It had been rumoured now for a couple of weeks, but WWE confirmed the news this past week on Monday Night Raw. John Cena will not be competing at Crown Jewel this upcoming Friday.
Ever since the news emerged about the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi on October 2 at the Saudi consulate in Turkey, reports began making their rounds stating Cena would be pulling out of WWE Crown Jewel in the Kingdom as a result.
However, as we edged closer and closer to Crown Jewel's November 2 event date, Cena name and participation in the World Cup still remained on WWE's promotion for the event. That all changed on Raw.
During a rather strange backstage segment, WWE announced that Cena would be removed from the World Cup at Crown Jewel event and replaced with Bobby Lashley.
When confronted by Lio Rush and Lashley, acting Raw general manager Baron Corbin simply removed Cena from the show and replaced him with Lashley, explaining that Cena was out since he didn't qualify for the World Cup.
Lashley will now compete in the World Cup with Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz and Rey Mysterio in the tournament.
Many believe Cena is pulling out of the show due to his push into the world of mainstream Hollywood in movies and television in recent years and therefore doesn't want to be associated with Saudi Arabia right now due to the ongoing investigation into the death of Khashoggi.
No other superstar is yet to pull out of the show, but there are rumours that Daniel Bryan could soon join Cena. His Crown Jewel situation is expected to be addressed this week on SmackDown Live. He's expected to face AJ Styles for the WWE title at Crown Jewel.
As well as announcing Cena's Crown Jewel replacement, WWE also revealed the brackets for their World Cup tournament in Saudi Arabia.
WWE revealed that one side of the bracket would have Raw superstars, while the other will have SmackDown superstars.
In the first rounds on the Raw side of the bracket, Rollins will face Lashley while Angle will face Ziggler. In the first rounds on the SmackDown side, Hardy will take on The Miz while Mysterio will take on Orton.
WWE's World Cup is set to take place at Crown Jewel on November 2 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
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