WWE programming has included many controversial moments through the years, and 2018’s Crown Jewel event was controversial by itself. Then Shawn and Ariya Daivari came out waving an Iranian flag to make international headlines.
That flag waving segment created shockwaves through Saudi Arabia and it also garnered some mainstream attention. The art of getting heat from a live crow was lost on those who saw the significance of that flag waving on another level.
While speaking to Wrestling Inc, Ariya Daivari revealed what really went down to make that controversial segment happen. He was told that the Saudi Prince himself requested the segment. So, Daivari was simply doing as he was requested.
“From what I was told, that was requested from the Saudi Prince. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know. He booked the show. At the end of the day, it was his idea, and for me, particularly being fairly new at the time, you’re not gonna say no to stuff. All this Saudi stuff was a big deal. It was a big money deal. Backstage, they made it seem like how important these Saudi shows are to the company.”
“They’re doing the very first one, and as a cruiserweight, I’m not gonna be like, ‘No, I’m not doing this type of thing.’ You just kind of have to do what you’re told or at least that’s how I felt about it, and the only reason my brother came is, some people may not know this, but my neck was injured at the time. I was completely on the injured list, and they called me one day and said, ‘Hey, can we get your brother’s information because we’ll just send him to go do this thing,’ and that was a situation where I was kind of like, ‘Oh damn, maybe we can do something together.’ And I told them, ‘Hey, if you guys will let me like, I’ll still go too, injured or not. Maybe me and my brother can do it together,’ and they were all about it.”
“That was the reason why, if you ever go back and watch it, he took all the bumps. I just got pushed onto my ass and rolled out of the ring, and then he took all the bumps because I wasn’t cleared to take any bumps at that point, so that’s why they brought my brother along too. Looking back on in hindsight, and hindsight’s 20/20, I wish we didn’t do it, and you never want to disrespect people. And it’s not like people in the United States were upset about it, but people in Iran, people in Saudi Arabia, they didn’t like it, and I said, ‘My goal was never to offend anybody.’ You never want to do that with wrestling.”
“I really care about wrestling. I really care about my work. I don’t want to offend anybody or stuff like that. That was why I took it upon myself to put out that apology. Nobody told me to do it. The company didn’t ask me and all that stuff. I was gonna do it myself. I want to make this right. If it truly offended people, and they’re not understanding that this is just a show, then I’ll say I’m sorry. It wasn’t really a big deal to me to apologize for it.”
WWE released Ariya Daivari from his contract, so he is waiting out his 90-day non-compete clause at this time. The company is also reportedly planning another trip to Saudi Arabia in October, so you never know if WWE might have another shocking segment planned to generate some real heat for those passionate Saudi fans.
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