Reports indicated WWE was at one point told women would be allowed to wrestle at Super ShowDown in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia last Friday (June 7). A final decision didn’t come until the roster was already in country for the show. In the end, the Kingdom and its Sports Authority decided this would not be the event where they’d make history by having women perform in the ring. But the talk has left many hoping approval will come at some point.
That sounds like the takeaway for WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon. She was asked about her company’s contract with Saudi Arabia at the Celebrating Women In Sports luncheon today (Weds., June 12) in Orlando. And - after offering up the now standard anecdote about the “This Is Hope” chant which broke out during the 2017 match between Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss in Abu Dhabi, of course - McMahon seemed to indicate the Saudis are giving them signs a women’s match could happen soon:
.@WWE's @StephMcMahon is speaking at the Celebrating Women in Sports Luncheon. @DespinaBarton asked about #WWE's dealings in Saudi Arabia and the correlation to women. McMahon believes there will be a women's match "in the near future." More from her tonight on @SpecSports360. pic.twitter.com/29C38r0WP6— Jon Alba (@JonAlba) June 12, 2019
“In terms of women, I’m going to harken to an example in Abu Dhabi. It took us six years to have our women be allowed to perform in Abu Dhabi. But just over a year ago, they were allowed. And not only that, but a chant broke out in the arena of both men and women chanting, ‘This Is Hope’. ‘This Is Hope,’ which is not your typical WWE chant. And there were tears in the eyes of little girls in the front row, because again, they saw what they could possibly be. And we’ve been promised that we will be a part of the the forefront of change that’s coming in Saudi. I believe we will have a women’s match in the near future.”
WWE’s expected to return to the KSA this fall, and twice a year until the contract ends in 2027. We’ll be revisiting this then, for sure.