Report: Sami Zayn Held Out of Greatest Royal Rumble to 'Respect Saudi Culture'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2018

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 26:  Sami Zayn presents Courageous Use of Sport award, presented by WWE during the Beyond Sport Global Awards on July 26, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Sami Zayn's absence from the Greatest Royal Rumble event in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Friday reportedly had to do with his Syrian roots.

According to Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet, WWE did not put Zayn on the show in an effort to "respect the local culture in Saudi Arabia."

WWE released a statement on the matter, saying, "WWE is committed to embracing individuals from all backgrounds while respecting local customs and cultural differences around the world."

Zayn is a Canadian of Syrian descent, and Saudi Arabia has had strained relations with Syria since the start of the Syrian Civil War in 2012.

Along with Zayn, no women were part of the Greatest Royal Rumble event either.

Leading up to the Greatest Royal Rumble, WWE Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative Triple H discussed his hope that WWE holding the show in Saudi Arabia would open the door for women to compete in the future, per Matty Paddock of The Independent: "While, right now, women are not competing in the event, we have had discussions about that and we believe and hope that, in the next few years, they will be. That is a significant cultural shift in Saudi Arabia."

Women were permitted to attend the show, but only with male chaperones.

Leading up to the Greatest Royal Rumble, Zayn spoke as if he was going to be part of it. That included a promo also involving Kevin Owens and Kurt Angle on the final episode of Raw prior to the event.

Owens and Angle were both part of the 50-man Royal Rumble match, while Zayn did not make an appearance.

Zayn is scheduled to be back on WWE programming for Monday's episode of Raw in Montreal, which is near his hometown of Laval, Quebec, Canada.

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