WWE is enjoying its 10-year deal with Saudi General Sports Authority despite fans strongly resenting the agreement after US journalist Jamal Khashoggi‘s assassination last October. The juggernaut promotion has been flooded with tremendous cash flow by The Kingdom, but reviews for the Saudi Arabian shows have been horrific so far.
WWE and KSA are considering turning things around with Crown Jewel that takes place this Thursday in Riyadh. The billion-dollar promotion has booked two marquee matches involving the in-ring debut of two celebrity athletes, namely, Cain Velasquez and Tyson Fury.
As previously reported, several Superstars tried to decline the trip to The Middle East but their WWE commitments eventually forced them to board the flight.
During a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Corey Graves came up with a different narrative – most Superstars look forward to working the Saudi Arabian shows due to the huge pay day!
“It’s a long, grueling trip over there, but most of the talent like it because it’s a pretty good pay day. To me, it’s super exciting to have these totally unusual attractions like Cain Velasquez-Brock Lesnar and Tyson Fury-Braun Strowman. If you take any sort of political feeling out of the equation, aren’t you, as a fan of WWE, aren’t you curious and excited to watch these attractions?”
Immaterial of what Graves says, the WWE-KSA deal indeed involves politics to such an extent that the Saudi government will pay any jaw-dropping, eye-popping amount to whitewash their image by using Vince McMahon‘s company as the global platform to spread their message.
“It is what it is. This is not about politics for the talent, it’s about doing what we do best on the planet all over the planet. Everyone that works for any company has things they love and things they don’t love, but what we’re all focused on is having to fly back to SmackDown in Buffalo the next day.”