WWE Acknowledges Crown Jewel Travel Delays, Promises Surprises On Smackdown

We still don’t know exactly what happened with the plane that didn’t take off from Saudi Arabia after Crown Jewel, and the WWE roster members who are still stuck there. In fact, it now seems that even the “essential” performers who reportedly got out will not make it in time for Smackdown tonight. However, WWE has at least acknowledged the travel delay, and made it clear that they’re making other plans for tonight’s show.

In a new post on WWE.com, the company reports that 175 WWE superstars and crew were aboard the plane, which they say was unable to take off “due to several aircraft problems including mechanical issues.” Thankfully, they promise that everyone will be able to leave Saudi Arabia on a new plane later tonight.

In the meantime, WWE promises a Smackdown featuring “Daniel Bryan, The Miz, Carmella, Nikki Cross, Dana Brooke — plus, additional surprises.” It’s surprising that Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley, who was not at Crown Jewel, isn’t mentioned, but I’m all for Carmella and Dana Brooke getting some attention.

Here’s the full statement:

The WWE roster is delayed in its return from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, following a historic performance at yesterday’s record-breaking WWE Crown Jewel event.

More than 175 Superstars, production crew and employees boarded a 747 charter flight back to the United States on Thursday. After the door closed, due to several aircraft problems including mechanical issues, all passengers sat on the tarmac for more than six hours. With SmackDown set to emanate live from Buffalo, N.Y., several Superstars felt so strongly that they arranged for their own separate charter in order to make it back to the U.S. for the show. Due to unforeseen issues, that charter will not land until after the live broadcast on FOX.

The remainder of WWE’s Superstars, staff and crew will depart on a charter set to depart Saudi Arabia later tonight.

As always with WWE, the show must go on. Live at 8/7 CT on FOX, SmackDown will feature Superstars, such as Daniel Bryan, The Miz, Carmella, Nikki Cross, Dana Brooke — plus, additional surprises.

For the latest updates on this story and tonight’s SmackDown, check back with WWE.com and follow WWE on social media.