The WWE said they were keeping an eye on the situation surrounding the Saudi Arabian government’s possible involvement in the murder of American journalist Jamal Khashoggi before moving on with their WWE Crown Jewel event.
With WWE Crown Jewel set to kick off on Friday morning on the WWE Network, the company went to the Kingdom anyway for their event.
But, how close was the WWE to actually choosing to pull out of Saudi Arabia?
Who decided to take WWE to Saudi Arabia
The Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that it was Vince McMahon that was given the final call on whether or not to take the WWE to Saudi Arabia for WWE Crown Jewel.
The Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that Vince McMahon was told on Oct. 24 that it was his call whether or not the WWE could go to Saudi Arabia. McMahon said that he will still go to Saudi Arabia as planned.
Really, the only entity that could have stopped it was the U.S. government and they allowed McMahon to make the choice.
During the most recent financial’s conference call, the WWE mentioned how the stockholders would lose out if the WWE backed out on their contractually obligated show in Saudi Arabia.
Vince McMahon actually made it clear that the WWE would go to Saudi Arabia even if the U.S. refused to allow this trip. McMahon simply said that they would fo a few weeks later, but he had no intention of backing out on the Saudi Arabia deal.
McMahon figured a few weeks would be all it would take to get the talk on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi quieted down.
The WWE Crown Jewel card
The WWE made a few changes to the original WWE Crown Jewel announced card. First, John Cena and Daniel Bryan were removed from the show.
John Cena refused to go due to his Hollywood concerns. He was replaced in the World Cup tournament with Bobby Lashley. Daniel Bryan was supposed to fight for the world title and ended up getting that match on SmackDown Live, with Samoa Joe stepping in for Crown Jewel.
Shinsuke Nakamura was also added to the show and will defend his United States title against Rusev. Finally, Hulk Hogan was added as the host of the show.
Here is the WWE Crown Jewel card:
- Degeneration X vs. Brothers of Destruction
- Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman
- WWE Championship: AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe
- United States Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev
- WWE World Cup Tournament
WWE Crown Jewel takes place at noon EST on the WWE Network with a preshow starting at 11 a.m.