Update On How WWE Talent Reportedly Felt After Night Of Champions In Saudi Arabia

On Saturday, WWE ran the ninth show of their 10-year deal with the government of Saudi Arabia in the form of Night of Champions at the Jeddah Superdome. The deal has long been controversial for a number of reasons — from the varying degrees to which the shows are used as propaganda by the authoritarian Saudi government, to the decision not to call off the Saudi show after said government allegedly had journalist Jamal Khashoggi murdered in 2018, to the mysterious circumstances under which the wrestlers' flight home was held up after Crown Jewel 2019, to Sami Zayn being kept off the shows until last week. That controversy had extended to the talent at times, with some refusing to work the shows, but according to a report from Dave Meltzer in the new Wrestling Observer Newsletter, those feelings among the roster have shifted to something more positive.

Meltzer referred to the mood shift among the talent as it "com[ing] full circle" relative the early part of the Saudi deal when many were hesitant to go, particularly after the Crown Jewel 2019 plane issue. Now, Meltzer is hearing about "people talking about how much they loved the trip." There was reportedly an emphasis on three of the seven matches at Night of Champions being women's matches, enjoying the enthusiastic fans, and Zayn speaking particularly highly of the experience he had personally.

WWE is currently contracted with the Saudi government to do two shows each year. In August 2021, the company settled a shareholder lawsuit over concerns stemming from the plane incident with regards to how it related to their TV deals in the Middle East and North Africa.