Come April 5, Peacock will be the exclusive home to the WWE Network, having acquired over 17,000 hours of wrestling content, currently being transferred, from the channel’s library on March 18. Since then, some fans have already noticed classic WWE matches have been edited down or removed entirely. Why would that be? Well, according to The Hollywood Reporter, “racist moments from the wrestling franchise’s history are quietly being deleted from the archive” as the catalogue moves to Peacock. WWE is reportedly aware of the edits being made to its programming.
So which scenes have been pulled so far? Per THR, Roddy Piper and Bad News Brown’s 1990 WrestleMania VI match has been axed, likely due to Piper’s appearance in a half-face of blackface. “I hear Bad News Brown, how he’s talking about Harlem, and how he’s proud to be from Harlem,” Piper declares before the match. “Now I can stand here, and I can be Black! I can be white! Don’t make no difference to me … It’s what’s inside.”
In another deleted moment, this time from 2005’s Survivor Series 19, company owner Vince McMahon, channeling his villainous onscreen persona, says the N-word to John Cena, to which Booker T replies, “Tell me he didn’t just say that!” Not anymore, he doesn’t.
The WWE reportedly hopes to have their entire catalogue of content, including pay-per-view matches, available to stream by this year’s SummerSlam in August, so there’s still plenty of extremely dicey (read: from the ’90s) moments that could be left on the cutting-room floor. Reports THR, “the NBCUniversal–owned streaming service is reviewing all 17,000 hours of WWE content to ensure it aligns with Peacock’s standards and practices,” and the employee who completes that insane task should receive both their own gigantic belt, and one free ass-kicking from Dwayne Johnson and the cast of NBC’s Young Rock as a reward.