Crown Jewel News – Cena, Bryan and Renee Young

Crown Jewel is going full steam ahead in Saudi Arabia this Friday, despite huge controversy and rebellion from fans and the media. Yet again this week HBO’s award winning Last Week Tonight with John Oliver let out a tirade against WWE for their propaganda campaign, womens attendance and continued support of SA.

John Cena and Daniel Bryan Out?

There have been rumours swirling for the last two weeks concerning John Cena and Daniel Bryan refusing to travel to Saudi Arabia.

John Cena had been previously booked to be a part of the World Cup tournament as part of the show and had been a part of WWE advertising for the event. This week on Raw Cena was replaced on-screen in the tournament by Bobby Lashley.

Similarly, Bryan was scheduled to go up against AJ Styles for the WWE Championship. This match however went ahead last night on Smackdown instead, with AJ Styles picking up the win.

AJ Styles is now expected to face Samoa Joe for the WWE Title at Crown Jewel this Friday as a replacement match.

Renee Young at Crown Jewel?

It has been reported by Pro Wrestling Sheet that Renee Young is set to travel with WWE to Saudi Arabia to act as part of the Raw commentary team.

At this time it is unclear how her role will be handled as women in Saudi Arabia are subject to a number of onerous state controls. At the Greatest Royal Rumble event back in April women were not allowed on the show and the Saudi General Sports Authority had to even release an apology after a promotional video was showing including women.

Weekly Wrestling Roundup – Evolution Review, Crown Jewel, Roman Reigns

This has been one of the busiest news weeks in WWE history, listen to out audio weekly round up below or head over to iTunes to subscribe to out Podcast reviews by clicking the link to the right.

In this weeks round up we cover the Roman Reigns news, the Evolution PPV results and review as well as various pieces of Crown Jewel news.

Evolution Review (In-Brief)

This show did not have the greatest build in the world, in fact it was rather lost in the shuffle with Super Show-Down, Crown Jewel and SD 1000 all occuring at the same time.

However, this show not only met expectations but blew them out of the water. It may well be the most I have enjoyed a PPV this year.

Every single match on this card delivered last night and all of the women should be extremely proud of themselves for what they accomplished. Listen to our audio review for a full review, but my notes in brief:

  • Becky and Charlotte stole the show – This should have main evented and is very likely a match of the year. I have not enjoyed a match this much in a long time. A+
  • The Battle Royal was really enjoyable and Nia Jax is 100% the correct winner. Ember Moon was put over STRONG and I loved Tamina’s performance – really made her look like a monster again
  • Lita and Trish haven’t aged – This was absolutely the right way to start off the show, the crowd was HOT for everything on this show and this nostalgia kicked it off perfectly.

For more news and reviews listen to the above audio review or head over to Twitter @SEW_Podcast

BREAKING: WWE ARE Going to Saudi Arabia for Crown Jewel

WWE have announced in their 3rd quarter earning report today that they WILL be going to Saudi Arabia as planned. The full statement from WWE is below:

“WWE has operated in the Middle East for nearly 20 years and has developed a sizable and dedicated fan base. Considering the heinous crime committed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the Company faced a very difficult decision as it relates to its event scheduled for November 2 in Riyadh. Similar to other U.S.-based companies who plan to continue operations in Saudi Arabia, the Company has decided to uphold its contractual obligations to the General Sports Authority and stage the event. Full year 2018 guidance is predicated on the staging of the Riyadh event as scheduled”

UPDATE (4:52PM 25/20/18): On the WWE analyst conference call this afternoon the first question asked to Vince McMahon was about Saudi Arabia and he responded by saying “We’re not gonna talk about that. It’s a very sensitive subject” before referring to the approves statement above.

A timeline of events

On October 2nd 2018 Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist for the Washington Post, went missing after being lured to the Saudi Arabian embassy in Turkey. Khashoggi was an outspoken critic of the Saudi regime and was presumed to have been kidnapped and executed by Saudi agents.

This story has garnered international attention, from every mainstream media outlet. WWE has found itself in the crosshairs of staunch criticism due to their upcoming Crown Jewel event in the nation and a reported 10-year deal worth $450 million.

