WWE‘s relationship with Saudi Arabia has been controversial from the start, a bad look for the wrestling company in basically every way. The Crown Jewel event on October 31 brought up new issues when talent was stuck in the country for hours, reportedly because of payment issues between WWE and Saudi Arabia. Multiple wrestlers took issue with this both anonymously and publicly.
But you know who doesn’t have an issue with this whole Saudi Arabia deal? WWE! The company released a statement today to make sure everyone knows that everything is fine between it and this government:
Following the historic Crown Jewel event in Riyadh, WWE (NYSE: WWE) and the Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA) have expanded their live event partnership through 2027 to include a second annual large-scale event. WWE and GEA also continue to work towards the completion of a media agreement in the MENA region.
This long-term partnership demonstrates WWE and GEA’s commitment to bring sports entertainment to the region and supports Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.
Vision 2030 is a plan to decrease Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil and strengthen its economy, including by making it seem like a better destination for tourism, an image that it’s safe to say hasn’t been achieved. WWE was already locked into this Vision 2030-supporting deal for ten years and so far has run two shows per year as part of it, but for some reason, the company decided to emphasize that last part at this time.
WWE also released a statement today, this one just to Forbes, in which it reiterated its official explanation for the travel delays, the one many wrestlers don’t seem to believe. The company denied the story that the wrestlers’ flights out of Saudi Arabia were grounded in retaliation for Vince McMahon ordering the local Crown Jewel feed cut in retaliation for WWE not being paid for the shows yet. Forbes says that WWE said, “the feed issues were entirely unrelated to any issues with payment. They reinforced that mechanical issues were a cause of the flight delay and Atlas Air, the charter company, issued an apology in that regard as well.”
Overall, it looks like WWE wants all this controversy to blow over. Whether it actually will remains to be seen.