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HOW WWE HAD BETTER HANDLE ANYONE WHO DOESN’T WANT TO GO TO SAUDI ARABIA

By Dave Scherer on 2019-05-14 10:00:00

I am going to combine two questions today:

How do you feel about WWE continuing to do business with Saudi Arabia?

Last time WWE went to Saudi Arabia, Daniel Bryan chose to not take part in the event based on his personal views on the Saudi government and their record on human rights. Since then the Crown Prince and members of his regime have been connected to the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and last month the Saudi president publicly executed 37 people in a single day, many were beheaded and 34 of the 37 people executed were members of a religious military.  Do you know of anyone planning to refuse to work the upcoming show? With AEW signing everyone they can, does this limit WWE in the way the would handle conscientious objectors? 

First and foremost, I don’t like that WWE has continued its relationship with Saudi Arabia.  Last year, the situation with the execution of Khashoggi happened within a close proximity to their first event in the Kingdom.  At that point I gave them a pass for running, not because I believed that the Prince had nothing to do with the execution, but because I understood that WWE was in a tough position from a business perspective with just weeks until the show.  I hoped that they wouldn’t run the same propaganda that they did for the April show, and they didn’t.  As they said later, part of their decision to run was due to meeting guidance they had given investors.

So while I didn’t like it, I could at least see their reason.  With this show?  Well I find it deplorable that they are working with the Kingdom.  Clearly, the propaganda that WWE aired for them in April of 2018 was just that, propaganda.  Actions show us how the rulers of the country really think.  And while many US business continue to ply their trade within the Kingdom, many have walked away, including UFC.

I wish WWE had done the same.  With the new TV deals that start later this year, they don’t need the money that the Saudis are paying them.  And the fact that the show has been hardly even mentioned by WWE tells you that they know running there will rub a lot of people the wrong way.  I wish that they just would have taken a moral stand and ended the relationship with the Kingdom.  It wouldn’t have hurt the stock, in my opinion, and I feel it could have actually helped the company’s standing in some circles.  But, they chose to run there.  They will have to live with that decision.

At this point in time I don’t know of anyone who has refused to go but I wouldn’t expect Bryan to attend.  There are others in the company that I know feel the same way.  Time will tell if they voice that concern to the bosses or not.

As for how WWE will handle it if/when people refuse to go, that will be very interesting.  I don’t think AEW plays into it really.  I think the bigger issue will be the public perception.

If a talent refuses to go, sites like ours are going to find out.  It’s going to be reported.  The public will then know who didn’t want to appear in Saudi Arabia.

Now, imagine that happens and we see a talent get their push derailed.  What will the natural assumption be?  That it happened because he/she wouldn’t go to Saudi Arabia.

Imagine the situation escalates.  A talent gets released just imagine the interviews, or even the potential legal action.  It could put the company in a really bad position.  And of course after that, there is the opportunity to go to AEW.

So at this point, I think WWE would need to tread very, very lightly with anyone who does not want to go on that tour.

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