WWE Reportedly ‘Had A Problem In Saudi Arabia,’ Some Performers Are Stuck There And Will Miss Smackdown

It’s difficult to write a story when we have almost no definite information, but something seems to be going on with WWE in Saudi Arabia, in the wake of yesterday’s Crown Jewel event in Riyadh. Apparently most of the talent who traveled there are currently unable to leave, or at least were as of earlier this morning. Performers who were expected to appear on Smackdown tonight will not be able to make it in time for the show.

According to Dave Meltzer, 20 people left Saudi Arabia, 12 of whom were onscreen talent, but everyone else was kept from leaving. As reported by PWInsider, the people who’ve been stuck there were kept on the plane for hours, but then moved to hotels in Riyadh. Vince McMahon, Hulk Hogan, and Brock Lesnar were all reportedly able to leave because they had their own planes.

It was specifically the plane that had been chartered to get everyone else back in time for Smackdown that was unable to take off. Wrestling Inc initially reported that this was due to a mechanical problem involving the fuel line to the plane, although other sources have used more ominous language of the WWE flight “not being allowed” to leave.

To be clear, it’s a fourteen-hour flight from Saudi Arabia to the US, so anyone who was in a Saudi hotel as of this morning definitely will not appear on Smackdown tonight.

Fightful notes that some talent were suspicious of the reason for the delay, and also included this particularly troubling note:

There were rumors among talent that Vince McMahon got in some kind of disagreement in Saudi Arabia, though I haven’t been able to fully confirm that.

Here are a few more tweets on the subject, since we don’t have a lot of concrete information:

We will keep you updated when more details emerge about this situation, and hopefully whatever happens, everyone makes it home safe.