One of the most controversial aspects of WWE’s Greatest Royal Rumble pay-per-view toward the end of April was the fact that out of respect to Saudi Arabian culture, women were not allowed to compete in the event, leading WWE to fly in an all-male crew of wrestlers and other on-air performers. In the days that have followed, there have been conflicting reports as to whether WWE compensated its female talents for leaving them off the Greatest Royal Rumble card, and with this rumor still unconfirmed, WWE Hall of Fame announcer Jim Ross offered his opinion on the topic on the latest episode of his podcast, The Ross Report.
A report from WrestlingNews.co quoted Ross, who commented on the rumors that WWE’s female roster was paid for the Greatest Royal Rumble, even if no women were included in the pay-per-view card. The publication noted earlier reports from PWInsider, which first broke the rumor of the women getting paid, and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Dave Meltzer, who countered soon after, saying that WWE had yet to inform its female talents about any possible compensation.
“It’s not everybody’s right to be on any card,” said Jim Ross, who added that he openly supports women in sports, including the women’s basketball and softball teams of Oklahoma University.
“I believe the same thing about WrestleMania[sic]. It’s not your birthright to be booked. It’s like playing in the Super Bowl. It’s not your right as an NFL player, you earn that right to get in that game. So I believe that the women — I don’t know if they were paid or not. I don’t know why they would have been paid and I may piss some people off but I’m just being honest. It’s my problem I have sometimes, being honest.”
— WWE on PopCulture (@WWEonPopCulture) May 6, 2018
After offering his remarks about WWE’s rumored plan, Ross noted that there have been women’s rights initiatives recently launched in Saudi Arabia, such as allowing women to drive and attend sporting events. He expressed hope that Saudi Arabia would soon be able to let female wrestlers take part in future WWE shows in the country.
WrestlingNews.co acknowledged that Ross made some “good points,” but opined that it would be a good move on WWE’s part to pay its female talents for the Greatest Royal Rumble, as there were several U.S. live events canceled in the last week of April because most of WWE’s male wrestlers and other performers were in Saudi Arabia. This was echoed by Still Real To Us, which posited that Ross, solid as some of his points were, might have overlooked how the women could have had a chance to earn something, had it not been for WWE asking them to stay home.