A rap from Max Caster that (badly) pushed four different hot button issues aired during the initial stream of Aug. 3 Dark. After substantial online backlash, AEW unlisted the episode on their YouTube channel, then made it private altogether. They eventually uploaded an edited version which removed not only Caster’s lines, but all the entrances for The Acclaimed, Matt Hardy & The Blade vs. Varsity Blonds & The Sydals eight-man tag.
No statement was issued about the change, but AEW President Tony Khan addressed the situation during his regular appearance on Busted Open:
"Going forward, I will be taking care of the editing of Dark and Elevation myself."@TonyKhan addresses Max Caster's controversial promo on #AEWDark last night @davidlagreca1 @THETOMMYDREAMER @AEW #AEWDynamite #AEW pic.twitter.com/FErCnhWin7— SiriusXM Busted Open (@BustedOpenRadio) August 4, 2021
“On the subject of Dark, and one of those teams that broke through and really came and did a good job through Dark - one of those teams... is The Acclaimed, and that’s Anthony Bowens & Max Caster. And speaking of Dark, last night on Dark, Max Caster’s rap was terrible.
“I was not out there, in the moment when he did it. It was not during Dynamite, I was out back when Max said this rap. I had not heard it until last night, truthfully. In the editing process, it should have been caught. We deleted the episode and reposted it with that edited out, but it shouldn’t have aired.
“I put such tight controls on Dynamite and this would never have happened there because Max’s raps, I have always gone over with him, and frankly every segment on Dynamite - I don’t script or write wrestler’s promos, but the bullet points, I give. In this case, it shouldn’t have happened. And what will happen going forward, I will take over the editing of Dark and Elevation myself. I was already editing Dynamite and Rampage, and I do a lot, and now I will be editing Dark and Elevation. It’s unfortunate that it came to that.”
Two things stand out, the first of which is there’s not a formal apology here. Perhaps saying “we’re sorry” wouldn’t matter to the most adamant critics, and what Khan does say will be enough for everyone else. I’d guess that’s the case, and provided this comes along with taking Caster off-screen for a few weeks (and perhaps an apology from him), the internet news cycle will move on. We’ll see.
The other tightrope TK is attempting to walk here is one between AEW’s stance against scripting promos as a way to differentiate themselves from WWE, and making sponsors & partners feel safe associating with his product. We’ll likely never know just who was upset about the Nick Gage/Domino’s situation last week, or how angry they were. But this coming on the heels of that could have Khan a little shook.
How does Tony Khan’s explanation play to you?