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Top 5 Reasons Why WWE Superstars Don’t Want Saudi Arabia Matches

There has been significant talk about WWE wrestlers not wanting to return to Saudi Arabia. But what are those reasons exactly?

Saudi Arabia pay-per-views have been surrounded by much controversy for the WWE. Fans are not to pleased with the shows taking place in Riyadh and Jeddah, but neither are the wrestlers. But, what are the reasons for wrestlers not wanting to wrestle in Saudi?

1. Safety Issues

WWE wrestlers don't want saudi matches

One of the biggest reasons why WWE wrestlers don’t want to go to Saudi Arabia is undoubtedly the lack of safety. While you would assume WWE superstars are safe when travelling to Saudi Arabia for a show, you would be very wrong.

The plane incident that took place last year had many people worried about the safety of their favorite WWE superstar. At the time, the WWE claimed that the plane had “mechanical issues”. However, one of the wives of a WWE superstar mentioned it was a hostage situation! Shortly after the incident, some wrestlers refused to ever return to the country.

While the true nature of the plane incident is still unknown, it still raises eyebrows to this day. There was some speculation at the time that there was tension between Vince McMahon and the Saudi government, but this point was never proven. Still, I wouldn’t want to test out the theory if I was one of the wrestlers involved.

2. Cultural Differences

WWE wrestlers don't want saudi arabia matches

While WWE wrestlers don’t have a problem with culture differences in general, they often do not know what they can get away with in the wrestling ring. Due to the cultural differences, some actions could be seen as insulting and could have serious repercussions for them.

To give you some examples, there are some things that are seen as socially unacceptable in Saudi. While some of those things may sound straightforward, others are not at all. So, you may encounter  some problems if you grew up in a western country.

One of the weirdest rules we have come across in Saudi Arabia is the fact that you can never show the soles of your shoes or point to anyone. You are also not allowed to wear tight clothing or show any affection to the opposite sex in public. Evidently, these things are not seen as abnormal in the United States.

Still, one of the most enforced rules in Saudi Arabia is that you should not speak critically of the royal family, and trust me, people have been killed for it. Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist who dared speak out against them, was lured to his death in a Saudi embassy.

Being in a country where you have to mind absolutely everything you say or do in fear of your own safety is not pleasant. It is therefore understandable that some wrestlers do not want to return. Despite this, many WWE wrestlers were forced to go to Rihad for Super ShowDown.

3. Moral Reasons

Saudi Arabia Moral Considerations

It is generally accepted that some countries have different rules to our own. But what do you do if those rules go against all your own morals and values? In fact, this is the case for many WWE wrestlers traveling to Saudi Arabia.

A good example why some wrestlers do not want to go to Saudi is simply the regime’s treatment of women. Here are some of the current social norms that apply to women in Saudi. As you may notice, they are very different from our own.

  • Men should avoid eye contact with women they are not related to;
  • Women cannot wear clothes or makeup to show off their beauty;
  • Interaction with unknown men should be kept to a bare minimum, preferably not at all;
  • Saudi Arabia prides itself on gender segregation, with separate entrances for women who do work in public buildings;
  • Women cannot try on clothes when shopping.

To this list, you can also add the fact that no more than one women’s match can be on during the pay-per-view. While that is better than no women at all, which it was in the beginning, it is still ridiculous. And, of course, women cannot wear their regular attire. They have to wrestle in T-shirts.

As you can imagine, many WWE wrestlers are quite uncomfortable with how women are treated in Saudi. It’s basically going back in time… Women fought hard to have the right to vote and to be considered as equals. Until this day, women are still not paid equally as men across the board. So, going back to a regime where women are treated so differently to men is the last thing this world needs.

4. The Political Regime Of Saudi

The Saudi King and Prince

There is one WWE wrestler that has a serious problem with the political regime of Saudi, and we don’t even need to mention his name for you to know who that wrestler is. He’s not wrong though, because the regime in Saudi has done some horrible things and been left unpunished.

One of the main atrocities committed by the regime is the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist we mentioned earlier. Khashoggi was a Saudi dissident who lived in the United States and worked for the Washington Post. He was lured to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey and killed by Saudi government agents. The United Nations would investigate later and put the blame squarely with the highest officials of the Saudi royal court. Yet again, there were no repercussions for the true culprits. The Saudi government found some scapegoats and sentenced them to death. Amnesty International called the trials and sentences a “whitewash”, as the royal family continues unchecked.

5. Lack Of Freedom

Based on what we have written already, it is clear why there would be a lack of freedom in Saudi Arabia for WWE wrestlers. Female wrestlers have the toughest time, but not even male wrestlers would escape the wrath of the Saudi regime if they  speak their mind.

The WWE have continued their shows in Saudi Arabia despite the protests of fans and even investors. It is once again an example of how money enables powerful people to get away with everything, while the real people pay the ultimate price for it.

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