WWE - Saudi Arabia Updates: Issues Not Related To Plane?, NXT Stars On SmackDown, Frustrated Talents

Triple H will reportedly run tonight's WWE SmackDown episode from the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, NY, according to Wrestling Observer Live.

We've noted at this link how WWE confirmed flight issues coming out of Saudi Arabia, which has led to several blue brand Superstars missing tonight's show. WWE nixed the original line-up for tonight's show and announced that there would be surprises.


Regarding those surprises, word is that several WWE NXT Superstars are being flown to Buffalo from Florida. There's no word yet on what those NXT Superstars will be doing, or who is being brought in, but we'll keep you updated.

Bryan Alvarez noted on Wrestling Observer Live that there was at least some concern over the show not happening at all, due to enough members of production being stuck in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. WWE nixing the show altogether seems like a very long shot, but at least there was rumblings of that happening in Saudi Arabia. The show will go on, just not as originally planned.

It was noted by Alvarez and Dave Meltzer that most of the talents still stuck in the Kingdom would be flying back to the United States at around 3am local time, or around 8pm ET. This means they will arrive back in the States at around 4pm ET on Saturday.


Regarding the flight issues, WWE noted that there were mechanical issues that led to crew members and talents being kept in the Kingdom. It was noted by F4Wonline.com reporters that there are people insisting that there are no mechanical issues. That should be taken as a rumor for now, and it's possible that people on the ground in Saudi Arabia aren't getting all of the information, but they did not say what the issues might be if they aren't mechanical-related.

One fan asked Dave Meltzer on Twitter if there is more to the story than mechanical issues. Meltzer responded, "I don't think anyone but Vince truly knows. The rest is speculation. Those there I've been in contract with who are still there have a different story."

As WWE noted in their announcement, one group of people, said to be 12 top stars and 8 key production workers, arranged for a different flight to make it to SmackDown but due to "other issues" they were not able to arrive in time, and are landing in Newark instead. It was noted by F4Wonline.com that Vince McMahon, Kevin Dunn and Vince's personal staff left out of Saudi Arabia before these issues came up as they left earlier on Vince's private jet. WWE Champion Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman and WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan also reportedly left the Kingdom immediately on Lesnar's private jet that he is given for these special events.


There had been a lot of talk about frustration from talent and other employees on the ground in Saudi Arabia, before and after they left the plane to go back to a hotel in Riyadh. Rusev posted an airplane emoji and wrote, "At this point and time We need all the prayers... brother."

In what could be a related tweet, Buddy Murphy wrote, "Never again..."

You can see their related tweets below.

As noted, WWE has nixed the original SmackDown line-up, which included new WWE Universal Champion "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt on MizTV plus The New Day vs. SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Revival, for the titles, among other matches. They have since announced Nikki Cross vs. SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley with the title on the line. WWE also noted that tonight's show will feature stars such as Daniel Bryan, The Miz, Carmella, and Dana Brooke, plus "additional surprises."

Stay tuned for updates on the situation coming out of Saudi Arabia and tonight's SmackDown.