Even before the recent news surrounding the alleged murder of journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabian agents, WWE was receiving criticism regarding their decision to do business with the Saudi government.
The initial criticism, which plagued the original Greatest Royal Rumble show the company held in the country back in April, surrounded the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia. No WWE women were allowed to perform on the show given the oppressive policies towards women in the country, and women were not allowed to attend the event unless accompanied by men.
Even so, the WWE Hall of Famer sees no problem with WWE doing business in the country. While some would say it is hypocritical of a company who is in the midst of promoting a women's revolution to promote shows in a country that treats women in the manner that Saudi Arabia does, Ross sees no hypocrisy on the part of WWE while still acknowledging there are issues in the country.
Ross addressed the controversy on this week's Ross Report podcast. Keep in mind that the show was recorded prior to the controversy surrounding the death of Khashoggi, so we will have to see if Ross' tone changes on his next podcast following that development.
"The Saudi Arabia show… the political aspects of Saudi Arabia show are something I can't do anything about", Ross said. "I don't know what you'd do. I'm not going to get into the political discussions. Look, if the talent can go there and foster any change of this like by the WWE, then I'm for that. Making life better for everybody. I don't know what I could do personally other than say this that I don't agree with how women are treated even in America. You don't have to go to Saudi Arabia to figure out that there's problems abroad. Women cannot be considered second class citizens, period.
"So no, I don't think that it's hypocritical that WWE is going there, and they are promoting women's movement, not at all. They're addressing another agenda, and that agenda will include women at some point in time."
This is an optimistic viewpoint to be sure given the reaction to the last show in Saudi Arabia. In the days following the event, the Saudi Government "apologized" to its citizens due to the fact that WWE aired a promotional video during the show that featured some women. If things are changing for the better in the country in regards to women, there was absolutely no sign of that at Greatest Royal Rumble.