These two statements really occurred within 12 hours of one another:
From the Saudi Arabia Attorney General:
“The public prosecution received information from the Turkish side through the Joint Working Group between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Turkish Republic, indicating that the suspects in Khashoggi’s case premeditated their crime,” Attorney General Shaikh Suood bin Abdullah Al Mo’jab said.
From WWE’s 3Q Quarterly Earnings Report:
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.
This is really no major surprise- Vince McMahon was always going to lean toward going ahead with the event. As I explained here, it wasn’t as cut and dry as just cancelling it. There were many moving parts that needed to be taken into account. My hope was that after looking at all of the facts that somewhere deep down they would see what a terrible idea this was.
That never happened.
Even earlier today, I wondered how they would book the event with Daniel Bryan and John Cena refusing to be a part of it. As our friends at the New Age Insiders correctly pointed out, you are now actually physically risking the safety and well-being of your talent. With sanctions coming from the US, what would make a better group of people to hold hostage than a sizable group of fairly high profile celebrities that will include the spouse of a cabinet member?
It’s highly unlikely that such an event would occur- the ramifications would likely be too great- but why take that chance?
We all know the answer.
A few weeks ago, I posed a HIGHLY scientific twitter poll asking if a decision to go ahead with Crown Jewel would cause people to stop watching WWE. It was a 15-0 (typical voter turnout- what are you gonna do?) no.
That’s probably still accurate today, but I think an anti-WWE sentiment is increasing. As I stated on Twitter, many of us are not walking away from WWE because of Crown Jewel per se, but moreso that it has become increasingly difficult to watch a bland, over thought product that is rammed down our throats via multiple channels consistently.
It’s the same reason many of us have abandoned college sports (except Memphis for me). I used to spend countless Saturdays glued to a television set watching any two “college” teams you would put in front of me. Scandals at Penn State, Baylor, and UNC stole the joy in college sports from me.
WWE has had every opportunity to do the right thing and has still chosen not to despite a growing mountain of evidence that at the very least rogue operatives from an oppressive regime dismembered an American journalist because he had unfavorable things to say about said regime.
Or, at the worst, there is a growing mountain of evidence that said oppressive regime ordered the murder and dismemberment of an American journalist because he had unfavorable things to say about said regime.
Whichever of the two above scenarios was true- the truth is likely somewhere in the middle- there is no scenario in which a group of Americans should load up on a plane, travel to the country in this drama, and perform like trained monkeys for the Saudi royal family.
We’re about to see the fabric of the performers in WWE. They are the last line of decency. If the reports of Daniel Bryan & John Cena refusing to take part are true, then hopefully others will do the same.
I’m not going to hold my breath.
While I am not going to say that I am “done” with WWE forever, they are making it increasingly easy for someone that walked away from 1998-2010 to say happy trails.
My WWE fandom is ready to rest in peace.