WWE has removed the words “Saudi Arabia” from their broadcasts, but has not removed the country from their bank accounts. And who better to do the heavy lifting for their image than JBL.
While speaking on Fox News, JBL suggested WWE is needed in Saudi Arabia to be an agent of change.
My personal opinion is that they should go. I think the only way you promote change, like we did with Cuba - you isolate a country, all you do is impoverish that country. You want to promote change? WWE went to Abu Dhabi, did the first women’s match that had ever happened in the middle east, the crowd chanting in English ‘this is change’.
WWE has been at the forefront of change, and you want to change Saudi Arabia, you send something like WWE there.”
The differences between the Abu Dhabi show and the Saudi show are obvious. For one, Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss can’t generate chants of “this is change” when they’re not allowed to wrestle or even be shown in a video.
For another, this is a government-bought propaganda show. An oppressive government with one of the worst human rights records on the planet has purchased this event and placed upon it the restrictions and influence they see fit to construct the show they want to take place.
How is that going to lead to “change?”
Will Mohammed bin Salman release activists like Israa al-Ghomgham, Moussa al-Hashem, Samar Badawi, Loujain al-Hathloul and others who are sentenced — or at risk of being sentenced — to execution for charges such as anti-government protests, incitement to disobedience of the ruler and providing moral support to protesters?
Are the people going to rise up because of WWE putting on a government propaganda event? Are we suggesting they’re not aware bin Salman is executing their fellow citizens at a rate that could eclipse 200 in this year alone?
This will all happen while the royal family sit in their comfy ringside section enjoying the show they paid for while WWE makes a massive profit dancing the dance they’re told to do.
This show is not about WWE as an agent of change and suggesting otherwise, as JBL did, is frighteningly dishonest “company man” talk.
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Rather than end with a gif and send you on your way like normal. I just want to hammer home why I’m spending so many days writing about the Saudi Arabia event.
Events like this, Greatest Royal Rumble and any of the future shows in this 10 year deal are so far outside the norm for wrestling they need the attention. The idea of a government ranked among the worst in the world in terms of human rights paying the biggest wrestling company in the world to hold an event where they tout how “progressive” things are is as absurd as almost anything in wrestling history.
As such, this is a topic that deserves the amount of time I’m giving it in my daily columns.