Unfortunately, this is one of those incidents you could see coming from a mile away.
With Linda McMahon now a member of the Trump Adminstration and a 10 year deal signed by WWE to host shows in Saudi Arabia, it was only a matter of time before a politically fueled crisis hit WWE.
That crisis has come in the form of WWE’s unwillingness to cancel or move their Crown Jewel super show, the second of the company’s major shows to be located in Saudi Arabia.
Facing increasing political pressure due to the continued investigation into the suspected death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi Arabian counsulate in Turkey, WWE has blatantly refused to provide any substantial comments on their relationship with Saudi Arabia.
Instead, the only quote released by WWE has been an incredibly weak deflection.
“We are currently monitoring the situation,” read WWE’s severely lacking statement on the situation.
With mounting pressure from several prominent senators along with numerous news outlets, WWE’s only direct statement on the situation was essentially a one sentence dismissal.
The lack of substantive information on what will happen with WWE’s relationship with Saudi Arabia continued throughout the company’s weekly programming as well.
Instead of actually addressing whether the company would still host a major show in a country allegedly about to admit to killing a journalist, WWE has simply removed any mention of Saudi Arabia from its advertising of Crown Jewel on Raw and Smackdown.
This continued campaign of silence has accomplished nothing for WWE. The company continues to face a torrential downpour of criticism for refusing to follow in the footsteps of people like Virgin CEO Richard Branson or Uber CEO Dana Khosrowshahi by cutting ties with Saudi Arabia.
WWE executives need to end their silence on Saudi Arabia immediately. The company needs to make it clear that they condemn the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and they will cut ties with Saudi Arabia immediately. At this point, anything less than a strong statement such as that will only rightfully worsen WWE’s already tarnished image.
However, as far as the actual Crown Jewel super show itself is concerned, there’s still some reason to believe WWE could salvage the show by relocating it.
The Daily Beast recently suggested that WWE may be able to reschedule the event to Sunday, November 4th in Manchester, England considering the company is running Raw and Smackdown from the Manchester Arena that week.
Personally, I think it’s too little, too late for saving Crown Jewel itself. If WWE had come out with a swift statement coinciding with the other major companies linked with Saudi Arabia, than perhaps Crown Jewel could successfully move to a different location.
Now though, even if the show were to be moved, it will forever be remembered for its scandalous association with the Saudi Arabian government.
Instead of continuing with Crown Jewel, WWE should move the pertinent matches from the card to Survivor Series later in November. That way, WWE can place its full focus on promoting WWE Evolution, the company’s first all women’s pay-per-view which has played second fiddle to Crown Jewel practically it’s entire existence thus far.
At the end of the day, even if WWE does the right thing and ends their relationship with Saudi Arabia now, its far too late for the company to save face. However, the sooner Crown Jewel finally gets the cancelation it deseveres, the sooner WWE can at least do some good by promoting the hard-working women’s roster instead of the horrible train wreck that is WWE Crown Jewel.