WWE Rumors: Backlash PPV Canceled Due to Scheduling of Saudi Arabia Show

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 22, 2019

Seth Rollins makes his way to the rign during the WWE World Cup Quarterfinal match as part of as part of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Crown Jewel pay-per-view at the King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh on November 2, 2018. (Photo by Fayez Nureldine / AFP)        (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)
FAYEZ NURELDINE/Getty Images

WWE has reportedly canceled its Backlash pay-per-view, which was scheduled for June 16 in San Diego.

The Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Dave Meltzer reported Sunday that WWE is planning an event in Saudi Arabia on June 7 and may not have wanted two major shows in a little over a week.

Fightful's Jeremy Lambert originally reported the Saudi show was slated for May 3.

Assuming that's the justification, the decision is logical, if a little disheartening for wrestling fans who have come to loathe WWE's Saudi Arabia shows.

Greatest Royal Rumble, WWE's first event as part of its agreement with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was a little less than a month after WrestleMania 34 in April 2018. Especially since Greatest Royal Rumble had a lot of WrestleMania rematches, it took the wind out of the sails for WWE's marquee PPV.

Things were even worse last fall when Evolution, Crown Jewel, NXT TakeOver: WarGames and Survivor Series all happened within the span of a month.

This situation would make WWE's priorities explicitly clear.

The company announced last March it reached a 10-year deal with Saudi Arabia. Wrestling Inc's Raj Giri estimated Greatest Royal Rumble and Crown Jewel collectively earned WWE between $70 million and $80 million.

Unless it's one of WWE's big four shows—Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam and Survivor Series—a Saudi event is likely to take precedence over a regular monthly PPV.

Citing the country's human rights record, many fans voiced concern about WWE's formal partnership with Saudi Arabia. The outcry grew louder following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The CIA determined in November that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman likely ordered Khashoggi's killing.

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