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Kevin Owens reportedly told WWE he didn’t want to return to Saudi Arabia

When WWE was working toward their Crown Jewel show in Saudi Arabia last fall at the height of the controversy surrounding the Saudi-ordered execution of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Superstars like John Cena, Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns opted not to participate in the government-funded event.

WWE issued a statement about keeping an open line of communication with their talent, and there hasn’t been any noticeable blow back on those big stars for not participating in the show.

The company’s return to Saudi Arabia, June 7’s Super ShowDown in Jeddah, is just a few weeks away, and Fightful brings word that a new name has informed WWE he won’t be making the trip. Kevin Owens, fresh off a WWE title challenge at last Sunday’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view (PPV), reportedly doesn’t want to work in the KSA.

No reason was given, but Fightful raises one likely possibility. Owens’ friend Sami Zayn did not work either of the 2018 shows in Saudi Arabia. Zayn, a Syrian-Canadian, was kept off Greatest Royal Rumble and Crown Jewel due to tensions between the Saudis and Syria. In response to Sami’s absence and the inability to feature their women’s roster on those shows, WWE issued a statement that they are “committed to embracing individuals from all backgrounds while respecting local customs and cultural differences around the world.”

With Owens not an option as Kofi Kingston’s opponent at Super ShowDown, Dolph Ziggler returned for the first time since January’s Royal Rumble, and has been booked as Kofi’s challenger for June 7.

Of the trio of names who objected to working Crown Jewel, so far only Reigns is confirmed for Super ShowDown. While the scrutiny isn’t as intense this time with the Khashoggi murder no longer at the top of the news, WWE’s 10 year contract with the KSA will never not be controversial. We’ll keep you informed regarding other names who may choose not to work June 7 as the latest show approaches.

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