WWE Reveals Expanded Partnership with Saudi Arabia amid Rumors of Travel Issues

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 4, 2019

Saudi wrestling watch fire works during the World Wrestling Entertainment
Amr Nabil/Associated Press

On the heels of Crown Jewel last Thursday, WWE announced it has committed to holding two events in Saudi Arabia through 2027.

The company first revealed in March 2018 it had struck a 10-year partnership with the Saudi General Sports Authority.

At the time, WWE didn't explicitly outline it would stage two major shows in Saudi Arabia, but that has been the case so far. The deal began with the Greatest Royal Rumble in April 2018 and has included Crown Jewel on two occasions and Super ShowDown.

Some fans might highlight the timing of Monday's announcement given the rumors surrounding travel issues experienced by many wrestlers as they exited Saudi Arabia following Crown Jewel.

Dave Meltzer reported on Wrestling Observer Radio that Saudi Arabia still owed WWE money from Super ShowDown in June, which led Vince McMahon to cut the live feed of Crown Jewel in the Saudi market.

WWE released a statement saying mechanical issues had grounded the plane that was slated to bring the wrestlers back to the United States. According to Meltzer, however, some personnel were skeptical of that explanation (warning: video contains profanity):

CNN Business' Paul R. La Monica noted WWE's stock price had fallen about 25 percent this year despite the company signing new television deals with USA Network and Fox. La Monica cited "lingering worries about the company's international TV contracts" as one reason for the drop and cited the Middle East and India as two markets in which WWE needed to get new deals.