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WWE still ‘monitoring the situation’ in Saudi Arabia ahead of Crown Jewel

Tensions Rise in Khashoggi Case as Erdogan Accuses Saudi Team of Murder Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

We’re now ten days away from Crown Jewel, a pay-per-view (PPV) WWE is still very much promoting for Fri., Nov. 2.

What they’re not mentioning is where exactly what was supposed to be their second show in Saudi Arabia under a ten year partnership with Kingdom will actually take place. The last time it was advertised, it was set for Riyadh’s King Saud University Stadium. But references to the venue have been scrubbed from commercials and online promotion, tickets still aren’t on sale, and there’s a report from a Saudi fan saying the vendor there has been told WWE hasn’t confirmed the show is happening - at least not in the KSA.

CNBC updated their story on WWE’s business dealings with Saudi Arabia yesterday (Oct. 22), and reached out to the company to see if they had anything to add to their Oct. 11 statement regarding the status of Crown Jewel, “We are currently monitoring the situation.”

Brad Klein, a WWE spokesman, told the business news outlet:

“Yes, that statement still stands.”

There hasn’t been much new information on the situation since last last week, when the Saudis acknowledged the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in their consulate in Turkey, but presented it as a meeting gone wrong conducted by rogue government agents.

Earlier today, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to his parliment and said his government has evidence the Saudi story is a “whitewashing” of Khashoggi’s “pre-planned, premeditated” murder. But those sentiments have been voiced by many inside and outside the intelligence community, before and after the Saudi’s announcement. Pressure is mounting on the Saudi ruling royal family and especially Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who it’s been alleged ordered or was at least aware of Khashoggi’s killing. But without a proverbial “smoking gun”, it’s unclear what in WWE’s monitoring would cause them to act.

Perhaps it’s the continued talk that one of their biggest stars, John Cena, is backing out of the show as long as its held in the KSA. Cena’s role as one of eight men in a tournamet is relatively easy to fill, even if his drawing power isn’t. With tickets not being on sale a week and a half away from the event, selling seats may not be a major concern anyway.

Certainly not the end... we’ll continue to monitor WWE’s monitoring.

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