Last week, WWE confirmed that they were going to keep Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia despite all the controversy surrounding the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Many have spoken out against this move and believes WWE should have moved the event or canceled it entirely. It will go on as scheduled this Friday, but one of the greatest superstars of all time won’t be there as John Cena is off of the card.
The Inquisitr recently reported that there were a number of WWE superstars who anonymously expressed concern in going to Saudi Arabia. They wouldn’t speak out publicly due to facing possible backlash, but Cena has a lot of pull in the company and had let his feelings be known.
Early on Monday, Wrestling Inc. reported that more would officially be known about John Cena’s status for Crown Jewel later in the day. On tonight’s episode of Monday Night Raw, the move was made by WWE and the former multi-time champion was pulled from the card.
It was a very simple move as Raw General Manager Baron Corbin was backstage having an injury treated when Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush came back to speak with him. Corbin said he liked the way Lashley manhandled Finn Balor and wanted to reward him with a spot in the WWE World Cup tournament at Crown Jewel.
Lashley questioned the tournament already being full, but Corbin said John Cena was out as he didn’t qualify for it.
It was a rather strange and sudden change to the WWE World Cup with no real build-up or anything. John Cena wasn’t there to oppose him being taken out of the tournament or anything like that, and Corbin merely made the switch to put Lashley into his spot.
The brackets for the WWE World Cup are expected to be announced sometime tonight on Monday Night Raw, but they have not been as of this writing. Either way, Cena is definitely out and will not be traveling to Saudi Arabia for Crown Jewel.
UPDATE 9:40 p.m. Eastern
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Other participants along with Lashley in the World Cup are Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, and Rey Mysterio.
One other major WWE superstar who has reportedly spoken out about being uncomfortable with the trip to Saudi Arabia is Daniel Bryan. Wrestling Inc. reported that it’s still not confirmed if Bryan will be on the card to challenge AJ Styles for the WWE Championship, but more will be known by SmackDown Live on Tuesday night.
This Friday, WWE will travel to Saudi Arabia for another big pay-per-view event with Crown Jewel. There is a rather impressive card in place for the PPV and it includes a WWE World Cup tournament that has eight superstars facing off to be the best on the planet. On Monday Night Raw, Bobby Lashley was added to that tournament to fill a vacant spot after John Cena was officially pulled from the event.