October 12: WWE release a statement saying they were “monitoring the situation”. Several US Senators voice concern over the relationship and say it should not go ahead.

October 12: Richard Branson halts $1 Billion investment in Saudi Arabia. Several companies such as Uber, CNBC, Viacom, HP and Ford drop out of the Saudi Arabian investment conference known as “Davos in the Desert”.

October 14: John Oliver, on his award-winning show Last Week Tonight, criticised WWE for the Crown Jewel event and for using their Greatest Royal Rumble event as a propaganda machine for the Saudi regime.

October 15: UFC’s owner, Endeavor, dropped a $400 million deal with Saudi Arabia

October 15: Sports Illustrated reported WWE talent were expressing that they were “uncomfortable” with making the trip to Saudi Arabia. WWE responded to the New York Post saying that they “maintain an open line of communication with our performers

October 16 Former WWE Superstar and commentator John Bradshaw Layfield said on Fox Business news that he believed WWE should go to Saudi Arabia as a means to “promote change” in the region. This was met with some staunch criticism from wrestling journalists such as David Bixenspan and Sean Ross Sapp.

October 17: Eric Handler, a Wall Street analyst who is listed on WWE’s corporate website, told Deadline that WWE would stand to lose up to $16 Million if they pulled out of the Saudi deal. A far cry from some of the reported sums

October 20Saudi Arabia claims that Mr Khashoggi was killed during a “fistfight” in the consulate. This marks the first time Saudi Arabia acknowledged the journalist’s death.

October 23: Turkish president Recep Erdogan said on Tuesday that the death of Khashoggi was a “premeditated murder

October 23: US President Donald Trump today said that the operation “should never have been thought of” and that the cover-up was “one of the worst in the history of cover-ups”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE: Hulk Hogan “Looking forward” to going to Saudi Arabia with WWE

UPDATE: WWE confirmed to Wrestling sheet today that Hogan would serve as “Host” of Crown Jewel. He was advertised on the WWE events listing of Crown Jewel earlier today, but has since been removed:

Hulk Hogan, perhaps the biggest star in wrestling history, has been cast into the wilderness for the past few years after some racially charged comments made in a leaked video.

However, he is seemingly back in WWE’s good graces, having been reinstated into the Hall of Fame and WWE have been actively promoting his NWO event in Florida next week.

Hogan has now expressed in an interview:

“I’m looking forward to going to Saudi Arabia with the WWE, looking forward to WrestleMania — but yeah, we’re moving forward at a rapid pace. It’s exciting to have this opportunity again after all these years where I was there and gone.”

It is unsure if Hogan is referring to an appearance at the controversial Crown Jewel event or a future Saudi event. Hogan seems very proactively determined to get back within the WWE on a more permanent and visible way. Wishing to travel the world with the company and make appearances at Wrestlemania next year and beyond.

There is no official word from the WWE regarding any potential Hogan appearance as of writing.

WWE to Make Decision Regarding Crown Jewel Today?

Final decision on Crown Jewel coming today?

WWE’s Crown Jewel event has been marred with extreme controversy since its inception. Numerous conglomerate companies have severed their ties with the Saudi regime following the brutal assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, yet WWE has thus far stood firm.

The Wrap is reporting that officials within WWE were waiting on the official outcome of Turkeys investigation into the murder of Jamal Khashoggi to announce anything further.

Turkish president Recep Erdogan said on Tuesday that the death of Khashoggi was a “premeditated murder” and not something which happened in the heat of the moment as the Saudi government has claimed.

President Erdogan continued “Why was a team of 15 Saudi men, all with qualifications related to the incident in Istanbul… the murder might have been committed at a consulate building which may be considered Saudi Arabian land, but it rests with the borders of Turkey.

Further to this, US President Donald Trump today said that the operation “should never have been thought of” and that the cover-up was “one of the worst in the history of cover-ups”.

Robbie Fox of Barstool Sports is reporting that the WWE has been “frantically” trying to find alternative locations for the event.

Only time will tell if WWE does decide to relocate or maybe even change the date of the Crown Jewel event.

The Wrap reports that following the Turkish assessment WWE would make their final decision. This does not however mean that they will not go. It should be noted however that with only two weeks left until the PPV tickets are still not for sale and WWE has stripped all mention of Saudi Arabia from the promotion for the event.

