WWE is beginning to feel the heat over their Crown Jewel event that is scheduled to take place at the King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Friday, November 2.
Saudi national and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared from the Saudi consulate in Turkey earlier this month and the Turkish government claims they have proof that Khashoggi was kidnapped, tortured and then murdered inside the consulate in a state-ordered crime. This has developed into a hot political topic in the United States with Republicans and Democrats calling for an investigation. President Trump even mentioned the Khashoggi situation today and said he plans on personally calling Saudi Arabia’s King Salman regarding the disappearance.
“We don’t like it, we don’t like it a little bit,” Trump told reporters today. “What happened is a terrible thing, assuming that happened. Maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised but somehow I doubt it.”
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy from WWE’s home state of Connecticut said he hopes WWE is re-thinking their relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Murphy told IJR, “I’d hope that they would be rethinking their relationship with the kingdom especially with respect to events coming up in the next weeks like [WWE Crown Jewl].”
Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware acted surprised when he first heard of the Crown Jewel event and also expressed concern. Coons said WWE “should be taking a hard look” at the relationship moving forward. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has been one of the more vocally aggressive senators following the news of Khashoggi’s disappearance, said “there should be a pause” in regards to WWE doing business with the Kingdom.
Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey mentioned former WWE CEO Linda McMahon when discussing WWE and the Saudis. Linda, who ran for the Senate twice as a Republican, currently works as the Administrator of Trump’s Small Business Administration. Menendez said, “Private enterprise is private enterprise, different than a governmental entity, but because [Linda McMahon] is part of the president’s cabinet, it falls into the grey area where the administration really should give it some thought and maybe even prevail upon them not doing it.”
A spokesman for WWE veteran Kane (Glenn Jacobs), who is also known as the Republican Mayor of Knox County in Tennessee, also issued a statement to KnoxNews.com over the situation. Kane is set to team with The Undertaker to face Triple H and WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels at Crown Jewel.
Jacobs spokesman Rob Link said Kane still plans to wrestle at Crown Jewel. “Mayor Jacobs won’t speculate on Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance,” Link said. “However, he and his family are in the mayor’s thoughts and prayers.”
“Mayor Jacobs won’t speculate on Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance,” Link said. “However, he and his family are in the mayor’s thoughts and prayers.”
IJR reached out to WWE for comments on the growing concern and WWE issued the following statement back to them: “We are currently monitoring the situation.”
Dave Meltzer reports that WWE has been discussing back-up plans internally, just in case the show doesn’t take place.