Report: What Happened In Saudi Arabia Following WWE Crown Jewel 2019

A confusing and tense situation...

It took a day longer than intended for WWE talents and crew to fly home following Crown Jewel in Riyadh on Thursday. A press release from the company claimed the inconvenient delay was due to "mechanical issues".

In the time since that release, more stories have come out that point to other issues, and talent rumblings on social media have caught the eye of many.

Dave Meltzer tweeted Saturday night, "One person in the company said WWE is trying to get video from as much talent as possible to claim the mechanical issues on the plane were the problem. Just the fact they would do this is very strange." Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful later confirmed another talent telling him the same.

Late Saturday night, Meltzer, along with Bryan Alvarez, released a new Wrestling Observer Radio that shined a light on what exactly happened in Saudi Arabia, and the sentiment from the talents they'd heard from.

From the audio:

*WWE had not been paid for Super ShowDown as of September 30. During the investor's call several hours before Crown Jewel, it was announced that WWE received $60 million after September 30 but before October 31. Talent was apparently made aware that money was owed.

*Crown Jewel was supposed to air live in Saudi Arabia, but did not. Meltzer says that McMahon was not allowing it to be televised, but there was eventually a settlement, and the show aired in the country on a 40 minute tape delay.

*Talent was told about the mechanical failure, which most wrestlers there did not believe, with some noting the presence of military police. Most wonder why it took 24 hours to get out, and why weren't they rerouted to another flight?

*Plane that ultimately took them home was delayed an additional 90 minutes from its scheduled departure at 3 AM local time.

*Some of those who have reached out to Meltzer have said they're never going back to Saudi Arabia, and some adding they can't wait to get out of the company.

*Meltzer reiterated his tweet about WWE trying to get video of its talents discussing the "mechanical issues".

*People are upset that Vince left as early as he did. McMahon departed with Kevin Dunn and their staff immediately after the show was over. Others who got out before the ordeal include Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Jimmy Hart, and Tyson Fury, on various private jets. Cain Velasquez was among those who stayed back with the rest of the crew.

*It is not clear if McMahon, in departing earlier, knew there was going to be a major issue. Whatever the case is, numerous wrestlers who reached out to Meltzer felt like McMahon deserted them, and that they were, "pawns in a d**k-waving contest."

*Lesnar and Heyman were not scheduled for SmackDown. The quitting angle was meant to be saved for the debut of their Tuesday night FS1 Backstage show, as a major news story to usher the program in.

*Meltzer said, "This is WWE that has 175 people on a show that makes millions and millions of dollars. It's impossible for me to believe that there couldn't be a way to fly commercial, and get the guys on a plane somewhere, to Europe, and get them out, as opposed to waiting a day."

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Justin Henry

Written by Justin Henry

In addition to writing lists and commentaries for Cultaholic, Justin is also a features writer and interviewer for Fighting Spirit Magazine, and is co-author of the WWE-related book Titan Screwed: Lost Smiles, Stunners, and Screwjobs.