Even though it had already been reported, WWE made the main event of Crown Jewel official with a press conference. And even though we heard already that Jake Paul would be in his brother Logan’s corner when he faces Undisputed WWE Universal champion Roman Reigns tomorrow (Nov. 5) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, they confirmed it at a press conference today.
Asked by Michael Cole if he’d learned his lesson about trying to take on the champ’s Bloodline faction by himself, the elder Paul brought out his younger brother, fresh off running his professional boxing record to 6-0 with a win over MMA legend Anderson Silva last weekend.
The Tribal Chief seemed surprised by this, even though it was all but confirmed by Triple H on Wednesday during WWE’s investor conference call. Roman then brought out his squad, which was missing one key member.
Sami Zayn isn’t “invited” to WWE’s shows in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, reportedly because of his Syrian heritage, his public political positions, or both. But before and after The Usos & Solo Sikoa took the stage, the Saudi crowd made it clear they wanted the Honorary Uce. Reigns played off an “Ucey” chant by saying Cole isn’t Ucey and Logan Paul won’t be feeling “Ucey” after Saturday’s match. He later responded to a round of “We Want Sami” by telling the people they didn’t deserve Zayn... which really, do any of us?
It ended with a face-off between the two combatants with their corners behind them.
Overall, the presser was WWE’s relationship with the KSA in a nutshell. It’s very clear that the opportunity to see these larger-than-life figures means a lot to the Saudi citizens who get to attend shows like Crown Jewel. But watching WWE co-CEO Stephanie McMahon and Chief Content Officer Paul “Triple H” Levesque thank Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman while the crowd chanted “MBS” for the man who ordered the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi (among other human rights offenses), it’s also clear that “sportswashing” criticisms of WWE’s relationship with the Saudi Royal Family are absolutely valid.
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