2:07 PM PDT 3/25/2021 by James Hibberd
Courtesy of WWE
Some classic WWE content is being revised in its move to Peacock.
Racist moments from the wrestling franchise's history are quietly being deleted from the archive as the massive programming library gradually transitions from the WWE Network.
According to sources familiar with the situation, the NBCUniversal-owned streaming service is reviewing all 17,000 hours of WWE content to ensure it aligns with Peacock's standards and practices. WWE is also being made aware of any edits.
One of the alterations has been to 1990's WrestleMania VI, which featured a match between Roddy Piper and Bad News Brown that included Piper (a white wrestler) painting half his face black while facing off against Brown (a Black wrestler). "I hear Bad News Brown, how he's talking about Harlem, and how he's proud to be from Harlem," Piper said during the pre-match interview. "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."
As first reported by PW Insider, the Piper-Brown match is no longer included in the broadcast. In an interview conducted years later, Brown reflected on the blackface stunt. "I thought it was the stupidest thing I've ever seen," he said, "and I figured, 'Let him do it, ... and one of these times he's going to be sorry.'"
Another deleted moment was from 2005's Survivor Series 19. In a notorious bit, WWE CEO Vince McMahon (acting in his on-camera corporate villain persona) said the N-word to a shocked John Cena and then strutted past a stunned Booker T, who says, "Tell me he didn't just say that." At the time, a WWE spokesperson defended McMahon to TMZ, calling it "an outlandish and satirical skit involving fictional characters, similar to that of many scripted television shows and movies.”
There are many other moments that have likewise caused controversy over the years.
WWE Network content began making the move to Peacock on March 18. The WWE Network was $9.99 per month, yet Peacock is only $4.99 per month, so the move has been seen as a rather good deal for fans.
Peacock has a dedicated WWE section where fans can browse and access every PPV event in the last calendar year plus current or most recent season episodes of WWE original series Steve Austin’s The Broken Skull Sessions, WWE Chronicle and WWE Icons along with new weekly episodes of NXT the day after air. Peacock is continually adding WWE Network content and will eventually include every WWE, WCW and ECW PPV event in history.
The company's goal is to have all the classic content reviewed and available to stream on demand before SummerSlam in August.