WWE talent and personnel returned to the U.S. on Saturday afternoon after being delayed in Saudi Arabia for a day.
WWE has publicly stated that mechanical issues caused the flight headed to the U.S. to be delayed. Atlas Air, the charter company that WWE was using to fly talent from the U.S. to Saudi Arabia and back, issued an apology for the mechanical issue that caused the delays, which seemed strange. Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer noted on Twitter that a person in WWE said that the company is trying to record video from as much talent as possible to claim that the delays were due to mechanical issues with the plane, which is odd to say the least.
Former WWE Spanish commentator Hugo Savinovich, who currently works for AAA, posted a video on Facebook discussing the situation. Savinovich noted that he had connections with people in countries like Saudi Arabia, and claimed that there was another reason why talent were not allowed to leave the country as scheduled.
According to Savinovich, WWE was owed millions of dollars for two of the shows that the company held in Saudi Arabia (h/t to WrestlingNews.co). He said that the amount could be between $300 to $500 million, which sounds insanely high as WWE is estimated to generate $40 – $50 million per event in Saudi Arabia.
Savinovich said that Vince McMahon retaliated by cutting off the Crown Jewel live TV feed in Saudi Arabia. Savinovich said that The Crown Prince was so upset about the feed being cut off that he ordered the WWE talent to be taken off of the plane right before the flight was scheduled to take off. Savinovich asserted that this was not a hearsay rumor, and that he heard this from someone with direct knowledge of the situation.
WWE Co-President George Barrios revealed on last Thursday’s Q3 earnings call that the company received a $60 million payment “for an outstanding receivable” at the end of the quarter, although he did not provide specifics on where the payment came from. Crown Jewel also reportedly started nearly an hour later on the MBC Action network in Saudi Arabia than scheduled.
As previously reported, McMahon and his inner circle left Saudi Arabia on the WWE private jet before the flight issues came up. It was also noted by Meltzer that a lot of WWE talent have lost a lot of respect for McMahon after everything that occurred this past week.
WWE Champion Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman and WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan also left the country before the issues arose on Lesnar’s private jet.
We will have more details on the story as they become available. You can view the full video from Savinovich below: