As noted in Bleeding Cool's AEW Dynamite report earlier this week, announced Excalibur was absent from the commentary booth during the broadcast. Taz filled in for Excalibur, joining Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone, though the show felt off-kilter all night, largely due to the commentary team's lack of focus with Excalibur missing. No reason was given for Excalibur's absence, but most assumed it was due to the recently-resurfaced videos of Excalibur using the n-word in a promo during his days as a wrestler in PWG.
Unlike people like Hulk Hogan, who made racist comments while being secretly filmed in a private moment, Excalibur's usage of the word happened as part of a wrestling angle, meaning he was in character, during a time when Excalibur was portraying a heel, or villain. While similar, pro wrestling isn't exactly like acting in a movie, since, particularly in the case of wrestling outside of WWE, the things wrestlers say aren't scripted in the strictest self, but rather improvised to some degree alongside planning between the promotion and the wrestlers involved in an angle. That being said, wrestlers are portraying fictional characters and engaging in storylines that don't necessarily reflect their real-life views.
Kevin Owens was also involved in the angle and used the word at that time. The wrestler the word was used against, Human Tornado, has come out in support of Excalibur and Owens, changing his username to #FREEEXCALIBUR and tweeting repeatedly about the situation, including to say, "I support @ShutUpExcalibur & @FightOwensFight," and "All involved are Never like that in real life."
Context – "REAL NIGGAS DONT GIVE A FUCK ABOOT THIS DUMB SHIT." 💯 https://t.co/hxotVTPrOM
— #FREEEXCALIBUR 🌪 (@HughMannTornado) July 30, 2020
In the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer reveals that it was Excalibur himself who requested he not be on the show.
Excalibur was off the 7/29 show with no explanation given. The company hasn't said anything publicly, or privately about the matter. There was talk but not confirmed that he asked to be off the show because there had been a Twitter furor over him using the "N" word in a PWG angle 17 years ago. This incident was known about. It totally sucked, like bad, at the time, and everyone realized it and regretted it and pretty much apologized for it shortly after the time. I saw it resurface a few weeks ago but didn't get any traction. Evidently on 7/28 people made enough of a case about it that it became an issue. The story, again, not confirmed, was that he didn't want to be on the show thinking it would be the focus of the show. As it turns out, it became a much bigger issue because he wasn't on the show. There is no word if he'll be back next week. The 8/5 show was being taped on 7/30. He had flown to Florida for this set of tapings but he'd have flown in before the stuff got hot again.
Unless AEW or Excalibur make a statement on the situation, it may not be until the August 12th episode of AEW Dynamite that we find out the fate of Excalibur. Whatever he or AEW decide to do, the commentary team definitely needs more focus, so if Excalibur isn't coming back, they may need to look for a suitable replacement.