Tonight, Monday Night RAW comes to Philadelphia and the Wells Fargo Center. It'll be the go-home RAW for Fastlane, and by implication, the start of the home stretch of the Road to Wrestlemania. What has been said to be the likely main event for Wrestlemania (in some form), Ronda Rousey- Becky Lynch-Charlotte Flair, HAS to be set up tonight. It seems as though that's going to happen as Charlotte Flair is going to RAW to be "awarded" (according to her) the RAW Women's title.
The most obvious way to get there is to have Charlotte Flair cut the promo, calling on Vince McMahon to "award" her the belt. Becky Lynch hits the ring, gets the Disarmer on Flair, and demands Vince puts her back in the main event at Wrestlemania. He does nothing.
Meanwhile, Rousey also storms out, and demands the same of Vince McMahon or says she'll "go home and make babies" (yes, even use those words). Lynch says if Vince doesn't come out now, she'll snap Flair's arm off and there'll be no main event at all. Flair screams to sell Lynch "sinking in the armbar". Vince comes out, agrees, then after Lynch lets go, says "but you have to earn your way in by beating Charlotte at Fastlane this Sunday". Go off the air.
Now that I'm done playing Bowdren The Booker (those under 40 check your Wrestling Observer newsletter archives to get that reference...or Google it) it's time to get back to the reality of the real world beyond wrestling fans.
In case everyone has forgotten despite Wrestlemania main events many will enjoy, Vince McMahon and WWE are still getting tsns of millions in blood money from a Saudi Arabian regime that murders journalists and now has women's rights activists on trial...who have been tortured physically and sexually.
Numerous US and UK sources reported yesterday that over a dozen women's rights activists were arrested last May, just before the a decades-long ban on women driving was ended. According to the UK newspaper The Guardian, those activists held have been accused of "undermining security and aiding enemies of the state".
The Guardian report further states: "Those still detained include Aziza al-Yousef, a retired professor at Riyadhs King Saud University, and Loujain al-Hathloul who was held in 2014 for more than 70 days for attempting to drive from neighbouring United Arab Emirates to Saudi Arabia.
Some of those detained have faced sexual harassment and torture during interrogation, rights groups and their family members say. Several people with knowledge of their arrest have told the Associated Press that some of the women detained have been subjected to caning, electrocution and others were also sexually assaulted.
In February a cross-party panel of three British MPs found the female activists were being detained in cruel and inhumane conditions that meet the threshold of torture under both international and Saudi law."
So with all that, WWE is about to do another show this spring in Saudi Arabia on May 3, and another on November 1. They are carefully avoiding publicizing the show during Wrestlemania season while mainstream media have their eyes on WWE, and seem prepared to do so for as long as they practically can.
But WWE wrestling fans didn't ignore what was going on last year. According to numbers released from the latest WWE quarterly report, it appears that as many as 50,000 subscribers may have cancelled subscriptions to WWE Network as a result of Crown Jewel, after WWE went ahead with the show following the torture/murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi.
So in some part, the "historic women's main event" at Wrestlemania seems designed to counteract the expected bad publicity that will no doubt come from this spring's unnamed May Saudi event, especially since no all women's WWE Evolution PPV is scheduled for 2019 to provide what Evolution did in 2018.
It helps a great deal that Becky Lynch is one of the company's hottest acts and will presumably be included in the Wrestlemania main event. This allows media to ignore the reason that Lynch, Rousey, and Flair have been pushed so heavily on WWE TV and PPV, are on the verge of this Wrestlemania main event...and will not so coincidentally provide that plausible deniability for WWE's $450 million Saudi deal.
Instead of dealing with the bad public relations that have already come from the blood money they've already taken (helped by the unsurprising unwillingness of the current Administration to intervene and prevent these shows from taking place, even after the Khashoggi murder) WWE has aggressively used social media to build the Lynch-Rousey- Flair match, with Lynch's online personality (real or ghostwritten) coming up with snarky tweet after snarky tweet.
Most recently, there's been a NSFW and occasionally kayfabe breaking series of tweets back and forth between Lynch and Rousey, Lynch and Flair, Rousey and Lynch. Some wrestling sites have actually tried to speculate that WWE is upset with how these tweets have "gone off script". Anyone who buys that is probably moving their lips while reading this blog.
If WWE doesn't want something on social media, it disappears quickly. Just ask Corey Graves' soon to be ex-wife about that. Every bit of this is approved ahead of time to be just out of the ordinary and non-PG as can be...without going too far. It's been rumored that Paul Heyman is heavily involved in this whole process...which should explain a lot.
Meanwhile, the oil money keeps on rolling in...and rolling in, and Vince McMahon happily deposits the checks, not losing a moment's sleep, and fans are arguing about social media posts.
Until next time...
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