WWE Crown Jewel Removed from Company's 2018 Events Calendar amid Criticism

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 14, 2018

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR WWE - Ronda Rousey celebrates the Mae Young Classic at the Thomas & Mack Center on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/AP Images for WWE)
Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Associated Press

The WWE has removed the Crown Jewel show scheduled for November 2 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from its calendar of events, according to Dave Meltzer of F4WOnline.com.

The WWE has not made a formal announcement or statement in regard to the event, however.

The news comes in the wake of the suspected murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, with mounting suspicions that Saudi Arabia was responsible. According to BBC News, "The authorities in Istanbul believe Mr Khashoggi was murdered in the consulate by Saudi agents—claims Riyadh has dismissed as 'lies.'"

A number of corporations are also considering their ties to the Saudis following Khashoggi's disappearance. Per Julia MacFarlane of ABC News, "The billionaire founder of the Virgin empire, Sir Richard Branson, says he is halting talks over a $1 billion investment by Saudi Arabia in Virgin’s space firms as a result over the Khashoggi case."

MacFarlane also reported that a number of sponsors for the Future Investment Initiative summit in Riyadh have pulled out, including CNN, the New York Times and the Financial Times. Additionally, Economist editor Zanny Minton Beddoes, Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, Viacom CEO Bob Bakish, Huffington Post co-founder Ariana Huffington, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and CNBC anchor Andrew Sorkin have all cancelled scheduled appearances.

It remains unclear if the WWE is following suit and will cancel its Crown Jewel event. It was being put on in partnership with the Saudi General Sports Authority and was set to feature a "Universal Championship Triple Threat Match featuring Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman; a WWE Championship Match between AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan; and the first-ever WWE World Cup tournament to determine the best in the world," per WWE.com.