WWE recently postponed their May Saudi Arabia show until June, with the Backlash pay-per-view also being postponed by one week as a result. WWE visited Saudi Arabia in April and November of last year and Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer has noted in the most recent newsletter that WWE is likely to face some more controversy in the next few weeks ahead of their next Saudi Arabia show.
Dave Meltzer had the following to say on WWE’s upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia, and the likely controversy that will come with it after the government just beheaded nearly 40 people:
“The Saudi Arabian government once again made WWE look sleazy by going. One would have thought they wanted to make the announcement of going at the investors call on 4/25 because the expectation is the company will either make a very small profit or actually have lost money this past quarter due to major added expenses. So announcing a $40 million plus show would be a good thing, especially when the negativity the company got about going last time has quelled down. But on 4/23, the Saudi government beheaded 37 people. The person who got the most U.S. media play was Mujtaba al-Sweikiat, who seven years ago, when he was 17, went to a pro-democracy rally and was arrested. He was actually detained just before he was to get on a plane to the U.S., where he was moving after being accepted by Western Michigan University. He had been accused of attacking, shooting and injuring security forces and civilians, destroying public property and participating in a terrorist cell to make and deliver Molotov cocktails. But the human rights group Reprieve defended him, saying he was actually tortured until he would confess, as did many of the others executed. The group was convicted in court and ordered to get the death penalty in a terrorism trial”.
This is nothing new for WWE, as the two of their top stars in John Cena and Daniel Bryan refused to take part in the trip to Saudi Arabia in November 2018. It is thought that Bryan’s refusal was heavily linked to the murder of New York Times journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul in early October.
It is also being reported by Dave Meltzer that for the Saudi Arabia show, we may be seeing Brock Lesnar attempt to recapture his Universal Championship against Seth Rollins in a rematch from WrestleMania 35.
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