The C.I.A. has concluded that the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was indeed ordered by Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. The story was posted by The New York Times on November 16, just 14 days after WWE’s Crown Jewel event took place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Many pro wrestling fans took great exception to WWE for moving forward with that event, in light of Khashoggi’s disappearance at the time. Jamal was an outspoken critic of the Saudi Arabian government. He reportedly dropped out of sight from the country’s consulate on October 2. Rumors began circuiting that the Saudi government had Khashoggi killed yet WWE moved on with Crown Jewel as planned.
Several U.S. Senators called for WWE to cancel the event. But WWE’s only comment at the time was to The New York Post.
“As always, we maintain an open line of communication with our performers as we continue to monitor the situation.”
But the company evidently did listen to at least two of its Superstars. Both John Cena and Daniel Bryan were eventually removed from the Crown Jewel card. The event featured the in-ring return of Shawn Michaels, who teamed with his longtime best friend and D-Generation X partner Triple H against Kane and The Undertaker.
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Crown Jewel was not WWE’s only controversial Saudi Arabian event in 2018. The Greatest Royal Rumble took place on April 27 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Many fans were outraged that the female Superstars were not allowed to perform. But WWE moved forward at that time as well and it was believed that The Greatest Royal Rumble would become a yearly event.
However it’s unknown if WWE plans on returning to Saudi Arabia in the future. As of this writing, WWE has made no comments in regards to The New York Times’ story. Pro Wrestling will provide statements from WWE if and when they happen.
The New York Times