Randy Orton Says WWE Should Have Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia Despite Criticism

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 17, 2018

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - AUGUST 15:  WWE wrestler Randy Orton attends WWE & E! Entertainment's 'SuperStars For Hope' at the Beverly Hills Hotel on August 15, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for WWE)
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

WWE Superstar Randy Orton believes the Crown Jewel event scheduled for Nov. 2 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, should go on as scheduled.

During an interview with TMZ Sports on Wednesday, Orton said WWE has a better chance of affecting change if it carries on with the show: "I think we should go. I think the only way to help with change over there is to go and not to cancel the trip. That's the goal is to make things better everywhere and I think us not going doesn't help. Going helps."

There has been public backlash regarding WWE's decision to hold the event due to Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul this month.

According to the Washington Post, Turkish officials have told U.S. officials they have video and audio evidence that a group of Saudi men killed Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate before they dismembered his body.

President Donald Trump spoke with Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman over the phone Tuesday, and Trump relayed that Salman denied any involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance.

CNN reported Monday, however, that Saudi Arabia was "preparing a report" in which it would acknowledge Khashoggi's death as the result of an "interrogation that went wrong."

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No report has been released yet, and a source told CNN that plans could change.

Per William Steakin of the Independent Journal Review, several U.S. senators have spoken out over the past week, urging WWE to cancel Crown Jewel.

WWE has continued to advertise the event, although it made no specific mention of Saudi Arabia on Raw or SmackDown this week.

On Saturday, Mike Johnson of PWInsider reported that WWE was moving forward with Crown Jewel as planned.

If Crown Jewel takes place, Orton will be part of the WWE World Cup tournament, which will feature eight of the company's top Superstars.

Also, Shawn Michaels is scheduled to make his in-ring return after eight years, teaming with Triple H against The Undertaker and Kane.