WWE Crown Jewel included Brock Lesnar beating Cain Velasquez in about two minutes and The Fiend winning the WWE Championship, but the real-life events surrounding the show were still more dramatic. After the controversial event funded by the Saudi government, wrestlers were stuck in Saudi Arabia for hours, most for significantly longer than the select few who left on private planes. This was reportedly because of a pay dispute between Vince McMahon and the government, something that lines up with WWE’s latest earnings report.
Unsurprisingly, this whole situation was upsetting for many WWE wrestlers. On the latest episode of Wrestling Observer Radio, in a segment you can listen to here, Dave Meltzer said a lot of WWE talent reached out to him about the incident, with some saying they felt like hostages. BodySlam.net also reported that a WWE wrestler told them talent felt like pawns in a “power play.”
WOR also reported that WWE is trying to get talent to go on record saying their flights were delayed by mechanical issues to fit the official explanation put out by WWE, but that’s not what most of the roster believes happened. Judging from recent social media posts, it looks like some also take issue with another part of the company’s statement about the delay, the part that says “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.”
— Joe Hennig (@RealCurtisAxel) November 3, 2019
Alluding to reports that McMahon only ordered a charter flight for twenty WWE wrestlers while the rest had to wait longer in Saudi Arabia, Curtis Axel tweeted a picture of him and his son with “Not the #Top20? I’m #1 at home! We don’t leave each other behind. @WWE”
On Instagram, Luke Harper, who asked for his release from the company earlier this year and was not granted it, used the same hashtag as part of an even more pointed caption: “Larry, I’m home. I guess I didn’t want it enough to pay for my own charter, but I’m home now. #NotTop20.” Tyson Kidd commented, “Next time we’ll pool our money together instead of being lazy.”
If the roster keeps this energy up, especially if they do it in an organized way, it could spell more problems for WWE. On Twitter, Karl Anderson made a comment to this effect: “Looking forward to seeing who the locker room leader is on Monday.”
Looking forward to seeing who the locker room leader is on Monday..
— Karl Anderson (@KarlAndersonWWE) November 3, 2019