WWE’s controversial show in Saudi Arabia is in question, according to Dave Meltzer.
WWE’s controversial upcoming “Crown Jewel” show in Saudi Arabia, scheduled for Nov. 2, is “very much in jeopardy,” preeminent wrestling reporter Dave Meltzer said Tuesday on Wrestling Observer Radio.
“The Saudi Arabia show is very much in jeopardy as far as what’s going to happen,” Meltzer said, as transcribed by Ringside News. “There has been, there’s only a few people who could get [WWE chairman] Vince [McMahon] — 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 [President Donald] Trump or government officials and there is something in that thing that’s out there.”
Meltzer added that WWE’s hesitancy was the reason why tickets for the show did not go on sale last week as orginally planned.
Crown Jewel has come under fire after the murder Oct. 2 of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent critic of the country’s government. The Saudi government is accused of ordering and carrying out the killing inside the country’s embassy in Turkey. The Saudis admit that Khashoggi was killed, but insist it was a “rogue operation.”
“The decision has not been made but it’s a lot less [certain] than it was a week ago when they were pretty gung-ho in doing the show,” Meltzer continued. “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 [Vince] not to go now.”
WWE is expected to decide what to do with the show on Wednesday, Tony Maglio of The Wrap reports.
The government has given conflicting accounts of how Khashoggi was killed. Turkish authorities believe Khashoggi was dismembered and CNN reports that the Saudi hit squad dressed a lookalike in Khashoggi’s clothes to give the appearance that the dead man had walked out of the embassy alive.
Meltzer also points out that the decision on whether to move forward with the show is complicated by several factors, many of them financial. The inordinately wealthy Saudi government is paying tens of millions of dollars for the show, including massive paydays for Brock Lesnar and Shawn Michaels to return to the ring. There is also the question of how pulling out of the November show would impact the rest of WWE’s 10-year contract with the Saudis.