas. As WrestleZone recalled, The New Day’s promo on current rivals The Usos included a reference to WWE Hall of Famer Booker T’s gaffe from about two decades ago, where, in the heat of the moment, he accidentally dropped the N-word on Hulk Hogan during an episode of defunct WWE rival WCW’s Monday Nitro.
Big E: “At Battleground, we comin’ for you…”
Xavier Woods (cutting Big E off): “…Usos. We comin’ for you, Usos.”
Bleacher Report recalled in 2011 that Booker T’s unintentional use of the N-word wasn’t lost on the wrestler himself, as he quickly covered his face in shame while WCW interviewer “Mean” Gene Okerlund carried on and interviewed Booker’s real-life brother and Harlem Heat tag team partner Stevie Ray. Such remorse wasn’t visible when LaMelo Ball used the N-word on this week’s Monday Night RAW, though it bears mentioning that the camera was focusing on Dean Ambrose walking toward the ring, and not on the Ball family as they remained in the ring with The Miz and Maryse.
Meanwhile, Uproxx referenced another, more recent Booker T segment in its report on this week’s Miz TV debacle with the Ball family. This mid-2000s segment involved Vince McMahon dropping the N-word in a casual conversation with John Cena, only for the then-“King Booker” and his wife Sharmell, who are both African-American, to overhear the racial slur.
“It’s important to note here that a 15-year-old black kid saying it to be funny isn’t scripted and doesn’t reflect WWE’s values, but a white guy in his 60s saying it to be funny is good to go,” wrote Uproxx‘s Brandon Stroud.
As of this writing, neither LaVar, Lonzo, nor LaMelo Ball have commented on the latter’s use of the N-word on Monday Night RAW. However, for better or worse, the incident still has people talking, and it’s no surprise that The New Day had gotten into the spirit of things by referencing one of the most embarrassing promo botches in wrestling history.
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