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WWE facing criticism for Saudi Arabia event amid investigation into activist's disappearance

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WWE facing criticism for Saudi Arabia event amid investigation into activist's disappearance

Postby KaiserGlider » Oct 11, '18, 8:24 pm

https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/w ... appearance

Fox News wrote:WWE faces criticism from prominent wrestling journalists and fans for keeping a scheduled event in Saudi Arabia amid an investigation into a Saudi activist who disappeared after visiting his consulate in Turkey.

The event is included in a 10-year contract to hold live events in the kingdom as the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman loosened the rules on bringing Western entertainment to the country, according to Al Arabiya. Prominent wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer reportedly claimed the deal, signed in March, was worth $45 million per year.

The wrestling company is set to hold its second event in Saudi Arabia, called “Crown Jewel,” on Nov. 2. However, with the kingdom facing allegations it had something to do with the disappearance of opposition writer and activist Jamal Khashoggi, WWE is being criticized for continuing to go on with the event.

“WWE may have to [back out] at some point, it’s getting — you know, after today,” Meltzer said on Wrestling Observer Radio referring to reports of Khashoggi’s disappearance, according to Ringside News.

Mike Johnson, a writer for PW Insider, also said WWE should pull out of the deal with Saudi Arabia, but characterized the move as “unrealistic.”

“I know what I hope WWE will do is unrealistic and will likely not happen and for at least the next decade they’re going to be in business with them,” Johnson said on PW Insider Elite, according to Ringside News. “But I just want to say that the fact they’re in business with this government going forward is disgusting and I probably should have said it’s disgusting since day one.”

Dave Scherer, Johnson’s colleague, theorized that WWE would face legal repercussions if it backed out of its deal with Saudi officials.

“They have a contract to do this show. If they back out of it, they could be sued and you know going forward you know you can renegotiate the deal or whatever, but if they just back out of it and say, ‘We’re doing this on moral grounds’ or whatever, then they open up the company and the stock to lawsuits and you can’t do that either,” he said.

In a statement to Fox News, WWE said, "We are currently monitoring the situation."


Interesting that this article is coming from Fox News of all places. I definitely don't see WWE canceling the Crown Jewel show this late in the game and given how how much they've stacked the card up with HBK coming out of retirement, Styles vs Bryan, Lesnar etc. But it will be interesting to see if/how this affects WWE's Saudi Arabia shows in the future.
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Re: WWE facing criticism for Saudi Arabia event amid investigation into activist's disappearance

Postby Messiah » Oct 11, '18, 8:43 pm

This is a terrible look for WWE. Looking back, I regret coming to defense of them over this move and I was wrong.
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Re: WWE facing criticism for Saudi Arabia event amid investigation into activist's disappearance

Postby The Legend » Oct 12, '18, 4:40 am

So the first Saudi Arabia show, WWE gets criticized for not having women on the card. For this show it's this. Basically, every show in Saudi Arabia for the next decade will bring bad publicity and criticism for a company that never struggles to find either themselves.

As for Fox News, they never have trouble pointing out what's wrong in other countries, it's their specialty.
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Re: WWE facing criticism for Saudi Arabia event amid investigation into activist's disappearance

Postby KaiserGlider » Oct 12, '18, 7:18 pm

Apparently US Senators are now saying that WWE should hold off the event

http://wrestlingnews.co/wwe-news/u-s-se ... di-arabia/

“I’d hope that they would be rethinking their relationship with the kingdom, especially with respect to events coming up in the next few weeks,” said Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy in the Independent Journal Review.

Murphy added, “This is a brazen assault on the freedom of the press and a slap in the face to the United States, if this murder occurred as it seems it did.”

Lindsey Graham agreed with those sentiments and said “There should be a pause,” in regards to WWE’s business relationship with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“Private enterprise is private enterprise, different than a governmental entity,” said Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey. “But because (Linda McMahon) is part of the president’s cabinet, it falls into the grey area where the administration really should give it some thought and maybe even prevail upon them not doing it.”


Meltzer is reporting that there are "backup plans being discussed" in the event that the PPV doesn't take place.

