WWE's charter plane bound for the United States was held in Saudi Arabia for several hours on Thursday, WWE confirmed.
The delay thrusts Friday's "SmackDown" show into turmoil, as many of the wrestlers who appeared at Thursday's "Crown Jewel" show in Riyadh were also slated to perform Friday on SmackDown in Buffalo.
WWE said the delay was "due to several aircraft problems including mechanical issues." Dave Meltzer reported Friday morning on his Wrestling Observer Radio show, however, that the holdup was not due to weather or a mechanical issue with the plane. Meltzer added on Twitter that "WWE had a problem in Saudi Arabia."
Of the 175 people WWE brought to Saudi Arabia for Thursday's event, 12 were able to get out on a second charter flight. The rest remained on the plane for more than six hours before heading to hotels.
The second flight carried "top talent" in hopes of making it to Buffalo in time for SmackDown, Pro Wrestling Sheet's Ryan Satin reported, but WWE confirmed that it will not complete the 14-hour trip in time for the 8 p.m. ET show.
WWE had announced three matches for SmackDown before the delay: Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin, The Revival vs. The New Day and a six-woman tag team match. The women did not make the trip to Saudi Arabia but the six men in the other two matches all appeared at Crown Jewel. A "MizTV" segment with Bray Wyatt—who was in Riyadh—was also advertised.
It remains to be seen how WWE will fill a two-hour show without a significant portion of its roster.
WWE says the rest of the traveling party will leave on another plane Friday night.