Since announcing their partnership with Saudi Arabia, WWE has held four events in the Middle Eastern Kingdom. The events have been widely criticised for both their in-ring action and the controversial politics behind hosting events in a country which assassinated a journalist and still uses judicial corporal punishment.
Mike Johnson at PWInsider reported yesterday that WWE will be hosting another pay-per-view in Saudi Arabia on February 20th and he expected the company would officially announce the event in the coming days. Reports have also indicated that the event may be moved to February 27th. However, in both instances, it will mean talent will have to rush back to the United States for Friday Night SmackDown.
Many Superstars have expressed reservations about competing in Saudi Arabia again after the travel issues following Crown Jewel on October 31st, whereby many WWE employees did not arrive home until a couple of days after the event. While WWE’s official explanation was that the plane had mechanical issues, rumours suggested the Saudi Government actually prevented them from taking off as during the show, Vince McMahon cut off the Saudi TV feed to the event over a pay dispute.
Now, with heightened tensions in the region due to recent conflict with Iran, more wrestlers are refusing to travel for the show. Paul Davis at WrestlingNews.co reported that two more wrestlers have decided against going, which adds to the list of Superstars who already refuse to appear at the pay-per-views.