WWE reportedly sets backup plans for Crown Jewel as U.S. senators speak out against event
The event planned for Nov. 2 in Saudi Arabia could be in jeopardy
WWE is scheduled to make its second trip to Saudi Arabia this year for the Crown Jewel event on Nov. 2, which is set to feature marquee matches in addition to the first-ever WWE World Cup tournament. The second venture under the 10-year agreement between WWE and the Saudi General Sports Authority -- the first being the Greatest Royal Rumble event this past April -- may be in jeopardy, amid reports that Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi may have been brutally murdered by the Saudi government.
Fans were critical of WWE's long-term partnership with Saudi Arabia from the beginning, but in the wake of these reports regarding the Saudi government, the company may be mulling the cancellation of the Nov. 2 Crown Jewel event. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter claims that WWE officials are already setting backup plans in place in the event Crown Jewel is removed from the schedule. As the pleas for WWE to pull out of the trip have grown over the past couple days, the company issued a statement to the media on Friday. It was a rather brief response, with the WWE stating it's monitoring the situation as Crown Jewel is set to air in just three weeks time from the King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
"We are currently monitoring the situation," WWE said in the statement.
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In addition to fans voicing their displeasure with WWE over the event, politicians in Washington D.C. are sounding off as well. The Independent Journal Review caught up with members of the United States Senate, all of whom expressed concern with WWE's current plans to hold the Crown Jewel event.
"I'd hope that they would be rethinking their relationship with the kingdom especially with respect to events coming up in the next weeks like [WWE Crown Jewel]," Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut said.
One member of Congress, Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, included Linda McMahon -- wife of WWE chairman Vince McMahon -- into the conversation. While some argue that WWE's business relationship with Saudi Arabia has nothing to do with governmental dealings, Menendez is of the belief that because McMahon is a member of the presidential cabinet, the White House should step in and halt the show.
"Private enterprise is private enterprise, different than a governmental entity," Sen. Menendez said. "But because [Linda McMahon] is part of the president's cabinet, it falls into the grey area where the administration really should give it some thought and maybe even prevail upon them not doing it."
It's certainly a precarious position WWE finds itself locked in at the moment. With just a mere 21 days to go until the Crown Jewel event is scheduled to air, a decision on the show's fate could come at any moment. In the event of a cancellation, though, it appears as if WWE has begun to cover its bases.
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