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Ariya Daivari Reveals His WWE Greatest Royal Rumble Promo "Was Requested From The Saudi Prince"

Daivari received death threats following the show

Back at the Greatest Royal Rumble event in 2018, Ariya and Shawn Daivari confronted a group of Saudi Arabian recruits and touted Iran as being a greater country than Saudi Arabia while waving the Iranian flag. The recruits would ultimately overcome the Daivari brothers to a big reaction from the Jeddah crowd but Ariya Daivari would later reveal he received death threats because of the segment. 

Ariya has since been released by WWE and he revealed to Wrestling Inc. that the heel promo "was requested from the Saudi prince."

"From what I was told, that was requested from the Saudi Prince. Whether that's true or not, I don't know. He booked the show. At the end of the day, it was his idea, and for me, particularly being fairly new at the time, you're not gonna say no to stuff. All this Saudi stuff was a big deal. It was a big-money deal. Backstage, they made it seem like how important these Saudi shows are to the company," Daivari said.

"They're doing the very first one, and as a cruiserweight, I'm not gonna be like, 'No, I'm not doing this type of thing.' You just kind of have to do what you're told or at least that's how I felt about it, and the only reason my brother came is, some people may not know this, but my neck was injured at the time. I was completely on the injured list, and they called me one day and said, 'Hey, can we get your brother's information because we'll just send him to go do this thing,' and that was a situation where I was kind of like, 'Oh damn, maybe we can do something together.' And I told them, 'Hey, if you guys will let me like, I'll still go too, injured or not. Maybe me and my brother can do it together,' and they were all about it.

"That was the reason why, if you ever go back and watch it, he took all the bumps. I just got pushed onto my ass and rolled out of the ring, and then he took all the bumps because I wasn't cleared to take any bumps at that point, so that's why they brought my brother along too. 

"Looking back on in hindsight, and hindsight's 20/20, I wish we didn't do it, and you never want to disrespect people. And it's not like people in the United States were upset about it, but people in Iran, people in Saudi Arabia, they didn't like it, and I said, 'My goal was never to offend anybody.' You never want to do that with wrestling.

"I really care about wrestling. I really care about my work. I don't want to offend anybody or stuff like that. That was why I took it upon myself to put out that apology. Nobody told me to do it. The company didn't ask me and all that stuff. I was gonna do it myself. I want to make this right. If it truly offended people, and they're not understanding that this is just a show, then I'll say I'm sorry. It wasn't really a big deal to me to apologise for it."

Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia have been high since the Iranian Revolution in the late 1970s and relations between the two nations deteriorated in 2016 following the execution of Shia Islam cleric Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia. After the widely-condemned execution, the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran was ransacked and Saudi Arabia cut off diplomatic relations with Iran as a result.

Daivari admitted him not being fully aware of the tensions in the Middle East was something he will take partial blame for when it comes to the segment.

"The only part that I take partial blame for is just being uneducated on how big the tensions are between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The geopolitics were a little bit over my head. Because here's the thing, it's pro wrestling. At the end of the day, how many offensive gimmicks and character segments have there been? There's been tons," he continued.

"I didn't know this one was such a big deal that it was really gonna offend a lot of people in those countries. That was why, like I said, I put out that apology because if this is one of those things that people are truly upset about, then, again, I apologise. We definitely shouldn't have done that."

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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Editor-in-Chief of Cultaholic.com