The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) on Thursday announced it will go forward with its “Crown Jewel” event in Saudi Arabia, despite the worldwide disgust for the premeditated murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi.
WWE’s Crown Jewel would probably have taken place without much additional fanfare, if not for the recent scandal involving the brutal kidnapping, torture, and murder of Saudi-born Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a vocal critic of the Saudi Arabian regime.
While Saudi Arabia’s leader, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, has said that his government wasn’t involved in Khashoggi’s murder, pretty much everyone outside the country has little doubt that he’s not being truthful about what took place. With that in mind, WWE has spent the last couple of weeks being inundated with calls to cancel the show scheduled to take place in Riyadh on November 2.
Who will be at the show remains intriguing as earlier reports suggested that John Cena and Daniel Bryan are refusing to participate in the event. Wrestler Roman Reigns announced he is battling leukemia, and won’t show up at this year’s event as well.
When asked about the reports regarding Cena and Bryan, a WWE representative replied: “As always, we maintain an open line of communication with our performers and will address each situation accordingly.”
Much of this year’s hype has been built around longtime performers Triple H, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, and Kane. Apparently, legendary performers still resonate with those in Saudi Arabia though they have been infrequent combatants in many years. It is also a known fact that there will be no women on the show as it is considered a taboo in the country.
“WWE has operated in the Middle East for nearly 20 years and has developed a sizable and dedicated fan base. Considering the heinous crime committed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the Company faced a very difficult decision as it relates to its event scheduled for November 2 in Riyadh. Similar to other U.S.-based companies who plan to continue operations in Saudi Arabia, the Company has decided to uphold its contractual obligations to the General Sports Authority and stage the event. Full-year 2018 guidance is predicated on the staging of the Riyadh event as scheduled.”