RAW Review: Roman, The Shield, Ronda and More

Roman Reigns

Raw kicked off with the harrowing announcement from WWE’s top guy, Roman Reigns that he is currently battling Leukaemia – a disease he has had for 11 years, has been in remission from, but has now returned.

This was one of, if not the most heart-breaking things I have ever seen take place in a WWE ring. The 33-year-old Roman Reigns has been one of the most divisive figures in wrestling history but has always delivered for the fans and for the company. He most certainly does not deserve to have to deal with this at such a young age.

Roman says that he has beaten leukaemia before and will do it again and WILL be back. I think I can speak for everyone in saying we cannot wait for the day he returns to full health and comes back home where he belongs.

A Broken Shield

With what happened at the opening of the show I don’t think anyone could have predicted an ending quite like this. Dean and Seth fought against Drew and Dolph, displaying that energy and teamwork we’ve come to love and expect from the Shield. And they actually WON the Tag Titles!

It seemed to be the happy ending to one of the most devastating shows on record…

… But not tonight. The Shield broke down in front of our eyes. Dirty Deeds to Seth on top of the titles and the crowd were audibly shocked.

Ambrose laid into Seth outside the ring, dropping him on the bare concrete with another Dirty Deeds, before exiting through the ferocious crowd, screaming “how could you?” and “why dean why?”

This closing segment was nothing short of fantastic. The heel turn was extremely well done and Michael Cole’s call of “NOT ON THIS NIGHT!” just added something extra to the moment. It would have been easy for WWE to run with the feel-good close of the show, but for once they have taken this in a much more interesting direction. One which I am certainly excited for.

Elias the face!

After quickly dismantling Apollo Elias made his way to the stage perform, where he was interrupted by Corbin who threatened to fire Elias and even used Stephanie as a threat, and for the trouble he got… smashed with a guitar!

Elias has gone from getting some of the greatest heel heat in years to getting great babyface pops in the space of weeks. I don’t hide that I’m a fan of Elias, he’s one of the few top names in the company which has been allowed to grow organically, without feeling like he’s being over-produced.

Ronda being… Ronda

Ronda has gone from strength to strength since her debut, less than a year ago remember!

Her promo against the Bella’s last week has gotten some major attention and rightfully so – it was one of the most raw and non-pc promos they’d had on the show in a long time.

Ronda was cool, calm and collected in this contract signing, simply saying at the end “I will end you”.

Two months ago Ronda v Nicki was not in my mind the match I wanted at Evolution… that has all changed. They’ve hooked me.

Grade: 8/10

This show will certainly go down in the history books for many reasons, Roman’s opener and the Shield shocker are but two. I think there was a nice flow to the majority of the show with threads of the Shield and of Braun and Drew running throughout. There were still some dead matches thrown in which is a shame, but as a whole, this is maybe the most emotional and un-formulaic episodes of Raw I’ve seen in years.

Roman Reigns – The Wrestling World Reacts

Last night on Monday Night Raw, Roman Reigns in a deeply emotional and shocking speech, announced that he has had an 11-year-long battle with leukaemia. He has been in remission for a long time but the disease has reappeared, and as a result, he would be relinquishing the Universal Title and taking a hiatus.

Of course, all of our best wishes go out to Roman in this devastating time and hope that he once again fights through this and comes out the other side stronger than ever.

The official press release from WWE reads:

STAMFORD, Conn., October 22, 2018 – Tonight on Monday Night Raw, Roman Reigns (aka Joe Anoa’i) announced that he is relinquishing the WWE Universal Championship and taking a leave of absence from WWE as he once again fights leukemia, which had been in remission since late 2008. Reigns is taking his battle with leukemia public in an effort to raise awareness and funds for research in order to advance cures for the disease.

This press release alone is to the credit of Roman, using his own tragedy to try and better countless other lives around the world suffering from leukaemia. Whilst he has proven to be one of the most divisive figures in WWE history,  the man himself has earned and deserves the utmost respect from everyone.

The outpouring of love from not just the WWE locker room but the entire Wrestling world is evidence of the huge levels of respect he has earned during his tenure.

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