WWE might be feeling some pressure from Senators to reconsider their current relationship with Saudi Arabia, after reports have surfaced that the company is still "full steam ahead" with the upcoming Crown Jewel PPV.
It seems like there are no plans to cancel. It’s a lucrative deal for WWE, which is obviously why they’re doing it, but others have pulled out of even more lucrative business dealings over the ongoing crisis surrounding the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and allegations he was murdered in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey under orders from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
It’s an ugly situation. It was already a bad look that WWE made this deal considering its promotion of a women’s revolution both within the company and beyond but this has led to a sustained outcry from both the media and the public.
The reality may very well be that WWE is benefiting from the fact that, well, pro wrestling is still relatively small potatoes in the grand scheme of things. Still, it’s a bad look on their behalf.
In response to the recent developments, WWE released a statement Friday saying, "We are currently monitoring the situation," according to Joshua Gagnon of WrestlingInc.com.
WWE previously staged the Greatest Royal Rumble in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in April.
Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t WhatCulture) reported that WWE has a 10-year deal worth $450 million to hold shows in Saudi Arabia.
In the last few days, media and business organizations have suspended or cut ties with the Saudi government. U.S. Senators from both parties are now urging WWE to rethink their deal and perhaps “pause” plans for the show, according to a report today in the Independent Journal Review. Notably, the WWE CEO’s wife, Linda McMahon, is a member of President Trump’s cabinet.
Crown Jewel is scheduled to be headlined by the return of Shawn Michaels to in-ring action for the first time in eight years, as he will team with Triple H against The Undertaker and Kane.
One source tells us that WWE are seriously considering and planning the cancellation of the Crown Jewel event, with the likelihood of it not going ahead said to be 'around 75 percent'.
The reason it's taking WWE so long, and why they're still working towards it for now is because they have contracts with Saudi Arabia to put these shows on, and they now need to work out how to proceed in a way that minimises the potential legal blow back and financial loss to the company.
Sources say that we can expect a full announcement on the matter around Wednesday this week, with the expectation being that the announcement will be that Crown Jewel has been cancelled, the AJ Styles vs Daniel Bryan, The Brothers of Destruction vs DX, and Reigns vs Lesnar vs Strowman matches will be moved to Survivor Series, and the World Cup will be dropped, or held as a separate event.
As has already been noted, WWE has stopped mentioning Saudi Arabia completely on Twitter. Why would they do this if they fully intended on going ahead with the event?