WWE’s Crown Jewel pay-per-view event in Saudi Arabia may not happen thanks to rising tensions between the USA and the Middle Eastern country, CNBC is reporting. If the event does fall apart, it will likely cost the organization millions.
In 2018, WWE and Saudi Arabia began a long-term partnership that would see professional wrestling events take place in the oil-rich kingdom. One event has already taken place there, the Greatest Royal Rumble in April — and by all accounts it was a raging success. The event sold out the 60,000-seat King Abdullah International Stadium in Jeddah, and brought in huge revenue for a pay-per-view audience both back home and abroad.
Now, however, WWE’s relationship with Saudi Arabia is caught in the crosshairs of an international dispute between the USA and the kingdom. That’s because the two countries aren’t seeing eye-to-eye over the death of a journalist in Turkey.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, journalist Jamal Khashoggi is — or was — a Saudi national living in the United States. However, he’s been missing for over a week now, and the Saudi Government is suspected of playing a role in his disappearance — and possible death.
Khashoggi was last seen walking into the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul, and has not been seen since. Some believe that Khashoggi, who has written several pieces critical of the repressive and theocratic Saudi regime, has been murdered.
The outcry of people who want #JusticeForJamal is working. A recap of of folks who have pulled out of #FII2018 or cut other ties with Saudi Arabia so far. The @nytimes and the @TheEconomist https://t.co/L3lBXpPMQV
— Win Without War (@WinWithoutWar) October 12, 2018
Some believe Saudi Arabia may have had Khashoggi killed, with the Turkish government being accused of not taking his rumored death seriously enough. Saudi Arabia continues to insist that it had nothing to do with the journalist’s alleged death.
The Trump administration’s response, meanwhile, has been criticized for favoring the maintenance of its relationship with one of its primary oil suppliers over justice for the missing journalist. As the Washington Post reports, the Trump White House is “seemingly disinterested” in the possible murder.
If the U.S. government isn’t jumping into action on the issue, however, private enterprise has. Already, according to The Guardian, several would-be sponsors and participants in an upcoming conference scheduled for Riyadh later this month have signaled that they would be withdrawing their support.
So will WWE follow suit and pull out of Crown Jewel? As of this writing, the event is still on, pending further notice. A representative from WWE tells CNBC that they are “monitoring the situation.”
If Crown Jewel does indeed get canceled because of the Khashoggi incident, WWE fans will have to wait two weeks — until November 17 and 18 — for their next WWE PPV fix, according to CBS Sports. That’s when NXT TakeOver: WarGames II and Survivor Series will respectively take place.