As Nov. 2 approaches, WWE is constantly staring down criticism for still planning to run the Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia amid controversy over the alleged murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The belief over the course of the past few weeks has been that the ever-stubborn Vince McMahon wouldn’t budge in regards to moving the show out of the country, but that may no longer be the case as Crown Jewel draws nearer.
On the latest edition of “Wrestling Observer Radio” [subscription required and recommended], Dave Meltzer addressed the situation, noting that holding the show in Saudi Arabia despite all the backlash is not as much of a given as it once seemed to be. Mounting pressure from what Meltzer described as “outside forces” may finally have the company seriously contemplating a relocation of the event.
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“The Saudi Arabia show is very much in jeopardy as far as what’s going to happen,” Meltzer said. “There has been … there’s only a few people who could get Vince … you know, Vince was adamant about doing the show. I mean, they’ll pull out if they have to pull out, but it was going to take a lot to pull them out. I was told it would take [Donald] Trump or government officials, and there is something in that thing that’s out there.
“That’s why tickets didn’t go on sale on Friday. It’s not … the decision has not been made, but it’s a lot less than it was a week ago when they were pretty gung-ho in doing the show. It’s in jeopardy from outside forces that are pretty much … you know, I don’t know the exact dialogue, but there is absolutely pressure on [McMahon] not to go now.”
We may never learn who exactly who these “outside forces” are that are reportedly pressuring for the move, but with the event being funded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia thus sparing WWE potential sponsor heat, the assumption could safely be made that the pressure is of a political nature here in the United States. Several senators have already spoken out against WWE running the show there, so there’s no telling right now just how high up the political ladder the WWE event has gone.
A WWE spokesman told CNBC this week that the company’s prior statement of “monitoring the situation” still stands. WWE has not mentioned the location of the event on television over either of the last two weeks, tickets have yet to be put on sale and the location is also not listed on the company’s website.
What we do know is that we’re due a definitive answer soon, as Crown Jewel is just a mere 10 days away.
More WWE news, rumors
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- Scheduled to team with Mickie James on Sunday at Evolution to face Trish Stratus & Lita, former Raw women’s champion Alexa Bliss was conspicuous by her absence Monday night on Raw during a backstage segment. According to another report from Meltzer, Bliss suffered a concussion at a live event on Saturday in a tag match in which she teamed with James to take on current Raw women’s champion Ronda Rousey & Nia Jax. As of Monday night on Raw, Bliss is still being advertised for Evolution.
- On Tuesday’s edition of SmackDown Live, we’ll get the final bit of build between SmackDown women’s champion Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair ahead of their Last Woman Standing match on Sunday at Evolution. Rey Mysterio will appear on “Miz TV,” Naomi takes on Mandy Rose and WWE champion AJ Styles & Daniel Bryan will team up for a rematch against the Usos after suffering the loss last week on the SmackDown 1000 episode.
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