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WWE acknowledges Saudi travel issues, says ‘SmackDown set for surprises’

With reports making it sound unlikely that even the 12 or so “absolutely necessary” members of the roster WWE arranged separate travel for would make it from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to Buffalo, New York in time for tonight’s SmackDown, the company has acknowledged the still-unspecified issues we wrote about earlier this morning.

From WWE.com:

SmackDown set for surprises with WWE roster delayed returning from Saudi Arabia

The WWE roster is delayed in its return from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, following a historic performance at yesterday’s record-breaking WWE Crown Jewel event.

More than 175 Superstars, production crew and employees boarded a 747 charter flight back to the United States on Thursday. After the door closed, due to several aircraft problems including mechanical issues, all passengers sat on the tarmac for more than six hours. With SmackDown set to emanate live from Buffalo, N.Y., several Superstars felt so strongly that they arranged for their own separate charter in order to make it back to the U.S. for the show. Due to unforeseen issues, that charter will not land until after the live broadcast on FOX.

As always with WWE, the show must go on. Live at 8/7 CT on FOX, SmackDown will feature Superstars, such as Daniel Bryan, The Miz, Carmella, Nikki Cross, Dana Brooke — plus, additional surprises.

The remainder of WWE’s Superstars, staff and crew will depart on a charter set to depart Saudi Arabia later tonight.

For the latest updates on this story and tonight’s SmackDown, check back with WWE.com and follow WWE on social media.

When they’re not implying that some talents love the company & its fans so much they tried to finance their own way from Crown Jewel to SmackDown, WWE seems to be prepping for a Nov. 1 show on Fox which will be made up of wrestlers who didn’t go to Saudi Arabia - including the bulk of their women’s roster - and teasing the possibility of NXT involvement ahead of their upcoming appearances on Nov. 24’s Survivor Series PPV.

Which is pretty much what everyone figured they’d do. Unclear is what lengths they’ll have to go to get back-up production crew to Buffalo, or handle other logistical & creative challenges this causes.

All of which is ultimately a minor concern for the people stuck in the KSA. Hopefully our next update to this story is that they’re all on their way home safe & sound.

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