WWE’s charter flight from Saudi Arabia landed in New York City on Saturday afternoon following a lengthy delay in Saudi Arabia. WWE has publicly blamed the delay on a mechanical issue with the plane, and Atlas Air (the charter company) issued an apology for the mechanical issue and delay.
All that being said, rumors have been swirling that there was more to the delay than just a mechanical issue with the plane. Former WWE Spanish announcer (and current AAA employee) Hugo Savinovich has posted a video to Facebook claiming that the real reason WWE talent was not allowed to leave Saudi Arabia was because of a dispute between Vince McMahon and the Crown Prince. Savinovich claims that WWE was owed millions of dollars by the Saudi government (he claims somewhere between $300 and $500 million) and that McMahon retaliated by cutting the Crown Jewel live TV feed in Saudi Arabia (Crown Jewel did end up starting almost an hour late on MBC Action Network in Saudi Arabia). This upset the Crown Prince who responded by forcing WWE talent off their flight and causing the delay.
Savinovich claims that he has gotten this news from someone with direct knowledge of the situation.
For what it’s worth, WWE noted on last week’s conference call that they received a $60 million payment for an “outstanding receivable” but did not provide any other details.
Additionally, Dave Meltzer tweeted on Saturday that WWE was recording video footage of talent stating that the delay was due to a mechanical issue with the plane, which is a bit odd: “One person in the company said WWE is trying to get video from as much talent as possible to claim the mechanical issues on the plane were the problem. Just the fact they would do this is very strange.”
One person in the company said WWE is trying to get video from as much talent as possible to claim the mechanical issues on the plane were the problem. Just the fact they would do this is very strange.
— Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) November 3, 2019
Savinovich’s video is below (h/t WrestlingInc).