WWE has reportedly cancelled an upcoming PPV event in favor of another big event in Saudi Arabia.
WWE Backlash had been scheduled for June 16th in San Diego, California, however Dave Meltzer reported on Wrestling Observer Radio that the event has now been scrapped. While the show had not been officially announced, it was listed on internal paperwork, had a WWE.com subdomain created, and the website for the venue (the Pechanga Arena) had it listed on their calendar. The event has since been removed from the Pechanga Arena calendar.
Meltzer reports the reason for the PPV cancellation is the fact that WWE will be holding a PPV in Saudi Arabia on June 7th and the company did not want to promote two PPV-style events just nine days apart. Obviously, given the payouts WWE has received in the past from the Saudi Arabian government, the Saudi show will be much more lucrative for WWE.
However, this decision is sure to be met with some criticism from the wrestling world, just as the WWE's previous shows in Saudi Arabia have been. This is due to the international reputation of the Saudi government, notably (but not limited to) their alleged role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as well as the fact that WWE women have not been allowed to work the Saudi events in the past due to the country's position on female rights.
The date for the show in Saudi Arabia recently was moved to June 7th, as it had initially been expected to be held at another time This also complicates the scheduled NXT TakeOver show in San Jose on June 8th. So far, we have not heard that WWE is scrapping that show, though it's proximity to the Saudi show (one day later) will cause some pause.
NXT and the WWE main roster hold consecutive day PPV shows all of the time, though they aren't typically on different sides of the world. TakeOver is currently scheduled to be held at the Event Center at San Jose State University, which seats approximately 5,000 fans. Though the venue is smaller than many of the arenas where recent TakeOvers have occurred, there is historical significance to this show. The SJSU Event Center sold out a house show during WrestleMania 31 weekend back in 2015, and that show is credited as having set the brand on the course to running larger arenas.
During a conference call back in March, Triple H spoke about the San Jose NXT show.
"(San Jose) is a place where before we were even doing TakeOvers, we kind of did the first WrestleMania weekend event where we were just testing the waters. it sold out and became this epic event that really set the brand in motion. I'm really excited to go back there on June 8, separate from everything else, and other pay-per-views around it, and put on an event that is epic and say thank you to that location for getting us off to such a great start," he said.
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