In a follow-up to his report on Saudi Arabia from Oct. 14, HBO’s John Oliver went in on WWE and their upcoming Crown Jewel show again on Last Week Tonight last night (Oct. 28). While shorter than the long takedown of the Saudis, their human rights record and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, this one was strictly focused on the public relations nightmare WWE’s found - and opted to stay in - themselves in due to their decision to keep their lucrative relationship with the Kingdom operating on schedule despite the international uproar caused by Khashoggi’s death.
This time around, after using Titus O’Neil’s infamous slide from Greatest Royal Rumble as a metaphor for their entire deal with the Saudi ruling royal family, Oliver covers the fan backlash to and reported issues among talent concerning the announcement Crown Jewel will go on as planned in Riyadh this Friday (Nov. 2) before airing a mock commercial for the event.
Here you go:
And here’s part two of John Oliver’s ethering of WWE on the “Last Week Tonight” that just ended, including a special hype video for Crown Jewel. pic.twitter.com/OlXC9ROWwv— David Bixenspan (@davidbix) October 29, 2018
While I don’t know that I’d go with “complete and utter ethering” as David Bixenspan does - Oliver and his writers don’t really cover any new ground here, and maybe I’m just being sensitive, but this feels like going after the low-hanging fruit of wrestling and its fans as opposed to tackling other companies doing business with the Kingdom (and yes, I know the propaganda videos WWE airs during its Saudi shows make their relationship different, but I’m not holding my breath for a fake iPhone ad based on Apple’s $1 billion dollar investment in the Saudi Vision fund, either) - this isn’t PR WWE wants. It’s not going to help change the impression many still have that wrestling is a carny business which only attracts kids and fools.
But, on the plus side, we can now call Undertaker “beef ghost”. So it’s not all bad.