Although WWE has said publicly they are monitoring the situation in Saudi Arabia ahead of their Crown Jewel event on November 2, no one really knows what's going on but Vince McMahon himself.
Reports have suggested that WWE are pulling the plug on the event and trying to find somewhere else to host it at late notice. Given they are doing television tapings in England the following week, that would sure make a great deal of sense.
Jamal Khashoggi, an American journalist based in Saudi Arabia, is still missing and believed to be murdered according to the Turkish government. While there are no firm details on that at present, President Trump's involvement and the fact it has become national media has put significant pressure on the WWE.
Should McMahon go ahead with his show in Saudi Arabia, it's a direct deal with Mohammad Bin Salman, the man believed to be connected to Khashoggi's disappearance.
So why would McMahon risk it like this? The WWE have a 10-year deal with Saudi Arabia and it's believed that deal becomes more lucrative as time wears on.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, though, the WWE don't stand to make as much money as you might think.
“Do you know how much they’re actually expected to make as far as profit on this show? 2-3 million. It’s not like $40 million.”
“It’s going to be $2-3 million of profit by the end of the quarter. For $2-3 million being the profit for doing this, I mean it’s not like — you know, whatever. And granted you are risking a long-term deal that is a lot of money and in time apparently next year it’s significantly more profitable.”
“I don’t know all the details I just saw those numbers $2-3 million and there are companies who are walking away [from way more]. I understand Vince [McMahon] because Vince doesn’t live in the real world. I mean that’s the thing, Vince doesn’t live in the real world. He just finds the real world an annoyance because he lives in the world he controls and this didn’t happen, nobody died in his world, you know. He died in our world but not his world.”
“It’s an annoyance! It’s like ‘I have a deal, I can make money, what’s this real world sh*t? You know what I mean? I can’t control the real world, I can only control my world. In my world I didn’t do nothing wrong, so why can’t I go?’ That’s probably where it’s coming from.”
That's a pretty strong take from Meltzer. And while £2-£3 million is by no means a small amount of money, one would imagine the WWE could afford to leave it on the table given the current circumstances.
WWE fans roundly booed the mere mention of the event at SmackDown Live 1000 and many fans have taken to Twitter to show they have canceled their WWE Network account to protest. Time is ticking for Vince and the WWE.
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