RAW Deal: WWE and its Saudi Arabia problems
RIYADH – So I'm sure you've heard of it by now: WWE's Saudi Arabia supershow Crown Jewel is in trouble because of all the hot water the country is in following the disappearance and death of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Pretty much everyone in the government – yes, from both the Democrat and Republican sides – is pressuring WWE to either cancel the event altogether or at least consider relocating it.
The show, though, will likely go on since the will of Vince McMahon is the supreme dictator of what goes on in the company.
Crown Jewel itself will net WWE around $2 to 3 million, according to reports, while the entire partnership WWE has with Saudi Arabia is worth around $16 million.
Despite the fact that there's very little fans can do in order to persuade WWE into changing course – and by that I mean you can rouse all the rabble you want – and they'll be turning a deaf ear to the clarion call of social media in this particular instance than others because they've already got that money from the Saudi government, it doesn't mean we shouldn't try.
The other side of the truth is that the more WWE delays a decision and the more it looks like they'll be pushing through with the event, the worse it looks for them.
Sure, moving forward with Crown Jewel likely won't mean that droves of fans will stop watching altogether (after all, what do the majority of Americans care about the death of an Arabian journalist, who criticized a regime that seemingly has nothing to do with them?) but in an age where a corporation's moral position is slowly gaining more traction, this may still cause unforeseen effects.
While I'm sure fans won't start boycotting, I don't know what it would mean for the company if others finally grew spines and did something about their beliefs.
As for you, dear fan, choosing to watch Crown Jewel doesn't really mean that you're encouraging or supporting the actions of the Saudi government.
We're all too caught up in easy activism to immediately equate indulging oneself in problematic things to tantamount support. Hell, whether or not you watch this show, the company's already gotten paid a lion's share of the profits they were promised for teaming up with Saudi.
Your monthly WWE Network membership is merely icing on the cake; and if you're going to watch the show through an illegal stream, even better.
If you want to go watch AJ Styles versus Daniel Bryan or the return of Shawn Michaels as part of D-Generation X or Rey Mysterio competing in the WWE's World Cup, I believe you shouldn't feel bad about that.
In the meantime, if you feel that the Saudi government silencing Khashoggi for being a critic is a cause you should fight for (and you should definitely support that cause) you can still try to pressure WWE into moving Crown Jewel, even though I said it's not likely for us to persuade them. They've still got a couple of weeks before the show to work out a deal with a different arena.
NXT UK launches
On to some positive news, NXT has finally launched its United Kingdom division on the Network last Wednesday, October 17 (Thursday, October 18, Manila time).
The show wasted no time establishing its regional roster on its first episode, which not only includes the whole UK but also some of continental Europe.
The main event was a United Kingdom Championship match between the Scottish Supernova Noam Dar and Pete Dunne. The women's division is also already all set up, with a new Women's Championship revealed. The UK tag team titles are also ready and will be appearing on a future episode, so this whole thing is officially up and running. As is expected for a pilot episode, it's all wrestling and little fluff.
The success of NXT UK will determine whether NXT's going to set up shop in other parts of the world, especially here in Southeast Asia. It's only a matter of time, really, until they tap into the burgeoning Southeast Asian (or Asian, in general) wrestling scene.
I know it's already one more hour of WWE wrestling, but if you're looking for something to help keep your faith in the company, NXT UK is not a bad show to watch at all. Between this, NXT US, 205 Live, and the Mae Young Classic, WWE's Wednesday nights are now officially their strongest day of the week.
Do you listen to podcasts? Would you want to listen to a local podcast about pro wrestling? If the answers to those questions – especially that last one – are yes, then you should check out the cleverly-named Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast, featuring PWR General Manager Stan Sy, wrestling writer and Wrestling God Romeo Moran, and all-around multimedia person and former voice of PWR Raf Camus! On this week’s episode, Trian de la Torre’s girlfriend Sanya Coo talks to the boys about being a wrestler’s significant other! Listen to it here or on Spotify!