AS I SEE IT 6/10: Blood (and hypocrisy) on the sands, part 3

Posted on 6/10/119 by Bob Magee

Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

Well, the semi-annual WWE Blood, Super Showdown
event took place Friday.

Some within WWE chose not to go, including Kevin Owens
(because of Sami Zayn being banned by the Saudis, and family
wishes), John Cena, and Daniel Bryan.

Others were banned. Sami Zayn was banned for being Syrian
(Syria and the Saudis are political enemies, plus the Saudi
government views Zayn as having political opinions they
don't like). Alistair Black was banned by the Saudis
because of a tattoo they deemed sacrilegious. This, despite
The Undertaker.... whose character has "sacrificed" talent
on a cross being deemed acceptable, plus "Demon" Finn Balor
being more than welcome. In a moment of delightful irony,
Balor tweeted a picture of himself supporting Pride Month
with the ring in the background from a Pride
t-shirt. Wonder if Balor will be as welcome in November?

Besides the fact that it was blatantly obvious that the show
was put on as a sold show for the Saudi regime's
entertainment and PR cover, the notable botches in the
feature Goldberg-Undertaker match due to Goldberg's
concussion after hitting his head legit on a ring post, the
supposed Money In The Bank cash-in by Brock Lesnar never
happened (again), and one of the company's major names Roman
Reigns put over Shane McMahon.....with all that, the show
has been universally panned.

Worse still, the PR excuse WWE has attempted to use since
the Saudi deal was signed... the company party line that WWE
was doing this to somehow advance Saudi women's rights
(especially since the controversy from the murder of Jamal
Khashoggi) was blown straight to hell once and for all.

Nattie Neidhart and Alexa Bliss traveled to Saudi Arabia,
because WWE and the Saudi General Sports Authority had been
in involved talks on putting a women's match on the show.
The talks had gotten to the point that there had been tweets
early on Friday US time that implied approval had been
given. The Saudi Arabian government then went back-and-
forth, but in the end pulled the plug. Bliss and Neidhart
weren't even permitted to do an interview segment as face
saving for WWE. There have been stories that a rival within
the Royal Family may have somehow gotten involved in a way
that the match was cancelled at the last minute.

WWE has to finally admit to the public now that these shows
are nothing but money, period, and cut the BS about helping
Saudi women's rights...and deal with whatever PR fallout
that may cause.

Yes, it's about money. Nothing but money. Blood money from a
Saudi Arabian regime that murders journalists, has women's
rights activists on trial who have been tortured physically
and sexually for "undermining security and aiding enemies of
the state" (read: campaigning for human rights) and who have
suffered sexual harassment and torture during interrogation,
including caning, electrocution and sexual assault.

In April, the Saudis executed 37 men, including those whose
"confessions" had been coerced or outright fabricated. Three
more Saudi scholars are to be executed within days, one for
nothing more than praying for reconciliation between Saudi
Arabia and neighboring Qatar. If that isn't bad enough for
you, as WWE was on their way over to the Kingdom, it was
reported that the Saudis want to execute a young man for the
"crime" of campaigning for human age 10.

I understand as a fan, the last thing you want to read about
is Saudi human rights and hear about executions of those who
speak for basic rights. You'd rather hear me talk about the
disaster that is WWE booking, or the AEW PPV or their TV
this fall. But when WWE, the biggest company in the
industry, enters into a major business relationship with a
government that does what I've outlined above, such
discussions can't be avoided...not when WWE is earning $45-
50 million per event (figures given in WWE 2018 financials
show an increase of $48.7 million in a category noted as
"Other" from the preceding year).

One of the few positive touches was that [Mustafa] Ali
announced hes donating the money he made at Super ShowDown
to the group Charity: Water, which works to "bring clean and
safe drinking water to people in need around the world",
along with Balor using the show to plug Pride Month on

WWE will be back in Saudi Arabia in November. I'm going to
love to see how the company justifies it in upcoming
Quarterly calls. Coming flat out and admitting that it's
because of the revenue it brings in....while truthful, won't
exactly fly when Finn Balor is defending LGBT rights, and
(in theory at least) the company is still pushing the
Women's Revolution marketing campaign.

At some point, the contradiction is going to become too
glaring even for WWE and those reporting about it to
justify. This comes at a time when they have a new business
competitor, All Elite Wrestling, a promotion who has chosen
to openly embrace diversity, to the point that
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has tweeted about

Until next time...

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