WWE's ongoing deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been a controversial subject ever since it was made in 2018. By the time the second Saudi Arabia event, Crown Jewel, made its way onto WWE's schedule late last year stories began popping up of wrestlers not being comfortable appearing in the country. John Cena and Daniel Bryan both reportedly refused to work that event, leading to WWE having to put out a statement regarding how they plan on handling wrestlers that don't want to be involved. With the next Saudi event Super ShowDown coming up in Jeddah on June 7, reports of wrestlers refusing to make the trip are once again popping up.
Fightful reported on Wednesday that Kevin Owens would not be attending the show. Three more names have since been added to that list, with Dave Meltzer reporting Bryan would not make the trip again this year, while POST Wrestling's John Pollock reported on Wednesday afternoon that Sami Zayn and Aleister Black won't be going either.
A reason was not specifically given for any of the four, though Zayn has not been used on any of the shows reportedly because of his Syrian descent and the contentions relationship between Syria and Saudi Arabia. WWE had to put out a statement regarding that as well.
"WWE is committed to embracing individuals from all backgrounds while respecting local customs and cultural differences around the world," the statement read.
Also due to the country's customs regarding women, none of the women's roster has been able to appear on any of the shows. The Saudi General Sports Authority even had to issue an apology after an ad that played during the Greatest Royal Rumble featured Carmella in her full ring gear.0comments
Having more and more wrestlers back out of the upcoming Saudi show puts WWE in somewhat of a bind, as the card currently features a 50-man battle royal. The events have previously used former wrestlers making their in-ring returns as the headliners, with the biggest example being Shawn Michaels coming out of retirement at Crown Jewel for a DX vs. Brothers of Destruction match. Super ShowDown will be no exception, as WWE Hall of Famer Bill Goldberg is coming out of retirement for a match against The Undertaker.
Other bouts for this year's show include WWE Champion Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler, Triple H vs. Randy Orton, Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley and Roman Reigns vs. Shane McMahon.