The pressure is mounting...
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Re: WWE facing criticism for Saudi Arabia event amid investigation into activist's disappearance

Postby Hanley! » Oct 13, '18, 5:48 am

Triple H said during the week that the reason they haven't come back to the UK for a major pay per view since Summerslam is that it wasn't a successful event. Which is horseshit. It's one of the highest attendances they've ever done, the buy rate was actually very strong for the era (remember this was the first pay per view without Hulk Hogan) and they sold record amounts of merchandise.

Captain Subtext was saying that they're not going to hold that kind of event in the UK unless someone is going to pay them for it. They're not going to take a stand against Saudi Arabia for any kind of reason if they don't have to. Not when they're getting paid this much to run these shitty shows. That's all they really care about.

They'll keep waffling on about the women's revolution, and they'll be really obnoxious about their Susan G Kommen stuff every October, and that'll be enough for them to pretend that they have a positive corporate image. But the Saudi shows put the lie to all of that, if there was anyone who didn't see through it already.

"We are currently monitoring the situation" statement shows complete moral cowardice. They don't want to say anything remotely negative about Saudi Arabia because they still plan on doing the show unless the pressure piles on dramatically from now. Kane has said that he still plans on working the show, despite being a government official. But has also said that Jamal Khashoggi and his family are in his thoughts and prayers, because that's the go-to Republican line when they want to seem moral without the inconvenience of doing the moral thing.

WWE as a company is just kind of gross. It would be easier to ignore if their product was any good.
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Re: WWE facing criticism for Saudi Arabia event amid investigation into activist's disappearance

Postby Messiah » Oct 22, '18, 2:10 pm

Not only is Reigns injured, but its being reported that Cena and Bryan are refusing to work the show.

https://www.cagesideseats.com/wwe/2018/ ... ble-report
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Re: WWE facing criticism for Saudi Arabia event amid investigation into activist's disappearance

Postby DBSoT » Oct 22, '18, 7:48 pm

Messiah wrote:Not only is Reigns injured, but its being reported that Cena and Bryan are refusing to work the show.

https://www.cagesideseats.com/wwe/2018/ ... ble-report


I wouldn't be shocked if Bryan and Cena did speak to Vince about their issues with Crown Jewel. However, I need a more reliable source then a guy from Barstool Sports.
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Re: WWE facing criticism for Saudi Arabia event amid investigation into activist's disappearance

Postby KaiserGlider » Oct 22, '18, 9:39 pm

Bryan makes sense, but seeing Cena as the other name on there is surprising given his reputation for being a WWE company man and the super pro-Saudi promo he cut on the last PPV they had there, thanking them for their hospitality and all.
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Re: WWE facing criticism for Saudi Arabia event amid investigation into activist's disappearance

Postby AkydefGoldberg » Oct 23, '18, 6:39 am

Yeah, I'd be wary about reports of superstars pulling out but for Saudi, they've given WWE a huge chunk of coins to make the shows happen and I can't see them pulling out for CJ but they may pull back - temporarily - on other planned events until this episode quietens down (but if the story goes as high as it does to Prince Salman, it will be a while before that does happen) and renew the relationship later.

The move to Saudi by WWE was a surprise, however not only Saudi but UAE/Qatar are using sports and entertainment industries to provide a 'softer' image and are more than happy to chuck whatever wealth they can to do it.

I mean HBK, a guy many thought would actually stick to his retirement, is coming back into the ring with a reported $2m pay cheque. I would have thought with his religious beliefs, he may have been reserved to go into the business with Saudi but, it's a big pay day.
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Re: WWE facing criticism for Saudi Arabia event amid investigation into activist's disappearance

Postby Hanley! » Oct 23, '18, 1:05 pm

KaiserGlider wrote:Bryan makes sense, but seeing Cena as the other name on there is surprising given his reputation for being a WWE company man and the super pro-Saudi promo he cut on the last PPV they had there, thanking them for their hospitality and all.


He's probably looking out for his public image now that WWE's relationship with Saudi Arabia has become a bigger news story on the back of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. It's pretty clear that the larger portion of Cena's career going forwards will be in film and entertainment, and not in wrestling, so it would be foolish of him to be blindly loyal to WWE in a situation such as this one.

It might also just be a moral stand against the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, but refusing to do this show for moral reasons after agreeing to do the last Saudi Arabian show does come across as a rather selective application of outrage. It's not like there weren't issues with Saudi Arabia before.
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