WWE has answered the question the world has been asking for weeks: will they move forward with their planned Crown Jewel event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, despite the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and immense public pressure to cancel or move the show.
At the very top of their Q3 financial report released this morning, WWE included the following statement:
WWE has operated in the Middle East for nearly 20 years and has developed a sizable and dedicated fan base. Considering the heinous crime committed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the Company faced a very difficult decision as it relates to its event scheduled for November 2 in Riyadh. Similar to other U.S.-based companies who plan to continue operations in Saudi Arabia, the Company has decided to uphold its contractual obligations to the General Sports Authority and stage the event. Full year 2018 guidance is predicated on the staging of the Riyadh event as scheduled.
It should be no surprise that WWE is moving forward with the event. The company has spent decades showing and outright telling its fans that it will always do what’s “best for business,” and in the wrestling business, nothing is better for business than making money. And the Saudis are paying WWE a lot of money to put on these shows. Way more money than WWE is likely to lose from negative PR that will be almost certainly be overshadowed before the end of the year by dozens of equally outrageous scandals and/or tragedies, leaving WWE’s participation in a propaganda event for an oppressive regime forgotten because that’s just the world we live in now. If you didn’t see this one coming, we have to wonder what sport you’ve been watching all this time.
Now the only question is, will WWE be sending immortal racist* Hulk Hogan as well? And will that make up for rumors that top performers like global entertainment superstar John Cena are refusing to appear at the show? We’ll find out on November 2nd, it seems.
*Don’t look at us – he literally said it himself!