Wrestling podcast host Sam Roberts, who is often featured as a panelist on the WWE pay-per-view Kickoff shows, is the latest to weigh in on the controversy surrounding Saudi Arabia hosting WWE Crown Jewel.
After the disappearance and reported assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, many have called for WWE to cancel the event. To this point, WWE has only issued a "monitoring the situation" comment, and Roberts, who frequently appears on various WWE Network events, took a much more emphatic stance against Saudi Arabia hosting the event.
"I'm okay with the deal. Saudi Arabia has done a lot of questionable things, but I'm okay with the deal in general," Roberts said on his Not Sam Wrestling podcast. "…But, my own personal opinion is that because of this story, and because honestly the U.S. is still figuring out whether they're gonna have to retaliate against Saudi Arabia, I don't think that Crown Jewel should take place in Saudi Arabia.
"I think that the show should go on. The show must go on. A big investment has been made into this show. And it's gonna cost WWE, it's gonna cost them money... But I think WWE's gotta eat this one. They were featured on Vice, they were featured on John Oliver this week, and it's not good press.
"I think what they're trying to figure out now is probably what's going to affect them as a business more? Going or not going?"
Roberts is the first person affiliated with WWE who's gone on record to say that the show shouldn't take place in Saudi Arabia. Many others, including Randy Orton to TMZ and JBL on Fox Business, have advocated for WWE to continue with the event.
"I would expect that they [WWE] have a backup plan already and at this moment, if you ask me today, I think they should use the backup plan," Roberts added. "…I think that WWE needs to figure out how to do this show outside of Saudi Arabia. If they want to go back, go back. We can have that discussion separately at another time. But I think for this one, for the sake of everybody involved in the press and what's going on. I think it would be a better thing if they did it outside of Saudi Arabia."
Roberts also pointed out that WWE is no longer advertising Saudi Arabia as the location when promoting Crown Jewel. Instead of saying "Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia," they are simply promoting the name of the event, itself, and are limiting mentions of the location.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Not Sam Wrestling with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: Not Sam Wrestling 208