An audible was called by WWE this past week as superstars were trapped over in Saudi Arabia and their blue brand was essentially without a roster. One big name who was able to get back in time for Friday Night SmackDown was Brock Lesnar, but he ended up quitting the show and walking out. It appears as if that was always the plan for the “Beast Incarnate,” but internal issues caused it to be fast-tracked.
On Thursday, WWE held Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia and it led to all kinds of huge problems for the company. Flight delays were caused by reported money and television issues, and this led to almost the entire SmackDown roster from making it back home in time for Friday night’s show.
Lesnar and Paul Heyman flew out on the WWE Champion’s private jet which had them back in the United States on time. The duo appeared in the opening segment of Friday Night SmackDown in which Heyman said his client demanded a shot at Rey Mysterio, but Vince McMahon wouldn’t allow it to happen.
According to that promo, Mysterio is contractually obligated to the USA Network as a member of Monday Night Raw. Lesnar is obligated to FOX due to being a member of SmackDown, and that is the reason the champ “quit” the show and is heading to Raw on Monday.
This whole deal is what WWE always had planned, but it wasn’t supposed to happen this quickly.
Wrestling Observer Newsletter, by way of Wrestling Inc., says that the angle of Lesnar moving from SmackDown to Raw was set to start on Tuesday night. Lesnar was going to be a guest on the premiere of WWE Backstage on FS1, where he would quit SmackDown at that point.
Obviously, that isn’t going to happen as he’s already quit and is set to be on Raw this Monday. All of this was put into hyper-drive due to the flight delay issues in Saudi Arabia, which called for WWE to have Heyman and Lesnar appear on SmackDown and begin the angle on Friday.
Many were wondering how the promotion was going to handle both of its major titles being on the blue brand after Crown Jewel. Lesnar was already the WWE Champion and Bray Wyatt won the WWE Universal Championship from Seth Rollins at the pay-per-view.
This move proves that after last month’s Superstar Draft, WWE has now switched its main titles between the red and blue brands. Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar were not even scheduled for this week’s Friday Night SmackDown, but they made it out of Saudi Arabia in enough time to be there. Along with that, WWE had to speed up a huge angle due to the travel delays and money/television issues with Saudi Arabia.