Some fans believe WWE put on one of their best episodes of SmackDown in years with the roster of NXT, but it may have come amid huge problems. The roster of Friday Night SmackDown was supposed to have been chartered in from Saudi Arabia after Crown Jewel, but delays didn’t allow that to happen. Now, rumors are swirling that there were bigger reasons for the hold-up and that superstars actually felt deserted.
As reported by The Inquisitr, numerous superstars missed SmackDown due to being delayed in Saudi Arabia with “mechanical problems.” This led to an episode of the blue brand’s show which was overrun by NXT superstars and fans have applauded how well it all came off.
According to WWE, flight issues kept the superstars from returning home from Saudi Arabia right away, but everyone was back in the United States by Saturday. Now, it appears as if “mechanical problems” might not have been behind the delays that led to most of the roster being stranded in another country.
According to Wrestling Inc., former WWE Spanish commentator Hugo Savinovich claims that the superstars were actually held up due to money issues. Savinovich says WWE is owed “millions of dollars” for two shows they have held in Saudi Arabia and it could be as much as somewhere between “$300 to $500 million.”
The rumors state that due to WWE being owed this money, Vince McMahon did not televise Crown Jewel live in Saudi Arabia. The pay-per-view was shown on a tape delay after an agreement was made mid-show, but some damage had allegedly been done between the two sides.
Due to McMahon being owed money and not televising the show live, Saudi officials allegedly held up superstars from being able to fly out and head home right away. Superstars were actually delayed at least 24 hours before being allowed to leave the country.
Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio states that WWE talent was aware of the money situation and what happened with McMahon. According to Meltzer, some have already said they will not go back to Saudi Arabia for another show and “can’t wait to get out of the company.”
It is known that McMahon left Saudi Arabia on his own private jet while the majority of the superstars and staff were delayed. Superstars reportedly said they felt “deserted” by being stuck there as Vince left, even though all of the issues were with him and the country’s officials.
Hulk Hogan, Brock Lesnar, Ric Flair, Jimmy Hart, and Paul Heyman also left Saudi Arabia early as they had their own private planes.
WWE’s next event in Saudi Arabia won’t happen until next year, but the exact date has yet to be announced. The 10-year agreement between the two sides has only really just started, but as the above reports allege, there are plenty of problems in place regarding money, superstars, and who may even want to go back for another event.