WWE Crown Jewel has been making headlines way outside of the world of professional wrestling — and it hasn’t been for a very good reason at all. In fact, there hasn’t been a pay-per-view that has been this controversial in recent memory since the last time they went to Saudi Arabia for the Greatest Royal Rumble.
John Cena made the trip to the KSA for the GRR and he even took the microphone after his match with Triple H and thanked the Saudi crowd and their government. That clip was then used against him in a big way as John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight used it to illustrate how WWE can’t see human rights violations (their words).
So as Cena’ star in Hollywood shines brighter, it looked like he had a very important and difficult decision to make. He was promoted heavily as participating in the World Cup Tournament for Crown Jewel — but he wasn’t interested in taking the PR hit and boarding a plane to perform in front of the controversial leader.
Brad Shepard reports that WWE offered John Cena another “very generous” deal to reconsider pulling out of Crown Jewel. This might have been why it took them 2 weeks to pull Cena from the show. But of course, John Cena won’t be seen in Saudi Arabia as if they could see him in the first place. It just goes to show that WWE was willing to spend even more money on the big event in Riyadh even though it didn’t work for them this time in securing Cena.