Despite the murder of an American journalist that reportedly came at the hands of the Saudi Arabian government, the WWE has chosen to go through with their WWE Crown Jewel event on Nov. 2.
ESPN reported that the WWE revealed their plans in their earnings report conference call on Thursday. The WWE stated they have worked in the Middle East for 20 years and have a large fan base there and will fulfill their contractual obligations.
60,000 fans attended the Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi Arabia in April.
Many U.S. government officials asked the WWE to reconsider, including Senators Richard Blumenthal, Chris Murphy, and Lindsay Graham.
There were some notable names that came out in support of the WWE going to Saudi Arabia.
Hulk Hogan said this week that he was scheduled to head to Saudi Arabia with the WWE, which was a huge surprise as he is not under contract to the company.
WWE Hall of Fame star Hacksaw Jim Duggan said he supported the WWE stars fulfilling their obligations in Saudi Arabia, telling TMZ that he would always make the shows he was booked for regardless of anything.
Duggan spent his entire career as a flag carrying patriot in the WWE.
Current WWE Raw women’s champion Ronda Rousey also told TMZ she supported the WWE putting on a show in Saudi Arabia. This is slightly surprising as the biggest complaint (outside of the murder of an American journalist) is the nation’s treatment of women.
No WWE woman is allowed to compete at the events in Saudi Arabia.
— Patricia Dempsey (@Patrici90883364) October 26, 2018
“I think that pulling out of the Crown Jewel would be the wrong move,” Rousey said. “I think that this is an opportunity to be able to share our cultures, and to define what we have in common and in times especially when, you know, times of adversity between two countries that’s the absolute wrong time to be able to pull away.”
However, there are two major WWE superstars who are refusing to go and both men are scheduled to compete at the show.
Barstool Sports reports that John Cena refuses to attend the show. Unlike many WWE superstars, Cena is more of a Hollywood star now than a wrestler, so he has a lot more to lose if there is fan backlash against the WWE putting on a show in Saudi Arabia.
John Cena is scheduled to be part of the World Cup tournament at WWE Crown Jewel.
Pro Wrestling Sheet reports that Daniel Bryan is also refusing to go to Saudi Arabia for the show. This is bigger news as Bryan is supposed to challenge AJ Styles for the world title at the show.
“As always, we maintain an open line of communication with our performers and will address each situation accordingly,” the WWE said in a statement.
With all that said, tickets finally went on sale for the WWE Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia and the event sold out in less than three hours.
في أقل من ٣ ساعات تم بيع تذاكر wwe بالكامل ??????♥️
— TURKI ALALSHIKH (@Turki_alalshikh) October 27, 2018
WWE Crown Jewel takes place on Nov. 2 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia at the King Saud University Stadium. The special will air on the WWE Network.