Sami Zayn’s planned fundraiser for humanitarian efforts in Syria may have been delayed, but he wasn’t the only Superstar looking to make a statement with WWE’s third event of a ten year contract with Saudi Arabia.
The company has promoted their lucrative contract with the Saudi Sports Authority as an opportunity to represent progress in one of the handful of countries in the world that hasn’t signed on to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Many critics dispute that as a public relations effort to justify the money WWE is being paid to produce shows like Fri., June 7’s Super ShowDown in Jeddah.
A few wrestlers - like John Cena, Daniel Bryan and Kevin Owens - have allegedly opted not to take part in the events their employer puts on in the Kingdom due to things like the state-ordered murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi or the planned execution of Murtaja Qureiris, an 18 year old who’s been imprisoned since he was arrested for anti-government activities at 13.
Some who did make the trip to Jeddah yesterday also wanted to make a statement. Such as Ali, who participated in the 50 man battle royal and says he’s donating his check to a humanitarian cause:
Earnings received today will be donated to @charitywater. Thank you.— ALI / Adeel Alam (@AliWWE) June 8, 2019
And Intercontinental champion Finn Bálor, who did so with this tweet supporting LGBTQ rights in a country where being gay or trans is a crime subject to the death penalty:
WWE is expected to return to Saudi Arabia for another show this fall.