WWE confirmed on Thursday morning in the company’s Q3 2018 Results report that the upcoming Crown Jewel event will take place as scheduled in Saudi Arabia next week.
The statement notes the company faced a “very difficult decision” following a “heinous crime committed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul”, referring to the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in what Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described as “premeditated murder” earlier this week.
For the last two weeks, WWE avoided making any specific mentions about Saudi Arabia when promoting Crown Jewel on television and event went as far as to remove any mention of the country from official listings and previews online.
The company received a tremendous amount of media backlash over the last two weeks as well for likely going forward with the show. Randy Orton and John Layfield both told the media last week that they didn’t think WWE should cancel the show.
The show is largely built out the return of Shawn Michaels to the ring for the first time since 2010, along with a World Cup tournament. A report this week indicated that John Cena informed WWE he wouldn’t be working the event despite being advertised.
You can read WWE’s full statement below:
“WWE has operated in the Middle East for nearly 20 years and has developed a sizable and dedicated fan base. Considering the heinous crime committed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the Company faced a very difficult decision as it relates to its event scheduled for November 2 in Riyadh. Similar to other U.S.-based companies who plan to continue operations in Saudi Arabia, the Company has decided to uphold its contractual obligations to the General Sports Authority and stage the event. Full year 2018 guidance is predicated on the staging of the Riyadh event as scheduled.”